Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chomsky Squeaks

Noam Chomsky could hardly remain silent in the face of Andrew Anthony's superb description of the disaster in Cambodia. Chomsky's resulting squeak is noted and shown to be fatuous by Oliver Kamm. As Kamm writes:
I don't, as it happens, regard Chomsky as an apologist for the Khmer Rouge or for other appalling regimes. I regard him as a sophist possessed of reflexive anti-Americanism. It's because his position is an article of faith that he's so unreliable when it comes to describing the actual sins of omission and commission in American foreign policy. In his position, factual accuracy is secondary (his writings on the Balkans, for example, are an intellectual disgrace).
Kamm does not of course just state this - his description of Chomsky's unwillingness to look at simple facts is compelling, and he does document the denigration of opponents, even those generally with the same political drift, who do care about facts, those annoying things.
How Noam Chomsky ever became a "public intellectual" of other than a comic form continues to baffle me. I do recall feeling convinced as I read him in my twenties; but facts pile up over life.


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