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Noam Chomsky Blog  (View post)

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
14 years ago8,123 views

Not as visible as he should be :-)

He's more an "underground" or "cult classic" figure, if you know those expressions.

Michael White [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

What a coincidence. My friend and I are really interested in him and starting to read his books.

Taiwanese Hank [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

As someone who's read a few of his political works (and studied his linguistics a little bit), I'd say he's either admired for his uncompromisingly outspoken views or much hated for criticising the American intellectual milieu. It seems that he's also banned by the liberal New York Times.

B. [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky ...

Randy Hildebrand [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Interesting. I was only aware of Chomsky's works with linguistics, and had no idea he was a political maverick. Thanks for sharing!

Dimitar Vesselinov [PersonRank 4]

14 years ago #

G’Day World “On The Pod” #56 – Noam Chomsky
gdayworld.thepodcastnetwork.co ...

R [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I think it depends on if you listen to NPR or not.

tracifish [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Oooh...I don't know how to say...but he seems to hate america and has some pretty scary views...much the same as Ward Churchhill and even Louis Farrakhan. They seem to border on fascism and incitement of violence...

ThatRobGuy [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I'd also add "virulent anti-semite" and "apoligist for terrorists" to his resume as well.

Miguel Marcos [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Ali G interviewing Chomsky:

+ Show video



Chomsky is somewhat well known ni the US. For the US population at large, I think he's more well known for his political remarks than for his linguistics contribution. He's had the occasional wider exposure. For long time ago he faced William Buckley on Buckley's TV program, for example.

Oddly, he recently addressed West Point. Strange.

Bill O'Leilly [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

less than 2% of Americans have ever heard the name 'Chomsky'.

found this, though:
chomskyviewer.org/

Euphrosyne [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

He is well known in the US (among anyone with a liberal university education)--and rightly so--for his linguistics work. He is pretty marginal politically except for those who already agree with him. So he has "uncompromisingly outspoken views" but is insignificant politically.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Chomsky was "the only American dissident" prior to Naomi Klein and MIchael Moore.

Read more:
zmag.org/Chomsky/

Razib Ahmed [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I studied Linguistics and in South Asia he is a well known figure for both his linguistic theories and political writings. People who are influenced by his idelogy here consider him to be the best living genious of our time. I have the same notion about him too but mainly for his contribution to Linguistics.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

ThatRobGuy:
> I'd also add "virulent anti-semite"

Why?

greent [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

>> Oddly, he recently addressed West Point. Strange.

That *is* strange indeed given that Chomsky has called the Pentagon "the worst institution in human history" at the same time that "his first book _Syntatic Structures_ was funded by grants from the U.S. Army, the Air Force, and the Office of Naval Research." *

But no stranger than the fact that at the same time Chomsky denounces the concept of private property, he owns million dollar homes in the affluent Cambridge-proximate suburb of Lexington, Mass., and a vacation home in Wellfleet, Mass.

Or the fact that while Chomsky ostensibly states that intellectual property rights are "protectionism," not only has he richly benefitted from the revenues his books have made from copyright protection, he has tranferred ownership of this protection to his children.

Just try downloading materials from his site for yourself and you get:

"Material on this site is copyrighted by Noam Chomsky and/or Noam Chomsky and his collaborators (with the exception of any third-party material used here by permission, copyright by the respective authors).

No material on this site may be reprinted or posted on other web sites without written permission. " (chomsky.info/copyright.htm)

Of Chomsky, one of the conclusion that one can draw is that while he is clearly a brilliant man, Churchill's assessment of Russia comes to mind: Chomsky is "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

* (Source: Hoover fellow Peter Schweizer's _Do As I Say, Not As I Do_, amazon.com/gp/product/03855134 ...)

dingo [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Well, it's sad to see that he has been marginalised in the U.S.A. He is more famous around the world, studied in German universities, debated respectfully on his ideas by more professors in the world. We need to assess his ideas, see the will to truth that he talks and make comments. Of course one thing I didn't like too much about his theory is that on natural language. But reading Chonsky alone would be a mistake, as one needs to further the experience by reading Foucault also. Maybe then we would realise why he is not that visible there!

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Philipp: Chomsky has many loud opponents, who attack him for his criticism of the policies of Israel, and leftist politics in general. There's a standard set of comments which will be made in threads about him. For example:

greent: "Chomsky denounces the concept of private property,"

This one is just plain silly. He doesn't. It's the standard whine that a liberal has to be poor, otherwise a hypocrite.

So far, it's been pretty low-level generic stuff. I suppose it reflects well on the general audience that the hard-core ranters haven't show up (yet?).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I'll go through some more books of him before I go further with comments, but from what I've seen (there are several DVDs out there with his talks) he seems to be a very lucid philosopher, much more than a radical political activist, defying the simplicity of "pro this" or "pro that" or "left" or "right," but putting forward some very strong logical arguments directed towards state-backed Western terrorism (which is not the terrorism often cited in mainstream Western publications).

ThatRobGuy [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Philip...thanks for the question. I should have been more specific about the charge.

Chomsky is a raging critic of Israel, which in itself is not anti-semitic. What is anti-semitic is the way that he couches his arguments against Israel by recycling centuries-old canards about Jews being an all-powerful, privelidged class. They control the media, secretly pull the strings of the US Government, yada yada yada. He sugarcoats terrorist attacks against weddings and pizza parlors as "legitimate resistance" while criticizing the defensive barrier Israel has built to stop the targeting of such civilians.

He wrote the forward to a book by French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and shares authorship in publications with the likes of ex-KKK head David Duke.

During the week of May 16, 2006, Chomsky met with Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah of Hizbullah. The U.S. State Department lists Hizbullah as a "terrorist organization." They were responsible for the the attacks on the US Marines Barracks in Lebanon that killed 261 Marines, the 1985 TWA Hijacking, over 30 kidnappings of Westerners, and the bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Argentina that killed 86.

Sheikh Nasrallah frequently calls for the destruction of the U.S (unless he means something else when he says "Death to America was, is, and will stay our slogan.”)

For those that would like to see and hear Chomsky in his own words, here's an interesting debate on Israel between him and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz: iopforum.harvard.edu:8080/ramg ... (RealMedia format)

dingo [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Philipp.

Reading Chomsky will be good for a personal understanding of World Politics. One interesting topic I know was when Bertelsmann had a study to see whether democracy à la USA is bringing more peace or whether creating more dictatorship, then Chomsky's philosophy is an important reference. There was also a debate at UCLA where he was discussing with Samuel Huntington. Quite interesting. And there is also the DVD with his debate with Michel Foucault. Reading Foucault to understand "discourse" is, I believe, a must if eventually one wants to understand Chomsky's philosophy. He borrowed the themes of Discourse, Power and Will to Truth from Foucault.And you are right concerning his philosophies. Compared to Negroponte or Huntington or even Friedman, Chomsky has a lucid view on the world of politics and affairs. He does not impose, but herather invites us for reflection on things shaping our daily life. He talks about politics and social reality by framing them with the right actualities.

And again lets say hat's off to him who is a born Jew (from Russia) but who has always deal with fairness and has never had any petty thoughts.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

C'mon, c'mon, "ThatRobGuy" – nobody besides the nut fringe is going to take seriously that Chomsky is such a cardboard-character caricature leftist. We still haven't gotten out of the kiddie-leagues in the standard flaming. Here:

utpjournals.com/product/utq/68 ...

"Chomsky's courage (some call it foolishness) shows in encounters like the Faurisson affair of 1979. Chomsky signed a petition to defend the right of Robert Faurisson, a professor of French literature at the University of Lyon and a Holocaust denier, to express his views. Chomsky also allowed his memoir about `the distinction between supporting someone's beliefs and their right to express them' to preface Faurisson's book defending his Holocaust position, a position Chomsky said he had no interest in and knew little of. Chomsky's absolute defence of expression has brought him censure from many leftists who usually support him. Chomsky, whose intellectual and cultural beginnings root in Jewish culture and family, has found himself called an anti-Semite. Another element of Chomsky's work is his belief in creativity as a defining attribute of the human species. Language, Chomsky's generative grammar demonstrates, is inherently creative. Every person draws on `inherited genetic abilities' that provide `the means for an unbounded set of individual ``creative'' acts.' To express their natural creativity, human beings must live in circumstances `set up to encourage rather than stifle human potential.' Here Chomsky's linguistic observation and political struggle link. The domination of thought by `intellectual commissars,' whose interest is to protect power and privilege, attacks the potential all people have to work creatively and to take responsibility for their world."

greent [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #


> greent: "Chomsky denounces the concept of private property,"
>> This one is just plain silly. He doesn't. It's the standard whine
>> that a liberal has to be poor, otherwise a hypocrite.

Low level, generic and just plain silly:

"Property rights are not like other rights, contrary to what Madison and a lot of modern political theory says. If I have the right to free speech, it doesn't interfere with your right to free speech. But if I have property, that interferes with your right to have that property, you don't have it, I have it. So the right to property is very different from the right to freedom of speech. This is often put very misleadingly about rights of property; property has no right."

Source: The Common Good, September 24, 1997

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Here's additional part which was omitted:

en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Noam_Cho ...

"This is often put very misleadingly about rights of property; property has no right. But if we just make sense out of this, maybe there is a right to property, one could debate that, but it's very different from other rights."

Any statement of political theorizing which is not wingnut-rant, can be attacked for not being wingnut-rant. It's noise.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

> www.utpjournals.com

Wow, that link sure puts the accusation of Holocaust-denial collaboration in perspective.

greent [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Although I wouldn't want to reflect poorly on the esteemed audience of this blog, I prefer to identify myself as a disillusioned, former Chomsky enthusiast
rather than a loud, low-level generic, nut fringe, kiddie-league, wingnut-ranter.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Sorry, if you really were a former Chomsky enthusiast, you'd know better critiques. Nobody on this thread has yet said the magic words, which distinguish the studied Chomsky-hater from the typical talk-radio style denunciation of liberals in general. You're cribbing from the standard, *unspecialized*, right-wing polemics. I credit you for citing a source (Schweizer), but that *is* a low-level
   generic attack.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Seth, I would be very curious to learn what you think is relevant (or at least high-level) Chomsky criticism. Is the magic word IWW or...?

greent [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

No worries, Msr. Finkelstein!

Just don't call me "Nim" as my antagonists in my Chomskyan days were wont to do.

ThatRobGuy [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

It's funny that anyone who dislikes Chomsky is assumed to be a right wing wacko. For the record, I'm a liberal, but embarrassed by the Chomsky-ite extremes of the left wing.

Doesn't the fact that Chomsky met with Hizbullah, the New York Yankees of terrorism, tell you all you need to know about the guy?

R

Taiwanese Hank [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

No, it doesn't. The context of his meeting Hizbullah, for example, would matter quite a bit. Was he there to convince their armed wing to adopt peaceful means? I don't know, but certainly the act of meeting some condemned organization should not in and of itself by taken as sharing its views or methods. Besides, Hizbullah is not just any "terrorist" organization: it was a *nationalist* (albeit in Islamist terms) organization that used both legitimate and questionable methods of resisting foreign occupation of their country by the Israeli state.

ThatRobGuy [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

The notion that a terrorist organization can have a "terrorist arm" and a "humanitarian arm" is a bunch of malarkey. That's like saying you shouldn't punish a murderer's right arm because he's left-handed. When you've diliberately murdered civilian men, women, and children, I don't care how many hospitals you've built.

And, as for the context, and your speculation that he was there to try and convince them to adopt peaceful means...

"On May 13, 2006, Professor Chomsky was quoted by Al-Manar as saying, 'Hizbullah's insistence on keeping its arms is justified.'"

Source: memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cg ...

aaron wall [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Chomsky on human destiny.

+ Show video



I have seen him speak and watched a few of his DVDs...am not big into linguistics yet, but rather than just saying this is good or this is bad he is known to put things in historical context and consider motives and reasons for different classes and groups of people instead of just attacking one person. For example, while he has been critical of the current US administration he also states that he finds a US organization of the terrorist attacks to be hard to believe

+ Show video


but he also believes that many power structures rejoiced in the opportunity gain offered by the September 11th attacks.

+ Show video

Frank Church [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Online, you can view the documentary Manufacturing Consent or the documentary, The Myth Of The Liberal Media. Will give you a good two-step into how our famed linguist/politico thinks. He is also an outspoken anarchist.

Joe Hunkins [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Chomsky's denials and near-defense of the Pol Pot Cambodian regime discredited him for me and I think many other clear thinking Americans. This was unfortunate because he's a brilliant (+misguided +economically foolish) guy and is one of the few Americans who speak out about topics that are effectively boycotted by our popular press, especially those relating to our sad role of alliances with brutally repressive regimes.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

We have a winner! You have said the magic word, which is "Cambodia".

It's not quite an ironclad law that all threads discussing Chomsky must have this word – but it seems that way. I believe one can measure a level of the critique by the parameter "mean TTC", that is, mean Time-To-Cambodia.

Some references:

Pro-Chomsky:
zmag.org/chomsky/other/85-hitc ...

Anti-Chomsky:
mekong.net/cambodia/chomsky.ht ...

Example:
aaronsw.com/weblog/epiphany

B123 [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

To bad his major linquistic claim, that complex language distinguished man from animal, has been refuted by work with birds who instructed each other with complex sounds, not just 1 "word" grunts.

If he was wrong about what he is best at, how seriously should anyone take his hobby of being a whiny liberal? .

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Just a note that Noam Chomsky doesn't know this blog (nor writes in it). The comments are likely taken from forum responses and such.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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