Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Junk Politics of Chomsky

Credit: Duncan Rawlinson
Noam Chomsky, Grandpa Anarchy

Is there anyone more deeply ignorant about political reality than Noam Chomsky?

There he is, the voice of that new phenomena - Noam Chomsky, the voice of anti-capitalist, anti-business America; the voice of the huddled masses yearning for public doles. Yes, he is the old symptom of a new disease.

Insofar as the benighted Chomsky can be identified with anarchism, he shares the same intellectual confusion of others who fall into this category; people like Emma Goldman, who was seemingly unable to distinguish between democracy and fascism.

According to the view Chomsky puts forward in American Power and the New Mandarins, the United States, his own homeland, is a state not that far removed from fascism, one in need of 'denazification.' Is that junk? Well, I leave you to judge for yourself.

It might help you if I give a small example of this kind of confusion, shown by others on the left. In 1930 when Heinrich Bruning was appointed to head a minority administration in Germany, supported by the emergency powers of President Hindenburg, Die Rote Fahne, the newspaper of the KPD, the German Communist Party, declared in banner headlines that Faschismus ist schon da! -Fascism is now here!Three years later they were to discover just how wrong they had been.

In denouncing one form of 'Fascism' Chomsky sees no contradiction in supporting another; or at least no contradiction in signing a petition on behalf of Robert Faurisson, the French Holocaust denier, on the grounds that he was defending the right to free speech. But it was so much more than that: the petition was a document that gave credence to Faurisson, a 'respected professor', 'who has been conducting extensive research into the "Holocaust" question'.

There were those on the French left who could not quite believe that Chomsky had put his name to this, assuming that it must be some mistake, or that he had not read what he had signed. When told that the 'respected professor’, was a notorious anti-Semite, who believed, amongst other things, that it was the Jews who had declared war on Hitler, Chomsky insisted that, so far as he could determine, Faurisson was merely an 'apolitical liberal.'

In defending himself Chomsky then proceeded into the deepest forms of sophistry, saying that Holocaust denial was not in itself proof of anti-Semitism because "if a person ignorant of modern history were told of the Holocaust and refused to believe that humans are capable of such monstrous acts, we would not conclude that he is an anti-Semite. That suffices to establish the point at issue." What, one has to ask, about those like Faurisson who have studied modern history and still deny the Holocaust?

There are other areas where Chomsky's peculiar blindness, his obsession with American 'corporate Fascism', took him from one true extreme to another. Did you know, for instance, when the New York Review of Books praised François Ponchaud's Cambodia: Year Zero, Chomsky accused it of being guilty of "extreme anti-Khmer Rouge distortions." If there were atrocities in Cambodia, Chomsky continued, they were the result of the American bombing campaign.

This should really come as no surprise, as Chomsky's Manichean politics have continued to place all the good on one side and all the bad on the other; so the good naturally included people like Slobodan Milosevic, as well as Pol Pot. You see, when it comes to any form of action in the world, there is nothing, simply nothing, that the West can do right in the Chomsky scheme of things.

Chomsky is cast in exactly the same form as those left-leaning intellectuals in the 1930s, people who saw the Moscow Show Trails as a fine example of 'people's justice.' With some people bad-faith, dissimulation and blindness are always present. Chomsky has these qualities more than most.

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Anastasia is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on The Junk Politics of Chomsky

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By ranfuchs on October 09, 2011 at 06:25 pm

To maintain any form of civilzation, it's important to have some clear moral guidelines of what good and bad. You may argue, for instance, that cannibalism is not necessarily bad, but for the purpose of people being able to live together, we had to define it as an absolute evil. So is the case with people such as Hitler or Stalin.

It's amazing, how many Jews in Israel supported Stalin execution of Jews intellectuals. But they themselves admitted later that their own belief blined them. This is clearly not the case with Noam Chomsky.

So the real question is what is his true agenda?

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By Anastasia on October 10, 2011 at 05:14 pm

Ranfuchs, once you find our what thsi man's true agenda is I would be grateful if you could let me know. :-)

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By Michael Ezra on October 11, 2011 at 02:46 am


Thank you for your post. You ask, "Is there anyone more deeply ignorant about political reality than Noam Chomsky?" I do not believe that Chomsky is ignorant of political reality; on the contrary, he is fully aware of political reality, but deliberately paints a distorted picture. If he were simply ignorant, it would be more excusable. He is fully aware of many criticisms against his work as he has <a href = "">reproduced</a> some of them on his web site.

Chomsky originally published his <a href = "">criticisms</a> of Ponchaud's book, to which you refer, when the book was published in 1977. Despite being aware that his views on Cambodia have been challenged, as <a href = ""> I have highlighted</a> elsewhere<a/> he continued to paint a distorted picture of Cambodia in 2010. Ignorance is not a valid excuse.

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By Anastasia on October 11, 2011 at 05:13 pm

Michael, I'm particularly grateful for your contribution here because I know both of your interest and your expertise. You are right: ignorance is never a valid excuse.

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By Lartinos on January 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Interesting stuff, I have to read more of your writing.

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By Anastasia on January 11, 2012 at 05:08 pm

Lartinos, be my guest. :-)

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