Friday, September 10, 2004
Knowing that I love to bash my head against intellectual walls, Diane recently sent me a link to an article by someone named George Shadroui entitled Dissecting Chomsky and Anti-Americanism. Hopefully you folks know that I always try to confront dissenting views openly, and I try to give people a chance, especially when I disagree with them at first glance. (Indeed, one critique I read a while back challenged a figure on starvation that Chomsky used; I still haven't gotten around to refuting or verifying it.)
But this guy's just a dork. To wit:
To understand Chomsky's critique, you must begin with his methodology and the assumptions interlaced with his volatile claims. Here is an attempt to mention a few of those assumptions, though this is hardly an exhaustive list: . . . Our enemies are always illusory. . . . Even when we are right, we are wrong. . . . Chomsky never provides context.Of course this last one is not an assumption put forth by Chomsky, but we don't need to split hairs. (For those who don't know, Chomsky never gives the impression that our enemies are illusory or that "we're" always wrong.)
The Dork goes on to say: "In reading a dozen of his books I have yet to stumble across an instance in which Chomsky gives the United States the benefit of the doubt." Yeah, well like Mark Twain said: "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it." Since when is it a good idea to give the government the benefit of the doubt? Isn't that what Bush asked us to do before the most recent Iraq war? That turned out pretty well. I would imagine it's the responsibility of dutiful citizens to do the exact opposite! (Didn't Helen Thomas say something to this effect in the most recent Progressive?
I suppose I would like to read the Anti-Chomsky Reader mentioned in the article, but I'd really rather not be seen in public purchasing something from David Horowitz. Meanwhile, The Dork coughs up this gem about South America:
Early American intervention was aimed less at subduing the region for economic or political purposes than it was to minimize the encroachment of the European powers into the affairs of the Western Hemisphere.Yeah, hah? And Haiti? And United Fruit? Gimme a break.
For what it's worth, let me apologize to those who are now saying "What about Haiti? What does United Fruit have anything to do with this?" There are important stories to be told here (and actual documentation-based refutations that could be made), but I'm just too exhausted from a long school week to explain further. Please check it out for yourself.
As for the notion of Anti-Americanism, Chomsky himself has slammed shut this idiotic book long ago. To cite just one repetition of his point:
The concept "anti-American" is an interesting one. The counterpart is used only in totalitarian states or military dictatorships, something I wrote about many years ago (see my book Letters from Lexington). Thus, in the old Soviet Union, dissidents were condemned as "anti-Soviet." That's a natural usage among people with deeply rooted totalitarian instincts, which identify state policy with the society, the people, the culture. In contrast, people with even the slightest concept of democracy treat such notions with ridicule and contempt. Suppose someone in Italy who criticizes Italian state policy were condemned as "anti-Italian." It would be regarded as too ridiculous even to merit laughter. Maybe under Mussolini, but surely not otherwise.So .. yeah, what.
MAN, I'm tired. I should just lecture at a podium and give ScanTron™ tests like my high school teachers used to do.
Two women on the Thirdwave mailing list I'm on have pitched their blogs recently. Check out:
These people who carve pencils are amazing! My favorite has to be the Kikko (honeycomb).
Bleah. Time for a little MUD.
Check out this Bush Remix Video. I like the silly touches.
Today I'm listening to: Buddha Bar 2!
MadWomen for Peace (incl. Diane)