Monday, January 12, 2009

Chomsky supporting state-socialism

I do recall now that Chomsky called himself an anarchist of some sort, but his arguments opposed Liberal Democracy and at the very least coincided with State-Socialism. It is like old Dave saying he never drank, but me seeing him staggering out of a bar several times a week. And then when I referred to Dave as a bit of a drunk someone saying, “hey. That can’t be true. Dave says he doesn’t drink.” It takes more than saying something to make it true.

Also, I mentioned awhile back a longshoreman acquaintance who tried to recruit me into Communism in the early 60s. He wasn’t up to any serious debates, but he brought me book after book to read. He would also tell me things his Communist guru told him. He would tell this guy what I said and then relay the response back to me. One day he told me that he was henceforth going to call himself a “Philosophical Anarchist.” I assumed he got this from his guru. This was described to me as a ruse to keep the authorities from cracking down on them. Longshoremen were paranoid about being arrested. Yeah, they might crack down on Communists, but certainly not on Philosophical Anarchists. This is just an anecdote and I am not using it to say this is what Chomsky is doing. I am using it to indicate something in my own background that makes it difficult for me to accept someone saying he embraces anarchism.

Earlier I said that I was reading At War With Asia, because it was the only book by Chomsky I had that addressed the Cold War, but it isn’t the only book by Chomsky that I own. Believing that one day I would have to study him more thoroughly, I have been accumulating books by and about him. One book I have is The Chomsky Reader (published in 1987). It is edited by James Peck, who seems to be a Chomsky acolyte. Peck begins his book with a very long interview of Chomsky. On page 26 I found Chomsky addressing the very point that came up recently, the fact that Chomsky supported State Socialism in At War With Asia, which annoyed another acolyte who faulted me for not acknowledging that Chomsky was an Anarchist. Here is what Chomsky says to Peck:

“Take the Vietnam War. It was clear by the end of the sixties that the United States had achieved its primary objectives. It had effectively destroyed the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and the Pathet Lao in Laos, ensuring, as I wrote at the time that only the harshest and most authoritarian elements in Indochina would survive, if any would. This was a major victory for U.S. aggression. Principled opponents of the U.S. war were therefore in the position of, in effect, helping to defend the only surviving resistance in Vietnam, which happed to be highly authoritarian state-socialist groups. . . .”


I suspect that Chomsky wishes he had provided disclaimers in such books as the one I’ve been reading to the effect that while he is defending “highly authoritarian state socialist groups,” he does not truly support them; although I’m not sure how that might be phrased without detracting from the meat of his books, at least the one I’ve been reading. For Chomsky, the U.S. is the bad guy and the authoritarian state socialist groups the good guys. And if the “good guys” (state socialist groups) do anything bad it is because the bad guys (the U.S.) forced them into it. I suspect the Chomsky acolyte that popped onto my blog with a series of insults wasn’t as familiar with Chomsky’s works as he thought he was.

I am not quite half-way through At War With Asia and he is already boring the heck out of me. In the Peck interview Chomsky describes his educational background and in the process indicated that he studied logic. But his referenced “evidence” falls woefully short of being substantial or convincing. He doesn’t seek “the best authorities” for a given view. He would undoubtedly say that he disagrees with “the best authorities” and that they are running dogs of Liberal Democracy, but he must have some criteria for his selection. If it is anything other than someone, no matter how unknown and obscure, who happens to agree with some point he wants to make, I can’t tell what it is.

1 comment:

Slave Revolt said...

Nooo, the US were the 'good guys' in the Vietnam conflict.

Just ask the millions of dead Vietnamese.....oopps, they're dead.

Next best thing, as a maimed US Vietnam Vet if he thinks it was 'worth it' for the struggle to keep Vietnam 'free'.

Sorry, you didn't have the opprotunity to fight in Vietnam, did you?

Were the millions of Vietnamese murdered by the war the 'bad guys'?

Just asking.

You have a stick up your ass for Chomsky. Certainly, you haven't bothered to publically or privately debate the man.

Far easier to sit on a blog and throw thought-turds--while your bevy of half-wit acolytes praise you for your intellect.

Sorry, but that doesn't cut it for developing compelling arguments and then defend those arguments in any way that is convincing.