What, No Riots? No Protests? No Heckler’s Veto? What’s The Matter With Conservatives Anyway?

Prolific commenter Other Bill just sent me a provocative link, with an implied question. The link covered an event this week sponsored by ‘Democracy Now!’ in which legitimately credentialed linguistics expert and professional America-hater Noam Chomsky answered questions from interviewer  Amy Goodman  at the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The topic was President Trump’s first hundred days.

Chomsky has been sowing the same anti-U.S. bile since I had hair, and his targets–capitalists, businesses, conservatives, whites, Republicans, the military, anyone who doesn’t reflexively barf at the sound of the Star-Spangled Banner—are on notice what to expect, and have been for decades. Sure enough, Chomsky delivered: his theme this week was that the Republican Party is “dedicated to the destruction of organized human life on Earth.” No, seriously. This is the kind of thing Chomsky fans have feasted on forever.   “Is the Republican organization—I hesitate to call it a party—committed to that? Overwhelmingly. There isn’t even any question about it,” he says at the outset. Later he says the the Republican Party is “the most dangerous organization in human history.” More dangerous than the German Nazis, more dangerous than the Soviet or Chinese Communist Parties, more dangerous than all of the organizations, cults, religions and radical groups that murdered and tortured innocents, engaged in genocide, spread terrorism and launched wars. and

Sure, Noam. Whatever you say.

Now, it is beyond denial that Chomsky’s assertion that The Republican Party is essentially evil is at least as hateful as the worst thing Ann Coulter ever said in her career of making money with outrageous statements. Such a claim could easily provoke one or more of the Left’s unhinged—and increasingly the Left itself appears unhinged—to violence. If we reject the progressive definition of hate speech as  speech that only progressives find discomforting, but adopt a more fair and realistic definition, surely Chomsky’s demagoguery is hate speech, if anything is.

Chomsky is also far more “dangerous” than Coulter. In the course of his decades of giving vent to anti-American, leftist propaganda, he has caused more tangible harm than any number of conservative trolls—Milo, Richard Spencer, Coulter have combined. For one thing, though his academic field has nothing to do with the topics on which he is usually blathering , the fact that he was an MIT professor confers legitimacy on that which has no legitimacy at all. Noam Chomsky is the political equivalent of  Linus Pauling, the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry who expended his fame and credibility to become a shill for vitamin C. Ann Coulter, in contrast, is a cynical performance artist, a skilled provocateur who courts controversy to sell books—I’m sure she dictates each of them in about a day—- to salivating and uncritical conservatives. Whose speech would I rather attend? Tough one.

So why is it that Ann Coulter can not safely make her silly speech at a allegedly liberal university without taking her life in her hands, but Chomsky, determined to demonize a huge portion of the American public, Congress, and the Presidency, isn’t being shut down by threats, riots, demonstrations by those who, quite reasonable, think he is full of crap?

How ironic! Those Republicans who want to destroy the world somehow choose to respect freedom of expression and speech, and Chomsky’s converts and allies—-the professor is one of those who shares responsibility for the ongoing indoctrination of college students into the “by any means necessary” totalitarian sensibilities for the increasingly radical Left—do not.

Why is this?

Democrats and progressives are ethically obligated to confront that question. I wonder if they are afraid of the answer.

88 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Rights

88 responses to “What, No Riots? No Protests? No Heckler’s Veto? What’s The Matter With Conservatives Anyway?

  1. Isaac

    Michael Moore and about 1000 other extreme Leftist provocateurs and comedians seem to be able to speak publicly wherever they want, saying the nastiest things possible against Republicans without any fear of violent or disruptive reaction. I don’t get it.

    Either America has unusually gentle Nazis or else the Republicans are biding their time, cleaning their guns and waiting for the right time to…actually start doing Nazi-like things. There can’t be any other explanation.

    • There is another term for the mysteriously, seemingly un-confrontable leftists you refer to, Isaac: crybullies. The term fits them perfectly.

      The Left-sponsored bullying of any speaker or any business entity for any speech that ever so slightly conflicts with the Left’s pet narratives will go on, unchallenged in any real sense, for the foreseeable future.

      But, if ever a violent protesting mob shows up to shout down and cow one of the Left’s darlings – or, if ever a pitched battle erupts between leftist and anti-leftist mob elements in some venue where a leftist darling is due to show up – just watch what happens next, no matter how the confrontation ends and no matter how few or how many of which side get hurt.

      Especially watch how the Left will suddenly cry “BULLIES!” against any and all who differ with leftist narratives. Watch how leftists will shout and march and rally and rail on and monopolize the Left-friendly propaganda broadcast media, about how the Hitlers have invaded America and multiplied like Nazi rabbits – and the government simply MUST DO SOMETHING! Watch the outbreak, the flood, the tsunami of calls for “investigations,” followed by court orders, restraining orders, and other instruments of sly, leftist-friendly judicial tyranny like civil lawsuits. Watch election campaign rhetoric, and Left-friendly media coverage of campaigns, become an even more relentless, loud, pervasive and unavoidable drumbeat about how those eeeevil, extreme-Right Hitler conservatives and Hitler right-wing Hitler Hitlers are “poisoning democracy,” “threatening the foundations of human survival,” and so on.

      I fully expect to see many non-leftist speech outlets and sources, such as Fox News, (and yes, of course, many if not most of those are also propaganda broadcasters mired in ethics poverty – just not sufficiently Left-friendly), silenced by leftist ideologically motivated and sustained litigation – sued into insolvency. That pogrom may already be happening.

      For now, the win streak continues unbroken:
      What the Left wants, the Left gets.

  2. The answer is the the political right overwhelmingly believes in the concept of freedom of speech where a growing majority of the political left does not. Period.

  3. Inquiring Mind

    Maybe it is because they have come to truly believe that by nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party embraced the next Hitler. Objectively, that is not the case, but in their minds, it is.

    As Scott Adams put it, “No one can be a bad person for opposing Hitler, right?”

    We saw the rising tide in 2016 – the disruptions at Trump campaign events we now know were paid for by the likes of Robert Creamer; the stuff you mention in your October 26, 2016 post that quoted Scott Adams, incidentally.

    Now, it has escalated where a number of conservative speakers have been chased from college campuses. Any high-profile conservative is greeted with a bunch of Berkeley brownshirts. And already, many do not believe that the local government in Berkeley (or some other locales, usually in deep blue parts of the country) will lift a finger to protect them.

    In this, they are closer to the truth of the situation than those on the Left who believe Trump is Hitler 2.0 (or that his administration is the forerunner of the Republic of Gilead, etc). The problem is that they will not give up their free speech rights (or other rights) – and now that the Left is taking them away (and yes, to some extent, California, in particular, has done so), they want them back – and they’re not going to go away or be silenced by the Left’s usual tactics.

    Coulter’s speech won’t be the flashpoint, given that she backed out, but MILO is returning next month. He doesn’t intend to back down, and the man now has nothing to lose.

    There will be more violence – and yes, that violence will get worse until something can shock America as a whole back to sanity. We can hope it won’t be too bad, but sometimes, things have to hit rock bottom before they can start to get better.

    • Eternal Optometrist

      I thought about that. But, on the other hand, a large number of conservatives think abortion is murder yet don’t protest pro-abortion speakers.

      As Winston Churchill said, the fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.

  4. LF wilburn

    As a conservative I prefer to let my vote do the talking. Democrats wonder how Trump won the election. The other Republican candidates wonder how Trump edged them out. I will tell them why. Because the ones who voted Trump were sick and tired of the lying on both sides and the pointing of fingers instead of each party accepting responsibility for their actions. Will those who voted for him be sorry? Maybe, but at least the political elite got the boot. I end by saying this, the actions of the left and of the Democrats are much more hateful then anything I have ever heard Ann Coulter say. I have never heard her incite violence or encourage it. Never have I heard her say resist no matter what just resist everything. The left and the Democrats are cutting off their own noeses to spite their faces and don’t even have sense enough to realize it. I will never vote Democrat where at one time I might have and actually have in state and local elections. Not now. I don’t care if Kermit the frog is on the Republican ballet that is who I will vote for. I wonder how many others have reached this conclusion?

    • Many have come to that conclusion, LF. I would LOVE to see Kermit wrinkle his nose and exclaim “But that’s nuts!” to a politician’s idea. Kermit also has an enforcer (Ms. Piggy) who could ‘make them and offer they cannot refuse.” 🙂

      Note that if there were a conservative third choice I would not vote Republican either. There are too many RINOs and establishment types in the party these days.

  5. Oooo I know why. It’s because an more than average right wing world view or classically liberal world view brought you things like, the Declaration of Independence and the bill of rights, and because a more than average Left wing world world view brought you things like, gulags, reeducation camps and thought crime.

  6. Other Bill

    Then there’s this guy who says people like Ann Coulter are not legitimate speakers and shouldn’t be allowed to speak at an institution of higher learning and the school can make the determination as to who is legitimate. Needless to say, I’m sure Noam would be welcome at Colby (and anywhere else) of course.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/04/27/carlson_vs_speech-permissive_professor_on_coulter_why_not_burn_books_why_is_it_different.html

    The arrogance of the academy is mind numbing.

    • That professor talks like an idiot.

      • Inquiring Mind

        Unfortunately, he and those like him are in the majority in academia. Probably even a super-majority,

        This is what is frightening… and I’m not sure what can be done about it.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          Nothing. Academia filled up with liberals 4 decades ago, and now they are in charge of hiring and tenure. So we are stuck with hard leftism.

        • I have a suggestion. It is to develop a conservative-based position that is critical of elite power-systems and which speaks to the class of people who are still believers in traditional religion and the basic and traditional platorm of values. The position you will have to develop must be capable of criticizing what has happened in America and to America, and it will have to be one that people will all really feel serves them in some way, and in which they really do participate and have a say. I think you would have to speak in terms of de-centralizations of power, that is, taking it out of the hands of a far too powerful executive authority and deliberately returning it to the states. You would have to confront ‘America-as-Empire’ and the Globalization-business class and begin to speak of a conservatism that people actually related to and desired.

          I would suggest that to do that you will have to somehow get round the force of classical ‘patriotic narratives’ which tend to gloss-over issues and problems which very much need to be addressed and are only being addressed by the Left.

      • Jack Marshall wrote, “That professor talks like an idiot.”

        That’s the understatement of the day and in my book is being way too nice.

        Professor Aaron Hanlon of Colby College in Maine not only talks like an idiot, he IS an idiot. His “logic” (if that what he wants to call it) is rooted in a double standard of totalitarian bull shit and he’s too ideologically blind and Constitutionally ignorant to see it. His entire argument is circling the wagons around the Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause” rationalization and he has flushed ethics straight down the toilet and wandered off into the sunset of absurdity. This idiotic Professor can’t argue his way out of a soaking wet paper bag and he is allowed to teach college students?

        I’d get in my car and drive half way across the United States to Colby College in Maine and pay good money to see an onstage live free-for-all debate specifically about free speech between Professor Aaron Hanlon and Jack Marshall.

        • Well, I’m pretty sure I could do better than Tucker. I’ve watched a few of his debate segments and read others, and the rightward press’s breathless praise of his acuteness just isn’t warranted. He meanders around his points, accedes to bad reasoning to be polite, and is generally best at letting his worst guests hand themselves. But he’s no William F. Buckley. He’s not even Bill O’Reilly.

          • Jack Marshall wrote, “Well, I’m pretty sure I could do better than Tucker.

            I’m confidently positive that you could do better than Tucker, but that’s really kind of setting the bar to a rather low standard.

            I’m sure there may be an equal person out there somewhere that could meet your high standard of ethics, rhetorical content, quick thinking responses, and theatrical presentation skills, but I seriously doubt it. 😉

          • I have a seven year old Chihauhau who would do better than than Tucker.

    • This is the same double speak as “whites cannot be discriminated against”

      Utter bullshit

  7. Eternal Optometrist

    Tucker made a good point (I wish he would have elaborated a little bit, but time was of the essence). If you can ban Ann Coulter the speaker, why can’t you ban Ann Coulter’s books? Of course, the answer would probably gleefully be “you can!”

    • Eternal Optometrist wrote, “If you can ban Ann Coulter the speaker, why can’t you ban Ann Coulter’s books? Of course, the answer would probably gleefully be “you can!””

      It’s simple process to effectively “ban” a book or books from a college campus; you simply don’t put the books in the book store or the library, you smear threaten the job of any professor that uses the books as source material for a class, and you crowd source via social media direct public humiliation of anyone seen reading said books.

  8. Spartan

    Because no one listens to Chomsky. This is the first I heard of this interview.

    • No one should have ever listened to him. But do you really think, if he was drawing big crowds, angry and self-righteous right-wingers would be trying to stop him from speaking?

    • Actually many people read Chomsky and listen to him as well. He has an international following and his ideas, whether right or wrong (it would require reading to know) have a tremendous influence not only inside the US but outside the US. He affects how people view the power-structure of the US and systems of power generally.

      • Spartan

        Well, I don’t know anybody who reads Chomsky. The only people who ever mention him to me are conservatives.

        • Other Bill

          Classic Sparty smarty-pants discussion stopper. Do you know anyone who listens to Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders? Of course you do. All these fellow travelers on the left have read or listened to Noam at one time or another since the ’60s. Everyone who listens to Communism Now, er, Democracy Now has heard or read Noam. You’ve never listened to Amy Goodman? You don’t know anyone who has? He’s a red diaper baby who’s adored by generations of red diaper babies. You’re being dishonest, Sparty. It’s very unbecoming.

          • Spartan

            That’s more than a little bit unfair — what I said is factually true. If you’re expanding this to anyone who might have read Chomsky at some point? How the heck do I know who has read Chomsky? Just like I don’t know if someone is influenced by Milton Friedman. The only thing I can judge people is who they acknowledge that have been influenced by. I’m not a huge Bernie or Warren fan — but in the speeches/interviews I’ve listened to, I’ve never heard Chomsky’s name come up.

            Chomsky is a flag that conservatives like to waive around.

            BTW — I don’t know who Amy Goodman is. I’m googling her now.

            • Please don’t redouble your hatred of me for saying this, but based on what you have just written, and other things I have read, there is a good deal that you are not aware of. One of them is the abundance of writings that have come out of American radicalism.

              Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, Kenneth Rexroth, Albert Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, MLK, Ella Barker, Bayard Rustin, AJ Muste, Dave Dellinger, Barbara Deming, Paul Goodman to name just a very few of the better-known ones.

              Noam Chomsky is one of the players in PostWar Radicalism which has had a tremendous affect on America (and the world).

              There is a great book which you should never ever read (please confirm that you have crossed it off any list you have or will have) called ‘The Spirit of the Sixties: The Making of PostWar Radicalism’ by James J Farrell. It provides a very interesting background to the structure of progressive thinking, much of which is based directly on Christian and ‘Personalist’ foundations.

              The book helped me to bridge the left-leaning and the more conservative positions. Thus I see a need to define and broadcast a conservatism that is capable of critique of power and does not, submissively, serve it. To define that, of course, means being able to resist the impositions of the politically correct, and also to resist mental and intellectual coercion (not a little bit of which one sometimes notices, even here!)

            • Other Bill

              But Sparty, what’s the relevance of you not knowing anyone who’s read Chomsky to the points being discussed? I think it’s zero. How many people do you know who’ve read all of “Recapturing Lost Time,” formerly known as “Remembrance of Things Past?” I have, but I’m not sure I know many others who have other than my late great high school AP English teacher. And my Aunt, who had to read it in French. How many people do you know who have actually read James Joyce’s “Ulysses?” I tried but couldn’t get anywhere near finishing it. Does this fact make either of those books less influential than they are?

              Chomsky is, as Jack has eloquently described him many times, an absolute menace. He’s not just a conservative whipping boy. Listen to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now sometime. She and Chomsky are cut from the same cloth. Red diaper babies both.

            • Honestly, Noam is a lot more than that. He’s past his pull-date now, but he, along with Howard Zinn, formed much of the anti-American underpinnings of the radical left and academia in the 70’s.

              • That may be so. And now what has to happen, within conservatism, is a thorough revisualization of the conservative project, a return to its philosophical- and value-essence, where it can also look at, critique, and morally correct abuse of power by oligarchic and plutocratic interests. Similar to the Left perhaps, but not expressive of a Marxist project.

                Despite what you or anyone else has said here so far — completely unsubstantiated and mere opinion! — Chomsky does offer a way for a person to have a critique of power. Maybe much about his view is skewed, and maybe he is a bona fide Anti-American, but there is also much in his analysis that can be useful to a critique of power and its abuses. And he provides a way and means to offer a critique. I do not see this in conservatism generally. Why?

                What you seem to me to do here, is to block that entire perspective (or critique of power). I am not aware that you talk about it. Why?

                • Okay, Alizia, lets dance 🙂

                  what has to happen, within conservatism, is a thorough revisualization of the conservative project, a return to its philosophical- and value-essence…

                  This sounds to me like a return to the core values, and reject the hijackings from both Bush administrations (New World Order, Patriot Act, Big Gov uber alles, et al.) which was when the Republicans lost me as a party voter. (I now vote candidates.) This branch certainly did abuse the trust of the common conservative, and abused the power of the USA in the interests of many other causes.

                  I do not see this in conservatism generally. Why?

                  We tend to live our lives, and want to be left alone. However, your assertion that one can crawl in the sewer to understand the smell thereof is faulty.
                  Chomsky equated America with the Soviet Union, saying both are equally corrupt. This is not true, objectively. Reagan call them the evil empire for a reason. It resounded with their subjugated populations, and helped topple that empire.

                  “By their fruits ye shall know them” is a good way to compare the two cold war superpowers. There is no contest that before 1980 the USA was superior.

                • No, he just has a facile belief that all power is inherently abusive, and that’s sort of right but a stupid generalization not worth making. The alternative to wielding power is being the victim of power. Proactive use of power inevitably involves mistakes and harm. Duh. Any book of Greek Mythology would show that. As a powerful, proactive country and culture, the US has misused power, but it has also used power well and appropriately. Chomsky presumes malice because of his biases, making his analysis useless. The US is based on values, and in pursuit of those values, which are ethical, it has miscalculated, caused unintended consequences, and behaved carelessly, recklessly and irresponsibly while learning hard lessons. Chomsky learned all the wrong lessons, but has propagated them relentlessly and warped a lot of minds in the process.

                • Other Bill writes: “This sounds to me like a return to the core values, and reject the hijackings from both Bush administrations (New World Order, Patriot Act, Big Gov uber alles, et al.) which was when the Republicans lost me as a party voter. (I now vote candidates.) This branch certainly did abuse the trust of the common conservative, and abused the power of the USA in the interests of many other causes.”

                  Sure, all that. But I think it goes back farther. I have a book that was recommended to me dealing on the Phillipine War. It is suggested that it is with neo-imperialist adventures of this sort that certain factions within the polity gained excessive control of the State. I think now, if you’ll allow me to jump forward, we live in an NSA-supervised State, an intelligence state. It seems to me a thoroughly fair observation to say that we live under an oligarchic and plutocratic system, one that so much dominates the public sphere, that has extended its power and control so far into the State, that to speak of ‘original’ or ‘Constitutional democracy’ is rather absurd. There you have a reference to the Deep State.

                  My question is: Why is it that conservatives and conservatism (the American variety) does not have and expound a critique of these power-issues? Why is that critique left totally to the Left-Progressives? But these are essential issues of prime importance to the Constitutional state, are they not?

                  ‘Abused the power of the USA in the interests of many other causes’ is, if compared to some I read and listen to, a severe understatement. The question is: Who can talk about it? It is not ever talked about on Fox News for example. What is this ‘conservatism’ of Fox News? Is it conservatism at all? I have no idea what it is, but it is not an in-depth, committed conversation that is free to talk about Power, its origin, its use and its abuse. The lens of view cannot be turned on the empire itself. I use that word because there is a disjoint between the envisioned constitutional state and what America has now become.

                  We tend to live our lives, and want to be left alone. However, your assertion that one can crawl in the sewer to understand the smell thereof is faulty. Chomsky equated America with the Soviet Union, saying both are equally corrupt. This is not true, objectively. Reagan call them the evil empire for a reason. It resounded with their subjugated populations, and helped topple that empire.

                  It is a false-assertion, though I assume you sincerely believe it, that to read Chomsky is to crawl into the sewer. You-plural place me in the position of needing to defend an aspect of the man’s views and his work because you are grotesquely unfair in your absurd critique of him. I have read 6 of his works, from The New Mandarins to Year 501: The Conquest Continues and The Managua Lectures and, despite the fact that he is slanted, his analysis if soundly Machiavellian. In the spirit of Mchiavelli in certain ways. But instead of assisting power in its projects, he exposes the machinations of power.

                  Are *you* exposed to exposing the machinations of power? No, you are not, espectially when you can apply your critique to a third part, not yourself. Then, *you* pull out all the stops in your condemnation. This is very very common in America. You can so thoroughly critique the Enemy, so much so that all legitimacy is removed to 100%, but *you* are incapable of turning the lens around to focus on your own self.

                  That is really one of the chief functions of Chomsky. It is positive in many ways, perhaps in most ways. It is negative in some ways. But the real point is: How resolute can you be in self-analysis?

                  I venture to say that I think that Conservatism has lost all its teeth. It is a psuedo-conservatism and because it does not really have a ground under it, it edges day by day, week by week, to be the handmaiden of Progressive-Marxist interests.

                  In Europe there is a developing critical position (Nouvelle Droite) which is neither one nor the other exclusively. It borrows from both poles. But it is entirely capable of critisizing American power and absure of power, and it sees America as an ‘adversary’ (but not as an enemy, and the difference is there).

                  What I am trying to explore and develop is a genuinely Conservative platform (and I include, necessarily, a Christin perspective in that Conservatism) that has teeth and can articulate radica positions vis-a-vis the existing structures. This must be done.

                • I have no idea what happened to that paragraph No 7, but this is what I meant:

                  Are *you* capable of exposing the machinations of your own power-system? No, you are not. Yet you will do this when you can apply your critique to a third part, not yourself. Then, *you* pull out all the stops in your condemnation. You don’t merely condemn, you demonize! This is very very common in America. You can so thoroughly critique the Enemy, so much so that all legitimacy is removed to 100%, but *you* are incapable of turning the lens around to focus on your own self.

          • I have no doubt that if Spartan says she’s paid no attention to Chomsky, she hasn’t. He wouldn’t be hard for a non-political junkie, non political science type to miss. I was in Cambridge while he was a radical rock star, so I couldn’t miss him.

            • Spartan

              I have a degree in political science but he wasn’t considered worth our time. Of course I know of him. Do I have to read garbage to confirm that it is garbage, or am I allowed to tell by the smell? I think it was an era thing more than anything else Jack. Chomsky wasn’t really considered relevant in the 90s.

              • Have you thought of sueing your Institution for negligence? I mean, for what they did to you? That would be sort of a new twist on the vengeance-drive, no?

              • He was certainly waning in the Nineties. But to call him an icon of the hard left is not an exaggeration.

              • Other Bill

                Whew, I guess I need to read your statements more carefully. “I don’t know anybody who reads Chomsky.” So, you mean, “… these days, on a regular basis.” Okay. So you know no one who nods approvingly when they see Chomsky is holding forth somewhere? You’re a little too fine by about half, Sparty. So we have to read your comments as if we’re reading a motion or a brief. Interesting. You’re a game player. Good to know.

        • If they mention him in the superficial way that he has been mentioned in this blogpost, they are (IMO) doing a disservice.

          David Horowitz wrote in ‘The Anti-Chomsky Reader” which I read not long ago:

          “There are those who wonder how it is possible that many of the most privelaged and educated of America’s youthful elites should come to despise their own nation — a free, open, democratic society — and to do so with such ferocious passion. They ask how it is possible for American youth to even consider leanding conmfort and aid to the world’s Osama bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins (or the Communists before them). A full answer would involve a search for deep structures of the human psyche and its ireppressible longings for a redemptive illusion. But the short answer is to be found in the speeches and writings of an embittered academic and his political groupies.”

          I see Horowitz as just another liar on the landscape of a nation that can do little else but lie. Perhaps (I have suggested to myself) to have that POV is just a strategy through which I gain some comfort in a very confusing, and very dangerous, present?

          As I have said in other places (I know that you don’t care at all what I think but I always opt to express myself as I wish, when I wish) I begin from the premise that I am being lied to. I think I am a member of a cynical generation and those like me we have perceived that we have been lied to so often that we take up a position within a stark cynicism. We make it our home. Not sure if that is good or bad, I guess it would depend on what one does with it. So, the standard patriotic American line is a lie, that much is clear to me (and to many others). Not an absolute lie, since those are easy to see through, but a convoluted system of lies-mixed-with-truths, and those are the hard ones to sort out. But then so is the ‘absolute attack’ brought out by bitter opponents that seeks to undermine the very existence of the country. How does one construct a ‘correct view’? A ‘correct history’?

          For quite some time, perhaps as a reaction to having read a good dedal of critical works like Chomsky’s (as a foreigner I notice that we tend to believe more in those who are telling the ‘inside scoop’ and we tend, sometimes mechanically and under group pressure, to be critical of the ‘standard narrative’ offered through propaganda and public relations), I was forced to internalize his message. His message is essentially that to have and use power is the critical issue. And that those who have and use power will always serve their own interests first, though they will say (ie. lie) that they are really doing it for the benefit of others.

          This is the essence of the American position in the present, and it is also at the heart of the view which most or many people necessarily have of America. I mean here the ‘indoctrinated American’ if you will permit the use of this bold and crude term. Is it fair to use such a term? Is it accurate? These are really good and necessary questions, but who asks them? Who can ask them? Along those lines, and as one who desires to define a really well-founded conservatism, I am interested in a conservative platform and outlook that can be thoroughly critical and yet still be patriotic, meaning commited to the good of the nation-entity If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, who wants to be a scoundrel?

          All that I can say is, and despite any jibber-jabber, any shaming of me personally (personal comments are often used to silence unliked opinions and ideas) I am unable to determine where exactly to place my alligience. I certainly do have very real feelings about ‘America as war-machine’ and as a dangerous, impulsive and violent power that, to serve its own interests (ie corporate and neo-imperial interests, and I use these terms accurately not rhetorically) will launch wars, just as it has in the Middle East starting in the 90’s, and lie in the most sheer and complete sense about what it is doing: this I feel must be brought out into the open and be talked about. Does this mean I align myself with the left opposition? I would rather align myself with the right opposition, yet it is rare that the Right defines such a position (yet some do).

        • Spartan wrote, “Well, I don’t know anybody who reads Chomsky.”

          You don’t know anyone who reads Chomsky therefore it’s pointless to talk about it?

          Spartan that short statement from you sounds a little like a cross between 10. The Unethical Tree in the Forest, or “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” is described in that “Even if it is not, however, the unethical nature of the act is intrinsic, and exists independently of how many people know about it. Just as a tree that falls in the forest with nobody around both makes noise and causes damage, so undetected, well-disguised or covered-up wrongs are exactly as wrong as those that end up on the front pages. They also cause the same amount of harm much of the time. A cancer you don’t know about can still kill you.” and 42. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?”

          Spartan wrote, “The only people who ever mention him to me are conservatives.”

          That sounds a bit like you’re intentionally devaluing the opposition to the speaker because it comes from Conservatives and not Liberals.

          • Spartan

            My point is pretty simple Zoltar. I live in DC and am surrounded by political junkies, lobbyists, and lawyers. No one talks about Chomsky — except conservatives. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t out there and sure, he has a small, devoted following. But that following does not represent mainstream democratic thinking. Just like I don’t think that every Republican wingnut represents mainstream conservative thinking.

        • Phlinn

          I wonder if most democrats aren’t familiar with him, but the subset who are vocal on social media about their politics mostly have.

          • Spartan

            Well, according to my Facebook poll – most of my liberal friends haven’t heard of him and, of those who have, they all think he’s rubbish. I thought that would be the result. And we all have graduate degrees — so much for the great liberal college brain-washing theory.

            • It is true that ignorance is both an invitation to indoctrination and a shield against it.

              From Wiki:

              One of the most cited scholars in history, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields. He is widely recognized as a paradigm shifter who helped spark a major revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind. In addition to his continued scholarly research, he remains a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media. His ideas have proved highly significant within the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements, but have also drawn criticism, with some accusing Chomsky of anti-Americanism.

              Foreign Policy named him one of the world’s top 20 intellectuals in 2009. He’s still probably the most important linguist in the last 100 years. He’s not some reality show star or an obscure wacko. He’s written a hundred books; he has honorary degrees from more than 50 institutions. In short, he’s a big deal. Why don’t your friends, presumably well-educated, know who he is?

              • Spartan

                I think conservatives are driving up his book sales. 🙂

                • There is another side to Chomsky and that is his philosophical background. I subscribe to a YouTube channel called Chomsky’s Philosophy (or something like that). Here is a talk he gave in Oslo titled “The Machine, the Ghost, and the Limits of Understanding: Newton’s Contributions to the Study of the Mind”. It is a very interersting talk and does not touch on politics.

                  That he gives these talks, in addition to his political discourse, in foreign settings and in the University environment, gives understanding as to why all his ideas have the reach they do.

      • whether right or wrong (it would require reading to know)

        No, it doesn’t take reading to know. I can take what he publicly espouses and avoid the sewer crawl of reading his books.

        I know the left hates me, as an abstract white Christian man, and do not have hear it in person to believe it.

        If there were any chance of debate, of looking at facts, it would be different. But that ship has sailed some years ago, and the Left no longer believes in objective truth or reality.

        • Your statement requires a certain disassembly into parts to make sense of it. Or to respond to it.

          Why it is that the Left ‘hates Christians’, and how that view is constructed and supported, is a necessary problem to go into and think through. From what I have seen, the Left does have contempt for a species of American Christianity. That is, an evangelical sort, or perhaps the sort that was help by the former President Bush (the younger). As a Christian convert myself, I have attempted to look into these questions. And I find numerous Christianities, and certainly not just one, There is very definitely a Christianity which I respect to a great degree (more from the Catholic side) which is opposed to the war-machine, to industrial war production, to the atom bomb, to use of weapons production and employment as a money-generation mechanism; which is also critical of the dehumanisation of man and the loss of a social structure of related, ethical persons carrying on life in a community in which they actively participate. And this Christianity does define a humanistic position against elite oligarchic and plutocrative interests dominating the public sphere.

          When you speak of Christianity or Christian values, do you speak out against any of that? I mean, to what degree would you practice your Christian orientation? What do you stand for, what against?

          I remember reading Chomsky writing in support of rural communities of committed Christians meeting in rosary circle type circumstances to discuss the social issues of the day (in Central America for example). He spoke of ‘Bible groups’ who felt a need to define and defend their sovereignty as-against other sorts of forces, for example the State.

          So many good questions that need to be asked, and so few who can form the good questions. 😉

          • Alizia, the dance continues:

            “When you speak of Christianity or Christian values…What do you stand for, what against?”

            My values are simple. I believe that God became man to be understandable to men, and redeemed men in the only way possible: He sacrificed his son in our place. Everyone will be held accountable for their actions (and lack thereof) one day, and that grace is available for any who ask.

            How does that play out in my personal life? I certainly do not meet these lofty goals, being a fragile, self involved human being. However, I attempt to follow the lifestyle Jesus laid out, caring and providing for my family, friends, community, and (to what extent I am capable) my nation.

            I believe in compassionate help when needed, but not institutional welfare. Human nature does not change, and humans without ambition and the satisfaction of accomplishment tend to devolve into the worst version of themselves. Taking from the producers to give to those who will not (I did not say cannot) work is theft, plain and simple.

            I believe that my treasure (as poor as it is), my time, and my talents should be used to help others live better lives.

            I believe human are the same as they were throughout history, and that technology does not change the fundamental moral and ethical choices every human is confronted with in all of history.

            I believe that our laws should raise people up, protect them, and give them a sense that justice is served when needed.

            The Constitution of the Unite States should be the blueprint for our nation, and we have drifted from that ideal. The Founders were not out of touch with modern circumstances, but created a document to spans the ages and the human condition. Judges should rule by those principles and not their feeling or what is the current fad. Representatives should make law with the whole nation in mind, not just their constituents or party. POTUS is leader of ALL the people, and a pray for him to be given wisdom. (Yes,
            I did so even for Obama and Bill Clinton)

            I believe there is such a thing as a just war, and that it is a very rare event when our motives are pure in this regard, at least since WWII. It was our responsibility to stand up to the Soviet Union, and it is our responsibility to stand up to Militant Islam. Both seek to enslave the world for their own benefit. The same is true about the Elite Establishment that are running America today, on both sides of the aisle.

            Abortion is murder, but I do not judge the mother. Those that partake in this activity are confused, deceived injured, or in pain (both the pregnant and the providers) and need healing, not the back of my hand. I believe the father will also answer for the creation and murder of a child as well.

            No sin is worse than any other, and my lie of omission is as bad before God as a serial murderer’s whole killing spree. The difference is that I am forgiven. That grace is available to the murderer, too. This does not mean there are no consequences for his actions: this world is set up in terms of harvest, sowing and reaping what was sowed. Let me give an example:

            A couple can create a baby by accident, out of marriage. This is a serious life consequence of sex, and permanently changes the people involved. They can repent of the act, be forgiven, and move forward blameless before God. However, the baby still exists. They have responsibilities and choices. They can commit to each other and raise the child. They can give the child up for adoption. They cannot kill the child and remain blameless before the Creator.

            I believe there are consequences for standing up for what is right, and that an adult considers the cost before deciding the response. Asserting your rights may be expensive, in other words, and if that is not true you have accomplished nothing.

            I believe that the designated hitter and infield fly rules corrupt the game of baseball, one of God’s gifts to mankind. Man should throw the ball, catch the ball, run the bases, and dispute the strike zone as originally intended. 🙂

            I believe there are consequences for standing up for what is right, and that an adult considers the cost before deciding the response. Asserting your rights may be expensive, in other words, and if that is not true you have accomplished nothing.

            I believe we are placed in this world to learn how to control ourselves, to learn about our Creator, and love those around us.

            How is that, Alizia?

        • Spartan

          Most of my friends are white Christian men — liberals don’t hate you slickwilly.

  9. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Chomsky reached intellectual menopause more than a decade ago. He simply says more and more outrageous things in order to get noticed. Hopefully he will soon join fellow polemecist, hater,and liar Howard Zinn in Hell, where they can both roast on opposite sides of the same spit.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        The man is 88 years old. He’s a relic of a time best forgotten, that I hoped would never come again, but apparently has. In the 1940s young people fought tyranny. In the 1950s they built families and lives. In the early 1960s they prepared to go to the moon. All that time they never really questioned the basic blocks upon which this nation was built. Then people like Chomsky got a hold of them and fed them this garbage. The rest is history.

        Now it’s not even an issue of raising legitimate questions that weren’t raised before, like why were we still tolerating institutionalized racism in the south and why did we choose to take over a losing fight in SE Asia from the French. Even then there was as often as not a sinister aspect amidst the idealism – riots, destruction, embracing hate of those you disagree with and calling it love.

        I mentioned in another post that I am a bit of a fire buff. In firefighting, almost as important as knocking down the main fire is something called overhauling, in which the firemen search for and extinguish occult fires and sparks that could flare back up later. Most of those sparks were either extinguished or, like priestly vandal Philip Berrigan and poison pen polemicist Zinn, mentioned above, eventually burned out on their own. Chomsky is one that still burned on, and now conditions for reignition are very favorable.

        However, this time it’s not about overcoming institutionalized racism or saving American soldiers from a losing battle that the US quite possibly shouldn’t have gotten involved in in the first place. Now it’s about destroying the whole US system, which they believe is a failure. Everything even vaguely conservative: the military, the police, the church, the banking system, business, and especially the Republican Party, has all got to go. The Constitution too, it failed to deliver them their chosen queen, so it is no longer any good. Any means necessary are allowed and even desirable: disruption, destruction, violence, and even attacks on the highest officers in the country.

        It seems to be lost on them that just this kind of unrestrained approach is what gave us the early Soviet state of terror, and turned France into a living massacre until a military genius stepped forward to take the reins…only to almost tear Europe to pieces in a microcosm of the World Wars a century later. Does Chomsky seek to be Marat, and direct endless murder and math from his sickbed?

        • Overall, a superficial analysis. What Chomsky does is to analyse, criticize and expose how power-systems function. He certainly does turn the US into the primary focus of his analysis, and is strongly US critical, but in other works he speaks more universally and notices that most governmental systems have such power-systems.

          Because he exposes how elite power-systems function, he is seen by those who read him as helpful in coming to a better understanding of ‘how power really functions’ and for this reason he tends to attract people who are not attracted to patriotic narratives which are, in numerous ways, lies and mistruths.

          What I notice in what you write is the ‘absolute condemnation’ as if merely by saying it you have proved it true, or because you say it with a particular rhetorical energy that it is understood as true. But that is not the case. All you are doing is stating an opinion.

          You seem to take up a position that is in many ways just as ossified as Chomsky’s position might be said to be: standard patriot’s position. Uncritical. Incapable of a deep critical analysis. Not interested in it.

          Yet there is a profound critical movement that is developing or has been developing over time (developing in the postwar period) which certainly is Left-leaning, opposed to the US in its foreign policy (in Europe this has been a strong focus of the US opposed), but which cannot simply be dismissed because you or anyone deem it to be dismissible. I think that would be a pretty bad mistake to make if only because one has to know the thinking of one’s opponents in order to be able at come point and in some way to persuade them to see things correctly.

          I have noticed that within the Nouvelle Droite (the European New Right and as an example in the writing of Alain de Benoit) an oppositional position that makes use of elements of Chomsky’s base analysis (as a critique of power, power-systems and elite control through behind-the-scenes machinations and other tactics of control). Even someone who could not be seen as a Lefty, such as E Michael Jones (very Catholic and traditional) can make use of Chomsky’s critical analysis of power, and indeed in his talks and writings he speaks of covert operations in America in the post-war period, about social engineering, and many other things which intersect with classic Left-wing cocerns.

          There is however — this is my own opinion — something seductive in Chomsky’s presentation. He develops a narrative that because it is based in *righteousness* is attractive to very idealistic young people (mostly the youth I’d say) and who feel they are receiving from him some sort of political truth-balm. I think he also tends to attract people who do not have ‘ownership interest’ in the given systems. So, he attracts university students who are looking for a way to organize their worldview generally. And he offers them a rather simplistic and binary analysis.

          I have listened more recently to his stance that the present power structure in America, if it opposes the global warming initiatives, is a danger to the existence of the planet. Huh? Yet that does fit into a pretty common narrative today, doesn’t it? It is apocalyptic and fearful and paranoid. These are moods that are infecting people. I am not sure in the end what to do with them.

          But these recent statements do not necessarily undermine what can be seen as good and necessary in Chomsky’s work as a critique of power-systems.

          In the end I have many criticisms of Chomsky and his work. But unlike you and I guess everyone else who will come forward with some hard opinion of him, I have actually read a good number of his works.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Chomsky is an anarchist, plain and simple. He was born in Philadelphia in 1928, and so was too young to join the fight in World War II. While Americans fought and died to defeat Nazism and Japanese militarism the gawky, unattractive teenager roamed through alternative bookstores, reading Lenin and Trotsky. Only after the victory was won did he start on his ridiculous theories. The man never worked a single job outside of academia and has zero credentials outside the field of linguistics.

            I am not necessarily going to take the Richard Dawkins approach of not even bothering to know the religion he rants against so much that can be roughly paraphrased as “you don’t need a degree in fairy studies to know fairies don’t exist.” However, I also don’t​ believe Chomsky is a legitimate force of anything the way the Soviets were, in which case “know thine enemy” applies. The man is an ivory tower academic who hates the very things (like the fact that he was born an American citizen) that make it possible for him to spew his ridiculous opinions and hates his own heritage. Hell, he once even stated he was glad he knew anarchism because it meant he could criticize Stalinism from the left.

            The man is simply a loud, opinionated, self-referencing public intellectual out of touch with the real world, and quite possibly out of touch with reality, as he is close to 90. I refuse to give him even the tiniest measure of respect, as I might give a Magnificent Bastard like Bill Clinton or yes, Obama. The sooner his friends mix his ashes with his compost pile, the better the world will be.

            • I have heard that before: The sooner he dies the better.

              My position — here on this blog and also generally — is to be open to listening to what people say, but to hold myself aloof from having to fall in line to what they say, no matter the force with which they say it, and no matter how absolute it is.

              Here, I get lies all intermixed with truths, and this is the most difficult material to sort through!

              This from ‘The Managua Lectures’ (1986)

              Question: We feel that through what you say and write you are our friend but at the same time you talk about North American imperialism and Russian imperialism in the same breath. I ask you how can you use the same arguments as reactionaries such as Octavio Paz, Vargas Llosa, etc?

              Answer: I have been accused of everything and that thereofr includes being a reactionary. From my personal experience there are two countries in which my political writings can basically not appear. One is the US within the mainstream with very rare exceptions. The other is the USSR. I would personally not want to be associated with Vargas Llosa, Octavio Paz and the rest. I think that what we ought to do is try to understand the truth about the world. And the truth about the world is usually quite unpleasant.

              One of the truths about the world is that there are two superpowers, one a huge power which happens to have its boot on your neck, another, a smaller power which happens to have its boot on other people’s necks. In fact these two superpowers have a form of tacit cooperation in controlling much of the world.

              It goes on of course. But it is within that tension, or contrast, that much of Chomsky’s view takes shape. I think this is one reason why his platform is attractive, or perhaps helpful is the word, for foreigners attemtping to see their world accurately and to also ‘see through the lies and distortions’.

              It is interesting from my perspective to observe everyone here, in their rush to undermine his positions (which they do not know in any depth!) come forward with unsubstatiated, absolute and incontrovertable statements! Just well-expressed opinions.

              To understand Chomsky, even if one does not agree with it, requires 1) more understanding of his position, and 2) a better explication against it.

              • Other Bill

                AT, I simply reject the notion that the U.S. and the Soviet Union were equal forces for oppression in the world in the mid-’80s. Sorry, that’s just baloney. Lefty propaganda. Chomsky’s thesis is that the US is an unadulterated force for evil both domestically and internationally. I’m just not buying it. If people in the rest of the world want to think that, that’s fine. But it doesn’t make it the case. Why do people like Bernie Sanders and Noam Chomsky continue to live in the dreadful US? Why aren’t they in Cuba or Russia or North Korea or Venezuela or Uruguay or some other worker’s paradise?

                • You are perhaps unwilling to see the perspective of many I personally think genuine nationalistic and sovereign movements in Latin America (my region so I refer to it) which fell foul of the US military-political establishment.

                  I assume that you are blocked from understanding that, from the perspective of some, the US use of power only appeared as a power-system, not as a bringer of all good things.

                  You seem not to be able merely to entertain the ideas that, to some, the invasive tendencies of the US as expressed in its foreign policies — I use the example of 20 years of destructive war initiated by the US in the Middle East, beginning in the 90s — is simply not perceived as the activities of a ‘friend’ but the machinations of an invasive force and one that must be ideologically resisted.

                  Because this appears so, you would have to interpret all opposition to these machinations, these intrusions, as that of bad or badly-informed people, as enemies of truth and right.

                  What I am trying to point out — and to some very very stubborn people — is that there is a nuanced area here that needs to be more closely examined. Power and its expressions cannot and should not by merely accepted. I suggest to you respectfully as I can that Americans of the classic conservative sort are often unable to examine the territory I am pointing to. They should be able to though, and it should be a part of conservative doctrine to allow such views.

                  PS: When I first saw the sign in the photo (I did not have my glasses on) at the top of this Blog Post, I actually thought it said:

                  Out Of Berkeley, Alizia Scum!

                  Do you see what you people are doing to me, DO YOU SEE?!

                  • Dancing again…

                    the US use of power only appeared as a power-system, not as a bringer of all good things.

                    Name a better nation in all of history than the USA at providing for the betterment of mankind. We are not perfect. But we ARE exceptional in that we conquer but leave the conquered much better than before (Iraq notwithstanding: the ROE and premature withdrawal are blood on the hands of Anti-American progressives, IMHO)

                    …machinations of an invasive force and one that must be ideologically resisted.

                    Again, does America conquer and enslave a population? Any other nation (Russia comes to mind) is NEVER there to help and leave. America did not start the Middle East conflict. We were attacked on our soil, by a foe that to this day want to soak our shores in our blood. Poke the sleeping giant at your own risk, Alizia.

                    Because this appears so, you would have to interpret all opposition to these machinations, these intrusions, as that of bad or badly-informed people, as enemies of truth and right.

                    No, conservatives see them as people who are subject to human nature, with the urge to be in charge at the cost of their fellows. What is truth? What is right? If there are no objective answers, then all is chaos. Being opposed to me does not make one ‘evil’ or corrupt or wrong: one’s actions (more than one’s words) determine the side of truth and right one resides on. Do you treat others as you would like to be treated by them?

                    Who gives when disaster strikes? Other nations rarely help each other when a tragedy strikes compared to American citizens, let alone our government. This is our ‘fruit,’ our actions as conservatives and as American citizens.

                    it should be a part of conservative doctrine to allow such views.

                    And so it is. You have every right to navel gaze all you wish. More power to you. 🙂 Just don’t think the ivory tower and alone time necessarily lend you greater truth or a better argument. We still have to live our lives as best we can.

                    I appreciate your patience with my rebuttal, Alizia. I think we agree more than not on what really counts.

                    • In my case a close reading of Chomsky forefronted the issue of power and justice and I had to think my way through it. Your argument, at least for it to have the semblence of ethicalness, requires that you rationalize the use of power, which is to say dominating others through one’s superior power, by making sure you qualify it with some benefit offered. I have thought, and it is I think pretty true, that we can all say that an American century has been better than, say, a German or a Japanese century. Or a Stalinist one. But it is still an argument that is based on a subjective standard, and lots of rationalization.

                      I am reminded of the argument of Thracymachus: “In ethics, Thrasymachus’ ideas have often been seen as the first fundamental critique of moral values. Thrasymachus’ insistence that justice is nothing but the advantage of the stronger seems to support the view that moral values are socially constructed and are nothing but the reflection of the interests of particular political communities. Thrasymachus can thus be read as a foreshadowing of Nietzsche, who argues as well that moral values need to be understood as socially constructed entities. In political theory, Thrasymachus has often been seen as a spokesperson for a cynical realism that contends that might makes right.”

                      You have assigned to yourself a role, and you have made your own evaluation of your value. It stands only because you assert it. It is a circular argument and a self-serving one. However, it is an argument that is quite aware and conscious of the underlying — the necessarily underlying — power-dynamic. So, to protect this free world that America oversees, there is no length to which America cannot go to ensure that it holds power. It can thus use all power at its disposal, and take it to any extreme, in order to ensure that it holds to power. Because it is the better alternative, et cetera et cetera. Unfortunatley, if you extend those arguments into the real world they very quickly become problematic.

                      So at the very least you have, I think, exposed the undercurrent of power, and the truth about power. It is of course easy to speak about it in relation to a large world-power such as the US, but Chomsky often points out that it is the same basic dynamic that functions in most — all? — political systems. The powerful justify their having power with arguments like yours.

                      So right there I can say that there is a definite *good* in the work of Chomsky. True, to put all the elements on the board and to be capable of seeing the good and the bad, or rather the good and the evil, in clear light should be the objective of intellectual effort. The downside of your argument is that it requires obfuscation and lying. Even if something (an invasion, an attack, a provoked war, a power-play, what-have-you) is really just that (an unjust use of power in the Platonic sense), you have to concoct a lie to cover it over. And in this sense *patriotism* is the willing acceptance of those lies. When things get really acute, in crisis for example, it then becomes a crime not to be *patriotic*, and very quickly it becomes a crime to tell the truth.

                  • Other Bill

                    AT, I know you’re in South America. Here’s my politically incorrect view: The Latin temperament and culture is a winner take all, zero sum game, tribal culture, going back to its Arabic roots, through Imperial Rome, onto the Iberian peninsula and then through out the Spanish Empire. I’m almost of the opinion Latins are essentially incapable of any form of self-government other than by strong man. If there were a total vacuum in South and Central America and Mexico and the Phillipines, what would fill the vacuum? Strongmen. Don’t blame this on the U.S. Look to your own citizenry and what they want. They want a Chavez or a Castro or a Duarte or a Maduro or a Frano or a Marcos. How many times do we have to see this movie. But it’s always the fault of the Uncle Sam. Baloney. And by the way, last time I checked, the U.S. freed the Phillipines and Cuba and Puerto Rico from the Spanish crown. Puerto Rico wants to become a US state for goodness sake. The US gave Cuba back to the Cubans. The Phillipines is happily free of the US, unless it needs bailing out. The US is not imperialist.

                    As the Christianity being a basis for social policy: Baloney. Let the priests preach to their congregations on Sunday to save their souls so they have a nice after life. But keep them out of politics. I’ll take moderated capitalism and constitutional government over Merton or St. Augustine. I think anyone who believes in an after life is delusional. They can philosophize all they want but keep them out of moderating social affairs.

                    • In Latin America … but not of it!

                      I have actually thought all those thoughts. I do not have much respect for Latin America or Latin Americans to be quite truthful.

                      There is a part that you are leaving out though and that has to do with the ‘roots of American hemispherical hegemony’. The root is of course in the Caribbean and all different sorts of enterprise and adventurism. Right there is illustrated the basic differences between two very different cultures, very differently advantaged. One ‘the Sleepy Spaniard’ and the other the aggressive, ever-unstable, grasping and ambitious Yankee.

                      What I do want to point out though is that even at the time of that adventurism there were voices — opposing voices — that warned that this adventurism, these conquests, though the felt inevitable and ‘manifest’, would do harm to the Republic. This I think you do not take into account. One, the adventurism in and of itself, and two the effect on the Republic.

                      I think that there is — there should be — a conservative and Republic-centered argument against neo-imperialism and adventurism of the sort that the US is famous for. There is one of course but it is buried and few pay attention to it.

                    • Father Bill wrote: “As the Christianity being a basis for social policy: Baloney. Let the priests preach to their congregations on Sunday to save their souls so they have a nice after life. But keep them out of politics. I’ll take moderated capitalism and constitutional government over Merton or St. Augustine. I think anyone who believes in an after life is delusional. They can philosophize all they want but keep them out of moderating social affairs.”

                      An honest Christianty, in my opinion, leads to social awareness and social commitment which necessarily produces an ethically-oriented person who feels very many good reasons to act well, nicely and properly. In my own case (actively studing a very traditional Catholicism and working my way through complex volumes of theology) I can see very clearly that it is Christianity as a perception-system that opens an individual up to higher dimensions of experience which, of course, depends on divine response. You are sure that this does not exist, I am sure that it does, and never the twain shall meet. Therefor, I am dedicated to keeping that connection open to higher orders which is of course symbolized (or enacted) in the proper traditional Mass. At least I can say that I understand this intellectually.

                      I think you are very wrong about the relationship between Christian and Catholic teachings and the social world, and the world of social justice. I personally think that a non-believing culture will, sooner, or perhaps later, descend into various forms of chaos. The reason is obviously because there is a Grace-connection that is realized by an individual in his own soul and spiirtual work. This is simple part-and-parcel of the Occidental self. So much so that it is impossible to deny (though it is denied).

                      Lose Grace, lose everything. I do not say this as a religious zealot. I say it more because it appears intellectually true. Deeply and almost self-evidentially intellectually true. I will one day be able to state all this convincingly if I am unable to now.

                    • I challenged you, Alizia, to name a better nation, a better system, in the history of mankind. Short of the kingdom of Solomon, I cannot name one myself.
                      Instead you brushed that aside with intellectual balderdash that takes away from the achievement of the American experiment. Real people live in the real world. Intellectual pursuit has to come to a practical use, or it is nothing more than contemplation of one’s own belly button.

                      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and in our practical world the USA is the best system ever tried, warts and all. Of course the use of power is necessary: God had Israel use power many times to correct wrongs, and it is the way of this fallen world, where good must struggle with bad.

                    • I do not know how to respond to your statements. They seem binary to me. You establish an either/or and place me in a position that if I choose the non-preferred one I must deny the American experiment. I do not think that you are aware that there are other possibilities in approaching these questions.

                      At the same time I am just not prepared to respond so quickly, either to what you wrote about your relationship to Christian faith, or this your present statement. What I can say is that these perspectives are fundamentally American and your views arise out of ‘the tenets of the American civil religion’. I suppose that you know this.

                      There is an interesting editorial piece in the NYTs this morning by Pankaj Mishra (his Wiki bio is interesting) called “America, From Exceptionalism to Nihilism”. Here is the opening paragraphs:

                      MASHOBRA, India — “The world is going America’s way,” Fareed Zakaria wrote in 2008. “Countries are becoming more open, market friendly and democratic.” Since the fall of communism, American leaders in politics, business and journalism have repeatedly broadcast the conceit that we live, or will soon live, in the best of all possible worlds. Not even 9/11, the bloody stalemates in Iraq and Afghanistan or the worst economic crisis since the Depression challenged faith in a benignly Americanized world. Barack Obama declared last year that “if you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you’d choose this one. Right here in America, right now.”

                      What finally shattered such Panglossian notions was the demagogue on the campaign trail last year who ranted, credibly to many, about “American carnage.” It took the rise of Donald J. Trump in a harshly polarized country to shatter the belief that, as the critic Philip Rahv wrote in the early 1950s, the United States “is in its very nature immune to tragic social conflicts and collisions.”

                      Rahv was writing out of the West’s early 20th-century experience of endless economic crises, wrenching social and political conflicts and far-right insurrections. Today, an America led by a Twitter troll, who was elected and now governs with the help of fake news, manifests not only similar pathologies, which are characteristic of modernity — but also something more ominous: an unprecedented onslaught against the very notion of truth.

                      Extravagant promises by ruling elites, and their unexamined assumptions, are at least partly to blame for this moral breakdown in the world’s most powerful country. In 2011, for instance, Mr. Obama had claimed, “We are perfectly poised to make the 21st century again the American Century.” But such onward-and-upward narratives seemed to mock the suffering, despair and frustration exposed in different ways by Black Lives Matter or the white Rust-Belt proletariat. Mr. Obama, who recently accepted a very lucrative speaking engagement on Wall Street, now looks like just one of the fortunate members of historically depressed minorities who mistake their own upward mobility for collective advance.

                      Generalizing about the world at large on the basis of personal success, or proclaiming that life has never been so wonderful, can be politically disastrous, it turns out, especially when loss, decay and fear sum up the experiences of many other people. We will have learned nothing from Mr. Trump’s victory if we do not examine today how and why American elites came to indulge in ressentiment-generating boosterism just as economic and cultural inequality was becoming intolerable to so many, and how their loss of intellectual credibility and moral authority brought about the post-truth era.

                      It is worth reading if only because it provides a perspective of someone writing from outside the system. I do not agree necessarily with what he is presenting but that is not exactly the point. It is a thoughtful and interesting perspective and one that has strong constructive elements. It also points to developing trends and, I think, developing crisis.

                • The NYT article has some good points, from where I sit, regarding the elite establishment and their self imposed blindness as to the consequences their self enrichment has imposed on most Americans.
                  They seem to play a game where the difference between win and lose is degree of wealth, instead of real skin in the game like the rest of us. The idea that they might go hungry never breaches their calculations, because it is not possible in the redoubts (physical and psychological) they have constructed to keep other’s reality at bay. Thus the frustrations of the (in their eyes) peasants in fly over country are incomprehensible. We should be glad they allow us to keep what we toil for, in their minds. Yet they do not toil, as we know it, but take from the work of others as if it were their right, having been born to rule, so much more intelligent, more intellectual, and in possession of the correct opinions and deduced universal truths (even if those change at a whim.)

                  They believe (even now) themselves Lords of all they survey, and yet the election of Trump shook them badly. The careful script they wrote has gone awry; the carefully chosen leader from their ranks has lost; the peasants revolted (how dare they!) and so they flail about looking for something to blame (Russians! Alt Right Racists! White Supremacists! Stupid Voters! Self Denigrating Female Trump Voters!) The list seems endless.

                  Yes, the game is changing, and not to their liking.

                  • Other Bill

                    AT, once you’re done reading the op-ed from India, I have a suggestion: Go to India. See what it’s like for yourself. From the two weeks I spent in and around New Delhi, I’d say it’s Hell on Earth for most of its inhabitants. As a result, I’d say this guy doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

                    • Other Bill

                      AT, why do I need to believe in a supreme being and an after life to treat my fellow humans with respect?

                      How is South America different from the Caribbean or Central America?

                      If the US is the Great Yanqui Imperialist, why have the Castros blamed Cuba’s abject economic failure on the US embargo? Can’t Cuba trade with everyone else in the world? Why are American tourists the sine qua non of Cuba’s economic health?

                    • I do not think that man’s opinions (he is an essayist from India and his Wiki bio gives a sense of where he is coming from) should be seen as India commenting on the US. But rather he notices the nihilism developing and speaks of it.

                      The conditions in India are not relevant to the opinions of this man.

                      In my view both of you have demonstrated that you are completely un-open to critical self-examination. Because this is so, and because a critical examination is completely crucial now, I cannot see how either of you have or can even develop a useful platform. Your position is sort of American-jingoist.

                      I think that intelligent analysis requires more — much more.

                    • AT, 1) why do I need to believe in a supreme being and an after life to treat my fellow humans with respect?

                      2) How is South America different from the Caribbean or Central America?

                      3) If the US is the Great Yanqui Imperialist, why have the Castros blamed Cuba’s abject economic failure on the US embargo? Can’t Cuba trade with everyone else in the world? 4) Why are American tourists the sine qua non of Cuba’s economic health?

                      1) I think the simplest answer is that whn traditional Christian culture, established within the society and practiced, appreciated, and valued, is destroyed that out of that destruction has come the largest atrocities, at least in terms of numbers of the dead (if that is an acceptable measure). I would likely start from that point to construct an argument as to how a Christian perspective tends to produce a more decent society and why the lack of it leads to a nihilistic relationship.

                      I think that one could successfully argue that the entire and holistic understanding of life, in all its dimensions, including the imagined future-life (I use imagined only in the sense of visualized, not unreal or hallucinated).

                      The structures of Christian belief, in so many different diemnsions, have been a part of the Occidental self that there is effectively no way to imagine that self free of the influence of Chrisian doctrine. It is infused in all the values that you value, in language, in patterns of thought. You could not ever become disentangled from it. You are a direct product of it.

                      2) Not sure what you mean. I said that in the Central American basin one discovers the historical beginning of American hegemony and American mercantile neo-imperialism. That’s all. It is an accurate statement about political facts. Historically, the further away from America, the further away from American interests.

                      You seem to desire to set up a polarity that I avoid. I am not anti-American. In numerous ways I am more pro-American than I am in favor (or respecting) of any specific South American government.

                      But I can distinguish between the use of power to secure self-interested ends and the questionable claim that any use of power is of necessity a ‘good’. That is basically your argument, and it is the classic American *argument*. It is circular and serves itself. Therefor, you are incapable of self-criticism, or your criticism would amount to self-deception and ‘lie’.

                      The upper echelons of power are rarely deceived, I think, and so they take advantage of these sorts of structures-of-view to keep people corralled in that structure of view.

                      But some people, and for different reasons, research other perspectives. At the extrem you have a group of American radicals and ‘American Radicalism’, a real thing. And there are many variants of this critical position, and there is certainly a Christian and a Catholic one.

                      American Conservatism is, I think, in spasms of death overall. It can only define a position of service to the reigning doctrines which are not conservative but State-Progressive (in fact I am uncertain how to define what the ruling ideology is). But it is worthwhile to attempt to define a viable Conservatism and to critique the ‘Cucks’ as they are called. But unless one can really define conservatism, one is more or less in the same boat.

                    • I wrote: “I think that one could successfully argue that the entire and holistic understanding of life, in all its dimensions, including the imagined future-life (I use imagined only in the sense of visualized, not unreal or hallucinated).”

                      And I meant to include: “…operate against a nihilistic relationship to life and other people and thus produce conditions of greater respect”.

                    • 3) If the US is the Great Yanqui Imperialist, why have the Castros blamed Cuba’s abject economic failure on the US embargo? Can’t Cuba trade with everyone else in the world? 4) Why are American tourists the sine qua non of Cuba’s economic health?

                      3) Because Communism is a wretched, non-functional system.

                      4) It has not been Americans for a long time, but Canadians mostly, and Europeans.

          • Inquiring Mind

            The problem is that many on the Left – including Chomsky – have become drunk on their sense of righteousness, so much so that they now feel entitled to silence opposition.

            Just look at one of the groups who have forced the cancellation of events via the threat of violence: The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.

            By Any Means Necessary – the last four words in that organization’s name are an implicit threat to use violence. If the necessary means were just voting they’d be doing that. If they had better arguments than Ann Coulter or Ward Connerly, they’d have used them.

            The fact that they view rioting as necessary speaks volumes to me.

  10. Wayne

    It’s ironic that Chomsky who accuses Republicans as worst than Nazi’s and Stalinist Soviet Union supports Holocaust deniers according to the ADL. Thank God he won’t be around much longer.

    • wyogranny

      I’m always stunned by the lightning 360 turns a dedicated leftist/progressive can take when criticizing the right. It’s kind of impressive in a perverse way.

    • You are repeating a lie. In fact he took a stand not in support of Holocaust denial, but in support of the right of a man to express and publish his ideas. There are interviews on YouTube where he goes over the issue point by point and his position is coherent and honest it seems to me.

      But what is interesting, in your statement, is the lie that you have grabed hold of yourself. Why?

      What he says about Republicans and the present leadership of industrial America (I guess one would have to put it that way) is that if the US does not lead in policies to limit ‘global warming’ that those decisions will lead to natural disaster.

      In those same talks he aslo says that according to his analysis (polls he refers to, et cetera) when people internationally are asked what and who they fear the most it is not those that we often refer to: the Iranians, the N Koreans. They say that what scares them the most, and what seems to them the most dangerous player on the world-scene, is the US itself.

      Just repeating what he has said. The purpose of mentioning it is to speak about perception, about how the US is viewed outside of the US, and also what influence Chomsky and people like him have in helping to form opinions, either right or wrong ones.

  11. Mark

    I am quickly learning that there are progressives and then there is me – a moderate democrat. I am more aware of the differences every day.

    • Mark wrote, “I am quickly learning that there are progressives and then there is me – a moderate democrat. I am more aware of the differences every day.”

      As a moderate Democrat; does it seem to you that the extreme left is moving further and further away from you or is it that you’re moving more center relative to to their extremes? Or does it seem more like there’s just more and more succumbing to the ideological extremes that have always been there and they’ve become the squeaky wheels stifling the voice of the moderate Democrats?

  12. How ironic! Those Republicans who want to destroy the world somehow choose to respect freedom of expression and speech, and Chomsky’s converts and allies—-the professor is one of those who shares responsibility for the ongoing indoctrination of college students into the “by any means necessary” totalitarian sensibilities for the increasingly radical Left—do not.

    I wonder how much of it is due to the ideological, partisan,. dishonest network broadcast and print media.

    When they slant things, covering up for one side while willing to use forged documents to bash the other sides, that leads to the conclusion that the deterrent of public shame is much less for one side than the other.

  13. Other Bill

    Maybe this helps explain it. Republicans and non-lefties need to get along.

    http://thefederalist.com/2017/04/26/dartmouth-study-finds-democrats-least-tolerant-students-campus/

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