What U.S. Progressives Should Do on Nov. 8
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 24 Oct 2016
In my opinion, Donald Trump would be so extremely disastrous as a US President that it is our duty to follow Noam Chomsky’s advice. He said “Hold your nose and vote for Hillary”. I think that US voters following any other course would be betraying both their country and the world.
I completely understand why young people and progressives are disgusted with Hillary Clinton. Her worst and most dangerous characteristic is her known involvement in U.S. wars, and her support for the present provocation of Russia, which might easily escalate into a catastrophic thermonuclear war. In addition, one can criticize her close ties with Wall Street and the Israel Lobby, and her failure to propose cuts in the obscenely bloated Pentagon budget.
Nevertheless Trump would be worse. As Professor Chomsky points out, his most dangerous feature is his denial of climate change, and his proposal to scrap the Paris agreement. Climate change is an even more severe threat to the long-term future of human civilization and the biosphere than nuclear war. Human-induced climate change threatens to produce an extinction of life comparable to the five largest events that we know from the geological record. The worst of these was the Permian-Triassic thermal maximum, during which more than 90% of species in the oceans were lost and over 70% of terrestrial vertebrates vanished forever. The scientific community is unanimous in telling us that we are rapidly recreating the conditions that led to the Permain-Triasic catastrophe.
Although the worst results of a threatened climate change disaster are in the long-term future, we can already see some effects, for example in the California drought, in forest fires, hurricanes and floods. The earth’s temperature is increasing much faster than predicted. 2016 is projected to be the hottest year in human history, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees C above the 19th century baseline.
One can, of course, also call attention to the serious flaws in Donald Trump’s character, which make him manifestly unfit for public office. Besides being a vulgar misogynist, and a racist bigot, he is a neofascist who appeals to the lowest and most violent instincts of voters. He is also a poorly informed egomaniac who is unable to recognize his own limitations.
The drift towards militarism and fascism which we can observe today, not only in the United States but also in several other countries, is worryingly reminiscent of the 1930’s. We must fervently hope that the disasters which resulted then from the rise of fascism and militarism will not occur again, and we must work with dedication to prevent this from happening.
John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent book is Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 Oct 2016.
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