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February 06, 2013

Comments

Bob-B

It may be possible to loath western democracy without giving aid and comfort to tyrants and terrorists, but it is difficult and Chomsky has certainly failed completely.

Here is some useful discussion of an earlier comparison of Chomsky's between the US and the Nazis:

http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2007/09/chomsky-recolle.html

Dom

Chomsky has a stock answer to this: He is American, and he criticizes America. He is not Iranian, so ...

It doesn't work for me, but it works for many of his acolytes.

Bob-B

If we are only allowed to criticize our own countries, Chomsky will presumably cease to criticize Israel any more and will presumably tell non-Americans who criticize America to mind their own business. He will do this, won't he?

Dom

You forgot the Chomsky two-step. Israel is an American dependency, so it is fair game. You don't become the world's greatest intellectual for nothing, you know.

Bob-B

But you think he will tell non-Americans who criticize America (and even in some cases chant 'death to America') to mind their own business?

grassmarket

I'm convinced that these Nazi analogies are mainly a function of the modern world's dumbing down. The Nazis are the only historical villains anyone can name. Back in the early Victorian era Macaulay could cite the name of the murderer of Atahualpa* as a fact every child was familiar with, but nowadays if you compared Israeli policy with Frederick the Great's invasion of Silesia in 1742 or Napoleon's assassination of the Duc d'Enghien you would get very blank looks indeed.

*Name intentionally left blank as an exercise for the reader

Bob-B

I'm sure very many people can name Stalin and Mao, but of course some don't see them as historical villains. Cf. Seumas Milne on Stalin and Tony Benn on Mao.

TDK

"But you think he will tell non-Americans who criticize America (and even in some cases chant 'death to America') to mind their own business?"

Doesn't work that way.

Only white people can be racist because prejudice+power=racism. Black people do not have power so cannot practice racism - their discrimination has no effect.

In the same way the US has power, the Iranians/Palestinians not, so they cannot be criticised. They react to power rather than instigate.

Setting aside the obvious problems with the above argument, it clearly only has purchase because of the relative strength of the US in the recent two or three decades. Before that time the USSR was a credible rival and so such arguments would have appeared foolish. In the same way the argument will grow weaker if China continues to rise.

SnoopyTheGoon

"Is he senile?"

If so, he was born this way, because he is pretty consistent in his senility through his whole life.

sackcloth and ashes

Really pleased to see that Noam didn't miss the opportunity to tell truth to power, and he gave his hosts what-for over the brutal suppression of the Green movement in 2009, the murder of political prisoners in Evin prison, the assassination of exiles, the execution of underage girls etc etc

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