The Anti-Chomsky Reader
Points of Similarity
It's interesting how much we take on faith. It's common knowledge among us laymen that Noam Chomsky, though revolutionizing the field of linguistics, is just another left-wing kook and self-hating American Jew. The Anti-Chomsky Reader, however, makes a compelling case for the radical view that Noam Chomsky is in fact another left-wing kook and self-hating American Jew, but with all the scholarship of a Michael Moore rant or Rage Against the Machine tirade: even his linguistics seems to be built on the same foundation of intellectual dishonesty and lack of common sense.
Central to the Chomskian worldview is the ineluctable culpability and ultimate evil of the First World, premised on moral hyperrelativism and a total inversion of causality. Any benevolent act of ours can be motivated only by greed and self-interest, while any atrocity commited by one of the fashionable tyrannies is ignored, minimized, or excused as a justified response to our aggression.
Therefore, Cuba is an oppressive dictatorship because of our trade embargo, Vietnam remains underdeveloped because of our war, the Soviet Union failed because its leadership colluded with us to sully the communist ideal, we supported the Nicaraguan contras to deny them a socialist paradise, the killing fields of Cambodia didn't really happen (and as far as it did it was for their own benefit), the rape of Lebanon by the PLO was the Jews' fault after all, Al Qaeda attacked us but we deserved it, and in any case they're not all that bad— didn't bin Laden build roads in the Sudan? Part of the appeal of Chomskian politics must be that it's so gosh darned simple.
Another aspect is his disdain for the unwashed public, utterly under the spell of a pervasive “propaganda system” by which Big Corporations blind us from the truth— never mind that he has managed quite successfully to propagate his own blather. He apparently believes that such publications as the New York Times are part of this right-wing propaganda. Chomsky of course has managed to step out into the light and see the shadows on the wall of the cave.
That contempt extends to the elected leaders of the countries he professes to care about— witness the disdain for Czech president Vaclav Havel who addressed Congress to thank the United States for liberating his country from the communist yoke. Similarly the Left sneered at Hamid Karzai, the president of newly liberated Afghanistan. It seems we simply can do no good.
Readers might not yet be familiar with Chomsky's collaboration with Holocaust deniers. He refuses to dissociate himself from neo-Nazi publications that use his writings, and publishes his books with a French neo-Nazi publisher. He supports Nazi hate speech (in the interest of free speech, of course) but won't extend the same privilege to Jews.
John Williamson's closing account on his linguistics is delicious icing on the cake— the final nail that deftly punctures his inflated persona and exposes him as a cowering buffoon.
Ann Coulter has said that when a liberal accuses you of something, they're very often guilty of it themselves— and indeed, Chomsky and his fellow travelers are hard at work constructing their own “propaganda system” out of self-hatred and self-imposed weakness. The problem, of course, is that propaganda works— and that is why, for instance, Holocaust deniers are so pernicious. When the lie is unopposed, it will eventually become truth and impossible to refute. But while Chomsky is fighting for mindshare by attempting to further radicalize the Old Media, the battle is fought more and more in the free media marketplace where cable, talk radio, and the Internet now provide space for progressive right-wing voices.
So, rather than a towering intellectual Chomsky is just another stormtrooper of the Left, infatuated with his own rants and daisy chains of self-referential footnotes. It's hard to understand why the Left would pick an expert in linguistics as a most respected exponent of its politics, unless the Left cares less about molding its views to the Truth than molding the truth to its views. Although I don't accuse Chomsky of being a Nazi, I see “points of similarity” with Goebbels.
Get Used to It
Gibson opens on September 11 about a friend of his, who, being late for work at the World Trade Center, enjoyed the good fortune of merely being caught in an elevator car pouring with burning jet fuel. Many did escape a merciful quick death, or the obscenity of choosing between a hundred-story fall or being burned alive, and incurred only horrific injury. And by the grace of God many escaped with even the skin on their backs. Of course, two thousand seven hundred and fifty-two did not.
To some people, though, all this is just an abstraction— something Michael Moore said we are making too big a deal of. But under the leadership of President Bush, America set out to ensure we would never again endure another 9/11. While the Administration never claimed a direct link between that specific attack and the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq had many connections to Al Qaeda, was an active supporter of terrorism, a perpetrator of genocide, sought out WMD, had programs to develop WMD, and was believed practically unanimously to possess WMD. Even discounting Iraq's relation to terrorism, Saddam's human rights abuses alone should have been more than enough for any freedom-loving society to be happy to be rid of him.
If it was no surprise that countries hostile to us weren't happy we chose to undertake that task, having some of our supposed friends and allies turn their backs on us was disappointing and disheartening. Gibson provides a useful contribution by not lumping them all together but providing a case-by-case analysis of why individual countries or societies might have been unwilling to support us.
A special place is reserved for France. While some countries voiced their disagreement with our plans by simply not participating in them, France fought tooth and nail and actively lobbied anyone who would listen to obstruct us. Being naturally entitled to power by sheer cultural supremacy, France appears decades ago to have forsaken attaining it the old-fashioned way— earning it— but by positioning itself as the new counterpole to America by reflexively obstructing us at every turn. Former French president Mitterand even declared that “we are at war with America.” Part of that strategy included helping Saddam build his weapons programs and abuse the UN's oil-for-food program.
Anti-Americanism has existed in the world community of liberal elitists for a long time and certainly didn't spontaneously spring forth as an indignant reaction to our decision to topple Saddam— but we have for a long time graciously ignored it.
Although examples given illustrate the point, I wish Gibson had more clearly emphasized that even in the most virulent of the offending countries anti-Americanism is by no means universal. I'm not even sure that it constitutes a majority view in many places. Similarly, he forgets the strong undercurrent of anti-Americanism at home. But while just as the election here showed that the America-haters are merely a very vocal and militant minority with a megaphone from the Left media, there are people in those other countries as well who understand that America, not the UN, is “the world's last, best hope for peace.” We are not imperialists and even in Iraq have made no ambitions for territory or spoils.
On September 11, nineteen souls rotten to the core from envy, lust for death, and the purest hate took the marvel of flight, a gift from America to the world, and converted it to an instrument of terror. They launched at our heart in the insane expectation of crushing it, but instead awakened our fervor to eradicate the scourge. There may be some who don't approve of this, but in Gibson's words: “They're wrong. We're right. Get used to it.”
The Death of Right and Wrong—
The Cult of Malignant Narcissism
How did we devolve into a society in which criminals even in plainly open-and-shut cases are expected to walk free on technicalities? How did we come to view justice as a game in which perpetrator and victim are just points of view? Tammy Bruce highlights such cases and other aspects of politically correct morally relativistic multiculturalism. Coming from the Left herself, what makes her book truly interesting is her analysis of the source of neoliberalism.
And there is enough insanity presented here to make you shake your head in disbelief. When muderers manage somehow to get themselves convicted, instead of being shamed and ostracized they are celebrated and become the modern folk heroes of the Left. While few may recognize the name of police officer Daniel Faulkner, the Left elite has heaped adulation on Mumia Abu-Jamal, who mercilessly gunned him down while on his beat in Philadelphia. Their sensibilities irked by a cop-killer being on death row, the likes of Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Ed Asner, Pablo Picasso, the widow of François Mitterand, Norman Mailer, Nelson Mandela, and Amnesty International can always be counted on to shill for a criminal.
In other areas, neoliberalism has also twisted right and wrong until they are now barely recognizable. Hollywood continually outdoes itself portraying the basest aspects of human nature. Rap music glorifying murder and misogyny is hailed as ‘poetry’. Do you believe that stuffing candied yams where the sun doesn't shine is wrong? You must be a cultural neanderthal who doesn't understand this cutting-edge alternative ‘art form’.
The National Endowment for the Arts understands it. Photos of crucifixes in urine or Mary in excrement are the delight of the elite, not only because it elevates their vulgarity but because it serves in their ongoing battle against culture: among the worst excesses of which may be counted Christianity, marriage, and the Boy Scouts. Public displays of religion (wearing green and red at Christmas) are anathema to the Left unless, like Islam, that religion happens to enjoy a special protected status.
In fact, exceptions are made for every self-professed category of ‘oppressed group’. On the flip side, crimes against the ‘oppressive majority’, which includes the police and Christians, are routinely excused.
Bruce suggests a diagnosis for neoliberalism. The extremist factions of the Left are suffering from various kinds of psychological trauma that they incurred at some time in their lives. But rather than looking for healing and recovery, they revel in their victimhood because from it they obtain empowerment. So they remain eternally damaged children who see the world through the distorted glass of their own wounds. Thus any thing or any one that might potentially help them is a threat that must be fought, at all cost&emdash; preferably by making the rest of society as damaged as they are.
Hence, a deaf lesbian couple intentionally created a deaf child with no regard for the abuse they inflicted on an innocent human being. HIV patients lied about their disease in order to protect their ‘right’ to donate blood.
Perpetual all-defining victimhood engenders a hugely inflated self-importance that overrides all concern for anybody but number one. Bruce has found a medical term for this condition. ‘Malignant narcissism’ leads logically to a lack of values, judgment, guilt, or personal responsibility. Hence the epidemics of AIDS and crack cocaine are not really just caused by a lack of self-control but by the CIA.
The war on morality is being waged through the elite media machine, with taxpayer-subsidized NPR at the forefront. The academia have already been thoroughly infiltrated by red-diaper babies: witness the response of professors justifying or glorifying the attacks on our country on September 11. What is truly frightening are their attempts to indoctrinate our children with the same self-hatred and perversity at ever younger ages.
They shame us into second-guessing our own instincts of right and wrong and tell us that we lack the ability to understand them. They exploit our own ignorance to lie to us about our history. They will warp and dull our sense of right and wrong until we will be too weak to resist any longer.
The Death of Right and Wrong shows that there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance. In the true liberal sense, we can live and let live, allow people to live their lives how they see fit, without denying our own sense of right and wrong. A misplaced political correctness shouldn't prevent us from having open discourse about the far-reaching societal changes that are being foisted upon us. While we should always be vigilant to protect our individual rights, we must also recognize that with great freedoms come great responsibilities&emdash; and that just because something is permitted, it ought not necessarily be indulged.
A Principle of Powerlessness
“One mystery of anti-Americanism is not the disinformation […] but people's willingness to be disinformed.” So observes Jean-François Revel, a student of the United States in the vein of de Tocqueville, and sharing with him the experience of actually having visited America. Just this fact distinguishes him from many of his compatriots who have taken to ritual denunciation of anything and everything American without any intelligent or consistent reasoning. Like de Tocqueville, Revel has valid criticisms of America, but they are rooted in reason and a respect for truth.
One of the interesting aspects of this book is the use of a more original definition of the term ‘liberalism’ that indicates independence, personal responsibility, and the distancing of the government from our personal lives. The term has become hijacked by the Left and anything admirable appropriated and subverted by it. Neoliberalism in America now represents just blind hatred, envy, intolerance, hypocrisy, and unadulterated stupidity.
Revel cites statistics and quotes historian Michel Winock to show that hatred of America is not something particularly French or even European, but a sentiment shared mostly by an elite segment of society— or, at least, those who believe themselves part of the elite. In this sense, European anti-Americanism is not that different from the American variety. This makes sense because rabid anti-Americanism derives mostly from irrational hysteria that has little basis in logic or fact. He gives many examples of the inherent contradiction of criticisms which could equally well be voiced by the American Left.
For example, one peeve of neoliberals is President Bush's rejection of the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto protocol, of course, had already been rejected 95-0 by the Senate and was only thrown to Bush as a political hot potato by Clinton in a last-minute executive order. Neither Clinton nor any other of the 167 signatories had ratified the protocol, yet somehow America was solely responsible because we had the courage to say what everybody else already knew. Needless to say that the Left never criticized the decades of Earth-destroying pollution that emanated from their favorite Soviet Union.
The antiglobalizers, the shock troops of the Left, elevate irrationality to a philosophy. They oppose open borders but exploit them to wreak havoc in cities around the world. They oppose the World Trade Organization in the name of Third World countries they pretend to care about, but that are themselves the most eager to join. These militants pay lip service to democracy but can only advance their agenda through violence, having no discernible goal but anarchy. They don't really oppose globalism: they would absolutely swoon over global socialism, or better yet, a return to the Terror of Communism.
The French of course have no objection to globalism if it is the French kind. Recall Chirac's lovely comment to the new European countries that came out in our support, of having “missed a historic opportunity to shut up.” French papers gleefully announce rising unemployment in America but ignore the fact that it hovers around 9% at home. France decries globalization but opposes American steel tariffs. France hates American influence but complains that we aren't doing enough in the Balkans or the Arab-Israeli conflict. Even the Marshall Plan which rebuilt Europe after it self-destructed in World War II was just American self-interest: we strenghtened Europe because we wanted to weaken Europe.
For neoliberals, America can't do anything right and is blamed for all evil, but Revel has no patience with the moral relativism that excuses Islamist hyperterrorism. Similarly, while the “pinnacle of evil and imbecility” called the USSR was gobbling up countries across the globe, the only one seen as “imperialistic” was America.
Europe accuses Amerca of fascism and imperialism as a way of absolving itself of responsibility for having invented and nurtured “the two great criminal ideologies of the 20th century” and the most barbarous regimes the world has ever seen. To come to terms with this reality, Europe “would have to admit that the United States was at least partially in the right, a concession that would have caused unbearable psychological stress.” The fact that the United States had to save Europe from itself during two world wars and a Balkan implosion just adds insult to injury. Anti-Americanism is thus based on a deep psychological need.
Another perfect manifestation of this immaturity is Europe's attitude towards Israel's right to exist. Any act of Israeli self-defense reminds Europeans of culpability for one of humanity's greatest crimes. Poignantly summarizing: “Europe will never forgive the Jews for the Holocaust.”
Revel understands that Europe's own failure to act effectively is at least partly to blame for American preeminence, and hopes that his European audience will take his words to heart so that they may regain some footing and respect. Unfortunately for Europe, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Old Europe has already made a “principle of powerlessness.”
All pages under this domain © Copyright 1999-2005 by: Ben Hekster