I killed an ant stuck in a crevice in my alarm clock this morning. I believe it was a metaphor for our global order, let me explain.
Anyway, I finally found the answer to my prayers, a man who has most profoundly influenced my own political and social viewpoints on the world. Obviously, by the title you could tell it was the legend himself, Noam Chomsky, the only person who could make me regret and actually want to go to MIT, until I remembered the much more extensive list of reasons why I wouldn’t set foot on the campus in the first place.
Anyone who knows of this guy, may probably be thinking right now… “So she considers herself a socialist now, big whoop. Doesn’t every kid going off to college come out as an ultra-liberal?”. And to that, I say, well you may be right, but not quite and I’ve always been very liberal so I have no idea what you’re talking about “suddenly becoming” one. To make things clear, I’ve always been skeptical of anything I read that has ties to politics. Behind every article, there is someone with a political perspective that they hope to win over all the others, and the concept of that in its essence is not necessarily a bad thing. What’s frightening is the propaganda and lies spread that convinces people that any means can justify a particular end, but we can’t even define what this end is or whether it’s good for us or not. Back to Noam Chomsky, I recently picked up a few of his books a couple weeks ago on a trip to Barnes and Noble where my mother and I were trying to entice my little sister to read more… she’s allergic to books apparently. Anyway, I’m a huge classics-turned-linguistics nerd and so naturally I go into the section that houses their like 10 linguistics books and I pluck them from the shelves, seeing that my buddy Noam makes up about 50% of the section. Not satisfied with the amount of books in my basket, I go over to the international current affairs section because I thought it was high time that I know more about the geopolitical mess we have on our hands at the current moment. Now the, international affairs section is much more “well-endowed” than the linguistics section so as an amateur, I try and look for anything familiar to pique my interest (mind you I’m not a total novice to this stuff as a debater for four years, but I personally believe that a lot of debaters, minus extempers, kinda have tunnel vision when it comes to what’s going on with the world, due to the nature of their events). Of course, my favorite linguist also just so happens to be a prolific social critic, and it was love at first sight, but not quite.
So throughout my senior year, I didn’t really have much of a chance to read many books for pleasure, given we were pretty much always reading different books for English anyway. Also, I’m a lazy senior so that too. The one book I picked by Noam Chomsky from this section, “Profit Over People”, was my personal challenge. I needed to finish this book within a short period of time to get back into the swing of reading. Thankfully, I actually accomplished my goal, but what I got from the book was so much more than a check on my personal summer bucket list.
Essentially, the point of the book was to argue about the doctrines and the development of a pro-corporate system of economic and political policies that restrict the public arena and support private power, while also highlighting the harmful effects of policies that are prescribed to poor countries from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and the World Bank. He rails against neoliberalism in its entirety and strongly criticizes the neoliberal policies made by former President Bill Clinton, a man who I’d never criticized that harshly before, among other leaders. Chomsky enlightened me to how much our government’s policies work against the interests of the common people and how pervasively the propaganda that gets us to go along with their plans extends. The most eye-opening parts of the novel for me concerned our foreign policy in Latin America and how far the United States’ government is willing to go in order to protect their profit interests, effectively destroying the stability of countries in order to maintain the cash flow. Mind you, this book was written pre-2007 housing market crisis and Wall Street bailout, and Noam Chomsky is still very much vehemently opposed to the likes of Donald Trump and his reckless political scheme.
There was little, if anything that I disagreed with in this book, but unexpectedly, reading this book also made me question my own beliefs. I didn’t just read Noam Chomsky and 100% devote myself to his philosophy, nor did I discount everything he said. Rather I realized that while I agreed with many of the things he was saying, I also began to reflect for myself the pros and cons of so many decisions our global society makes and I know it’s not so easy, and it’s kind of sickening to realize how hard it is to rid ourselves of the deeply embedded “corruption” and debauchery that’s rooted in countless international and domestically based organizations. Who is going to the represent the people, for the benefit of the people? It’s a depressing thought to think about as I’m going into the real world, but it’s also hopeful to know that I’m not alone and that maybe, I can empower, and be empowered, to change the status quo.
Or maybe I’m just too young and naïve to understand how the world works, and in any quest for power and success, I too will have the wake-up call that I must squash all people inferior to me on such a quest.
Kind of like that ant on my alarm clock.