Chomsky Roundup

There are a couple of interesting articles – one praising and one damning Chomsky – on the Prospect site:

First, Robin Blackburn celebrates the achievements of the World’s Top Public Intellectual:

Andersen’s tale of the little boy who, to the fury of the courtiers, pointed out that the emperor was naked, has a Chomskian flavour, not simply because it told of speaking truth to power but also because the simple childish eye proved keener than the sophisticated adult eye.

In politics, the child’s eye might see right through the humanitarian and democratic claptrap to the dismal results of western military interventions—shattered states, gangsterism, narco-traffic, elite competition for the occupiers’ favour, vicious communal and religious hatred.

Oliver Kamm is unconvinced:

In A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the West (2000), Chomsky wryly challenged advocates of Nato intervention in Kosovo to urge also the bombing of Jakarta, Washington and London in protest at Indonesia’s subjugation of East Timor. If necessary, citizens should be encouraged to do the bombing themselves, “perhaps joining the Bin Laden network.” Shortly after 9/11, the political theorist Jeffrey Isaac wrote of this thought experiment that, while it was intended metaphorically, “One wonders if Chomsky ever considered the possibility that someone lacking in his own logical rigour might read his book and carelessly draw the conclusion that the bombing of Washington is required.”

This episode gives an indication of the destructiveness of Chomsky’s advocacy even on issues where he has been right. Chomsky was an early critic of Indonesia’s brutal annexation of East Timor in 1975 in the face of the indolence, at best, of the Ford administration. The problem is not these criticisms, but Chomsky’s later use of them to rationalise his opposition to western efforts to halt genocide elsewhere.

Meanwhile TechCentralStation have posted a fairly comprehensive examination of Chomsky’s business affairs.

(via Popinjays)