Noam Chomsky

December 11th, 2009 — 7:36pm

chomsky3

A reader writes:

Dear Ray Harvey: What is your opinion of Noam Chomsky? I ask because, like everyone else in academia, I think he’s about the smartest man in the world.

Best,

D

Dear D: Which Noam Chomsky are you referring to?

The one who openly supports Hezbollah?

Or do you mean the one with proven neo-Nazi ties?

Perhaps you’re referring to Avram Noam Chomsky, so-called sage of MIT, who several times propagandized for Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge?

Perhaps you’re thinking of the hypocritical Noam Chomsky, who’s sanctioned many of the world’s other most murderous regimes?

Or perhaps you mean the Noam Chomsky who repeatedly distorts and falsifies his sources?

Do you by any chance mean the Noam Chomsky who’s simply another Marxist, telling a group, in December of 1967, that in Communist China “one finds many things that are really quite admirable” — stating furthermore:

China is an important example of a new society in which very interesting and positive things happened at the local level, in which a good deal of the collectivization and communization was really based on mass participation and took place after a level of understanding had been reached in the peasantry that led to this next step.

The Noam Chomsky who then goes on to explicitly endorse Chairman Mao the murderer, calling Mao’s blood-red China a “relatively livable” and “just society,” speaking, not coincidentally, five years after the end of the great Chinese famine of 1958–1962, the worst famine in all of human history?

Well, perhaps this particular Noam Chomsky wasn’t aware that the sort of collectivization he supports, inherent to Marxism of any brand, was the principal cause of that horrific famine, which killed over 30 million.

Maybe, maybe.

And yet, quoting Chomsky’s own words:

I don’t accept the view that we can just condemn the NLF terror, period, because it was so horrible. I think we really have to ask questions of comparative costs, ugly as that may sound. And if we are going to take a moral position on this – and I think we should – we have to ask both what the consequences were of using terror and not using terror. If it were true that the consequences of not using terror would be that the peasantry in Vietnam would continue to live in the state of the peasantry of the Philippines, then I think the use of terror would be justified.

I suppose that in the end, whichever Noam Chomsky you’re referring to, D, it makes little difference. A Marxist by any other name is still a Marxist — and that means this:

Chomsky is a devoted and lifelong advocate of authoritarianism and collectivism. He is for this reason an absolute enemy of individual rights and the freedom of each. And that, sir, is what I think of Noam Chomsky.

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8 Responses to “Noam Chomsky

  1. Elijah

    Ugh. I feel sorry for the guy who asked the question. That may be the most douche baggy answer I’ve ever read.

  2. Ray

    Coming from someone who uses “Ugh” and “douche baggy” in the same breath, one can feel only so insulted.

    We note also that you don’t try to refute the content. Wise move.

  3. Armini

    Haven’t you heard yet that Noam Chomsky is an anarchist? How could you call him an authoritarian? Curiously, almost all the extreme rightist I come across are awfully incompetent…

  4. Nick

    You shut your whore mouth, Armini!

  5. Ray

    Haven’t you heard? I’ll let Chomsky speak for himself:

    Q: As far as we favor a stateless society in the long run, it would be a mistake to work for the elimination — I’ve said that it would be a mistake to work for the elimination of the state in the short run, and we should be trying to strengthen the state, ’cause it’s needed on the check of power of large corporations. Yet the tendency of a lot of anarchist research — my own, too — is to show that the power of large corporations derives from state privilege, and governments tend to get captured by concentrated private interests. That would seem to imply that the likely beneficiaries of a more powerful state is going to be the same corporate elite we’re trying to oppose. So if business both derives from the state and is so good at capturing the state, why isn’t abolishing the state a better strategy for defeating business power than enhancing the state’s power would be?

    Chomsky: Well, there’s a very simple answer to that: it’s not a strategy, and since it’s not a strategy at all, there can’t be a better strategy. The strategy of “eliminating the state” is back on the level of “let’s have peace and justice”. How do you proceed to eliminate the state? Okay? Can you think of a way of doing it? I mean, if there were a way of doing it in the existing world, everything would collapse and be destroyed. You just can’t do it. I mean, there is nothing to replace it.

    I’ve written about the myth of left-wing anarchism elsewhere.

    As have others.

  6. K

    I find your choice of who you deem to be an authority to say anything about Chomsky quite curious.
    Have you actually read anything the man wrote himself?
    He openly criticizes the politics and policies Israel, so the excuse that the “main stream media” won’t cover it, won’t fly. Sorry. They’d be all over these things if they were actually true. If you have to engage in defamation to discredit a person, you’re discrediting nobody but yourself.
    I do like your cocktails, though.

  7. Frith

    Wow… what a smug lil smart ass: “I do like your cocktails, though”…

  8. Ray

    Hello K. There’s no need to be sorry. A reader asked my opinion of Noam Chomsky, and I answered honestly.

    In answer to your question, yes, I’m afraid I’ve read plenty of Noam Chomsky — perforce and otherwise — and I’ve also seen a number of his talks and lectures. Ignoring everything else — which is frankly impossible for me to do — Noam Chomsky is a self-described anarcho-syndicalist, a viewpoint I rather vehemently disagree with, and a Marxist. The Labor Theory of Value, which Karl Marx did not originate but which he fully embraced, is the bedrock basis of all Marxist-socialist theory; yet that theory has been utterly demolished and discredited, and correctly replaced with the Subjective Theory of value. Despite this, Chomsky has made no real secret of his support of various communist regimes — Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge perhaps being the most notorious.

    I thank thank you for your comment about my cocktails, and I thank you for dropping by.

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