Chomsky quote (thread from hell)
James A. Donald
jamesd at netcom.com
Mon Oct 3 23:41:59 PDT 1994
> > Of course Noam Chomsky is optimistic - he favors limitless and
> > absolute state power and the forcible and violent silencing of all
> > those who deviate from political correctness.
"L. Todd Masco" <cactus at bb.com> quotes one of Chomksy's
pious platitudes on freedom of speech:
> In my opinion, not only mainstream intellectuals but also
> others who produce a constant stream of lies, distortion,
> racist screeds, etc., should be permitted freedom of
To put this in its proper context, Chomsky also believes
in socialism, in the sense of the "people" controlling the
means of production, distribution, and supply, and in
particular, the "people" running the mass media.
Does Chomsky really believe that such a society can
operate without its Gulag?
Is he a fool, or is he a monster?
In my previous writings on this thread I have shown
examples where Chomsky carefully chooses words so as to
convince us that freedom of speech is not freedom, and
that control of speech is freedom.
Let us examine the above quote from Chomsky.
You will notice that Chomsky has carefully expressed
himself in the manner that is least likely to make us feel
favorable to freedom of speech. He piously declares
himself in favor of it, but expresses himself in such a
manner as to make an argument against freedom of speech.
The intended effect is to make us feel that such "extreme"
freedom of speech is a bit excessive and not really
necessary or desirable.
In the above quote Chomsky implies that freedom of speech
is divisible -- he implies that we can suppress wicked,
obnoxious, and obviously false ideas, without closing down
everyone's ability to communicate political thought.
Thus he is actually making a misleading and spurious
argument *against* freedom of speech at the same time as he
is piously declaring himself to be in favor of freedom of
Let us also look at the examples he gives of people abusing
freedom of speech. Notice that every example that he gives
are powerful and priviledged people who plainly need no
protection, never the weak and vulnerable silenced by the
powerful and arrogant:
> hypocrites, like faculty senates who choose one
> particularly and usually quite marginal example because
> career and power interests are served thereby, while
> ignoring vastly more significant and awful cases because
> the opposite is true. And Congress, of which the same is
Let me give a counter example to Chomksy's implied argument
that it is safe to silence dissidents, and that dissidents
are powerful and priviledged servants of capitalism.
Edward O Wilson.
Back in the late seventies, when political correctness was
so powerful that we did *not* see two dozen books
protesting about how powerful it was, Edward O. Wilson was
silenced by threats and violence.
Among other things he was accused of emitting "a constant
stream of lies, distortion, racist screeds, etc."
In fact he his heresy had nothing whatsoever to do with
race -- indeed he was a political innocent with no
particular political ideas, who was largely unaware that
his work had political implications, unaware that his work
would be used by other people to make the argument that
property was a result of the nature of man, and that
socialism was contrary to the nature of man.
Because many of the thugs sent against him were black, the
totally false claim was made, that he continually insulted
black people with racist fighting words.
Suddenly people realized, that just as in the market every
thing is connected to everything else, so that one state
intervention necessarily requires further state
intervention in order to achieve the desired effect, in
the same fashion, every idea is connected to every other
idea, so silencing some ideas necessarily requires
silencing other ideas. In the end the only way to
coercively suppress ideas is to ensure that only a single
voice is heard.
Thus the backlash against political correctness started.
What happened to Edward Wilson then, could not happen
today, which is why it is now safe for academics to write
books on how powerful political correctness is, something
they would not have dared to do seven years ago.
The full quote by Chomsky in all its pious hypocricy.
>Noam Chomsky, in a 4/16/94 e-mail response to a question from Steve
> In my opinion, not only mainstream intellectuals but also others
> who produce a constant stream of lies, distortion, racist screeds,
> etc., should be permitted freedom of speech. The state should not
> have the power to stop them. The same freedom extends to
> hypocrites, like faculty senates who choose one particularly and
> usually quite marginal example because career and power interests
> are served thereby, while ignoring vastly more significant and
> awful cases because the opposite is true. And Congress, of which
> the same is correct.
I did not see this quote: I am relying on Todd for the
accuracy of this quote, but I have seen plenty of similar
hypocritical smears against liberty by Chomsky. The above
piece of catty nastiness is classic Chomsky, and I could
easily dig up a dozen similar examples of the kind of
support that he gives liberty.
We have the right to defend ourselves and our
property, because of the kind of animals that we James A. Donald
are. True law derives from this right, not from
the arbitrary power of the omnipotent state. jamesd at netcom.com
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