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That time Noam Chomsky scared the bejesus out of me

That time Noam Chomsky scared the bejesus out of me thumbnail

I had never read Noam Chomsky before or seen him speak, but I’d definitely heard about him over the years. Most recently when watching the movie “Captain Fantastic,” when the main characters — a super smart, back-to-the-land family — all celebrate “Chomsky Day” as if it was Christmas.

There was a lot of hype for his talk at the UMass Amherst Mullins Center on Thursday night and the line to get in stretched well down the street. Inside, as thousands of people took their seats, a faculty member asked for patience to give time for the long line outside to file in.

And then, after the 88-year-old professor was assisted onto the stage, he spoke.

The following 90 minutes were the most depressing of my week.

His talk centered on the two most horrifying things confronting the life on this planet: climate change and nuclear annihilation.

“These are the two existential challenges that overshadow everything else,” he said after telling us the world’s population is hanging on by a single thread dependent on bellicose world leaders keeping their missiles in their silos. And that even if we somehow avoided that fate, we were still confronted with ever increasing odds of an irreparable climate.

Much of what he said denigrated Republicans, particularly the ones currently in Washington systematically dismantling the Paris Climate agreement (ahem… Trump… ahem… Ryan… cough cough… McConnell). Still there was blame on some notable Democrats, too, namely John F. Kennedy.

When in the 1960s Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to make a sharp cutback in nuclear weapons, Kennedy accelerated the United States’ military build-up. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world was as close as it has ever come to nuclear war, Kennedy refused to remove obsolete missiles from Turkey in exchange for Russia removing the missiles from Cuba.

Compared to lower forms of life, including bacteria and certain species of beetles, which might survive in the case of a nuclear war or drastic changes to the climate, humans won’t have much of a chance.

“The human species is undertaking an experiment; is it better to be smart than stupid?”

And so I wasn’t much comforted when toward the end of his talk, Chomsky said that some small-scale efforts to combat fossil fuel use (the city of San Diego might use all renewable energy by 2035!) might actually succeed.

Glad for any advice anyone has to solve the world’s problems, or at least a way to get some sleep at night instead of ruminating over mass extinction.

34 Comments on "That time Noam Chomsky scared the bejesus out of me"

  1. onlooker on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 6:44 am 

    Okay, the author looks around middle age. Many people throughout our history have died in their 40″s or 50’s. So don’t worry be happy even under ideal conditions you only have at most 50 years left. The Universe and Earth have been around billons of years and the concept of infinite exists. Incidentally, Chomsky is relating matter of fact ideas of our current reality on Earth

  2. makati1 on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 7:17 am 

    But onlooker, most of the West don’t want to hear reality. Too bad. What they want and what they get will be two different things. Guaranteed.

  3. Davy on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 7:32 am 

    Climate change hope is a stupid liberal idea. The stupid conservatards an example of complete denial of the failure of human exceptionalism. The in-between is just a grey soup of victimization. Everyone is pissed and blaming someone. It is sickening and this board is replete with this hypocrisy. Smart people acting like children. Yes, I am part of it too because I am human.

    We are done for with climate change. There is no alternative to modernism and climate change. You can’t grow and progress with so many people in so much complexity and reduce carbon emissions let along reduce past emissions. Nature has now been tipped. The Northern Hemisphere is the key and a clear indication of existential doom. The warming of this area notably the Arctic ice decline and permafrost thawing is now beyond human control. Liberal climate jockeys that whine about it have no valid solutions. Scribbler (, scribbled some nonsense the other day about mass air travel with batteries. That is just one of his stupid remarks for a stupid liberal solutions to have cake and eat it. Lying liberal fake news type’s acknowledge science until they hit the catch 22 part then they lie. Scribbler is brilliant with the climate change process but a complete moron on what to do.

    I am picking on lying liberal fake news lefties because they are whining and offering fake solutions. My heart is with them with honesty to science but that is where it ends. The conservatards are just a train wreck of denial. They have never offered anything that points to a future. At least the libitards acknowledge science with the part of being in a bad place. Conservatards are habituated to manifest destiny of man to rise to greatness. They are denial personified and it is sickening.

    Guy McPherson is on to something but maybe too extreme. The situation is there is little we can do and not avoid a catastrophic collapse and not doing anything ensures that collapse will happen. This is a process and it could be longer term in relation to our low human capacity to deal with time processes. We have too much capacity for fantasy to properly understand nature’s processes.

    We need to be building a hospice and life boat social narrative. That means acknowledge a die down and an economic powerdown ahead somewhere. Use your imagination with that. Some of you can’t because you are in complete denial of reality. I could write a long article on what that means. Yet, if we did that honestly and realistically confidence would be shattered and economic collapse would happen shortly after. Our system is a fiat system and confidence underlies it completely. It is a Ponzi system of lies. All Ponzi’s by definition end in tears.

    So we have are best minds whining and offering false solutions. We have many of our leaders both economic and political in denial of any of it. This leaves nothing at the top for inspiration. Your inspiration will have to be individual and local. You can make a difference within a surreal world of the status quo of lies close to home. We are now in zone of inflection where right is wrong and wrong is right. This is a deceptive statement and points to systems not morals.

    We are now in a stagnating human ecosystem that has coopted the entire planet. It is close to a break to decline and with it a cascading of planetary decline. This is a multidimensional decline on all levels. It is all inclusive except at the local and personal. There you are free to live differently if only in your heart. That is all you need to know because there is not a friggen thing anyone can do with a human self-organizing system at the size it is at. Personally and locally you can make a difference. Focus there and just eat popcorn with the rest. Yes, if that bigger system goes your little world will also but they can’t take your spirit deep within your heart.

  4. onlooker on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 7:59 am 

    That is right Davy and Makati, we are preaching to the choir. Most people don’t want to hear the truth. But ignorance is bliss until it’s Not.

  5. joe on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 8:21 am 

    Guy McPhearson is too extreme? Could be. Clogged up ears guy, eh, cloggie, yeah thats it. Good luck with the green revolution, this guy says think again.

  6. ________________________________________ on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 9:28 am 

    All anti global warming fags need to be executed.

  7. Cloggie on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 9:33 am 

    Good luck with the green revolution, this guy says think again.

    Chomsky says something, joe stands at attention. That’s the way it works in Anglosphere.

    joe says: don’t try, Chomsky says so.

    I say: let’s try. After all, if it all fails, we will be the first to know.

    These Chomsky guy have never given us any good advice, ever.

    The only time Chomsky scared the Bejesus out of me was when he advised to not investigate 9/11 at all.

    Despite the fact that nobody ever appeared before a court of law regarding 9/11, Chomsky advises to stay away from 9/11. Case closed. Don’t go there. It were 19 Arabs with box cutters, honest. Chomsky doesn’t do “conspiracy theories”.

    Chomsky is US deep state. He is a gate keeper. Chomsky knows exactly who did 9/11, and it weren’t Arabs. But Chomsky doesn’t want you to know the truth.

  8. Jef on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 11:04 am 

    I have come to the realization that Trump was put in place to squelch the inevitable realization that climate change is real and that means no more growth just like PO means no more growth.

    The greatest threat to civilization as we know it is no more growth because it means no more pulling yourself up by the boot straps, no more American dream, no more everything getting better, no more getting RICH!

    If or when that realization ever reaches the gen-pop its over…put a fork in it, there will be zero chance of controlling the hords, stoping the chaos from going viral. Which is why eventually we will need the ultimate distraction WWIII.

  9. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 12:05 pm 

    Planetary physics, chemistry and biologly know or care nothing of humans or their fantasy future. Past the point of no return.

    Under the Arctic Dome — Brutish High Pressure System is Wrecking the Already Thinned Sea Ice

    “A Great Atmospheric Stack Drawing Heat into the Arctic

    In the past, meteorologists like Stu Ostro envisioned that climate change would tend to produce towering high pressure systems — featuring increasingly strong storms roaring about their fierce outer boundaries. And the massive high lurking over the Arctic at this time is a good example of Ostro’s predictions coming to light in a region that is very sensitive to human-forced warming.

    This great atmospheric stack appears to have had a considerable impact on the ice already — helping to push extent measures back into record low ranges by accelerating the melt trend. But these impacts are likely to spike over the coming week as this powerful high expected to remain in place through the next five days — continuing to draw warm air into the region.”

  10. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 12:29 pm 

    ______________________________________(shooting blanks)

    You might be on to something.

    With major EPA cuts looming, Scott Pruitt wants a 10-person, 24/7 security detail

    Pruitt is going to help bring the pain to many US consumer-citizen-slaves much sooner than, say a less retarded bureaucrat would. My new hero.

    It almost looks intentional. Like they want to do as much damage to the greatest amount of people in as little time as possible. A cancer is a cancer is a cancer.

  11. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 12:39 pm 

    Bring back the good ole days

    This is what America looked like before the EPA cleaned it up

    It wasn’t pretty

    What Cities Looked Like Before the EPA
    Whatever happens to the Environmental Protection Agency, it has a clear legacy in cities.

    Now ya can N95 masks in the kiddies Christmas stockings.

  12. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 12:49 pm 

    Abrupt Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Before

    “Counterintuitively, published consensus statements on climate change do not factor in abrupt change — an omission that seriously affects how climate policy is made. The reason is that we do not yet have the skill to model abrupt changes, even though ample robust evidence exists of the common occurrence of abrupt change in prehistory. It may seem unimaginable that these most important of all climate changes have been disregarded in climate policy, but this is the way the culture of the climate science consensus works. Policy is based upon impacts that we project to happen in the future through modeling.”

  13. Davy on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 1:00 pm 

    Ape man, please spare me the drama. The economy will not bring back those industrial jobs. No company is going to create a population liability that will come back to haunt them once the evil Trumpsters are gone. People are no longer throwing trash out their windows going down the highways at 55MPH. It is a changed world and all this EPA death hype is just hype. Some damage is going to be done but I see very little real damage resulting from Trump because Trump will likely be a one term POTUS & the Democrats will be back in force in just 2 short years.

  14. Apneaman on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 1:38 pm 

    Trash out the window? How about rivers on fire? Trash out the window will not poison the kids, but embolden cancer industry cunts and their puke can in short order. Not to mention that lead level monitoring is one of their jobs as well, but apparently they have already dropped the ball on that going by the testing numbers and increasing level of national stupidity. You should get your pipes checked Davy. Might explain some things.

    Trash out the window – tell yourself

    5,300 U.S. water systems are in violation of lead rules

    These 33 Cities Cheated on Lead Contamination Tests, Similar to Flint, Michigan

    Wouldn’t want the EPA or anyone to hold these sworn representatives accountable – bad fer da economy.

    Attempting to defend the indefensible only make you look more foolish Davy, Best to stick with your repetitive bloating collapse essay. I really enjoy the New & Improved version with the added liberal bashing – very entertaining. All them alt right sites like zero hedge really wound you up eh? Propaganda works. That’s why it’s so popular.

  15. penury on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 2:35 pm 

    It is clear that we (humans) are in denial about the predicaments that we face. There are no answers. possibly some actions will delay the end for a short while, but the end is plainly in sight.

  16. Midnight Oil on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 2:55 pm 

    They KNOW….PLEASE….these guys know Global Warming is REAL…they also KNOW it is far too late to stop. BEST to deny and hope the worst happens after we are pushing up daisies.

  17. makati1 on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 5:20 pm 

    Ap, Davy is blind to reality. A few paper cups out the car window is all he sees so that is all there is. I keep telling Americans to get their water checked for contaminants, but I am ignored. Out of sight. Out of mind. Even farm well water can be, and likely is, contaminated. Cancers take many years to develop so it is too late when you find out. A painful death. A $100 water test could save your life.

    The U$ government has been watering down (pun intended) all of its requirements for clean water, food, air, etc. for at least the last 10-20 years. Now Trump wants to end all of it so he can sell .. er … use MOABs all over the world and grow his military.

  18. makati1 on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 5:25 pm 

    Penury, it appears that we have a choice. Either global warming or nuclear winter. Both will end humanity. Any who may survive will be human in appearance only. All humanity will be gone.

    The climate change hockey stick on the graph points to an end time in the not too distant future. The Nuclear Clock is edging its way to midnight. The race is on. We old timers may get to see who wins. Unfortunately.

  19. makati1 on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 6:30 pm 

    “When the first Satan 2 hits Washington, the greatest collection of morons in the world will cease to exist.”

    “China or Russia individually can wipe out the US. Together they can make North America uninhabitalbe until the end of time. Why are the Washington morons provoking powerful nuclear powers? Do the Washington morons think Russia and China will submit to threats?

    The answer is: Washington is a collection of morons, people stupid below the meaning of stupid. People so far outside of reality that they imagine that their hubris and arrogance elevates them above reality.”

    “What are we to do, what is the world to do, when we have utter morons as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as President of the US, as National Security Adviser, as Secretary of Defense, as Secretary of State, as US Ambassador to the UN, as editors of the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, MSNBC? How can there be any intelligence when only morons are in charge?

    Stupid is as stupid does. The Chinese government has said that the moronic Americans could attack North Korea at any moment. A large US fleet is heading to North Korea. North Korea apparently now has nuclear weapons. One North Korean nuclear weapon can wipe out the entirety of the US fleet. Why is Washington inviting this outcome? The only possible answer is moronic stupidity.”

  20. Davy on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 7:11 pm 

    Ape, so what your saying is the EPA is irrelevant becuase Trump didn’t cause those referenced problems. More anti-American drama is all it is.

  21. Davy on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 7:17 pm 

    Makati, I can 100% assure you my water is good and your tap water is not. In fact mine is delicious and yours likely has a sour chlorinated taste. Poor SOB, I imagine you buy bottled water.

  22. makati1 on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 8:08 pm 

    Davy, taste is NOT an indicator of purity. Pay to have it tested by a reputable lab.

    I lived in farm country in PA and was surprised to find a large pollution of nitrogen in my well water and my well was over 75 foot deep. It required filtration and treatment to be safe. I did not ‘taste’ the nitrogen. I paid for the tests.

    As for water here, it is treated just like any city, and comes from mountain lakes thru pipelines, not the local river. It has chlorine, but not fluoride. Fluoride is a poison and causes brain damage. Unless you pay for a real test, you are only guessing what is in your water. The farm will be Pacific rain water or from the spring. No pollution.

  23. Boat on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 9:16 pm 


    After only 3 months of Trump poor Davy just can’t helped being ashamed for supporting him. Funny how the human brain just can’t accept bad choices and in Davy’s case somehow it’s the climate loving left liberals that are now to blame. Lol Heard a funny line, Trumps campaign promises have the shelf life of a used Kleenex.

  24. Cloggie on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 10:56 pm 

    Although Trump c.s. still pay lip service to the alleged goal of defeating ISIS, hardcore US deep stater Thomas Friedman of the NWO rag NYT openly makes the case for supporting the Islamic headhunter club:

    ISIS was and is a project of the US deep state.

    Question to Ivanka: have you seen the devastating pictures of these tens of buses with Syrian refugees killed by the dozens? No? Should you not tell daddy to launch airstrikes against ISIS or won’t Jared let you?

    Forget it, rethorical.

  25. Cloggie on Sat, 15th Apr 2017 11:10 pm 

    Noam Chomsky, that’s university protest against Nam.

    Today there were clashes at UC Berkeley between antifa commies and Trump supporting nationalists:

    According to local custom, roler skate boards were used to ‘make a point’.lol

    Wonder if they contemplated using the other famous Californian WMDs: surf boards? Perhaps next time.

    Apparently the antifa unwashed and unkempt got a beating.rofl

  26. Cloggie on Sun, 16th Apr 2017 12:00 am 

    Holy cow! US left-right polarization:

    It is obvious that you didn’t want to be an antifa apneaman in Berkeley yesterday.

  27. Dredd on Sun, 16th Apr 2017 5:57 am 

    The author seems to think life is centered around his comfort and sleep habits.

    It isn’t (When You Are Governed By Psychopaths – 7).

    Denialists asking scientists not to talk about “it” is one of the fears that generated out current reality in the first place.

  28. GregT on Sun, 16th Apr 2017 11:22 pm 

    “After only 3 months of Trump poor Davy just can’t helped being ashamed for supporting him. Funny how the human brain just can’t accept bad choices and in Davy’s case somehow it’s the climate loving left liberals that are now to blame.”

    Sounds like Davy has been owned.

  29. joe on Sun, 16th Apr 2017 11:43 pm 

    The US just managed to lose yet another democracy today. Turkey votes away its parliamentary system (Germany did a similar thing in the 1930s). Turkey just became the new Pakistan. The consequences will be complex and strange. Turkey will be a bastion of anti-western rhetoric, and a base for hire for all kinds of crazy policies. Corruption will become rife and inefficiency will destroy the worlds wealthiest muslim country. The USxwill no doubt back the middle easts latest bully to the hilt to achieve local and shortsighted goals and the long-term fallout will destroy many things. The myth of multicultural pluralist secularism hypocrisy is going to die fast. Islam will dominate Turkey and the EU will build its new facade as the defender of rational justice and fairness just like Britain did in the 19thC. All lies of course. Turkey will play both Russia and the US off against each other, but Turkey forgets this is an old game for the old enemies, this new path for Turkey (Islamist, neo-Ottomanism) has not really succeded to date. This has happened on Trumps watch, Americas silence on this matter is concerning. The EU has taken a firm and early position that this is unacceptable and against European values.

  30. GregT on Mon, 17th Apr 2017 12:16 am 

    “The US just managed to lose yet another democracy today.”

    Interesting joe. How could anybody ever lose something that was never theirs to begin with?

  31. GregT on Mon, 17th Apr 2017 12:35 am 

    “The EU has taken a firm and early position that this is unacceptable and against European values.”

    Just out of curiosity joe (not to undermine the importance of the democratic principle), but have all of the Europeans actually had the opportunity to vote on this ‘early position’?

  32. Cloggie on Mon, 17th Apr 2017 2:33 am 

    The world is in a flux. The old US-led liberal-globalist order is melting away. What happened yesterday in Turkey was the Islamic variant of western populism. The Turkish West, Istanbul and Kurds voted no, the Turkish country-side voted yes.

    The keyword is right-wing “identity”, not leftist universalism, human rights, multi-cult. The new creed is: “I am I and you are you and we are different, now go away, this is my land, I don’t want you”.

    The 19th century was European right-wing.
    The 20th century was Anglo-Soviet left-wing.

    There is such a thing as a pendulum. Tic-toc-tic-toc. Left-right-left-right.

    Even the heartland and last stronghold of globalist-liberalism USA is moving to the right. Here the hero of the New American Right (“alt-right”) explaining what happened in Berkeley on Saturday:

    UC Berkeley, that’s California. That’s secure Dems country. For Spencer, America is following twenties-Germany and becomes Weimar, with the commies and nationalists battling it out in the streets. The difference between then and now is that many commies now have a color.

    For Europe the Bosporus is becoming another Iron Curtain, behind which the world of Islam of 1.5 billion and counting begins. Orwell’s “Disputed Territories”:

    Boy was Orwell wrong about Turkey. He thought that the Kemalist revolution was irreversible, now Turkey is going to be the leader of resurging Islam. But for the rest Orwell was right. The Turkish population senses that Erdogan has the ambition to become the new Sultan of the Neo-Ottoman empire and loves it. New Turkish grandeur! The truth is that the Caesar’s, Napoleon’s, Hitler’s, Stalin’s, Mao’s and now Erdogan’s have much more charisma than the oligarch-backed “democratic” politicians and their four year terms. They are replaceable.

    The Middle East tried to ape the secular global North after WW2 with secular Baath and the Shah in Iran. But as early as 1980 it began to brew. Iran became a theocracy. Now Turkey is gradually following in the footsteps of Iran, after the US involuntarily laid the groundwork by invading Iraq and removing the secular-socialist-nationalist Baathist dictator Saddam, against the warnings of KSA. The US hoped to impose liberal democracy, women’s rights and gay parades. What they got was 7th century Allah and head choppers.

    It didn’t work in Afghanistan, where US-supported Jihadism replaced Soviet backed communism. And now they want to repeat the same mistake in Syria. Washington never learns. They just seem to thrive on the kick of a succeeded regime-change. “Are we powerful or what?”. Erdogan hates America and the rest of the West, but loves what the useful idiot is doing in Syria. Erdogan hopes that just like America handed over Shia-majority Iraq on a silver platter to Iran, the US will do the same with Syria vis-a-vis Turkey as a first nice-to-have for his neo-Ottoman empire. KSA and the Gulf are already in his pocket, who see in Turkey a protector against Iran. North-Africa will someday follow. Not via Turkish military conquest but by voluntarily applying membership of an Islamic Union, a la de EU.

    And then there is the still unsolved mystery of the failed coup in Turkey. Initially I thought it was a false flag staged by Erdogan. Later I thought that Erdogan was right and that Gulen was indeed behind it. Now I begin to think that it was the West after all, that wanted to get rid of Erdogan and his dangerous Islamic-tendencies, dangerous for the consistency of the Western alliance system. It would perfectly explain the anti-Western rage displayed by Erdogan over the last months. It is obvious that Erdogan and Turkey aren’t going to wait to get the inevitable no from Europe and decide to give Europe the finger before. Honor is very big in Turkey.

    Poor Europe of US vassals. Turkey is gone, Obama is gone. Britain is gone. Eastern Europe is balking against the mad population-replacing schemes by the commies in Brussels, as requested by the US deep state since 1968. The European Right has already drawn its conclusions: isolating Europe from Russia is madness, now that the entire Southern Flank has become hostile Islamist. And behind Russia there is China and its giant market, still acting responsible and with restraint.

  33. Davy on Mon, 17th Apr 2017 4:32 am 

    We are all owned Greg. I made a decision based on two bad choices, Boat. I man upped and did what had to be done. Unlike the many other whiners here, I did something dirty and nasty. This is the nature of what is ahead in a catch 22 world of choosing between bad choices. Anything but Hillary and her corrupted cabal of lying thieving crooks. Yes, Trump being a billionaire is a crook but the problem with the lying liberal fake news lefties is they have this moral superiority of being righteous. They act one way and do the same shit hypocrisy. This allows the means to justify the ends. This is very similar to west coast Canada but without the dabble of maple syrup and Canadian bacon. We are all to blame for living and perusing affluence in modernism. There is no social justice in affluence. It eventually all comes down to price and individual choice. People are left behind in this arrangement. Not in my back yard liberal privileged elite and their younger poorer wannabees are little different then the disgusting conservatard privileged science denying old money. There are few on this earth I admire. One such group is the Kogi tribe of Columbia. The rest is a menagerie of lies.

  34. joe on Mon, 17th Apr 2017 9:14 am 

    Davy, if Americans had voted in Hillary, there would probobly already be a shooting war, as the vagina must prove its got balls of steel. You probably saved allot of lives, or at least made some longer, I sure or it. The Deep State wants war, Trump was squeezed in places he never thought he had places. Its human nature and the US is proving to be as out of control as imperial Britain and France and Belgium ever were.

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