Beating Up on Noam Chomsky

Harry’s Place takes the trouble to point out the obvious about Noam Chomsky; he never got over the 60’s, including the hatred of the United States that went along with the leftist narrative in those days. As a result, he has ended up with some strange bedfellows over the years. Pol Pot was one of the most egregious. Chomsky relativized the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, although his culpability was not as great as his enemies on the right would suggest. His apologists have done their best to sweep the affair under the rug.

Lately he’s been carrying water for another dictator; Hugo Chavez. Harry’s Place quotes a pro-Chavez blog on the occasion of his recent visit to Venezuela:

Chomsky… addressed the media and freedom of expression in the U.S. “In the United States the socio-economic system is designed so that the control over the media is in the hands of a minority who own large corporations… and the result is that the financial interests of those groups are always behind the so-called freedom of expression,” he said.

Harry’s reaction:

As Marc Cooper responded: “Yawn.” This is tired stuff, especially in the age of the Internet, which I assume Chomsky has heard of. Isn’t it time to update his “corporate media control your (but not my) mind” spiel in light of the past decade or so?

As for “so-called freedom of expression” in the US: as David points out, it is so restricted that, um, er, Chomsky was invited to address a class of philosophy students at the US Military Academy in West Point during the Bush administration, to critique the “just war” theory and the invasion of Iraq. But I suppose that was just a charade to make people think there is real freedom of expression. Or something.

Readers seeking a more intellectually consistent critique of the “evil corporations” meme may find it in the film “Team America” by the creators of “South Park.”

Speaking of strange bedfellows, I was amused to see Chomsky’s smiling face on the front page of the neo-Nazi “Deutsche National Zeitung” a few years back during a trip to Germany. Of course, they were bitching about the United States like everyone else in Germany except a few brave bloggers at the time, and duly transmogrified him into a patriotic hero of the first water. I suspect they would have perceived him in a rather different light had he been a German.

Well, a lot has changed since the 60’s. The Soviet Union has fallen, Communism has collapsed, and Islamism, of all things, has rushed in to fill the vacuum. I won’t get too worried about Chomsky unless he starts wearing a turban. For that matter, I’ll always have a tiny soft spot in my heart for him. After all, at least he had enough common sense to give the behaviorists a parting kick on their way out the door.


Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

One thought on “Beating Up on Noam Chomsky”

  1. Your point about Chomsky and the behaviorists is well taken. Within his specialty of linguistics, Chomsky is very highly regarded.
    He makes the assumption of many an academic that achievement in one’s academic specialty means that one’s pronouncements on the political scene will be of similar quality.

    While Chomsky has long been very critical of the US, he has been enough of a capitalist to want to hang on to as much of his money as possible. No socialist he when it comes to his own money.

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