Noam Chomsky, egomaniacal liar
Via Alina Stefanescu (who has a blog that’s worth checking out), I stumbled across this Sunday Herald column by Alan Taylor on Noam Chomsky. The most absurd bits: We begin by talking about the piece in The American Prospect. “It’s the journal of what they modestly call ‘the decent left’,” he says, oozing contempt. “It’s ...
Via Alina Stefanescu (who has a blog that's worth checking out), I stumbled across this Sunday Herald column by Alan Taylor on Noam Chomsky. The most absurd bits:
Via Alina Stefanescu (who has a blog that’s worth checking out), I stumbled across this Sunday Herald column by Alan Taylor on Noam Chomsky. The most absurd bits:
We begin by talking about the piece in The American Prospect. “It’s the journal of what they modestly call ‘the decent left’,” he says, oozing contempt. “It’s kind of moderate social democrat and they see themselves as embattled. You know, caught between two powerful forces which are crushing them. One is Dick Cheney, representing the White House, the Pentagon, one of the most powerful forces in history, and the other one – an equal and opposite force – is me. Do you think any intellectual or academic in history has ever received such praise? I mean, it’s way beyond the Nobel Prize. I already got someone to put it on the website. It tells you something about their attitudes. They’re pathetic, frightened, cowardly little people.” Interesting, I note, that though his face is on the magazine’s cover, his name is nowhere to be seen in the piece. “Oh, no, no, no,” Chomsky says, grinning at my naivety, “you can’t mention it. You can’t mention anything. You can’t read anything. All you can do is report gossip . So you heard some gossip saying that I was in favour of Pol Pot or I support Osama bin Laden. That I’m in favour of [Slobodan] Milosevic. And then you heard it at a dinner party so it must be true.”…. Chomsky, one suspects, could continue in this vein ad nauseam. Even now, at an age when most people would rather be in a gated Florida compound than constantly locking horns with the establishment, he persists in banging his head against closed doors. In the US, he is either a pariah or a prophet, “a kind of modern-day soothsayer”, according to his biographer Robert Barsky. “Unlike many leftists of his generation,” says Barsky, “Chomsky never flirted with movements or organisations that were later revealed to be totalitarian, oppressive, exclusionary, anti-revolutionary, and elitist … He has very little to regret. His work, in fact, contains some of the most accurate analyses of this century.” (emphases added).
I’m not sure what Barsky and Chomsky are smoking, but my information about the latter’s flirtation with totalitarian, oppressive, exclusionary movements comes from several sources. Click here and here to read about Chomsky’s errors of omission and comission with regard to the Khmer Rouge. Click here to read about Chomsky’s bizarre theory of why the U.S. supported the Bosnian Muslims. And then there’s Stefan Kanfer’s takedown of Chomsky from the Summer 2002 City Journal:
[Chomsky] wrote the introduction to a book by French Holocaust-denier Robert Faurisson. Memoire en Defense maintains that Hitler’s death camps and gas chambers, even Anne Frank’s diary, are fictions, created to serve the cause of American Zionists. That was too much for Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who challenged fellow leftist Chomsky to a debate. In the debate, Dershowitz keyed in on the fact that Chomsky had described Faurisson’s conclusions as “findings,” and claimed that they grew out of “extensive historical research.” But as numerous scholars had shown, Faurisson was not a serious scholar at all, but rather a sophist who simply ignored the mountain of documents, speeches, testimony, and other historical evidence that conflicted with his “argument.” Dershowitz noted that Chomsky also wrote the following: “I see no anti-Semitic implication in the denial of the existence of gas chambers or even in the denial of the Holocaust.”
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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