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Noam Chomsky Has ‘Never Seen Anything Like This’

Posted on Apr 19, 2010
AP / Hussein Malla

By Chris Hedges

Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite and the myths they perpetrate. Chomsky has done this despite being blacklisted by the commercial media, turned into a pariah by the academy and, by his own admission, being a pedantic and at times slightly boring speaker. He combines moral autonomy with rigorous scholarship, a remarkable grasp of detail and a searing intellect. He curtly dismisses our two-party system as a mirage orchestrated by the corporate state, excoriates the liberal intelligentsia for being fops and courtiers and describes the drivel of the commercial media as a form of “brainwashing.” And as our nation’s most prescient critic of unregulated capitalism, globalization and the poison of empire, he enters his 81st year warning us that we have little time left to save our anemic democracy.

“It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky told me when I called him at his office in Cambridge, Mass. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

“The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen,” Chomsky went on. “Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”

“I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime,” Chomsky added. “I am old enough to remember the 1930s. My whole family was unemployed. There were far more desperate conditions than today. But it was hopeful. People had hope. The CIO was organizing. No one wants to say it anymore but the Communist Party was the spearhead for labor and civil rights organizing. Even things like giving my unemployed seamstress aunt a week in the country. It was a life. There is nothing like that now. The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.”

“I listen to talk radio,” Chomsky said. “I don’t want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing.”


Square, Site wide

Chomsky has, more than any other American intellectual, charted the downward spiral of the American political and economic system, in works such as “On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures,” “Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture,” “A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the West,” “Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky,” “Manufacturing Consent” and “Letters From Lexington: Reflections on Propaganda.” He reminds us that genuine intellectual inquiry is always subversive. It challenges cultural and political assumptions. It critiques structures. It is relentlessly self-critical. It implodes the self-indulgent myths and stereotypes we use to elevate ourselves and ignore our complicity in acts of violence and oppression. And it makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.

Chomsky reserves his fiercest venom for the liberal elite in the press, the universities and the political system who serve as a smoke screen for the cruelty of unchecked capitalism and imperial war. He exposes their moral and intellectual posturing as a fraud. And this is why Chomsky is hated, and perhaps feared, more among liberal elites than among the right wing he also excoriates. When Christopher Hitchens decided to become a windup doll for the Bush administration after the attacks of 9/11, one of the first things he did was write a vicious article attacking Chomsky. Hitchens, unlike most of those he served, knew which intellectual in America mattered. [Editor’s note: To see some of the articles in the 2001 exchanges between Hitchens and Chomsky, click here, here, here and here.]

“I don’t bother writing about Fox News,” Chomsky said. “It is too easy. What I talk about are the liberal intellectuals, the ones who portray themselves and perceive themselves as challenging power, as courageous, as standing up for truth and justice. They are basically the guardians of the faith. They set the limits. They tell us how far we can go. They say, ‘Look how courageous I am.’ But do not go one millimeter beyond that. At least for the educated sectors, they are the most dangerous in supporting power.”

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Joe Steel's avatar

By Joe Steel, April 20, 2010 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Chomsky mentions the ‘30s when organized labor and the Communists were active.  Where are they now?  This seems a tremendous opportunity for the Communist Party.  Discontent is palpable and it can be laid at the feet of the capitalist dominated “American way.”

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By thebeerdoctor, April 20, 2010 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

If you have the time, you might consider the latest thoughts from Joe Bageant, writing from Mexico:

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By bogi666, April 20, 2010 at 4:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually the NAZI’s had more integrity than todays politicos , they were thugs, said so,did so. American society are guinea pigs for MINDLESSNESS, the INABILITY to DISCERN their own and OTHERS, THOUGHTS FROM FICTION. Having been forged into a SOCIETY of NARCISSISTIC, CONSUMERIST,GLUTTONS. The pretend christian false doctrine of “I’m not responsible, god told me to do it and/or Satan made me do it but I’m not responsible”. This false doctrine is used by governments, businesses, churches and people which gives it legitimacy.The evidence of the “I’m not responsible doctrine….....” can be seen daily on TV.  The corruption in this country has become so apparent it’s not even discreet now. Until MINDFULNESS becomes the norm using the techniques that Noam teaches us the society will collapse.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 20, 2010 at 3:25 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa, April 20 at 12:06 am #

Could “Verfremdungseffekt”  be what constituents feel? Are we all alienated and estranged from government? Is that why there are no protests?

While that’s not actually the “alienation” the term is referring to, it is clear that many Americans do feel alienated.  Many have backed away: Witness low election turnouts.  Now a small, but loud band of alienated dupes are filling the MSM with their tea-bagging emotional and irrational howls.

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By Owen, April 20, 2010 at 1:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chomsky - a charismatic figure who has lent his name to the cause of those who deny the truth about the concentration and death camps of north-western Bosnia.

What has happened to Chris Hedges’s moral compass?  Does he really share Chomsky’s belief that revealing the truth about what was going on was simply “demonization of the Serbs”?

In the end did Hedges’s disillusionment with Bosnia really convince him that everyone was equally to blame and that his reporting of children in Serb snipers’ sights crumpling on the pavement in Saravejo was just another example of the Western media placing itself at the service of the hegemonic power structure?

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By NZDoug, April 20, 2010 at 1:07 am Link to this comment

Even if Noam is only in the top 10, he knows what hes talkin bout.
Dont worry, be happy!

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By Adrian, April 20, 2010 at 1:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A very insightful article. I am in Australia and I can see this beginning to happen but in a far more subtle way.

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By Randomcomment, April 20, 2010 at 12:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the article seems to me, to be trying to make Chomsky out to be something other than a particularly sophisticated self-aware spokesman for a certain type of leftist politics. He’s not as non-partisan as that, and no one needs to be non-partisan, especially when lots of people are stupid/crazy/etc there’s no need to compromise with them. Anyway, the idea that Palestinian suffering is underplayed in the media, seems pretty ridiculous to me. Bringing that up and phrasing it that way made the article, and Chomsky, look dangeorusly like white-guilt peddlers. Surely there are way worse things in the world than the way Israel treats Palestinians - how about the treatment of Muslim women worldwide, for example? Those battery acid attacks. The world is full of evil. My problem is not with criticizing the US, it’s with criticizing the US (and only the US) _because_ of one’s own leftist psychology, rather than maintaining human rights standards across the board. The Unabomber manifesto contains some good thoughts on why leftists do this. PS not that it should matter but I agree with leftism insofar as it preserves enlightenment ideals better than most of what else is around in these dim days.

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By ofersince72, April 19, 2010 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

Hey Cris Hedges,
Were you intentionally trying stir a riot using the
word greatest?  Such labeling had to be for some intent.
The word Amusement comes to mind.

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By ofersince72, April 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

I will still vote independent,
The ones that are still clinging to the Democrat Party
are far more dangerous to me than the crazies of Tea.

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By Jeff Blankfort, April 19, 2010 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For a less hagiographic and more critical perspective on Prof. Chomsky, at least as it relates to his writings and speeches relating to the Israel and Palestine, I offer an article I wrote five years ago entitled, Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict:

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By Kevin Schmidt, April 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regardless of criticism, Chomsky is right to warn us about possible approaching domestic terrorism, and with little doubt, also ethnic, cultural and political pogroms.

The solution in fighting the unreasonable is a nationwide crash course in critical thinking, and a way for WE THE PEOPLE to consider an issue, come to general consensus, and write the laws ourselves. This will relegate our representatives to mere figure heads with reduced advisory roles only. In other words, it won’t matter who gets elected, they will all have to vote the way WE THE PEOPLE tell them to vote, or we will vote them out of office and replace them with some twenty-five and thirty something kids who will thank us for electing them and allowing them the privilege of strictly obeying our Congressional voting orders.

Of course we’ll have to cut their pay…

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By acbar, April 19, 2010 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

I tend to agree with Balkas that the system in place now does very well without recourse to the trappings of 1930-vintage fascism.  The presence of a man like Obama in the White House, who personifies every wet dream of progressives and minorities, who nevertheless kow-tows to Wall Street and extends the
unconstitutional secrecy and imperial nature of the Bush presidency (he’s a constitutional law professor!) are to the political techniques of the 30’s as a typewriter is to a MacBook Pro.  And yet…. maybe he’s…... oh, nevermind.

The operative techniques and modalities are corporate, not authoritarian.  They perfectly suit the consumer and entertainment-based nature of American culture.  Chomsky’s visions of attacks on minorities are overblown as well. 
American blacks are not the Jews of the 30’s.  They some bad
mammerjammers.  They threw a major scare into white folks in the 60’s and would do it again.  Look at the visceral response to the Nazis in L.A. a couple days ago.  Beyond that, America is just too integrated culturally now.  So is the Great American Supertanker headed for the reefs and shallows?  Is the whole world?  I dunno.  I need another beer to figure it out.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

I think bluepunk arrives at the essence of this situation. What good is cataloging and denouncing the injustices of this world, without offering assistance to those ravaged by this situation?
I recently saw a photograph of Chinese young women passed out while working for 15 hours manufacturing Internet mouses for the Microsoft corporation. Yea that is right: 15 hour a day shifts, so Balmer and Gates can continue the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. Does anybody even question this?
MIT Professor Chomsky continues to denounce the corporate take-over of life, but does he dis-incorporate himself from MIT? Of course not! That would be cutting his own nose off to spite his face.
Intellectualism only goes so far. As Ghandi once said of the truly poor: their politics is the politics of bread.This is something the intelligentsia, of whatever political persuasion, seem incapable of being able to grasp.

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By RenZo, April 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment


As a total non-christian, I have to disagree with a few of your statements. As I see it christianity was a turning inward to the soul of the individual, at least the way I understand the message of Christ (since as I see him as human, not divine). He preached the same message that Vedantists (Hindus) and Buddhists and Jains preached about enlightenment (the kingdom of god within), realizing the importance, clarity, meaning, light and revelation bestowed by reflexive self consciousness. In any case, it was not Christ who established priests as the intermediaries between God and Man, but the catholic church which usurped his message and grabbed power, inventing its own self serving mysteries and new truths (just like the media of today, see below). Of necessity they had to interpose priests, bishops, cardinals, nuns and sins and redemption in between man and god, in order to hold their power, indoctrinate the masses, and keep them in check.

The church might have been the center of community in medieval Europe, but it was also the co-signatory on the power agreements with the aristocracy. Both groups of power mongers acknowledged the other and shared power and wealth along the same lines of inheritance, selectivity and elitism, validated and supporting the other’s position, until the Reformation. Note that the church never sought to better the plight of the peasants in this world, rather keeping them focused on saints & heroes and the life to come (like American media creating fake reality shows and movie star magazines). Meanwhile the clergy made sure they themselves had soft bedding, good food, reading material, and even willing (or silent) sex partners: all luxuries of THIS world. Protestantism was to my mind more of a political movement than a religious one; like Henry and his wives, they wanted the pope out of their business.

I do agree with you completely about the feeling, the sense of and the belonging to community however. It is missing here. We would be better off with some of that in our local and national lives.

Lastly, your observation that “Oligarchical Capitalism thrives” on “rugged individualism” is completely wrong. Everything about corporatism strives to dominate, subjugate, indoctrinate, homogenize and mesmerize the citizens they hold in thrall. They need to have voting masses to elect the candidates of their choosing, listening masses to hear their indoctrination, and addicted empty heads to fill with corporate agendas. Not individualists, but ghosts of humans, dominated by scripted “reality” shows, watching twenty two hours per day, learning from their TVs what to want to buy to eat to crave to get to miss to recommend to think to hope for and finally how to vote. Not people with their own lives centered on family or community, but cookie cut outs all watching and admiring the plastic entertainers on magazine covers. Not individuals but carbon copies doing similar things and voting in similar ways.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, April 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Many people in the Tea Party are poors and eating from food banks and food stamps.  Maybe Noam Chomsky is not desperate for a change, but many americans are beating the bullets economically and we cannot blame The Tea Party for their protests, because of the fact that the USA is an electoral republic in which everybody is entitled to their own political philosophy.  So just because Noam Chomsky is not violent and angry, doesn’t mean that we should be passive and pacifist like him.  He is not angry, desperate and violent because he has money, but many of us are beating the bullets.

That’s why USA needs poor socialist leaders with real economic problems in their personal lives, that way they can feel what is like to be poor and that way they can be really desperate for a change

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By Naz, April 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Someone has already gotten shot, konnie, the abortion doctor who was killed in church.
After Katrina, the military confiscated people’s weapons, a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act that forbids the military to act against the country’s citizens and a violation of our second amendment in the Constitution.
Now, the citizens in Arizona are going to be asked for their papers (“your papers, please” Casablanca).
All this, which is reality NOW, is what the good Dr. Chomsky is alluding to. These examples are going to spread to engulf the entire country. What are you going to do when they come for you?

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By Tennessee-Socialist, April 19, 2010 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Dayahka: You are right about the political behaviour of americans. People in the USA are still doing their personal lives, they are not into politics, they are more into their own private affairs, their baseball games, football, movies, and paying their bills.  They think that this is just another crisis.  But Americans are not even into a Hitler or into fascism.  Americans are like Morrisey who is a-sexual.  I mean americans hate capitalism and wars, but also hate socialism and any change toward the left.  Americans are a-sexual politically speaking.  And a-sexuality is a trait of apathy.

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By elisalouisa, April 19, 2010 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor, April 19 at 4:24 pmThe neighbourhood suffers from joblessness and street crime, yet the wise ones think it is important to tell us about a political activist in Burma. That is what I mean about worthless. But Shepard Fairey created the ‘Hope’ Obama poster from other images, so who I am to question anything?
Sounds like politics to me. Would be interesting to know who paid for the mural. Must be the Federal government. Aung San Suu Kyi is a political figure that this country gives backing to. This could be one way of repaying Shepard Fairey for the ‘Hope’ Obama poster. Just thoughts that come to mind. It is interesting,
thanks for your reply.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, April 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

USA needs to be ruled by poor people.  USA needs a Poor People’s party i mean real poor socialists, not socialist celebrities who are rich like Naomi Klein, i am talking about real poor people of USA, like people who smoke a lot out there, who mow lawns etc, the homeless and the most oppressed..

Because money corrupts and turns people into classists, racists, and it destroys socialist ideals. Like these celebrities selling videos and books who claim to be progressive socialists


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RenZo's avatar

By RenZo, April 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

@ Dayahka
Are you kidding? Have you read anything about unemployment statistics, the number of foreclosures, the rising university tuition, the two wars, the so-called terrorist threats, corporations being persons…..anything?

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By elisalouisa, April 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

doublestandards/glasshouses: 4/19 4;23 pm
A couple of days ago, Elizabeth Warren in an interview with Rachel Maddow said that foreclosures had reached 200,000 a month.  This at a time when the banks and other financial institutions are giving billions in employee bonuses.  If people were going to rebel they’d have done so by now. 
Could “Verfremdungseffekt”  be what constituents feel? Are we all alienated and estranged from government? Is that why there are no protests?

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By Michael, April 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chomsky has that very rare gift to convey truth with
such clarity and factual support that he leaves
nothing to debate. And his choice of subject always
forces his audience to a conclusion that demands a
moral position from an intelligent perspective.

We all are fortunate to have Noam Chomsky as a
contemporary; and as an honest and lucid interpreter
of historic and current events. He allows you to
decide from a position of truth.


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By reynolds, April 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

chomsky can spell. he can match number and tense. this
cannot can be said of the majority of his detractors.
if there is an irony in that i’m sure it not a very
interesting irony.
you want solutions? devote your energy to doing rather
than commenting on what other people do. instead of
poring over the internet, pore over strunk and white.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Patrick Henry, wrote;

“Hoffer was/is a dogmatic twit”

Hoffer from what I recall in the The true believer, made it quite clear he was searching for what makes a fanatic pursue with dogma their blind most noble cause (my words). Never in Hoffers book did I find anything dogmatic and absolute, in fact the opposite. Though I do not proclaim to know every word Hoffer ever wrote, and I would safely say I could disagree just as easily with some of his hypotenuse or opinion, this does not make him dogmatic or a twit in my book, instead a further cause for discussion.

Interesting, it seems some of the Tea Baggers are saying Hoffer is their icon?  It seems comprehension has mucho latitude and freedom, one only need observe the 200 plus different religions in Christianity to ascertain differences of perception.

In the end, “Hoffer was/is a dogmatic twit”;  Okay,....... Patrick Henry a most doggymatic absolutism, seems to me!

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By Jeffrey Blankfort, April 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For something considerably less hagiographic and a bit more analytical, I offer an article I wrote on Chomsky for Left Curve a few years back:

Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict

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By bronfreemen, April 19, 2010 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Chris,

You are one of my heroes, as a victim of right wing
religious community watch gang stalking,24/7 for
three years, it was your book ” American Fascists,The
Christian Right and the War on America” that helped
me put a face on the stazi torture freaks trying to
destroy my life.

Thank You, and know this, your work is as important
as Noam Chomsky’s, I am grateful to you for it, never


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By Dayahka, April 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Chomsky is, indeed, the rational conscience of America, but if your reporting is accurate I think he is a little too quick on the draw as far as the mood of the country is concerned. The defining feature of the current American mindset is confused and confusing. People are emotionally upset, perhaps, but they are lashing out grasping at straws and basing themselves on emotionalism instead of trying to analyze and evaluate the current situation. This is not a mob ready for a Hitler. The times are not all that bad, life isn’t really on the precipice, except perhaps for those in marginal, blue-collar, occupations. Things are still working, people are going about their business as usual, and the politicians are dithering, as usual. Nothing has really happened to cause any catastrophe or cause people to run around in a mad group.

Chomsky is perhaps anticipating what may come, but his perception of what now exists is erroneous. There is no one on the current scene who even remotely has the charisma of a Hitler; that person may appear, but isn’t now on the horizon. People are still open to and capable of choosing a wise and rational leader, though only Ron Paul fits the description. People want solutions—not blood, at least not yet.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

This morning my laptop gave up the ghost during mid-post.

If you know what Brecht’s “Verfremdungseffekt” is then you should know it is COMPLETELY about politics.  Brecht was a Marxist and he wanted to get his audience to THINK and stop feeling so he devised the “Alienation Effect” to remind people that it was play-acting. 

Of course, it’s only effective if you’ve got a damned good story to keep breaking the spell it casts.  Otherwise, you’re main thing will be to wake up sleeping audience members.  Naturally, Brecht wrote damned good stories.

Now how can we market Chomsky’s books?
“Buy a boring book by the guy Chris Hedges calls ‘America’s Greatest Intellectual’”

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By one of the wolves, April 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Chomsky says that people from the third world never ask him what to do.  They know what to do.

If you want a group, you have to start one. Either start organizing among your friends, or make a sign and stand on a street corner. You will meet people. How many hours did you work in your garden today? Do you drink Starbucks, or local coffee? Any letters to the editor? Talk to anybody about the problems? Do you lie in bed thinking about what to do?

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By omygodnotagain, April 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

Chomsky is a respected intellectual in linguistics, and his critical works are read by other intellectuals, yet outside of inspiring his peers, his words never reach a mass of people. He is harmless. This country exalts the individual, but the individual on his own is powerless. Faced with this powerlessness they accomodate, Chomsky has. He wouldn’t get grants or be allowed tenure if he started organizing in line with his writings. This is a systemic fault at the heart of American politics. As nemesis2010 outlined in his post “The pompadoured charlatans and mountebanks who stand in the nation’s pulpits have—for many decades now—brewed a dangerous mix of Christian and Hebrew (Bronze and Iron Age) tribal myths”, this is the core of the problem.
Christianity was a turning away from war, for building communities, for taking care of the less fortunate. It was a form of divine socialism. For Christianity ever to reach its full potential it has to shed the Old Testament myths. The very myths that Protestants rely on to give authority to their vision of radical individualism,greed and war. I hope I am not offending other to say we have been and still are paying the price of the Reformation. What is rarely noted about the Reformation is that removing the priest as the mediator between God and man undermined communities. Priests ran Parishes, people were joined in communities. In Protestantism a shattered alienated individualism leaves no community and no way to organize people to stand up for their rights. What saved the US in the 1930s were the “communities” created by the assembly plants, where thousands of workers could organize and stand up for their rights. It is worth noting that when the shipyard workers of Gdansk in Poland decided to defy their Soviet masters, they organized Nationwide support through their parishes (as mini communities). In the US today we have nothing like that, we will not become Germany of the 1930s become we will become as doublestandards/glasshouses mentioned like a developing country with a rich elite and the rest an underclass scraping to survive held in check by technologically armed police and enforcement agencies. To stop this we have to turn our backs on the rugged individualism, war and prosperity myth that Protestatism serves up and Oligarchical Capitalism thrives on and recreate communities based on truth and justice.

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By Tim Barnwell, April 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Two Things

Earlier today I had begun writing on how the media has both currently and
historically played a huge role in creating the fear draped society we are living

Along comes this terrific essay to frame the issue so much better than I.

So take heart, there still is a freedom to think, write, and publish h in this

Secondly to the person who commented on Chomsky’s propensity to describe
the problem without prescribing a solution I humbly suggest the following.

Often, in Chomsky’s writings I find the answer self-evident; simply stopping
what we have been doing will solve a lot of it. The rest, I believe, comes from
doing what we said we would do in our own Declaration of Independence, BIll
of Rights, and Constitution.

To paraphrase what the Author Peter Block once wrote:  ” Be honest all the
time, that’s hard, really hard.”

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By gerard, April 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Any practical ideas whatsoever?  Any organizations already working on aspects of problems such as media? legal controls to protect treatment of protest movements? ways to engage college campuses? unions and unorganized workers? unemployed workers and farmers? rebuiding of infrastructure at state or local level? organizing a stronger movement to end present wars? organizing to reform election funding?
  What groups are already working on what problems and how could they be strengthened? What are their needs? How could the internet help to spread information about their work and needs? 
  This sounds like a huge, vague laundry list.  It’s only meant to suggest deeper thinking and suggestion. It is meant to open hope to practical possibilities and give a sense of resources already out there.  It’s not as if we are powerless, but that we need to get our act together. 
  How could a citizen’s think tank be brought together to try to put the puzzle together and more toward implementation?  Who are the people already working that are qualified to take leadership and help supervise growth and integration?  ]
  This shows my belief that the ingredients for consturctive action are out there and the big problem is knowledge and integration—in other words the fundamental nitty-gritty of putting existing resources together and then taking it from there.  Yes?  No?  Other?

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By PatrickHenry, April 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

9/11 is the root of the entire problem with America and by its subseqential policies, Americas problem with dealing with the rest of the world.

The current political environment is ripe for opportunistic commentators like Chomsky given all the behind the scenes evidence, who unfortunately glosses over events directly related to 9/11.

Weefeller,  Hoffer was/is a dogmatic twit.  Anyone or any philosopher who deals in absolutisms is in my book.  His renowned quotes for endorsing zionism and excusing Israeli atocracy are well recieved by those who support Israel as a Jews only state.  I guess he had to kiss the ring a few times to be published.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

I have noticed that many remarks have been leveled at Professor Chomsky’s refusal to acknowledge that there was any conspiracy involving the NINE ONE ONE ATTACK. This is understandable since Chomsky, despite all of his criticism, receives a pay check from MIT, providing an economic platform/umbrella to pursue his interests, whether it is politics or linguistics. In such an atmosphere, admitting the possibility of a totally planned conspiracy seems unthinkable. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with alumni that includes Ben Bernanke, Lawrence Summers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ahmad Chalibi, along with its own nuclear reactor and economic ties to some very large corporations, is not exactly fertile ground for uncovering such a beast. Chomsky gets attacked for his views, but I do not believe he wants to be totally outcast from his academic credentials, which is more than likely what would happen if America’s “greatest intellectual” admitted that the Sept. 11 incidents were viciously planned and allowed to take place.

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By Anarcissie, April 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, April 19 at 2:07 pm:

Just because one has the capablity to say “Verfremdungseffekt” real quickly over and over while downing stine’s of beer during October Fest, does not make one an intellectual.’

Saying it even once makes one an intellectual, especially if one pronounces it anywhere near correctly.

In fact, I’d say it is the acid test for intellectual status.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

The thing about real intellectuals is that they don’t posture for fame or join MENSA they just do their duty and write and speak what they see as right. So does Dr. Chomsky in this area. I have patterned some of what I do after him. I don’t measure up to his intellect but I do read and delve and think in the nooks and crannies usually unplumbed and ignored. He disdains the idea of any kind of clandestine organizations doing subversion but I see where it fits in places including in our own nation-state right now.

I do see that the failure of 1934, which was an ideal time for overthrowing our gov’t, failed by a lucky accident. They, the richest families and corporations, chose the wrong man to lead their corporate armies to rule over the USA and lead them to victory and joining the Axis which they found most accommodating. From my own analysis I say that they continued to plan for a better time, since FDR did nothing to them, they helped to create similar conditions to what it was in 1934 that worked in their favor. We are still on the verge of a Great Depression, as many honest economists will tell you. We have the shock doctrine used in many countries and in places like Iraq and Louisiana. But this time it will be used against the entire USA. That is when they will come out of the closet to “rescue” us from a “failed” gov’t. One they sabotaged themselves. That is what we have hanging over our heads as the Goldman Sachs of the country continue to do their criminal deeds as our president allows it to happen with his (silent) blessings.

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By diamond, April 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Well, perhaps if people like Chomsky had summoned up the guts to face the truth about 9/11 there wouldn’t even be a Tea Party. The anger aimed at government and the corporate state is long overdue. All the worst instincts of the corporate state came together on 9/11 and it can’t now just be business as usual. That’s what people like Chomsky don’t understand. You can’t just sweep what went on in 2001 under the carpet, things have to change and the truth about the frenzy of insider trading on Wall Street and all over the world on 9/11 needs to be made public and thoroughly investigated. Charging Goldman Sachs with fraud is not enough, but it’s a start. The anger is justified and the only thing that will make it dissipate is to face the truth and hold an investigation into the facts which ends in prosecutions. They should have locked Nixon up: maybe then Cheney and Rumsfeld who were part of Nixon’s administration, wouldn’t have dared do any of the things they did.

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By Ralph Kramden, April 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment
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Not that it makes any difference to Chomsky, but I also have seen the increasing parallels with fascist Germany. I urge you all to read Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom. It is an analysis on why and how a sophisticated, literate country could become so bestial. It CAN happen here, wake-up. Look what is going on in Arizona the Mississippi of the 21st. Century.

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By Skateboardkid, April 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
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Linguistics concerns itself with describing and explaining the nature of human
language. Noam Chomsky has done this for us again. Some people are
expecting more from him other than untwisting the media’s words, and guess
these same people want him to fight their battles for you. Furthermore, not
everyone is in the same place of awareness as you, maybe they are just now
articulating their words; so let him speak and you all move to let others see.

I also see a storm coming, it has been here the whole time but we are too
distracted. The many who have articulated this, have been beaten by the ones
who are afraid too afraid to look. Many are jumping onto the hate band wagon
with out seeing what is really wrong; and allot of people will get hurt with all
these idiots holding guns. It would be hard to conduct an awakening when
there is no place to talk, or time to talk. How can we meet others when so many
are not on the same page. I mean, does it need to be a concenses for us to
realize we are being ripped off and manipulated. Do we really need to bring up
and argue over the old “less government is better”, when we all know that
really meant “deregulation”. And look where that got us. I think what you are
going top find is a bunch of people whop have not the money for internet, or
time to argue; these people are going to come out of the wood work and tell
you and me to “shut the hell up, and move out of their way”. And I don’t blame
them. The criminals, us enablers, and the ones who had no idea until it was
gone. On another note, I believe that there are people among us that have
been waiting to share their ideas, to implement their ideas, to openly discuss
this much better than you and I have articulated. That we all have something to
share, something to do, and must let these people do this and not stand in
their way. Any gun touting idiot will soon find himself out of ammo, or his gun
stolen by the nearest group. The guy holed up in the house with provisions will
soon have to share with the many who pass by. It will be like a national
disaster where we each have get dirty, learn to communicate with our
neighbors, and stop only thinking of ourselves. After all, that is how we got
into this mess in the first place; only thinking of our selves in the short term.
Like Chomsky, best weapon you could carry would be the articulation of
language. But it would be better to do this now while we have something of a
structure, and use it to eliminate the corruption. And this is not just American
corruption here, it is influences by many deals with other countries’ this is a
world community problem that needs answers not from a capitalist, but from
an organizer and dreamer.

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By Bomb, April 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
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Noam Chomsky is charismatic but an obvious criminal.
Noam Chomsky is the liberal elite.
Noam Chomsky has money, fame, power, and does not make any effort to change anything for poor people, but makes an effort to line his pockets instead.

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By Beltwaylaid, April 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
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Chomsky posits, “The United States is extremely lucky
that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen,”.... in
this respect capitalism saves us…. the bloviating,
hate-mongering, right-winger media whores are too
interested in the almighty buck to enter politics and
lead a movement.

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By balkas, April 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

With economy of words this is what i see happening in US:
Its society is much inegalitarian and thus iniquitous.
An iniquitous society can exist only in an iniquitous structure of governance.
An iniquitous structure of governance can exist only under an iniquitous set of ‘laws’; includes, of course, the constitution.

Thruout history ‘laws’ have been written by kings and ‘nobles’. Or we cld say, we have lived in lawlessness everywhere and for ca 8kyrs.

So what is happening in US is not anything new. US ‘lawmakers’ make the ‘laws’ for THEM against the other THEM or ab 98% of the pop.

There is, seems to me, but only two ways to obtain a better structures of society, governance, and laws: via a prolonged revolution or forming a party for change.

Education wld help. Alas, advertising, all schooling, entertainment, msm media, ‘educators’ is controled by ‘laws’ already enacted.

That’s why pols proclaim: We are a nation of laws! So forget ab the ultras. Let them try to break a law and make uncle sam’s day!

BTW, chomsky had admitted to me that he is not for ROR of expelees’ children. That means, that only people over sixty yrs of age can return to their land.
He’s also for the two state solution even tho he knows the unwritten law that what is lost in war can be regained only by war.
In short, he’s for untouching counties for pal’ns and a country for ‘jews’.

And where is his political party for lesser evil? Dems? Does Obama do less evil? Tell it to dead civilians!  tnx

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By kerryrose, April 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

I am doctoral student in an Ivy League school.  Over the past two years I have discovered, to my despair, that this university is deeply conservative.

I need the degree, however, but I intend to store the knowledge for later.

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By amunaor, April 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

Brilliant post, nemesis2010!

One item that, like a sore thumb, stuck out for me:

“”The pompadoured charlatans and mountebanks who stand in the nation’s pulpits have—for many decades now—brewed a dangerous mix of Christian and Hebrew (Bronze and Iron Age) tribal myths.””

Ahmed Osman’s comparative analysis of both early Egyptian /Jewish epic historical events and characters, tie many, otherwise, incomprehensible threads logically and intuitively together; dispersing, strongly guarded age old myths; and like the grain of sand lodged within the flesh of an oyster, has become very much of an irritant to these closely held myths; for they are the steam-engine driving the world’s psyche upon which the current thrones sit; secrecy maintains their longevity.

Anyone who has studied the well researched works of Ahmed Osman will begin to understand that all of the biblical patriarchs were Egyptian Pharaohs, from Tuthmoses III - aka David, down to the imfamious Akhenaton.

From Tuthmoses III and Sahra (Abraham’s wife) issued Isaac. (It is why Abraham desired to slay Isaac; he wasn’t his). Their worship was centered on Heliopolis, the biblical city, Onn. Tutankhamun, born: Tutankhaton was the son of Akhenaton - the Atonist sun cult - This is the scarlet thread, the dirty little secret buried within the ‘victors’ church history. (Ahmed Osman - The House of the Messiah - and - Stranger in the Valley of the Kings)

Following Constantine’s ascension to the throne, his first order of the day was to have his own son executed. On his deathbed, Constantine remained a true Atonist, ensconced in his epithet as: Sol In Victus.

Today’s crusading neo-Romans, cloaked in the imperial garb, inherited from Constantine; stand poised to save the world from their self induced delusional afflictions!!! The church has shed so much blood, inflicted so much psychic trauma and now, with it egocentric medusa-like, corporate tentacles of empire; its military establishment, sits poised, with blind intent, ready to blast the image of their psychosis to kingdom come!

If only Constantine had not rubbed salt into an already metastasizing wound; exacerbating a ‘Pharaonic’  trauma, by mythologizing it and weaving his own egocentric psychodrama of empire around it; giving birth to the vile religious predations and persecutions which ensued from it, perhaps we wouldn’t be facing the Sword of Damacles, currently, hanging over each of our heads today.

Christianity should not have hated magic; but human ignorance always fears the unknown. High Science was obliged to conceal itself, to avoid the impassioned aggressions of a blind love. It enveloped itself in new hieroglyphs, concealed its efforts, and disguised its hopes; then was created the jargon of alchemy, a continual deception for the vulgar herd, greedy of gold.

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

WikiLeaks—Collateral Murder:

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By Nick, April 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment
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This article was about two paragraphs worth of Chomsky’s analysis on the tea party movement… and two pages of gratuitous buttering of Chomsky. Please, something with a little more substance.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

for elisalouisa and everyone else, please do not think I object to Professor Chomsky’s attempts to question authority, what I mean about “totally worthless” is, thinking locally, and I mean my own neighbourhood. There is a commissioned mural by Shepard Fairey, the Obama-approved graphic artist, who put a mural on the side of a building celebrating Aung San Suu Kyi, the house arrested political activist in Burma.
Putting aside its rather stupid Maoist aesthetic, most of the folks around here have no idea who that person is. I’ve been asked many times that very question. After telling some part of her story, I have people who told me they “thought that was Yoko Ono.”
The neighbourhood suffers from joblessness and street crime, yet the wise ones think it is important to tell us about a political activist in Burma. That is what I mean about worthless. But Shepard Fairey created the ‘Hope’ Obama poster from other images, so who I am to question anything?

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, April 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
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When they are old every generation thinks they’ve never seen anything like it.  My parents were always saying that when they hit 80.  America is the lunatic fringe.  It always has been except for the time which is known as the “Eisenhower somnolence” when hula hoops and Elvis Presley were as crazy as it got. 

There is a model for what we are becoming but it isn’t Nazi Germany - it is present day India.  As our economic life continues to deteriorate a vast and permanent underclass will become the chief feature of society.  Control will be maintained by competing religious organizations and the escapism offered by
new technologies.  A couple of days ago, Elizabeth Warren in an interview with Rachel Maddow said that foreclosures had reached 200,000 a month.  This at a time when the banks and other financial institutions are giving billions in employee bonuses.  If people were going to rebel they’d have done so by now.  It is a slow decline into gradual acceptance.

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By gerard, April 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

If we, as “intellectuals” (and I use the word with some reservation!) could overcome our fear and take an open, creative, non-violent step forward, a way into a better future might open and we would find the courage and insight to move ahead.
  We have every ability that people ever had, and considerably better ways of coming together for open discussion, decision-making and acting effectively.
From this point on, I feel that pointing out the dangers is no more than a helpful reiteration of things we already sense or know.  By this time we are creating an intellectual Armageddon which works more to prevent action than to open a way for reform.
  Yes?  No?

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By politicky, April 19, 2010 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
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The truth is ugly, but it’s nice to know the truth.

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By RdV, April 19, 2010 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

With the exception of Hedges, Amy Goodman and sporadically, Scheer, Chomsky chastises every financially comfortable liberal elitist and party hack seeking to maintain the balance to preserve their own secure carved-out niche in the present state of affairs right here on Truthdig.

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By Leefeller, April 19, 2010 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Last time I saw a quote from Eric Hoffer on these here threads, the imbecilic reply was:

“Erick Hoffer must be a Zionest Twit.”

Of course the reply was from one of Americas most prolific groups,.....morons.

nemesis2010, if Hoffer were alive today, wonder if Hedges would be promoting Noam Chomsky? 

It doesn’t matter to me, if Hedges goes with number one or number two, though I find it amusing. 

Chomsky makes much sense. I find myself in agreement with much of what he says, so then finding myself questioning, as my usual skeptic self….. does that make it right?

“The True Believer”  is one of my favorite books, what does that mean?..... “The True Believer” is one of my favorite books!

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By nemesis2010, April 19, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

“ They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing.”

Above is a very significant statement and indicates what truly makes the current situation in AmeriCorp so volatile. It’s the fact of there not being a god coming home to roost. I was there many years back and asking those same questions. The Ayn Rand “greed is good” corporate Christianity that has been inculcated into the minds of all the dupes that fill the pews in America’s churches is going to be—IMO—the spark that will set off the powder keg of what will be an ephemeral rebellion.

Of course, as is the case with all “true believers” (see Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer”), they’ll blame anyone and everything but their mythological beliefs as the cause of their problems. Woe to the target of their ire. It may be as Chomsky claims in this article—blacks and/or illegal immigrants—albeit I find it difficult to see blacks as being the main target of their hate as there are so many blacks involved in the Ayn Rand “greed is good” corporate Christianity preached for the past few decades in AmeriCorp. A more likely target—IMO—would be gays, we atheists, alternative life style adherents, all foreigners, etc. The periphery will enlarge to include others as the situation worsens and their non-existent god still does not respond to their futile prayers and their “cleansing” society of its “dregs.”

The pompadoured charlatans and mountebanks who stand in the nation’s pulpits have—for many decades now—brewed a dangerous mix of Christian and Hebrew (Bronze and Iron Age) tribal myths. They had to do this in order to justify their opulent lifestyles. The justification comes in presenting Abraham—who is portrayed as having been richly blessed for his faithfulness—and the Abrahamic promises as the faithful Christian’s guaranteed and just rewards. The words and teachings of the Christ of the New Testament are cast aside and all but forgotten. That’s how we’ve come to AmeriCorp’s war-mongering, pistol and missile packing, predator capitalist, corporate Republican Jeebus—robed in an AmeriCorp flag—standing in stead of the New Testament’s socialist, peace-loving, white-robed, gentle Lamb of God who turns the other cheek!

The church’s embracing of predator capitalism, authoritarian government, love of military, and concerns for this world—its attempt to serve both god and mammon—is reaping its just rewards. In short, the “true believers” have sowed the wind; are reaping the whirlwind. They’ll not examine their religion, politics, ideologies, etc. because it’s much easier to blame the gheys, the atheists, the commies, the socialists, the Muslims, the intellectuals, etc. rather than face the truth that you’ve believed in, and based your whole life on, fairy tales! And it’s understandable why they wouldn’t want to introspect; it takes a lot out of you to look into a mirror and admit that you’ve willfully believed in what you knew wasn’t true.

”Where self-advancement cannot, or is not allowed to, serve as a driving force, other sources of enthusiasm have to be found if momentous changes, such as the awakening or renovation of a stagnant society or radical reforms in the character and pattern of life of a community, are to be realized and perpetuated. Religious, revolutionary, and nationalist movements are such generating plants of general enthusiasm. –Eric Hoffer, “The True Believer”

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By nemesis2010, April 19, 2010 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

@ ITW:

Since you’re so obviously in need of aid ITW, I’ll lend you a helping hand today and tell you what you need to do to resolve most of the world’s problems.

You can begin by trying to learn to think logically while laying your emotions aside. Your emotions getting in the way are the cause of you making erroneous statements like that about Hedges saying Chomsky writes books that no one reads. Either it’s your emotions or you need reading comprehension classes. It was Finkelstein that said: “Some of Chomsky’s books will consist of things like analyzing the misrepresentations of the Arias plan in Central America, and he will devote 200 pages to it,” “And two years later, who will have heard of Oscar Arias? It causes you to wonder would Chomsky have been wiser to write things on a grander scale, things with a more enduring quality so that you read them forty or sixty years later.” Hedges questions whether we’d be better off had Chomsky written with different goals in mind. Hedges is saying that Chomsky is a man of integrity; one might even say that Chomsky is a Jew with integrity! Watta are the odds?

As for Chomsky being “America’s greatest intellectual”; I happen to agree with Hedges on that one. It is Hedges’ opinion of Noam Chomsky, ITW. You have the privilege to disagree and counter with a claim that Glen Beck—or perhaps Sarah Palin?—is America’s greatest intellectual should you desire to do so. Perhaps you should set up a test and get all those who think themselves intellectuals to take it and then we’ll know for sure who the greatest intellectual is —or at least who scored highest on your intellectual test.

Chomsky did not say that what is happening in America today is an exact duplicate of Weimar Germany. He said that they are many similarities to the “late” Weimar republic. We will never have an exact copy because of social/cultural differences. You might want to read F.A. Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom,” “The Constitution of Liberty,” and “The Fatal Mistake” in order to have a broader view of how ideological systems can be alike and yet different due to differing social, economic, and cultural histories.

”All movements, however different in doctrine and aspirations, draw their early adherents from the same type of humanity; they appeal to the same types of minds.” –Eric Hoffer, “The True Believer”

Much of the world’s problems can be solved by your moving to that rogue state, Israel; so do yourself and the world a favor and move to Israel a.s.a.p. Look at the bright side of it; as an Israeli citizen, once AIPAC, Lieberman (<- the Likud party senator) and Israel get America to attack Iran for them you’ll not have to die on a bloody battlefield because we all know that Israel is only prepared to fight all of its enemies to the very last American and American dollar.

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By LillithMc, April 19, 2010 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hopefully the Ivy League will stop teaching their students to be unquestioning and go along with their corporate masters.

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By JoeG, April 19, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for this article. I like this guy Mr. Chomsky. He’s got information that
make sense. The back and forth in America gets so ugly sometimes that I want to
break a whole house down sometimes, like a little mini Hurricane Katrina.
Sometimes I wonder why we have to have political parties. Why can’t candidates
not be known only by there names. People are approaching politics like sports
fans. I get caught up in it myself sometimes because that is how the whole
discussion is set up. Most of the topics being discussed are meant to press
peoples buttons which would explain all of the anger.

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By amunaor, April 19, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

“Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.”—Noam Chomsky

Murder is the Hinterland…Out of Sight, Out of Mind….go back to sleep everyone and dream the American Dream:

WikiLeaks—Collateral Murder:

Peace, Best Wishes and…...Sweet Dreams

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By gerard, April 19, 2010 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

I think a huge vacuum is forming between what we know about our decadence and the actions that we can take to stop and turn back the decadence.  In our case, what is stopping us in our tracks is moral decay, loss of ethical standards and values.   
  Judging from typical “free enterprise” behavior, this ethical decadence is most obvious among the elite classes—the rich and the well educated. 
  The lower classes also suffer, but the upper classes are largely to blame for lower class deterioration by either aiding and abetting or refusing to stop policies that push them down.
  If we, as “intellectuals” (and I use the word with some reservation!) could overcome our fear and take an open, creative, non-violent step forward, a way into a better future might open and we would find the courage and insight to move ahead.
  We have every ability that people ever had, and considerably better ways of coming together for open discussion, decision-making and acting effectively.
From this point on, I feel that pointing out the dangers is no more than a helpful reiteration of things we already sense or know.  By this time we are creating an intellectual Armageddon which works more to prevent action than to open a way for reform.

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By DieDaily, April 19, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Chomsky is the coolest. Sure, maybe not THE greatest
US intellectual, but right up there. John Perkins’
“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and its sequels
are non-academic additions to some of the same
corpus. I think Micheal Chossudovsky
( is fabulous. Webster
Tarply ( is a veritable luminary
and sets out with extreme erudition several
comparisons between the US and Europe right now and
20’s and 30’s Weimar Germany. Likewise does Bob
Chapman ( and
he was an Intelligence operative in Germany right
after WWII. Clearly some of these pre-WWII, impending
comparisons are quite solid, if not indisputable.
See, among many, Naomi Wolf’s “The End of America”
( or Aaron Russo’s
“From Freedom to Fascism”

If Chomsky were to be faulted, I would do so along
the lines that he can be a bit of a gatekeeper on hot
potato issues such as 9-11 truth; but, big deal—
sure, it’s a strange and silly taboo, what’s to fear
with thousands of academics, engineers, whistle
blowers and professionals like architects, pilots,
FBI, military and intelligence whistle blowers—but
it’s hard to fault an academic for choosing his
battles. Taking on a taboo controversy could
undermine the more socially acceptable topic where
real progress is being made. Fair enough.

Cheers all!

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By Leefeller, April 19, 2010 at 10:07 am Link to this comment


Just because one has the capablity to say “Verfremdungseffekt’ real quickly over and over while downing stine’s of beer during October Fest, does not make one an intellectual.

Disneyland was said to have changed the name of their ride from Verfremdungseffekt to “It’s a Small, Small World”, not sure it it had something to do with NAFTA?

Wish I could say Verfremdungseffekt, almost has as many letters in it as my last name!

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By Leefeller, April 19, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Géza Éder,

Let me think on that!

Since I am a skeptics, skeptic.

I is America’s third greatest intellectual, (absolutism’s needed here) and in the name of politeness, after number one Noam Chomsky and number two Chris Hedges!

To prove my point, I will go and get cards printed!

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By Anarcissie, April 19, 2010 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

I guess Uncle Noam has been reading my Usenet articles.  See ...

Maybe not such a good idea, though.  I am not the nation’s Greatest Intellectual.  And there are quite a few significant differences between the U.S. in 2010 and Weimar in 1930.  For instance, we’re still on the approach path to a currency meltdown.

ITW:  How do you relate the Verfremdungseffekt to the political fate of Weimar?  I would say it’s an artistic strategy not directly related to down’n'dirty political matters

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By Géza Éder, April 19, 2010 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

@Leefeller: ad hominem attacks don’t really constitute “thinking”, much less “thinking for yourself”.  It’s not really that simple.

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By Géza Éder, April 19, 2010 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

““when you live in poverty the academy of ideas becomes totally worthless.”  I disagree.  The “academy of ideas” is always worth a lot, people just can’t afford it - but those who can will use and abuse it.  It’s true that pointing out this or that injustice or creating a theory of a social or political mechanism will not immediately help poor people not go hungry…but on the other hand, there’ll always be people working on hiding and denying the injustices and the general mechanisms behind them - which is important and effective work, just look at how much effect the PR based industries and education have, all controlled by a section of this “academy of ideas”, no?  :-(

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By Leefeller, April 19, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

ITW actually did what “America’s greatest intellectual”suggested what one should do. Think for ones self, even as a skeptic!  Noam Chomsky supposedly said as much in the Article!

Seems, to read, comprehend and assimilate is most evasive!

Maybe there should be a test?

Question everything, even in agreement one should question even further!  Could it be possible?

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By J. Dorsey, April 19, 2010 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“A pretence of Art to destroy Art; a pretence of Liberty to destroy Liberty; a pretence of Religion to destroy Religion.”

                William Blake 1757-1827

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By Jon, April 19, 2010 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
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What’s the sense of saying such stupid things as “Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual.” By starting the article that way you make sure the content, which I can agree with, is totally dismissed. Doesn’t this guy have any common sense? There should be no room for all this hero worship on the left. It reminds me of Marx hero worship and worse.

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By tomack, April 19, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

““when you live in poverty the academy of ideas becomes totally worthless.” ... “Yes, when the stomach needs replenishment feeding the mind is no substitute.” Also yes.

Then it becomes are the more incumbent on the likes of the Chomsky’s of the world—and those of us who agree with his basic premise on our culture—to do what we can in our selected ways to help create a world where that person who is hungry can THINK more about their life than their empty belly.

He writes for them!

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By Hank from Nebraska, April 19, 2010 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

I agree that statements like “the greatest intellectual” are inappropriate.  Many people have made important intellectual observations, but I don;t know how you rank these things.
That said, it is nevertheless true that Chomsky knows how to think outside the box.  His consistency in pursuing truth is admirable.  He is right on the mark about the complicity of academia, think tanks, and other self-professed intellectuals in perpetuating the lies and myths about our existence.system.  We are all caught up in our cultures, and we really have to work to gain an objective perspective on issues.  Most intellectuals gave up trying a long time ago.  Scientific reductionism is so convenient!  Chomsky is indeed an inspiration for all of us.

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By bill desmond, April 19, 2010 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chomsky is this generations Cassandra, sadly.  Few are listening, the background noise is deafening, the fundamentalist lunatics are multiplying and it seems another dark age is rapidly approaching.

Neither history, nor progress, is linear.

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By Mestizo Warrior, April 19, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

I for one think that Mr. Chomsky is correct in his position towards the “liberal elite.” The liberal elite know what the problem is (capitalism) in this country but will not rock the boat either out of cowardice, financial interests or both. Either way they tend to be rather useless in the struggle for economic and social justice.

The late labor/community organizer Saul Alinksky once stated; “A liberal is the guy who leaves the room once an argument turns into a fight.” So, so true.

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By elisalouisa, April 19, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

thebeer doctor:Spending your entire life worrying about the evil that people do, is a tried and true recipe for a miserable existence. If it is Hedges and Chomsky chosen reason for existence, so be it, but when you live in poverty, the
academy of ideas becomes totally worthless.
So true thebeerdoctor and with all due respect may I say that having a glass of beer aids in your quest to forget what evils do exist. I might even suggest that some turn to medication to achieve that end.  From what I have been told, with
the full knowledge and assistance of the military, many soldiers became drug addicts in Vietnam. Look up “America’s Medicated Army”  TIME by Mark Thompson June 05, 2008. Liquor and drugs can achieve the result you desire. You state, “when you live in poverty the academy of ideas becomes totally worthless.” Yes, when the stomach needs replenishment feeding the mind is no substitute. Making known evils that do exist today is Chomsky’s and Hedges’ calling you might say. Their intent is to wake you up. If one does not care to be fully conscious a glass of beer will help achieve that end and also bring some nutritional substance to the body. It does not aid in solving any
problems. I qualify that, the corporate elite like nothing better than a numbed person so if truth be told, you are really solving their problems quite well for a desensitized person is more easily controlled.
Having said that may I add that a good glass of beer or a good glass of wine is good for the soul, taken with meals of course.

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By Bubba, April 19, 2010 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

Géza Éder: “Ugh sorry about my comment, it’s pretty shameful :-(  Couldn’t hold myself back though.”

One needs be relaxed when entering into discourse with the likes of Inherit The Fart. But not too relaxed. I enjoyed your comment, Géza.

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By Géza Éder, April 19, 2010 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Ugh sorry about my comment, it’s pretty shameful :-(  Couldn’t hold myself back though.

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By balkas, April 19, 2010 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

Historical facts do not support chomsky’s prediction nor his depiction of econo-military-political scenery in US.

Fact is that US society is more asocialistic [fascist] than any society in the world. The grip on power in US by strato-plutocratic class is astounding.

It is this class of people that rules US now as it had always before.
Most cia, and fbi agents are not crazy. And they wld do, i think, anything to ensure that only those changes are implemented that benefit them and army.

Comparison with germany ‘33 reveals that nazis did not have comparable army, cia, fbi, police, private police, nor ‘private’ army.

In fact cia, fbi, army, and ‘private’ army is in private hands.
I conclude firmly that the basic structure of society and governance in US wld remain the same.

Yes, some people may get poorer!

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By race_to_the_bottom, April 19, 2010 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

It is instructive to read what Dimitrov says about fascism in the the ‘30s.

Change a few things around, and we are in the present. Importantly, substitute “Democratic Party” for “Social democrats” and the picture becomes even clearer.

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By thebeerdoctor, April 19, 2010 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

I thank the universe each day that I am not intellectually vigorous. Spending your entire life worrying about the evil that people do, is a tried and true recipe for a miserable existence. If it is Hedges and Chomsky chosen reason for existence, so be it, but when you live in poverty, the academy of ideas becomes totally worthless.

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By G.Anderson, April 19, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Lets, just forget what he said. Instead lets spend some time arguing, and pissing at each other.

Devaling critics, and people in general, its the plutocracy’s favorite trick, it saves on labor costs and overhead.

The only difference between liberalism and conservatism at this point, is who they seek to enslave.

I’m sure you can find individual conservatives and liberals who aren’t so bad, but the politics of both parties, boils down to economic slavery for all.

Yes, the mood of the country is scary, but why shouldn’t it be?

Are people supposed to be jumping for joy right now?

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By Géza Éder, April 19, 2010 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

“CH “goes off” yet again, from his first unprovable assertion that Chomsky is “America’s greatest intellectual”.”

It’s called an “opinion”, of course, also one that a lot of people on this site share with him.

“He tells us Chomsky writes boring books on subjects nobody is interested in.  Sounds like a GREAT way to influence society.  Chomsky is sympathetic to the 30’s Communists, pretends to be knowledgeable about Weimar Germany but is directly in opposition to, or totally ignorant of Brecht’s ‘Verfremdungseffekt’, a major intellectual influence in Weimar.”

I think if I looked hard enough, even I could find a book that I’ve read and Chomsky hasn’t.  But really, don’t you see how pathetic these kinds of “arguments” are and how incredibly petty you sound?  There’s not a single point with any substance in your post, just general and pretty childish insults.

“And, as usual, Chicken Little Hedges tells us the sky is falling, with no solution offered. “

Pfft, so lame.  On the Internet, ad hominem stuff is only funny if you’re really rude.  “Read” some 4chan if you like this kind of stuff, you’ll laugh a lot.  Chicken Little my ass, think of something really insulting, otherwise you’re just a half-ass wannabe troll, not the real thing.  I’m looking forward to you helping truthdig grow up into a nice /b/

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By DarthMiffy, April 19, 2010 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

The problem with this country is that Noam Chomsky is so ALONE. He should be
at the forefront, with legions of intelligent, informed cohorts. Basically, I think
America is doomed. Something else is coming, and fast.

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By hidflect, April 19, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder if Chomsky is suffering any schadenfreude seeing all the chickens he warned about coming home to roost. Regardless, his predictions are coming true and he should be applauded for ringing the alarm bell as best he could. Oh, and also praised without restraint for taking on Alan Dershowitz.

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By Diana T Brooks, April 19, 2010 at 5:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I love Dr. Chomsky and he speaks truth to the matter, but there times has change. Do you really think liberal elites is fooling people like me? Do you really think the increased in right wing militia scare people like me. There is 360 years of pent up angry running through the veins of people like me who are going to give a helluva fight for justice and democracy in this country. Bring it on!

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By konnie, April 19, 2010 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

well it doesn’t really matter about his previous work does it? this time he happens to be correct.  i can
only imagine this is where the country was in 1859.
when you can’t have a civil discussion at the family
table at Easter…........yeah -that’s bad.  what and who is to blame - the repuglican spin machine
thank you very much.  to gin up this much fear, to
actually embrace the lunatic fringe conspiracy theorists and nazi militia groups. open carry weapons?
what is this mad max?  its time to dial it back damm quick. it’s only a matter of time before someone gets
shot.  it’s only a matter of time before on of these nut jobs pull another mcveigh. its way past time for the
all of the right wing to step up and with one voice
pull their apostles back from the abyss.  the sad thing is they have waited so long to drag them back
to reality. it may already be too late - their followers will only think their leaders have been
bought off or their families threatened or worse.
mark my words.  it’s going to take something really
awful to happen before those nutjobs pull themselves
back and admit they went to far.

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By Paul_GA, April 19, 2010 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Perhaps, Inherit-the-Wind, we Americans need to make our own solutions, and not wait for the Elites in Mordor-on-the-Potomac to do it for us. I like Mr. Hedges for laying out what’s wrong; I have no solutions, true, but I think that not repeaing the tired old slogans about “American greatness” and the “bright, shining city on a hill”, ad nauseum, is a good and positive thing.

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By Henry Pelifian, April 19, 2010 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As population increases and government enlarges itself truth and even justice is shunted aside by power and money often making man’s greed for self-preservation the simple cornerstone of his memorial.  The irony is that once the earth is despoiled and polluted all the conniving and chicanery ends up at a garbage heap on land and ocean. A culture living in a disposable bubble may itself wandering aimlessly over its own barren ground.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 19, 2010 at 3:25 am Link to this comment

CH “goes off” yet again, from his first unprovable assertion that Chomsky is “America’s greatest intellectual”.

He tells us Chomsky writes boring books on subjects nobody is interested in.  Sounds like a GREAT way to influence society.  Chomsky is sympathetic to the 30’s Communists, pretends to be knowledgeable about Weimar Germany but is directly in opposition to, or totally ignorant of Brecht’s ‘Verfremdungseffekt’, a major intellectual influence in Weimar.

And, as usual, Chicken Little Hedges tells us the sky is falling, with no solution offered.

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By Commune115, April 19, 2010 at 2:32 am Link to this comment

This article is also a needed antidote to the crap Dionne writes.

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By Commune115, April 19, 2010 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

Chomsky remains a voice of wisdom even as the hurricane of madness grows more intense. I hope he stays with us a little longer to help explain the truth behind the daily headlines along with real fighters for truth like Chris Hedges.

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