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  •  Sorry. (3+ / 0-)
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    Don midwest, shinobi9, aliasalias

    You make a few good points but Noam Chomsky is no ignorant fool. And that particular statement of his is right on as far as I'm concerned. There might be room to quibble about just how much difference it makes but his overall point that public pressure is of paramount importance is irrefutable IMO.

    •  Oh I do and did agree that "Public Pressure" (0+ / 0-)

      Oh I do and did agree that "Public Pressure"

      is also of importance, but it does get into a "chicken and the egg" syndrome when you pose the question of "which is of greater or paramount importance?" because when people vote a President into office, they are in effect expressing a form of "public pressure" upon the Government as a whole with their vote, but the reason I find his comment so offensive, and just plain wrong, is because of the cynicism inherent to relegating of the difference that the President makes to merely a "it matters to some degree" difference, and my example about Gore should have proven this, unless you think: (A) Gore would have gotten us into those two wars just like Bush did, or (B) you believe Gore needed "public pressure" (beyond the mere election votes) to not get us into those two wars. Do you believe either of those two things are true of Gore, because I do not, which means that the character of the person holding the office of the Presidency is paramount,  not "public pressure." 

      Yes, both play a role, and sometimes "public pressure" may play a greater role than other times, but even then, I believe the President's character is paramount, or do you believe that the "public pressure" played a huge role in Nixon's decisions during the Vietnam war? Since, I think you will agree, that era probably represents the most distinct case where "public pressure" rose up against the military industrial powers, and tried to influence the President. So, was it Nixon's own character that guided his decisions or was it "public pressure?" Again, I think both obviously played a role, but I think Nixon made decisions based upon his character and personal convictions, irrespective of "public pressure." Another example that comes to mind on the other side of the coin was the separatist sentiment that was so prevalent prior to Pearl Harbor, and how FDR's character and decisions were effected by this. We could not enter into WW-2 prior to Pearl Harbor, specifically because "public pressure" was strongly against this, because we were tired of war from WW-1's losses. But that sentiment changed overnight on that fateful day. Now, I am not going to argue some conspiracy theory about FDR letting Pearl Harbor happen, even though there is some evidence to suggest that he did have prior knowledge (because the 7th fleet was safely 500 miles away... doing nothing), and that he let it happen in order to change "public opinion/ pressure," but even if it were not a conspiracy, his own character and choices led to that fateful day, and this played a profound role, a paramount role. And of course, the same could be said of 9/11 and Bush: there were choices, knowingly or unknowingly, that led to that day, and that day influenced public pressure. Again, the "chicken and the egg" aspect makes both paramount, in one way or another, and who's to say, because we are all largely a product of the times and thus influenced by those around us, but still, each individual is unique and brings their own rare qualities to the decisions they make, and this is most acutely true of a President, I believe. And at the end of the day, it is their personal decisions that bring us to war, or not, so I think it is wrong to detract from either, and that is my main point.

      Now, I do find Noam Chomsky to be a wise and insightful man in many respects, but his cynicism makes him a fool, I believe, because it makes him blind to the greatness and the profound difference one person can make in this world. Cynicism is facile and lazy. Cynicism deadens our spirit and poisons our heart. Cynicism breeds apathy and those two are the greatest of evils in a Republic or in a culture, because there will be no "public pressure" when the public is cynical and apathetic. The electing and re-electing of a President/
      PObama IS the public exerting pressure. Now, admittedly, one might argue about the long term effects of the decisions he has made upon this Republic and how effective he was in battling the military industrial powers to reassert a more humane and responsible just path, but the truth of that can only be determined by the historians years from now. But, what can be seen today and in the immediate, is that his character and presidency has inspired a massive uprising of "public motivation" and "public inspiration" and this too is a form of "public pressure," so which came first, the "chicken or the egg?" ... who knows, because both work hand-in-hand with each other, so let's not detract from the profundity of either, is all I am saying.  

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