Besides a renowned influential critic and political activist, Avram Noam Chomsky is to be deemed as the pioneer of modern linguistics by sparking the cognitive revolution in the human sciences. Ideologically, he has the lovey-dovey spew for anarcho-syndicalism and liberation socialism and is an avid commentator on topics like war, politics, and mass media.
During his entire life-span, he set forth a rational approach for pursuing happiness in sync with Bertrand Russell’s “The Conquest of Happiness”. Now that he is turning 92 this December 2020, it is our good fortune that he paid a visit to Habib University Karachi on December 7 to address the sixth Yohsin Lecture, in which he elaborately threw light upon contemporary crises our planet is beset with.
To Chomsky, the world is passing through a dangerous moment. A moment that is unique in history for it pertains to a howl of dire warning in the shape of the climate crisis, the threat of nuclear war, and rising authoritarianism. Even current perils exceed those of the 1930s when Nazism was spreading its tentacles all over Eurasia.
The waves of populism on the bandwagon of right-wing extremists may at any time spiral out of control by expediting the ticking of the Doomsday Clock.
Today on the eve of 2021, we are countering the perils of right-wing authoritarianism. Democracy, in its true letter and spirit, has become obsolete as it has engendered the reign of mediocrity all over the world. Mediocrity in the garb of right-wing politicos, capturing the top slots, echoes the voices of extinction. The waves of populism bolstering right-wing politicians in the shape of Trump, Modi, Macron, et al are a dire threat to internationalism. It is the threat of extinction that gnaws internationalism at a fast pace. In fact, we are at an astounding conflux of severe crises and perhaps there has been nothing like it in human history ever.
Chomsky’s accentuation of the astonishing confluence of severe crises and its multitudinous at the moment is well illustrated by the last set of the famous Doomsday Clock. It’s been set every year since the atom bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the minute hand has moved back and forth. It was COVID-19 the last January when Clock abandoned minutes and moved to seconds to midnight, which aptly means termination. Notwithstanding the ravaging Covid-19, the aggressive postures in international politics particularly in the wake of South-China Sea tensions, Indo-China standoff in Ladakh, Modi’s penchant for false-flag to divert internal mayhem, and last but not the least, Israeli-Iran increasing animosity are aiming at the growing threat of an all-out war, which is probably more severe than it was during the Cold War.
Maybe 2021 is the turning point when new world order is going to be envisaged from the ashes of failed democracies all over the world
Trump’s threat to refuse to leave office despite the clear-cut victory of Joe Biden is something that should not be taken with a grain of salt. If Trump is hell-bent to retain office, then every scenario except Trump’s incumbency leads to a civil war. And even to prolong his reign, Trump can open a new war front by attacking Iran or by initiating any misadventure in the South China Sea. This is not a joke—nothing like this has happened in the history of parliamentary democracy.
Read more: The era of Trumpism comes to an end
In sum, Trump is the figurehead of a new “reactionary international” consisting of France, India, Israel where young people are even more reactionary than adults. The waves of populism on the bandwagon of right-wing extremists may at any time spiral out of control by expediting the ticking of the Doomsday Clock.
2021: A turning point?
Maybe 2021 is the turning point when new world order is going to be envisaged from the ashes of failed democracies all over the world. We pray that history will not repeat the lessons of the 1930s and any divine intervention would save us from the horrors of reactionary internationals. But it’s also true that prospects of optimism are bleak keeping in view of the harsh lessons of history. Anyway, let’s hope for the best.
Welcome to 2021.
Ali Abbas is a lawyer based in Islamabad. He works with a law firm namely Kharal & Co. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.