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Noam Chomsky /Ralph Nader

Eleison Zeitgeist
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Begin Rant:
Didn't really know who he was... heard his name bantered arround in this forum. Happened on a website about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky
conclusion: what a dork... will not respect anyone who will use his name in any argument...
Saw some web pages on the ford pinto fires -> found it interesting; did research on it. Now have new found respect for Ralph Nader.
conclusion: Ralph; not sure if he would have been a good pres. but respect his activism.... wish I could meet him in person and get his autograph..
End of Rant :-)
Tonny Tssagovic
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Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:

conclusion: what a dork... will not respect anyone who will use his name in any argument...

Well, I would not state that I have read all of Noams' books (nor a full book actually), but what I have read made sense to me. I did not know anything about him either, but he happened to be the one who wrote the forward of my dad�s book.. I did a bit of research, and based on what I have read I think that he is a knowledgeable man that deserves to be respected.
It is quite strange how you could judge so quickly about him (and anyone that uses his books as references), and become a fan of Ralph Nader in such a short time though.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Tonny Tssagovic:
Well, I would not state that I have read all of Noams' books (nor a full book actually), but what I have read made sense to me.
Now that is scary! Perhaps Map will let you join her Chomsky fan club!


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Didn't really know who he was...
Don't worry, it's not a big deal... He is just the most prominent linguist this science ever had.
conclusion: what a dork... will not respect anyone who will use his name in any argument...
You are in trouble!
"Chomsky is currently among the ten most-cited writers in all of the humanities (beating out Hegel and Cicero and trailing only Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare, the Bible, Aristotle, Plato, and Freud) and the only living member of the top ten."
Steven Pinker. The Language Instinct.
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Bert Bates
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You're not apt to hear Chomsky quoted very often on CBS, NBC, or ABC :roll:
However, if you're convinced that you have to do a little searching to really get a "fair and balanced" view of the world, Chomsky adds a great perspective.


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frank davis
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Originally posted by Bert Bates:
You're not apt to hear Chomsky quoted very often on CBS, NBC, or ABC :roll:
However, if you're convinced that you have to do a little searching to really get a "fair and balanced" view of the world, Chomsky adds a great perspective.


Well, if you begin with the presumption that all of the US media and society is controlled by a vast right wing corporate conspiracy then, yes, Chomsky is the antidote that swings you back leftward, towards "fair and balanced". But first, examine your presumptions....

The man revolutionized linguitics, but then as often happens to experts in many fields, he , and others, accepted unquestionably that his expertise in one domain gave him expertise in others many others.
Jason Menard
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As I have said before, Chomsky plays well overseas, and there's good reason for this. He caters to a very particular type of audience that may be found in abundance in places such as Europe. You can tell a lot about the man by the people who follow him. Just check out the types who cite him on the web. To be quite honest, the man is a waste of space that could better be filled with a large house plant or something. At least the plant serves a purpose.
Intellectuals and academics are generally those who haven't come out of their university libraries long enough to catch a clue as to how life really works.
[ January 28, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
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Herb: The man revolutionized linguitics, but then as often happens to experts in many fields, he , and others, accepted unquestionably that his expertise in one domain gave him expertise in others many others.
I object the word "unquestionably".
Throughout his engagements Chomsky spoke highly of journalists Alex Carey, Alexander Cockburn and John Pilger, amongst others. He strongly criticised people who asked him for guidance in selecting reliable source material, saying on several occasions that, "You have to use your own critical judgement and common sense. I can't tell you and why should you listen to me anyway? I could be lying about all this! That's the wrong question to ask me.
http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/article/id589/pg3/

I cannot say I agree with his vision in general, but it wasn't a waste of time and inspired me to do my own research, which is good enough for a book.
Bert Bates
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To be quite honest, the man is a waste of space that could better be filled with a large house plant or something. At least the plant serves a purpose.

Hmmm... I don't recall anyone saying that we should hang on the man's every word, merely that he tends to offer a different perspective than the consistent drek served up by the mainstream media. Why are we so touchy about hearing a different opinion? No one else is talking about places like East Timor - I'd prefer to get the full story, not just those portions deemed appropriate by the current power base.
Richard Hawkes
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Why did Chomsky drop the silent 'G' from his first name?
HS Thomas
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Gnome Chomsky
Joe King
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... and your reason for disliking him has nothing at all to do with him being slightly critical of the US government of course....
Paul Stevens
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Originally posted by Bert Bates:

Hmmm... I don't recall anyone saying that we should hang on the man's every word, merely that he tends to offer a different perspective than the consistent drek served up by the mainstream media. Why are we so touchy about hearing a different opinion? No one else is talking about places like East Timor - I'd prefer to get the full story, not just those portions deemed appropriate by the current power base.

Do you listen to Rush or Ann Coulter? They offer a different perspective than the mainstream media as well.
How about Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams?
Frank Silbermann
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I see Noam Chomsky as the leftwing analog of Bobbie Fischer. Chomsky was a genius of mathematical linguistics; Fischer a chess genius. Chomsky then turned his attentions to writing apologia for the Stalinists (and attacks against anyone who resisted world communist conquest), while Fischer embraced neo-nazi racist theories.
Sure, Chomsky's political work is oft cited -- but mainly by _Marxists_. What's _that_ worth? That his political writings are taken seriously in academia merely demonstrates the rotting of the universities, to the point that much of what they do is less than worthless.
Richard Hawkes
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I don't understand critisisms of Chomsky based on the fact that he is primarily a linguist. So what. That in itself doesn't invalidate his views. What does it take to be a so-called "expert" on political affairs anyway? In my book all it takes is alot of observation, reading and some imagination. You can critisise him if you think he speaks tripe but not because of his background.
Next people will be saying Bush is unfit to be president because he was originally an oil business man ...
frank davis
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
I don't understand critisisms of Chomsky based on the fact that he is primarily a linguist. So what. That in itself doesn't invalidate his views. What does it take to be a so-called "expert" on political affairs anyway? In my book all it takes is alot of observation, reading and some imagination. You can critisise him if you think he speaks tripe but not because of his background.
Next people will be saying Bush is unfit to be president because he was originally an oil business man ...

No one is criticizing him because of his expertise in lingusitics. Its just that often people give more credence to the views of an expert in domains in which they are not an expert. Sort of a halo, or carry over, efect. A very natural and human thing to do, but something to guard against. Had Chomsky never received any recognition in any other field, would his recognition still be that respected as a political/sociological commentator? I'll plead ignorance on that answer since I'm not really that familiar with the bulk of his work (sorry if prior posts left that impression). I should have been trying to make more of general statement on human nature (to which I succumb as well) without focsuing as much on Chomsky. Its just that what little I have seen has biased me against him.
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Its just that often people give more credence to the views of an expert in domains in which they are not an expert. Sort of a halo, or carry over, efect. - I suspect the only people that give him credence are those that find some value in what he says although, certainly, having recognition in another discipline gives him a ready-made platform and audience.
Frank Silbermann
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I remember in the middle 1970s when word got out about the killing fields in Cambodia. A bunch of anti-Vietnam War liberals and leftists took out an ad in the New York Times expressing their dismay and admonishing the Khmer Rouge about their behavior. But Noam Chomsky refused to join them, saying "I do not believe in publicly criticizing socialist governments."
Later, when the death tally was finally computed (and it turned out that the communists' attempt at social engineering had murdered a full third of the entire country's population), Chomsky used his brilliant intelligence to construct a complicated theory of how it was all really America's fault.
Axel Janssen
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
As I have said before, Chomsky plays well overseas, and there's good reason for this. He caters to a very particular type of audience that may be found in abundance in places such as Europe.

Heavily based on posted by herb slocomb (some minor changes by myself

Well, if you begin with the presumption that all of the [s]US[/s] European media and society is controlled by a vast [s]right wing corporate conspiracy[/s] left wing warm-fuzy-feeling conspiracy then....

No, Chomsky does not play an important role in European media.
It might have been different in the 70ties.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
No, Chomsky does not play an important role in European media.
It might have been different in the 70ties.

My intent wasn't to say that he played well in mainstream media here or abroad. My intent was only to indicate that a large base of his support is outside of the US. In other words "he plays well overseas" meaning lots of people overseas are very receptive to his message. Think about it... He's a Marxist/socialist, and there are far more socialists in places such as Europe than there are in the US, so of course he will find a greater acceptance where there are more like-minded people.
[ January 30, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Marcus Green
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Did the US give support to the Khmer Rouge?


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Steven Broadbent
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Is this dislike because he is a pompous leftie windbag, or just a general mistrust of anyone vaguely liberal?


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Bert Bates
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My clarification is that I don't think he's always right, and I'm sure he's made plenty of mistakes, and I may sometimes disagree with his positions, but I've become aware of things happening in the world that I wouldn't have been aware of otherwise - The U.S. media's self centered-ness and spin machine drives me nuts. Again, not to say other media sources are paragons of virtue I just prefer to get a broader range of opinions - even if I don't agree with them all.
Morgan Bath
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
As I have said before, Chomsky plays well overseas, and there's good reason for this.
..........
..........
Intellectuals and academics are generally those who haven't come out of their university libraries long enough to catch a clue as to how life really works.
[ January 28, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]


I'd say the reason he plays well overseas is he questions acepted dogma and talks about the seedier side of people, politics and business. He tends to assume the worst in people and institutions and runs his theories along the lone of "everyone is a bastard". To non-religious or non-ideological peoples his words tend to feel 'real'. In short they can believe that powerful people are up to no good. When the same people listen to others who paint a more pleasant picture of politics, business or the world in general the words tend to sound like bull. Its not about whether you are an intellectual (not a dirty word overseas), or whether you "know how life really works" (I assure you these people think you as naive as you think them). Its about your general view on people and human nature.
Americans are at heart idealists. They have a pride (perhaps deservedly) in the basic principles of their nation. And whilst Chomsy is very well written and his sense of humour is brilliantly dry, he is basically giving his own nations citizens a good telling off. Is it a surprise that he plays better overseas? I think Michael Moore's movie Bowling for Columbine probably did better here than in the US for the same reasons.
Personally I am glad people are questioning. I think often the truth is somewhere in between the official line and the doomsday conspiracy theories. So you have to listen to them all and hope somewhere you can figure out what you beleive happened/happens/will happen.
Its the one great thing about living in a democracy, and yet also the greatest responsibility. It isnt just a right for you to question your governent, your history and your media. It is your duty. Dont ridicule those who do, just because you disagree with their facts or their conclusions.


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Marcus Green
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Did the US give support to the Khmer Rouge?
James Hobson
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yes
Michael Ernest
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The reason Noam Chomsky or any celebrated figure speaks "outside his domain" is because a) they are invited to; and b) they lend their visiblity, if not expert commentary, to important issues. A powerful intellect has at least some hope of providing new perspective to problems that are otherwise mired in some kind of deadlock. East Timor would certainly be a good example.
I don't think Noam Chomsky needs anyone's approval to speak out on any issue. Lord knows we have plenty of people willing to speak out against his speaking out...
[ February 01, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]

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Jeroen Wenting
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Later, when the death tally was finally computed (and it turned out that the communists' attempt at social engineering had murdered a full third of the entire country's population), Chomsky used his brilliant intelligence to construct a complicated theory of how it was all really America's fault.

He didn't have to, Pol Pot himself had created that theory even before he took over the country.
I don't quite know how Pol Pot would explain away the Vietnamese intervention (probably the only good a communist nation has ever done the world, even if for the wrong reasons) as an American plot though


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Jeroen Wenting
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The US supported the government the Khmer Rouge ousted.
Lateron the US and Khmer Rouge shared a common enemy: Vietnam.
Whether there was active US support for them I don't know but I doubt it. It is however quite possible that actions against the Vietnamese (which in part took place inside Cambodia) helped the Khmer Rouge but this would have been mainly an unintended side effect.
The US DID support the Cambodian mountain tribes. Some of them might have been Khmer Rouge supporters (their powerbase was in roughly the same area), but again this was no direct support but rather an untintentional sideeffect.
shay Aluko
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
As I have said before, Chomsky plays well overseas, and there's good reason for this. He caters to a very particular type of audience that may be found in abundance in places such as Europe. You can tell a lot about the man by the people who follow him. Just check out the types who cite him on the web. To be quite honest, the man is a waste of space that could better be filled with a large house plant or something. At least the plant serves a purpose.
Intellectuals and academics are generally those who haven't come out of their university libraries long enough to catch a clue as to how life really works.
[ January 28, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
I just have to respond. The fact that the man is a higly respected linguist does not mean that he should devote himself to linguitics alone. If he has an opnion, he deserves to be heard just like anyone else. If he is well known because of his work in linguistica then so be it, everyone is entitled to his claim to fame.
I personally admire and respect Noam Chomsky for having the courage to speak up when others have been cowed by this administration. If you have anything to say, then say and don't attack the man. If you have nothing to add to the discourse --its better to keep quiet--you less is more at times
[ February 02, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
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Shay, I'm aware that the tone of your post was no worse than Jason's tone towards Chomsky and academics. However since that was posted we've had a bit of an outbreak of personal attacks which we're cracking down on - see here. So I felt it necessary to trim a few words above.


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Paul Stevens
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Here is someone who had an opinion but was unheard. This happens on colleges all across america. It happens at newspapers and tv news rooms.
Michael Ernest
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It sounds like the person in question was heard quite well. Even the idea that he is being stifled seems to have been well heard. Do you intend for this article relate to the current discussion? If so, I am not sure what connection there is to draw.
Paul Stevens
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It actually ties in well. The poor picked on Chomsky bit doesn't hold water. This professor has been persecuted for voicing his opinion. Chomsky is help in high esteem by the very same academia that prevents views like the OU professor. They like to claim that they are open to all ideas and speech when the reality is really quite different.
To say he has been heard is quite funny really. If this where a liberal view that was denied, it would have been on every network newscast and in every newspaper. This is not an isolated incident. This happens across the country.
Michael Ernest
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PS: It actually ties in well. The poor picked on Chomsky bit doesn't hold water. This professor has been persecuted for voicing his opinion. Chomsky is help in high esteem by the very same academia that prevents views like the OU professor.
ME: I don't think the Dean of Letters & Science, the Chairman of its Geology Department, and various administrators at Oklahoma State University can be so blithely described as the "very same academia" that holds Chomsky in high esteem without qualification.
PS: They like to claim that they are open to all ideas and speech when the reality is really quite different.
ME: Here are two excerpts from the article you cited. I'll let them speak for themselves:
Responding to a female columnist who claimed that possession of a firearm made every gun owner a potential murderer, I pointed out by way of analogy that her possession of an unregistered sexual organ made her a potential prostitute.
Dean Snow's office circulated by e-mail an article that claimed there were not enough women faculty in the geosciences. The authors argued that women should not have to meet the same standards as men...I pointed out that although there may be relatively few women in disciplines like geoscience and engineering, females have advantages in other areas. For example, women live longer than men, receive higher grades in college, and are much less likely than men to end up in prison.
PS: To say he has been heard is quite funny really.
ME: Judging by the responses he claims to have received, there is nothing funny at all about it.
There's nothing funny about a presumably educated faculty member displaying so much ignorant bias. As a colleague, I'd find the man's comments an embarrassment. A university campus may be in fact one of the few places where the free exchange of ideas should hold sway, but it also a place where informed and refined expression should be the standard everyone strives for.
If Deming feels he has the unfettered right to tell a student that calling gun owners in the abstract "potential murderers" is the same as telling her that she's a prostitute, he's got an uphill battle, at best. If you can't hold faculty members to a higher standard of discourse than the students, there's really no reason for them to come around.
PS: If this where a liberal view that was denied, it would have been on every network newscast and in every newspaper. This is not an isolated incident. This happens across the country.
ME: So either no liberal view is ever denied on a campus, in which case the absence of any network and print coverage would make sense, or this observation is flat wrong.
[ February 02, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
Eleison Zeitgeist
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Originally posted by Paul Stevens:
Here is someone who had an opinion but was unheard. This happens on colleges all across america. It happens at newspapers and tv news rooms.


Initially outraged.... but then found it kinda funny:
"...I pointed out by way of analogy that her possession of an unregistered sexual organ made her a potential prostitute.."

Dude, what do you expect if you make these types of analogies? Why not compare unregistered guns to something more sensible? Unregistered knives???
In any case, found it funny -- "lets all make analogies to poon-tang :-) lets see where it'll lead too"...
-Eleison
Frank Silbermann
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Responding to a female columnist who claimed that possession of a firearm made every gun owner a potential murderer, I pointed out by way of analogy that her possession of an unregistered sexual organ made her a potential prostitute. (emphasis added)
Michael Ernest: "If Deming feels he has the unfettered right to tell a student that calling gun owners in the abstract "potential murderers" is the same as telling her that she's a prostitute, he's got an uphill battle, at best."

He didn't tell her that she's a prostitute. He told her that she's a POTENTIAL prostitute -- in the same sense that gun owners are potential murderers. Which is a perfectly good analogy. Ownership of guns and vaginas are, in general, both perfectly innocent behaviors. By mocking her rhetoric, he was merely revealing her ignorant intolerance.

Eleison Zeitgeist: "Dude, what do you expect if you make these types of analogies?

I think he expected people to recognize that the woman had made an unjust slander against good people on specious grounds.
Eleison Zeitgeist: "Why not compare unregistered guns to something more sensible? Unregistered knives???"

Uh, maybe because then his point would not have been made?
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
He didn't tell her that she's a prostitute. He told her that she's a POTENTIAL prostitute -- in the same sense that gun owners are potential murderers. Which is a perfectly good analogy. Ownership of guns and vaginas are, in general, both perfectly innocent behaviors. By mocking her rhetoric, he was merely revealing her ignorant intolerance.
Should've followed the no 'YOU' rule!
He could quite easily've said that "WOMEN are potential prostitutes and men are potential rapists" to make his point less personal, but still, people don't choose their sexual organs anyway so its already a dodgy comparison. He could've refuted her own shaky argument and made his point clearer by using a more accurate analogy (all car drivers are potential killers) and saved himself a world of trouble.
Bela Bardak
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Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
[qb]He didn't tell her that she's a prostitute. He told her that she's a POTENTIAL prostitute -- in the same sense that gun owners are potential murderers. Which is a perfectly good analogy. Ownership of guns and vaginas are, in general, both perfectly innocent behaviors. By mocking her rhetoric, he was merely revealing her ignorant intolerance.
Should've followed the no 'YOU' rule!
He could quite easily've said that "WOMEN are potential prostitutes and men are potential rapists" to make his point less personal, but still, people don't choose their sexual organs anyway so its already a dodgy comparison. He could've refuted her own shaky argument and made his point clearer by using a more accurate analogy (all car drivers are potential killers) and saved himself a world of trouble.[/QB]

Why should he make the point less pointed? The intent of the 'potential murderer' charge was to outrage, and so was the response.
Richard Hawkes
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The woman's analogy and the the man's response were both daft. Maybe they should get married. Then they can trade stupid analogies all day without having to bother the rest of us
 
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subject: Noam Chomsky /Ralph Nader