History

Chomsky on Cambodia

Chomsky, as is generally known, made a wrong call on Cambodia. In a guest post on Normblog, Shalom Lappin shows that although the specifics of Chomsky’s argument change and may even contradict each other, there is always a single golden thread of consistency running through everything he writes:

The nature of the catastrophe in Cambodia changes from one version to the other. In the first, it is the Vietnamese invasion, while in the second it is Pol Pot’s campaign of mass murder that this invasion halted. It is important to note that common to both descriptions is the conclusion that the United States is the real culprit responsible for the disaster, whichever set of events one takes the disaster to consist in.

This exercise in adaptability illustrates many qualities, but it is hard to recognize political courage or intellectual integrity as among them. It is perfectly reasonable to change one’s views in light of new evidence or a reconsideration of the relevant facts. By contrast, substituting one shrill opinion for its opposite for the purpose of promoting an unchanging Manichean agenda is a mark neither of insight nor of serious judgement.

Noam Chomsky, sneakily changing his position

Update: I see that Chomsky’s devoted followers are repeating his lie that he was “just parroting the US Government’s view“. The untruth of this statement is examined here.

UPDATE: More from Oliver Kamm.

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