circus: can they jump through flaming hoops?

This is an excerpt from an interview with Chomsky in March of this year. Puts something of a broader context into the current trial of the Mubarak regime, specifically his immediate entourage. There seems to be something of the truth here as the region shambles towards some form of normative and limited democracy based on private property:

Jeff Jetton: Alright, cool. Let’s talk for a moment about Egypt and the current state of affairs in the Middle East in general. Tunisia, Egypt, seemingly a domino effect taking place in the middle east. North Africa and now Wisconsin. What’s next? What do you think the implications are for the U.S. internationally?…

---"In these historic moments, there is no justice, there is no wider perspective taken on a leader 83-years old, only the craving for revenge," says Yehezkeli. A just trial would require subpoenaing regime stalwarts such as Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's former chief of intelligence, and Hussein Tantawi, currently head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, he says. That will not happen, he argues, because having them testify would implicate them in the same crimes for which Mubarak is accused.--- Read More:

…Noam Chomsky: I think it’s pretty serious. There’s kind of a hidden point which isn’t being brought out, and that is that it is inconceivable that the U.S. would permit democracy in the Middle East, and for a very simple reason. Just take a look at polls of Arab public opinion. They exist. You can’t find them in the press, but they exist from prestigious polling agencies. Released by major institutions. And what they show is that if there was democracy in the Middle East, the entire U.S. program for domination of the Middle East would be down the tube. I mean, Arab public opinion does not regard Iran as a hostile entity. In fact it’s so supportive of Iran that a majority would think the place would be better off if Iran had nuclear weapons. The main enemies are the United States and Isreal, in the 80, 90 percent range. You look at popular figures, the most popular figure is the prime minister of Turkey, Erdogan, and then it goes down the list. You get Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, you don’t get Obama, or in fact any western leader. The public doesn’t want the whole imperial project. So if you had democracy, it would be all over….

---The camel-drivers and horsemen of the Pyramids absolutely deny claims they were paid to attend the protests Photo: GETTY--- Read More:

Jeff Jetton: So you don’t think the United States will let democracy flourish?

Noam Chomsky: They don’t want democracy here, why would they want it in the Middle East? In fact, what’s going on in — you mentioned Wisconsin and that’s quite appropriate. The last thirty years have been a major assault against democracy here, and the governor of Wisconsin is trying to carry it forward. Finally there’s some resistance, but plainly elites here don’t want democracy. And why should they? Democracy is always harmful to elite interests. Almost by definition. In the Middle East it’s dramatic because of the attitudes of the population. Read More:

The “total domination of man” was radically evil, in Arendt’s eyes, not only because it was unprecedented but because it did not make sense. She asked:

Why should lust for power, which from the beginning of recorded history has been considered the political and social sin par excellence, suddenly transcend all previously known limitations of self-interest and utility and attempt not simply to dominate men as they are but to change their very nature; not only to kill whoever is in the way of further power accumulation but also innocent and harmless bystanders, and this even when such murder is an obstacle, rather than an advantage, for the accumulation of power?
(see “Ideology and Propaganda”)

There is no ready answer to that question. In Hitler’s case it is well known that his unrelenting dehumanization and destruction of those who presented no threat to him hindered his ability to fight effectively against his real enemies at the end of World War II. What is the point of dominating men at any cost, not as they are but in order “to change their very nature”? Read More: ….

…Thirdly, and this was by far the most important difference, the phrase banality of evil “stands in contrast to . . . ‘radical evil.’” This last distinction is developed in more detail in a letter to Gershom Scholem . There she wrote: “It is indeed my opinion now that evil is never ‘radical,’ that it is only extreme.” “Thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated.” That there is nothing in evil for thought to latch onto is what Arendt meant by the banality of evil. Not the murderous deeds but the evildoer she faced in Jerusalem and the ma

eness of the evil he inflicted on the world are banal in that sense. The realization that the most extreme evil has no meaning that the human mind can reveal, that it is not only senseless in its own terms but meaningless in any terms, was momentous; to say the least it afforded Arendt relief from a burden she had borne for many years. … ibid.

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