View Full Version : The Stupidest Intellectual (re: Chomsky and His Ideas)

02-13-2003, 02:48 PM
link to article:


02-13-2003, 03:49 PM
There's a lot in the article, but I would like to address two points:

1) Note that the author calls Chomsky and his writings "despicable," "crackpot," "ridiculous," "irresponsible," "dangerous junk," "warped," and "lunacy." Those on the left are "spoiled children." This tells me that the author may not be the best person to carefully analyze Chomsky's message, since it reveals an obvious bias.

2) Here is the author's own analysis of the history of America's foreign policy:

"American foreign policy has long been correctly directed by the “lesser of two evils” theory which has kept America afloat on the world stage for more than two hundred years. The foundation for this policy was laid down by President James Monroe who announced what came to be called the “Monroe Doctrine” in 1823. According to this doctrine, America would accept no more European incursions in the Western Hemisphere. This was a step away from George Washington’s admonition to avoid any “entangling alliances” that might draw America into a foreign war. Washington articulated this caution in his farewell address, at a time when the United States was very vulnerable and the threat of European warfare loomed on the horizon. But by the time of the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. had witnessed substantial growth and the act of European colonization in the Western Hemisphere could be taken as a threat to American sovereignty.

From that time forward, U.S. foreign policy has traveled through different stages, but one tenet has remained constant: The protection and welfare of U.S. citizens is always the most important objective. This sometimes means that America must ally itself with regimes that do not meet the standards the U.S. government holds for itself. But just because America works with a corrupt government against a mutual enemy does not mean that America is responsible for the corruption of its ally. The unsavory regime is responsible for its own shortcomings. The world is a dirty, dangerous place, and the responsibility of the American government is to protect its own citizens.

My comments:

1) How could European colonization in other places in the western hemisphere be a threat to America sovereignty? What it was a threat to was American expansion. All of our leaders from the very beginning saw us an an imperal nation destined to control the entire continent and beyond. When other nations got in the way, we pushed them aside.

2) The protection and welfare of U.S. citizens has often been used as a pretext for invasion and control of small countries in the western hemisphere and elsewhere. Alliance with regimes that do not meet our "standards" has nothing at all to do with the protection and of U.S. citizens. What did Diem and the muderous "thugs" (to use a word President Bush seems to like these day) in Guatemala and Somoza and the Shah of Iran and Mobutu and the murderous thugs in El Salvador have to do with the protection of U.S. citizens?

3) Many unsavory regimes have been trained in unsavoriness by the United States. Diem wouldn't have gotten anywhere without Lansdale. We were responsible for installing murderous thugs in Guatemala and Chile and for maintaining murderous thugs in El Salvador, to cite three 20th century examples. We trained many Latin American thugs.

The author's view of the history of American foreign policy is flawed.

02-13-2003, 04:28 PM
I hesitated to post the link precisely because I felt the author used too many derogatory adjectives--but decided to go ahead anyway, trusting in the ability of most of us to focus the arguments themselves rather than the style. In your case I have no doubt that you will do just that.

02-13-2003, 05:48 PM
That's what I tried to do in my point 2. But when someone uses insults in their argument, is does get in the way of discussion.

02-13-2003, 06:03 PM

02-13-2003, 06:10 PM
What? Posting something totally biased is cool because people will be able to see through the bias to the underlying facts? What about the problem that the bias indicates pretty clearly that the "facts" will either reflect that bias directly (in their presentation) or indirectly (in their selection)?

Are you thinking you could post a KKK newsletter about why blacks are inferior and trust that the reader will get past the racial slurs to see the underlying merits of the arguments?

02-13-2003, 06:32 PM
Actually I though a lot of the adjectives the author used were merited--but his arguments appeared to have even more merit.

I feel Chomsky's material is highly biased--but I'm still willing to discuss his ideas.

Bias isn't always bad, you know: sometimes it is entirely justified. For instance, I'm biased against totalitarian tyrants and stupid arguments.

Instead of worrying so much about "bias", how's this sound: We'll just focus on the ideas. Think you can handle that?

02-13-2003, 07:42 PM

Chomsky has probably been called many things in his life. But "stupid"???? Take one look at the man's life work.

Also -- Chomsky has devoted much of his life to peace. He deserves more respect then that.

Take care,


02-13-2003, 10:00 PM
A staple of conservative rhetoric is name-calling. Limbaugh's "feminazis" may have been the beginning. Mona Charen's new book is called "Useful Idiots." No doubt liberals have fought back ("Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot), but they finish a distant second in the mean-spiritedness battle (as they are in most battles these days.)

nicky g
02-14-2003, 08:42 AM
I don't see many reasoned arguments in the article. What he does over and over is quote a Chomsky idea, and the say an equivalent of "Just how ridiculous is that!?!" Anything he believes is "clear", while anything Chomsky says is patent nonsense. For instance he makes no attempt to deny Chomsky's statements about US terror in pre-Castro Cuba, and is simply astonished the ideas behind the war on terror could ever be used against the US itself, even when the US justification for attacks is terrorism and he doesn't deny that it has sponsored terrorism. He takes the idea that the US is the be-all-and-end-all of all possible good so completely for granted that he thinks merely ridiculing any anti-US arguments is an effective response, and that it should be obvious that any anti-US foreign policy articles must necessarily be false. I'm sorry MMMMMM, but it really comes across as a rant rather than a reasoned debate. I think you make your points much better than this guy does. I also take exception to his suggestion that Harry Belafonte should leave the US for daring to criticize Colin Powell.

02-14-2003, 09:13 AM
Well the Belafonte suggestion wasn't made by the author of this article.

I think Belafonte's comment about Colin Powell was way off-base and racist, but that doesn't mean the right response is to tell him to apologize or pack his bags.

What about these points the author makes:

1) Chomsky holds up US actions for examination out of context and while ignoring the worse actions of others

2) Chomsky then condemns US actions by comparing them not to the actions of other large nations, but to some vague ideal which could only be realized in a much more utopian world--a world we aren't even close to actually living in. Since all nations face practical constraints which force them to act imperfectly, comparing the US to other large nations would be much more fair.

3) Chomsky blames the US for the corrupt or brutal actions of those nations we support--disregarding the fact that many of these nations were corrupt and brutal beforehand

4) Chomsky blames the US for defending itself

02-14-2003, 09:17 AM
1) Not true. Chomsky condemns many nations for their actions. He merely asserts (correctly) that our primary obligation is to fix ourselves before we go around playing the international bully.

2) So what? Every nation should strive towards a more utopian society, no matter how far away that is.

3) Many were corrupt and brutal beforehand, but the fact that they're corrupt and brutal after US intervention speaks volumes about US foreign policy.

4) US hasn't been attacked since 1941, and I don't think he objected to that. Not sure what else you're referring to.

nicky g
02-14-2003, 09:35 AM
Damn I wrote a point by point analysis of the article (I really honestly did) and then lost it as I was looking for typos by pressing delete, which for some reason sometimes also makes my browser go back a page (anyone know why)?

1) I don't see a problem with this; I don't have to say well sure the Washington sniper was bad but what about that Hitler guy? The US can be criticsied by someone who fully accepts that there are governments who behave/have behaved worse.

2. Maybe I'm an idealist, but when I compare what theUS did in for example, El Salvador, I'm comparing it quite simply to the US not doing it. I'm not saying " The US should have created Utopia in El Salvador". I'm saying "the US should have stayed the hell away from El Salvador and not fomented civil war adn installed a military dictatorship and funded death squads that killed tens of thousands of innocent people." Or in Vietnam, I'd be saying "the US should not have staged a pretext to intervene in Vietnam and kill 4 million people in order to prop up a dictatorial regime." Clearly pie in the sky.

3) Sometimes true, somtimes not. In Latin America the US put into place several brutal and corrupt regimes that would not have been there otherwise. Same in Indonesia. Similarly, being an ally of a corrupt foreign nation is not the same as propping up a dictatorship, eg Egypt.

4. Where does he do that? If you're talking about Iraq, I don't remember it ever attacking the US. I certainly don't remember Salvador Allende declaring war before he "committed suicide".

02-14-2003, 10:07 AM
Just to answer 4) now:

We were attacked on 9/11 and Chomsky thought it wrong of us to defend ourselves by going after our attackers in Afghanistan.

02-14-2003, 10:20 AM
The US in Central America was countering Soviet expansionism.

In El Salvador, those we supported were brutal, but they were also fighting another brutal group: the Soviet/Sandinista-backed communist guerillas. So, what about the murderous communist guerillas? We couldn't just have wished them away--that doesn't work.

In Vietnam, after we withdrew, the communists slaughtered millions between Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Should we have gotten involved in the first place? I'm not sure, but getting involved without a clear goal of winning the war (as opposed to merely stalemating the North Vietnamese) was a huge mistake.

nicky g
02-14-2003, 11:34 AM
from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/central_america/el_salvador/history.htm

"In 1972, the military arrested and exiled the elected president and installed their own candidate in power. Guerrilla activity increased, and the government responded by unleashing 'death squads' who murdered, tortured or kidnapped thousands of Salvadorans.

In 1979, a junta of military and civilians overthrew the president and promised reforms. When these reforms were not met, opposition parties banded together under the party name Federación Democrático Revolucionario, of which the FMLN was the largest group. The successful revolution in Nicaragua in 1979 encouraged many Salvadorans to believe that armed struggle was the only way to secure reforms. When popular archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated saying mass in 1980, his death sparked an armed insurrection.

FMLN guerrillas gained control of areas in the north and east of El Salvador and blew up bridges, destroyed power lines and burned coffee plantations in a bid to stifle the country's economy. The Reagan Administration, unnerved by the success of Nicaragua's socialist revolution, donated huge amounts of money to the Salvadoran government, and the military retaliated by decimating villages, causing 300,000 citizens to flee the country. In 1982, the extreme right ARENA party took power and death squads began targeting trade unionists and agrarian reformers.


"During the course of the 12-year war, an estimated 75,000 people were killed, and the US government donated a staggering US$6 billion to the Salvadoran government's war effort, despite knowledge of atrocities carried out by the military."

Clearly it was a complicated situation, but my vew is as follows: The guerillas, whatever their faults, represented the comibined opposition to the military regme and were fighting for the restorarion of democracy and in response to the murders of opposition figures. They were fighting against military dictators, which I regard as perfectly legitimate. Against them were US-backed death squads who killed anyone remotely regarded as "leftist", the vast majority of them civilians merely suspected of guerilla sympathies (and including 4 American nuns, who were raped and executed by US-funded murder squads). The guerillas were not on a par with the military death squads. Nor were they or the Sandanistas Soviet stooges; they were socialists, with popular support. They would have endangered little more than US investments, which isn't a reason for killing trades unionists in my opinion.

Your description of the Sandanistas as "brutal" is absurd. They overthrew the brutal US-backed military dictarship, implemented a popular revolution, and won the 1984 election by a massive majority. The US-funded contras were brutal. The Sandanistas rightly fought the contras but when they lost the elction in 1990 they stood aside, which doesn't strike me as a particularly authoriatarian or Soviet tactic. They were a democratic socialist party that have an enormous amount to be thanked for, including overthrowing a military dictatorship, massively increasing literacy rates and infectious disease immunisation in a desperately poor country, and successfully holding back the contras who would have imposed El Salvadorean style death squad rule across the country.

Whatever you think of either group the US should have been supporting democracy rather than, in Nicaragua's case, undermining an elected government through crippling economic blockades and murder squad insurgency, and in El Salvador's case, backing a military dictatorship in a brutal civil war.

02-14-2003, 01:49 PM
I guess that this will have to wait until next week when I will have some sources. My view is that the communist guerillas in El Salvador were also brutal, that the Saninistas supplied them with arms (and the Soviets supplied the Sandinistas with arms), that the Sandinistas forcibly collectived private property amounting to theft and looted the country when they departed, and that the grand design of the Soviets and Sandinistas was to import Soviet influence and military power into the Western hemisphere.

By the way Castro did things for education and health care too, but I'd rather be ignorant, unhealthy and free than live in a giant Soviet-style prison called Cuba.

nicky g
02-14-2003, 01:59 PM
The difference is the Sandanistas held free elections, did what they did with a popular mandate, and stood down when they lost and no loner had that mandate. I think there are a lot of movements that ended up being forced into taking the Soviet dime by short-sighted US foreign policy; the Sandanistas certainly weren't a soviet-style regime. The problem with Cuba and Nicaragua was that the regimes before them were dictatorial and being propped up by the US; if the US hadn't supported Batista and treated Cuba like its private brothel there wouldn't have been a Castro.

02-14-2003, 05:55 PM
Our "attackers" in 9/11 were dead on 9/11.

Furthermore, they were terrorists, and while Bush likes to go on about the "war" on terrorism, war is a state that exists between two nations. Frankly, I always thought it was a mistake to treat it as such - it legitimized what the terrorists did. Call it common terrorism, belittle it, then throw the full power of the the FBI, CIA and military into identifying and eliminating anyone involved - you can always give some evidence later on about why you blew up this guy's car, or why you fired a couple of cruise missiles into that guy's hut. Wasting billions of dollars invading a foreign country then propping up a weak regime doesn't make much sense unless you're actually thinking that it was that country's government which was responsible. (And given that the Taliban didn't even have the power to serve up bin Laden as an act of self-preservation, you've gotta be pretty dubious about any such claims.)

The reality is that this country hasn't had a real need to "defend itself" in the immediate sense since 1945, or in the potential sense since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Neither of our neighbors has the desire or means to attack us, and our Navy could repulse any sea-borne force with relative ease. Sure, some countries could attack us via ICBMs, but that's been a danger for many decades.

Terrorism is terrorism - it's nothing like war, nor should it be treated as such. Actually, quite often war invites terrorism, since occupied countries tend to be unhappy about their occupied state and since they have no military, they lash out the only way they can. Hmm...maybe the fact that we have military bases all over the Middle East contributes somewhat to the feeling of impotent rage against us prevalent in that part of the world which seems to inspire terrorist activities.

02-14-2003, 06:48 PM
IrishHand: "Our "attackers" in 9/11 were dead on 9/11."

Our attackers were the entire group called al Qaeda--and those who died attacking us were merely their emissaries.

Irish: "Furthermore, they were terrorists, and while Bush likes to go on about the "war" on terrorism, war is a state that exists between two nations."

You may not consider it war, but al Qaeda certainly does. Somehow I'm inclined to believe they really mean it. So I think we can throw your "legal definition" out the window.

IrishHand: "Hmm...maybe the fact that we have military bases all over the Middle East contributes somewhat to the feeling of impotent rage against us prevalent in that part of the world which seems to inspire terrorist activities."

Arab impotence and rage is self-inflicted due to their backwards religious/political system which stifles dissent, free speech, free thought and innovation. As long as they are ideologically trapped, they will remain financially trapped--despite their immense natural wealth. Even poor little South Korea, once devastated and as poor as any Arab state, and with far less natural wealth, has pulled far ahead of them. Their ideological backwardness is a trap of their own making.

It would be great to see them make some true progress and come into the modern world, ideologically speaking. A system of marriage of Church and State can't really do that, however. And with most Saudi college kids majoring in theology, just how competitive does that make them in the world economy?

We can lead them, but we can't make them drink of freedom.

Some are sadly beyond reformation. Indoctrinated heavily since youth, they are insanely and incurably fanatic. The more impotent we can make those who are truly dedicated to our destruction, the better. Much of the blame for this rests with the teachings of the Wahabbi death-cult, the official state religion of Saudi Arabia.

***** "Ah yes, we must attempt to mollify angry fanatics who seek our destruction because otherwise...they might get mad and seek our destruction." -Ann Coulter *******

02-14-2003, 07:14 PM
'Our attackers were the entire group called al Qaeda--and those who died attacking us were merely their emissaries. '

i would like to see some support for that statement.

p.s. bin laden was blamed like 2 hours after the attack.

02-14-2003, 07:17 PM
Elvis did it. Al Qaeda is just jealous he beat them to it--that's why they are calling on Muslims to kill and plunder Americans wherever they find them. It's all just empty talk and Elvis is the real threat.

02-14-2003, 07:21 PM
im not saying i dont believe it im just saying what is the evidence?

this is a vital question in spotting propaganda.

im being serious.

add to that the fact that one or more bin laden videos the administration pointed to as evidence were shown to be fakes and thats partly why i bring it up.

i mean dont get mad at me if youre brain kind of locks up because you cant reconcile propaganda with facts you can find.

02-14-2003, 07:27 PM
So Brad it is OK for you to use propaganda like this : "add to that the fact that one or more bin laden videos the administration pointed to as evidence were shown to be fakes and thats partly why i bring it up. that you provide to disprove someone else using so called propaganda? Kinda ironic huh?

02-14-2003, 07:31 PM
well if you catch someone in a lie and use that to label them untrustworthy i dont think thats unreasonable?

do you agree bin laden video(s) was shown to be fake? do u agree administration was using it to implicate bin laden?

do u know of any other evidence vs. bin laden?

02-14-2003, 07:44 PM
I didn't know the Bin Laden tape was fake. Is this the one where he talks about how successful the 9/11 operation was?

02-14-2003, 07:48 PM
i cant keep up with all of it but heres a link for one tape at least.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1038524483919&call_pag eid=968332188492&col=968705899037


(second one is archive of first)

ive heard or read a lot more and it all seems to be a bunch of bs at least for the tapes. (like one video with the 'fat bin laden' with the big nose who doesnt even look like bin laden)

02-14-2003, 09:19 PM
It's not that I'm mad, I was trying to be half-funny and half-sardonic (guess I need to work on that).

I think it's kinda obvious who did it, and moreover I think that even if al Qaeda didn't do it, for everything else they've done and called on Muslims to do against us we should still have gone after them. In other words I'm pretty sure they did it, but they would need to be wiped out even if 9/11 had never happened.

02-14-2003, 09:39 PM
so you admit you have no specific reason to think al kida did 9-11?

then how do u think the thought got into your head?

my point is that that is the nature of propaganda. some things are so 'obvious' that they cant be 'questioned'.

dont you think its 'healthy' to think about things like this?

02-14-2003, 10:40 PM
NO, I don't say there are no specific reasons I think al Qaeda did it. Sure it's healthy to think things through. But sometimes its a waste of time to rehash things that wouldn't change anything anyway. Al Qaeda has orchestrated other attacks--they call for more attacks against us--wipe them out ASAP, that's the most practical thing to do.

02-14-2003, 11:09 PM
Specifically, and quickly, I don't think it's certasin, just very likely, that al Qaeda did it.

1) in character for them

2) 19 hijackers were Saudis

3) bin-Laden is Saudi

4) Wahabbi hatred of US is very strong

5) al Qaeda calls for jihad

6) I think the tape was probably real

7) These fanatical deluded nuts are eager as hell to do us harm--they did the USS Cole and other incidents--they openly assert their intentions

8) and that's just off the top of my head--do we really need more than all that? If a guy tells you he's going to kill you on Sunday and you know he means it and will try to do so, do you really need more proof before you act?

Ed Miller
02-14-2003, 11:25 PM
Having gone to MIT, I had the privelege of attending many of Chomsky's lectures. Perhaps I was just an "impressionable college student," but the most notable thing about his work is that every point he makes is reasoned and well-referenced. While certainly one could argue with his point of view, this article is simply ignorant... something that Chomsky can never fairly be called.

02-14-2003, 11:30 PM
ok last post of the night.

1) agree that al queda needs to be targeted if only for the USS Cole attack. but thats another issue.

2) as far as proof of 911 you can see its a bit sketchy. as far as bin laden tape i think you see thats not much since it can be faked very easily, and we know that at least one was a fake, which leads us to ask who faked it, and why?

3) the bin laden tape (the one put out by arab sources, not US) where he says the US will 'turn into a choking hell' (eg, a police state thought crime deal) , didnt he deny being the mastermind of 9-11 (although he may have praised the attack?) ? i really dont remember.

4) do you think by (extra-constitutionally i might add) scrapping the bill of rights we will be safer and even if we are safer do you think it is a good idea?

02-14-2003, 11:50 PM
I don't recall all the details about the tapes either and wasn't aware that one is considered to be fake.

Regarding the Bill of Rights: I think for U.S. citizens it is extremely important. For "guests", visitors, those on visas, illegal immigrants, etc., I think that our security considerations now may well need to take higher priority in some cases. Also I think border patrols need to be greatly enhanced and illegals deported and the INS quickly and truly reformed.

02-14-2003, 11:58 PM
His points are extremely well-researched which lends a strong air of credibility to his writings--the problem is simply that "well-researched" does not necessarily mean "well-reasoned"--especially with Chomsky.

02-15-2003, 12:42 PM
i cant keep up with all of it but heres a link for one tape at least.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1038524483919&call_pag eid=968332188492&col=968705899037


(second one is archive of first)

ive heard or read a lot more and it all seems to be a bunch of bs at least for the tapes. (like one video with the 'fat bin laden' with the big nose who doesnt even look like bin laden)


well then as far as rights and borders you are at direct odds with US government as their policy is to get rid of bill of rights (trade liberty for security) while leaving borders wide open.

if you need links to document the mexican border being wide open very easy to find. latest story i saw a border patrol agent got beaten up (he was alone) and it took like 30-45 minutes for anyone to come help him. also heard in one county all border patrol had been pulled out and told to stand down. citizen groups are patrolling some areas because of the private property damage and criminal stuff illegal alien crossers are causing, but they are being demonized in the press. a US congressmen from southern arizona, a member of mecha (mexican KKK), says we need to 'legalize a reality' and dissolve the border. i can get links to support everything i said.

Insp. Clue!So?
02-17-2003, 08:58 AM
Which books of his have you read?

Do you really, truly get your information about the world from people like Ann Coulter?

02-17-2003, 10:54 AM
I haven't read his books, although I have read somewhat lengthy segments of his writings which seem to me distorted (sometimes insidiously so) and poorly reasoned.

I had issues with some of the reasoning tactics Chris Alger used in our past debates regarding various matters, and I elucidated my problems with Chris' approach and reasonings on this forum. This was before I was even vaguely familiar with many of Chomsky's stances. Interestingly, I later found that Chomsky appeared to use the some of same devices as Chris in his arguments--especially false equivalences-- and the holding up of the USA to moral standards which could not have been achieved due to pragmatic considerations of the Cold War and the need to employ workable foreign policy over idealistic but unworkable foreign policy (note here I am nor defending all past actions of the USA, just some), while attaching lesser importance to the more heinous actions of others which resulted in far more deaths.

In later readings of articles critical of Chomsky, I noted criticisms of the very techniques and fallacies to which I had first objected in my arguments with Chris Alger. So I didn't develop such objections due to reading others: I developed them on my own, and later found that others shared similar criticisms of Chomsky's techniques and portrayals. As I read more segments of Chomsky's writings, my earlier impressions received additional confirmation.

Regarding Ann Coulter, the only information I have gotten from her is the quote which I thought rather appropriate when it comes to dealing with true fanatics--and I got that through a third party.

patrick dicaprio
02-17-2003, 11:46 AM
why even waste your time. chomsky is like L.ron hubbard now. lots of loyal fans but the rest know he is nuts.