News & Politics

Noam Chomsky: America 'May Be the Safest Country in the World,' But Its People Are Paralyzed by Fear

"The U.S. has always been a very frightened society."

Photo Credit: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación/Flickr

Noam Chomsky has one word to describe America, with or without Donald Trump: scared.

"The U.S. has always been a very frightened society," Chomsy told Association of American Geographers executive director Doug Richardson at the AAG Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts this spring. "It "may be the safest country in the world, but [it's] very frightened'; doesn't take much to scare people." 

"And if you think that Europe is very much different, you should take a look at the polls there," he added, referencing figures showing a majority approve of a Muslim immigration ban

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Meanwhile, elevating issues like illegal voting and sharia law have only led the hysteria to skyrocket. 

"This morning I got an email from a guy who was coming to interview me," Chomsky told Richardson. "He was born in Germany, he lives in England and [has] British citizenship, he's a member of the Syrian writers organization; bitterly anti-Assad... he's Syrian. He was stopped at Heathrow Airport by Homeland Security and barred from coming to the United States." 

"We can't be too careful," he added wryly. "Who knows who'll be coming here to kill us... it's kind of the same mentality as carrying a gun into a Starbucks if you have a cup of coffee."

The Supreme Court allowed portions of President Trump's travel ban on six majority-Muslim countries to take effect late Thursday. But the president may already be in contempt of court due to the administration's rash implementation of the plan

"You know, they may be coming for us," Chomsky deadpanned. "There are roots of this in American history...deep roots." 

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Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.