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Chomsky Half Full

March 2, 2010

Joel Whitney interviews Noam Chomsky in Guernica:

If Noam Chomsky’s critics have a common refrain, it is pointing to his habit of being far too hard on America’s motives and too easy on its opponents. The former, of course, is his métier. The latter criticism has limited (though a few important) instances. In fact, Chomsky’s central question is how do you punish the crook who owns the jailhouse, pays the police their salaries, and fails consistently to see his crimes as such? Or perhaps, how do you get a self-enamored hypocrite to reckon with his pathology? Certainly not by repeating the praise, or what Chomsky sometimes calls America’s “state religion” of self-worship. And despite this, in a very limited way, Chomsky does give credit where credit is due.

n his forthcoming book Hopes and Prospects, Chomsky admits that a black family in the White House is historic. But he credits not “America,” a “system of power” defined by “market interventions” in the economy that once tolerated, and even fought for, the right to own humans as slaves. Nor does he give much credit to “Brand Obama,” as he calls the phenomenon that elected our new president, insisting that the new president is “likely to ‘have more influence on boardrooms than any president since Ronald Reagan.’” In fact, Chomsky gives credit for the 2008 election, in a way, to himself and his ilk. [More]

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