He’s one of Hugo Chávez’s favorite authors and also an icon of the ideologically far left in the United States. However, a man with such academic credentials as Noam Chomsky is skeptical of the reasons why former President Ronald Reagan was honored as he has been recently.
On the show “Democracy Now,” Chomsky appeared and offered his thoughts on Reagan, in the wake of his 100th birthday celebration, which was observed by President Barack Obama. According to Chomsky, it is a “deification” of Reagan.
“This deification of Reagan is extremely interesting,” Chomsky said. “I mean it’s scandalous, but it tells a lot about the country. When Reagan left office, he was the most unpopular living president apart from Nixon, even below Carter. If you look at his years in office, he was not particularly popular. He was more or less average. He severely harmed the American economy. When he came into office the United States was the world’s leading creditor. By the time he left, it was the world’s leading debtor. He was fiscally totally irresponsible.”
Although it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Chomsky wasn’t a fan of Reagan, he also called him “an opponent of the free market,” blamed his deregulation for the 1990s home savings and loan crisis and blasted his “international behavior.” But according to Chomsky, the practice of commemorating former presidents is not a product of a free society, but that of a totalitarian state.
“What happened after Reagan left office was the beginnings of an effort to carry out – this Reagan legacy to try to create from this really quite miserable creature as some kind of deity and amazingly it succeeded,” Chomsky said. “I mean, Kim Il-sung would have been impressed. The events that took place when Reagan died, the Reagan legacy, this Obama business – you don’t get that in free societies. It would be ridiculed. What you get it is in totalitarian states.”
So why does this occur according to Chomsky? He explained it was part of a strategy to distract the population – or give “them a God to worship.”
“I’m waiting to see what comes next,” he said. “This morning, North Korea announced on the birthday of the current ‘God,’ a halo appeared over his birthplace. That will probably happen tomorrow over Reagan’s birthplace. This is connected with what we were talking about before – if you want to control a population and keep them passive, keep beating them over the head and let them look somewhere else. One way to do it is to give them a God to worship.”