Hegemony or Survival

America's Quest for Global Dominance

American Empire Project

Noam Chomsky

Metropolitan Books

We are entering a period of human history that may provide an answer to the question of whether there is intelligent life on earth, at least in the sense of "intelligence" that might be admired by a sensible extraterrestrial observer. The most hopeful prospect is that the question will not be answered: for any definitive response can only conclude that humans are a kind of "biological error," using their allotted 100,000 years—the life expectancy of a species—to destroy themselves and, in the process, much else. Humans have surely developed the capacity to do just that: our hypothetical extraterrestrial observer might argue that they have demonstrated that destructiveness throughout their history, and dramatically so in the past few hundred years—with an assault on biological diversity, on the environment that sustains life, and, with cold and calculated savagery, on each other as well.