Skip to comments.The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky
Posted on 09/25/2001 10:09:39 PM PDT by VinnyTex
The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky
Salon.com | September 26, 2001
WITHOUT QUESTION, the most devious, the most dishonest and -- in this hour of his nations grave crisis the most treacherous intellect in America belongs to MIT professor Noam Chomsky. On the 150 campuses that have mounted "teach-ins" and rallies against Americas right to defend herself; on the streets of Genoa and Seattle where "anti-globalist" anarchists have attacked the symbols of markets and world trade; among the demonstrators at Vieques who wish to deny our military its training grounds; and wherever young people manifest an otherwise incomprehensible rage against their country, the inspirer of their loathing and the instructor of their hate is most likely this man.
There are many who ask how it is possible that our most privileged and educated youth should come to despise their own nation a free, open, democratic society and to do so with such ferocious passion. They ask how it is possible for American youth to even consider lending comfort and aid to the Osama bin Ladens and the Saddam Husseins (and the Communists before them). A full answer would involve a search of the deep structures of the human psyche, and its irrepressible longings for a redemptive illusion. But the short answer is to be found in the speeches and writings of an embittered academic and his intellectual supporters.
For forty years, Noam Chomsky has turned out book after book, pamphlet after pamphlet and speech after speech with one message, and one message alone: America is the Great Satan; it is the fount of evil in the world. In Chomskys demented universe, America is responsible not only for its own bad deeds, but for the bad deeds of others, including those of the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In this attitude he is the medium for all those who now search the ruins of Manhattan not for the victims and the American dead, but for the "root causes" of the catastrophe that befell them.
One little pamphlet of Chomskys What Uncle Sam Really Wants has already sold 160,000 copies (1), but this represents only the tip of the Chomsky iceberg. His venomous message is spread on tapes and CDs, and the campus lecture circuit; he is promoted at rock concerts by superstar bands such as Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and U-2 (whose lead singer Bono called Chomsky a "rebel without a pause"). He is the icon of Hollywood stars like Matt Damon whose genius character in the Academy Award-winning film Good Will Hunting is made to invoke Chomsky as the go-to authority for political insight.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Noam Chomsky is "the most often cited living author. Among intellectual luminaries of all eras, Chomsky placed eighth, just behind Plato and Sigmund Freud." On the Web, there are more chat room references to Noam Chomsky than to Vice President Dick Cheney and 10 times as many as there are to Democratic congressional leaders Richard Gephardt and Tom Daschle. This is because Chomsky is also the political mentor of the academic left, the legions of Sixties radicals who have entrenched themselves in American universities to indoctrinate students in their anti-American creeds. The New York Times calls Chomsky "arguably the most important intellectual alive," and Rolling Stone which otherwise does not even acknowledge the realm of the mind "one of the most respected and influential intellectuals in the world."(2)
In fact, Chomskys influence is best understood not as that of an intellectual figure, but as the leader of a secular religious cult as the ayatollah of anti-American hate. This cultic resonance is recognized by his followers. His most important devotee, David Barsamian, is an obscure public radio producer on KGNU in Boulder Colorado, who has created a library of Chomsky screeds on tape from interviews he conducted with the master, and has converted them into pamphlets and books as well. In the introduction to one such offering, Barsamian describes Chomskys power over his disciples: "Although decidedly secular, he is for many of us our rabbi, our preacher, our rinpoche, our pundit, our imam, our sensei."(3)
The theology that Chomsky preaches is Manichean, with America as its evil principle. For Chomsky no evil however great can exceed that of America, and America is also the cause of evil in others. This is the key to the mystery of September 11: The devil made them do it. In every one of the 150 shameful demonstrations that took place on Americas campuses on September 20, these were the twin themes of those who agitated to prevent America from taking up arms in her self-defense: America is responsible for the "root causes" of this criminal attack; America has done worse to others.
In his first statement on the terrorist attack, Chomskys response to Osama bin Ladens calculated strike on a building containing 50,000 innocent human beings was to eclipse it with an even greater atrocity he was confident he could attribute to former president Bill Clinton. Chomskys infamous September 12 statement "On the Bombings" began:
The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clintons bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people (no one knows, because the US blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it).(4)
Observe the syntax. The opening reference to the actual attacks is clipped and bloodless, a kind of rhetorical throat clearing for Chomsky to get out of the way, so that he can announce the real subject of his concern Americas crimes. The accusation against Clinton is even slipped into the text, weasel fashion, as though it were a modifier, when it is actually the substantive message itself. It is a message that says: Look away, America, from the injury that has been done to you, and contemplate the injuries you have done to them. It is in this sleight of hand that Chomsky reveals his true gift, which is to make the victim, America, appear as an even more heinous perpetrator than the criminal himself. However bad this may seem, you have done worse.
In point of fact and just for the record however ill-conceived Bill Clintons decision to launch a missile into the Sudan, it was not remotely comparable to the World Trade Center massacre. It was, in its very design, precisely the opposite a defensive response that attempted to minimize casualties. Clintons missile was launched in reaction to the blowing up of two of our African embassies, the murder of hundreds of innocent people and the injury to thousands, mostly African civilians. It was designed with every precaution possible to prevent the loss of innocent life. The missile was fired at night, so that no one would be in the building when it was hit. The target was selected because the best information available indicated it was not a pharmaceutical factory, but a factory producing biological weapons. Chomskys use of this incident to diminish the monstrosity of the terrorist attack is a typical Chomsky maneuver, an accurate measure of his instinctive mendacity, and an index of the anti-American dementia, which infuses everything he writes and says.
This same psychotic hatred shapes the "historical" perspective he offered to his disciples in an interview conducted a few days after the World Trade Center bombing. It was intended to present America as the devil incarnate and therefore a worthy target of attack for the guerilla forces of "social justice" all over the world. This was the first time America itself or as Chomsky put it the "national territory" had been attacked since the War of 1812. Pearl Harbor doesnt count in Chomskys calculus because Hawaii was a "colony" at the time. The fact that it was a benignly run colony and that it is now a proud state of the Union counts for nothing, of course, in Chomskys eyes.
During these years [i.e., between 1812 and 1941], the US annihilated the indigenous population (millions of people), conquered half of Mexico, intervened violently in the surrounding region, conquered Hawaii and the Philippines (killing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos), and in the past half century particularly, extended its resort to force throughout much of the world. The number of victims is colossal. For the first time, the guns have been directed the other way. That is a dramatic change.(5)
Listening to Chomsky, you can almost feel the justice of Osama bin Ladens strike on the World Trade Center.
If you were one of the hundreds of thousands of young people who had been exposed to his propaganda and the equally vile teachings of his academic disciples you too would be able to extend your outrage against America into the present.
What decent, caring human being would not want to see America and its war criminals brought to justice?
According to Chomsky, what America really wants is to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Americas crusade against Communism was actually a crusade "to protect our doctrine that the rich should plunder the poor."(9) That is why we busied ourselves in launching a new crusade against terrorism after the end of the Cold War:
Of course, the end of the Cold War brings its problems too. Notably, the technique for controlling the domestic population has had to shift New enemies have to be invented. It becomes hard to disguise the fact that the real enemy has always been the poor who seek to plunder the rich in particular, Third World miscreants who seek to break out of the service role.(10)
According to Chomsky, America is afraid of the success of Third World countries and does not want them to succeed on their own. Those who threaten to succeed like the Marxist governments of North Vietnam, Nicaragua and Grenada America regards as viruses. According to Chomsky, during the Cold War, "except for a few madmen and nitwits, none feared [Communist] conquest they were afraid of a positive example of successful development. "What do you do when you have a virus? First you destroy it, then you inoculate potential victims, so that the disease does not spread. Thats basically the US strategy in the Third World.".(11)
No wonder they want to bomb us.
Schooled in these big lies, taught to see America as Greed Incarnate and a political twin of the Third Reich, why wouldnt young people with no historical memory come to believe that the danger ahead lies in Washington rather than Baghdad or Kabul?
It would be easy to demonstrate how on every page of every book and in every statement that Chomsky has written the facts are twisted, the political context is distorted (and often inverted) and the historical record is systematically traduced. Every piece of evidence and every analysis is subordinated to the overweening purpose of Chomskys lifework, which is to justify an idée fixe his pathological hatred of his own country.
It would take volumes, however, to do this and there really is no need. Because every Chomsky argument exists to serve this end, a fact transparent in each offensive and preposterous claim he makes. Hence, the invidious comparison of Clintons misguided missile and the monstrous World Trade Center attack.
In fact the Trade Center and the Pentagon targets of the terrorists present a real political problem for American leftists, like Chomsky, who know better than to celebrate an event that is the almost predictable realization of their agitations and their dreams. The destroyed buildings are the very symbols of the American empire with which they have been at war for fifty years. In a memoir published on the eve of the attack, the 60s American terrorist Bill Ayers recorded his joy at striking one of these very targets: "Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon. The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them."(12) In the wake of September 11, Ayers a "Distinguished Professor of Education[!] at the University of Chicago had to feverishly backtrack and explain that these revealing sentiments of an "anti-war" leftist do not mean what they obviously do. Claiming to be "filled with horror and grief," Ayers attempted to reinterpret his terrorist years as an effort to explore his own struggle with "the intricate relationships between social justice, commitment and resistance."(13)
Chomsky is so much Ayers superior at the lie direct that he works the same denial into his account of the World Trade Center bombing itself. Consider first the fact that the Trade Center is the very symbol of American capitalism and "globalization" that Chomsky and his radical comrades despise. It is Wall Street, its twin towers filled on that fateful day with bankers, brokers, international traders, and corporate lawyers the hated men and women of the "ruling class," who according to Chomsky run the global order. The twin towers are the palace of the Great Satan himself. They are the belly of the beast, the object of Chomskys lifelong righteous wrath. But he is too clever and too cowardly to admit it. He knows that, in the hour of the nations grief, the fact itself is a third rail he must avoid. And so he dismisses the very meaning of the terrorists target in these words:
The primary victims, as usual, were working people: janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc. It is likely to be a crushing blow to Palestinians and other poor and oppressed people.
Chomskys deception which attempts to erase the victims who were not merely "janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc.," tells us more than we might care to know about his own standard of human concern.
That concern is exclusively reserved for the revolutionary forces of his Manichean vision, the Third World oppressed by American evil. Chomskys message to his disciples in this country, the young on our college campuses, the radicals in our streets, the moles in our government offices, is a message of action and therefore needs to be attended to, even by those who will never read his rancid works. To those who believe his words of hate, Chomsky has this instruction:
The people of the Third World need our sympathetic understanding and, much more than that, they need our help. We can provide them with a margin of survival by internal disruption in the United States. Whether they can succeed against the kind of brutality we impose on them depends in large part on what happens here.(14)
This is the voice of the Fifth Column left. Disruption in this country is what the terrorists want, and what the terrorists need, and what the followers of Noam Chomsky intend to give them.
In his address before Congress on September 19, President Bush reminded us: "We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follw in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in historys unmarked grave of discarded lies."
President Bush was talking about the terrorists and their sponsors abroad. But he might just as well have been talking about their fifth column allies at home.
Its time for Americans who love their country to stand up, and defend it.
(1)Noam Chomsky, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Tucson, 1986 (interviews with David Barsamian)
(3)Noam Chomsky, Propaganda and the Public Mind, Interviews by David Barsamian, Cambridge, 2001 p. x. In the endpapers of this volume the NY Times is quoted praising Chomsky as "an exploder of received truths." The Guardian (London): "One of the radical heroes of our age A towering intellect " The Times Literary Supplement: "Chomskys work has some of the qualities of Revelations, the Old Testament prophets and Blake."
(4)Available at www.znet.org
(5)Interview, September 19, 2001. www.znet.org
(6)What Uncle Sam Really Wants, pp. 8, 18, 29, 31, 32, 56-58
(7)Chomsky, Profit Over People, NY 1999, p. 102
(8)What Uncle Sam Really Wants, p. 32
(9)Ibid. p. 79
(10)Ibid. pp. 82
(11)Ibid. pp. 56-7
(12)Bill Ayers, Fugitive Days, NY 2001, p. 256
(13)Statement on the publishers website, www.beacon.org
(14)What Uncle Sam Really Wants, p. 100
When my brother graduated from college, (small East Coast private college) Noam was at the graduation ceremony to collect an honorary degree. You should have seen the Pres. of the college puckering up to that old coot's backside.
I told my family how awful I thought it was that this A-hole was getting a degree. They barely knew who he was, as did most of the famies there I would guess.
Given the amount of schmundo that parents spend on higer education, you wonder why they don't invest a little more time and effort to find out what their kids are actually learning.
Ridiculous. Horowitz has more than enough intellectual candlepower to "comprehend" Chomsky, as do most of the participants in this thread. Chomsky's work, even his "contributions" to linguistics, are not difficult to understand at all. It's just a matter of digging in and doing the work.
You may have a small point in charging that Horowitz "copped-out" by not doing the work, but you haven't a leg to stand on if you think Chomsky is some kind of genius above the comprehension of the average person.
Also Chomsky is not a stickler for facts, as you and some others in this thread have said. He distorts them mercilessly, and sometimes manufactures them, all with the goal of furthering the construction of his particular castle in the sky.
Not difficult, but boring, boring, boring.
I read a book of his once, never again!!!
Makes sense to me! The 60s culture lives on!
I don't find that at all surprising.
As to Chomsky and facts, there was quite a stir some years back about his denial of the Killing Fields in Cambodia long after he should have acknowledged the reality. I seem to have lost the links, I'll try to find them.
(BTW if there are awards for clever screen names you get my vote.)
Hey Egregious, I found Wisconsin Stories: Laboratory of Democracy just for you. Some interesting comments about McCarthy...
As I did earlier with the McCarthy stuff, I will look into your suggestion to read Thomas Sowell.
Oh yeah...do read Sowell.
I wonder what Horowitz's experience is. I've never really bothered to look into the man too much.
Sorry, the FUNK reference in the article made me do it.
I'd be impressed, except the world can go on quite nicely without 'linguistic scholars' and particularly communist linguistic scholars. Chomsky's about as useful as teats on a bull.
Chomsky's political writing is well-researched and detailed.
Garbage in garbage out. It might be pretty garbage, but it still stinks and it can spread disease.
You may not like the conclusions he draws from these facts, and you may be able to extrapolate a different angle from them, but you they are not outright lies.
The best lies begin with a bit of truth. If you want a fish to take the hook, you must enclose the hook in bait... or in a lure designed to appeal to the particular species you want to catch.
For example, it is quite true that Saddam Hussein and Iraq has U.S. support up until they invaded Kuwait.
Why yes, but why? Could it have something to do with Iran? It is also true that Saddam Hussein had received the full support of the USSR. And it is also true that the US had supported Iran. The idea was to maintain a balance of power between the two undesirable governents, and keep BOTH hostile states from gaining influence over the region. It was in US interests and in the whole region's interests to let the two duke it out but not let either one overwhelm the other. Note that the US never assisted Iraq to the point that Iran would be at risk.
Whether you see our break with Iraq and Hussein as a defense of Kuwait or mere political opportunism is a matter of spin.
No spin at all. It was both, and more. It was right to side with Kuwait. Kuwait was not a threat to any other nation. Kuwait's power could safely grow and little harm would come from it as Kuwaitis aren't wackos seeking to kill people. But if Hussein's power grew, much harm would come from it. Hussein never had any difficulty killing people. It was also economically wise to side with Kuwait, so you can call it opportunistic. if you like since survival and the pursuit of prosperity is opportunism. The fact was, Iraq took a gamble that we'd look the other way if it took Kuwait, a gamble possibly reinforced by the US ambassador's untimely comments regarding Kuwait. But we didn't behave as Hussein assumed we would; Hussein assumed we would do nothing because of our 'reluctance to fight' left over from Vietnam. He made a mistake. By taking Kuwait Iraq shifted the balance of power in its favor, which was undesireable. (Or rather, it would have shifted the balance of power had Iraq been able to keep what it took.) So it was still a matter of maintaining a balance between Iraq and other nation-states.
I also cannot believe that Horowitz would be so two-faced as to use the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan against Chomsky! In any other instance he would use it to blast Clinton! ...
You missed Horowitz's point entirely. It was a simple point. He was pointing out the MORAL difference between the way the US behaves, even under a wacko like Clinton, and the way our detractors behave. The US acts in such a way as to minimize death and still achieve its goals. Given a choice, the US always prefers to pursue a fighting policy of destroying the enemy's means of resistance. Our opposition, whether fanatic-Islamic groups or full-fledged communists, act with total disregard for human life. The terrorists deliberately set out to kill as many noncombatant people as possible. The enemies of the US, rather than focusing only on destroying the means of resistance, prefer to attack the populations of countries who oppose them. For the purposes of illustrating his point, Horowitz did so well, particularly in light of his use of a known weak case. Crooked as Clinton was, it is clear he wasn't targeting the population. Even in Kosovo the aim was for infrastructure. That's why in Kosovo the Serbs held up paper targets and stood on their bridge to protect it- they knew of America's reluctance to strike human targets. Had the Serbs been facing any other enemy, they sure wouldn't have tried the paper target trick- it would be fatal. Compare that to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait where the order of the day for Hussein's force was to destroy and terrorize Kuwaitis even after conquering them; and note that even in defeat Hussein ordered the destruction of Kuwait's oil fields and the pumping of oil into the sea for no other purpose than to target populations. If Hussein couldn't have it, no one else would.
A success in that their was only one initial casualty, the nightwatchman, but a failure in that no proof has ever been found that chemical weapons were produced there, and a tragedy as the plant supplied more than 60% of the pharmaceuticals in Sudan.
You know, I would cry for Sudan and their night watchman, except Sudan has this real bad slavery problem, and a bad habit of supporting terrorism, and a bad habit of persecuting Christians and others. So I doubt too many of those aspirins went to the people they persecute in any case. More likely the beneficiaries of those aspirin were slavers and terrorists and thugs and their families. And since they no doubt got a good deal of aid, the theory that there was some calamitous death toll after wiping out an aspirin factory is a stretch.
Horowitz' argument falls flat when you realize he would just as easily spin the facts in a different direction if it would suit his purposes.
Horowitz's argument doesn't fall flat because his point was simply that the manner in which the Us operates is not morally equivalent to the manner in which terrorists operate. He's right.
Horowitz has cried wolf too many times. That he brands everyone a traitor or commie makes him seem more and more ridiculous, and shows a lack of faith in America and his readers.
OK, who has he WRONGLY branded as a traitor or communist? Which one of the people so branded are not?
Isn't America strong enough to live with its dissenters?
Dissent among people with a love for the Constitution is one thing; but people who intend to subvert the constitution are quite another. Communists intend to destroy the foundations of our society. Their loyalty is not to the US Constitution. They are not dissenters, they are agents of espionage. They are part of a worldwide movement that wherever their marxist theories have been applied, the first casualties were the right to self-defense, free speech, and property rights. It is a worldwide movement whose greatest export is refugees.
Shouldn't we try to learn from the critic of our policies as well as the supporter?
Oh, we learn from them. We learn that they are predictable. Sometimes you have to wonder if they are just clones. To argue with almost almost anyone on the far wacko 'left' is to argue with Chomsky himself, though some are less adept at 'linguistics.' The web is littered with their 'history' and philosophy. The newspapers are full of it; TV commentators mouth the same phrases. From a professor at University of Michigan, to the NOW gang, to a Columbian guerilla, to Radio Havana, to a snooty Parisian, to anarchist gutter trash, to PETA protestors, to the Greens, to the Red Brigade, to Saddam Hussein, to your Union leadership, to the modern DNC- the phrases and argumants are the same. Add to that Usama as well, though he adds the element of 'God' that is lacking in the others of open communist philosophy.
Would you happen to have a pointer to the Hitchens piece you're referring to? I'd love to read it...Thanks in advance...
Bump for anti-communist pro-Constitution reply to Chomsky's poop.
This is why good propaganda is so effective - a half-truth is more convincing than an outright lie. Chomsky, unlike real historians, doesn't feel compelled to give both sides of a story or to discuss mitigating or aggrevating factors in historical events. His goal is to demoralize the United States by providing an unremitting negative view of all public policy actions. The goal to set up a sense of moral equivalence between the US and every left-wing dictatorship that he supports.
His piece has probably been posted here, but it's definitely available over at the Nation: Of Sin, the Left & Islamic Fascism
Hitchens' article is a bit more scholarly and effective than Horowitz's...
Somewhat to the creditof Richard Nixon, he saw this coming in the 60's and never has there been enough said about this aspect of the culture war which has been waged ever since.
Having said this, our culture as presented to the other parts of the world thru Hollywood, is a moral puss oozing out to other parts of the world, its hyper violence and nihilism. Only in some sense is this counrty the source of anti-values and passive nihilism. Though true, this is besides the point when understanding a movement and Act of War which is based upon a crude form of Totalitarianism and raw Will To Power.
However this pissing contest turned out, no matter what you say about Chomsky and friends, they have done one thing, at least for me. It has made me examine what is written about just about anything in the media with a critical eye. The whole Cambodia, Khmer Rouge thing is a perfect example.
After the whole thing is said and done with, the facts remain. The US indiscrimately dropped an unprecedented amount of bombs on a country we were not at war with. The US backed Pol Pot, whether directly or indirectly is disputable, however the US continued to vote in favor of his government to retain their seat in the UN. The actions of the US government is not above reproach, and Chomsky, et. al., are some of the main voices calling attention to that fact.
It is a given that when you read something, such as Chomsky's works, or something in the media, you have to question it's veracity. We here at FR know that, or at least we used to, in the depths of our souls. However, to dismiss something out of hand because of the messenger is to miss much.
Question everything, but never totally dismiss it unless you have incontrovertible proof. Look at everything, even a "trusted" media source with a critical eye.
Thanks for that link general, that was good reading.
Thanks! Off to read it right now...
And his moral equivalences do not always make sense. This is amply illustrated in the Horowitz and Hitchens articles, and even in Chomsky's response to Hitchens today over at The Nation. Incidents in which civilians die due to unintended consequences are equated with incidents in which it was the absolute goal to maximize civilian casualties.
On another note, with respect to pacifists like Chomsky, it seems to me as if these folks had their way, you could have a situation in which a fascist system like the Third Reich could arise and endure for a thousand years, because under no circumstances would it be legitimate to wage war. After all, that's not the pacifist way, is it?
I would like to hear just one of them cite a single modern scenario in which they think the U.S. could act in legitimate self defense.
To these people, the peace of a cage is apparently far more important than human freedom.
And, unlike Kosovo, we actually have a Constitutional basis to take these terrorist fascists (the Taliban) down.
What pacifists fail to realize is that there will be lasting peace in the world only when there is a maximum of freedom and opportunity for all its people.
AND THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN UNDER THESE TOTALITARIAN REGIMES.
I wonder how many more vicious terrorist attacks it will take before people understand that this is WAR.
Chomsky might have an agenda, but reading around his agenda, he does occasionally present some pretty hard facts about what is going on. The truth may be somewhat short of his conclusions, but the truth may still be in there.