[Originally published via West Coast Reactionaries.]
There is an old adage (which is generally attributed to Sun Tzu) which has always resonated powerfully with me, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” This is something up-right thinking individuals of all stripes would do well to remember for one’s enemy does not always come bearing his fangs. More often they are likely to come bearing a pleasant smile.
Noam Chomsky is one such enemy, a enemy of the West and a enemy to honesty. For those unfamiliar, Chomsky is quite a influential individual within leftist-academic circles, a esteemed political bellwether, considered a fountainhead of rationality, sanguine intellectual discipline and forward-looking, humane ideologies. There is a problem with these conceptions of the “anti-imperialist” linguist and activist, however, a problem which stems from something his acolytes are ever keen to cover-up or avoid — Chomsky lies, a lot. And even when he doesn’t outright lie he’ll still distort facts in such a way that they can be utilized to further his totalitarian ideology of bi-national socialism, a system which would essentially amount, should it ever be implemented, to a kind of genocidal ethnic apartheid.
So the obvious question, then, is what specifically has Chomsky said that was either a distortion or outright falsity? The full answer to that question would be large enough to fill several tomes but for our purposes let us look at what he has so say about Soviet communist mass murders, something which should be rather cut-and-dried. Consider this from a letter of Chomsky’s which has been printed in Alexander Cockburn‘s The Golden Age is in Us, (Verso, 1995):
…in comparison to the conditions imposed by US tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian [Stalinist] rule was practically a paradise…
Really now? A paradise?! What utter drivel. This is one of those instances where Chomsky demonstrates his potent linguistic skill by phrasing things in such a way as to better fit his ideological lens with a complete disregard for the facts of the matter (note that this is not due to Chomsky’s ignorance on these matters, he is extremely knowledgeable in the domain of history which can be garnered from his writings elsewhere). The truth of the matter is that Eastern Europe under Stalinist Russian rule was far from a utopia.
Approximately 500,000 POWs in the captivity of the Soviets were ruthlessly slaughtered under Stalin’s rule, while over 2 million women were raped by the Red Army during the war. The list of atrocities continues with mass killings taking place in Yugoslavia (approximately 180,000 killed), Estonia (30,000 dead), Hungary (200,000) as well as nearby Ukraine where upwards of four million were ruthlessly massacred. There’s much, much more but I think you get the picture. A paradise indeed…
But let’s move on to another example, for this is not some one off misallocation of Chomsky’s faculties but rather a consistent trend. What does Chomsky think of Maoist China, one of the greatest perpetrators of democide in world history? Given his self-avowed humanitarian leanings you’d assumed he’d be quick to deftly condemn the brutal, sadistic, genocidal regime, right? Well, you’d be dead wrong, indeed in he says,
It’s clear, I believe, that the emphasis on the use of terror and violence in China was considerably less than in the Soviet Union and that the success was considerably greater in achieving a just society.
(Dissent, Power and Confrontation p.112, McGraw-Hill, 1971)
Again this is untrue, 280,000 Chinese died every year because of concentration camps which contained around 8 million individuals. In addition, the Communist regime publicly stated that approximately 100 million died in total because of their cultural revolution (though independent sources place the total death toll somewhere between 70-80 million). Hardly just. But he isn’t done praising Zedong just yet, for he also writes,
Of course, no one supposed that Mao literally murdered tens of millions of people [with the GLF famine], or that he “intended” that any die at all.
(Second Reply To Casey, ZNet, 2001)
This is a curious thing to say given that Mao, whilst on a visit to Moscow, said that he would be willing to sacrifice 300 million lives unto the yawning, razor toothed maw of his Communistic vision. Mao also publicly stated that his end-game policies would likely result in the deaths of around 50 million. It turns out that Mao overestimated his own abilities as the more conservative estimates for the total death toll due to his policies rests at around 30 million.
Regardless, Mao clearly knew what he was doing, indeed, it’s why he was so good at it. Chomsky presents a alternative vision of the dictator, one wherein Mao is merely a good-natured buffoon rather than a calculating political manipulator. This naturally begs the question, if he was so incompetent why was he so successful? And it’s obvious where this manufactured narrative is coming from, Mao was a communist, Chomsky is a socialist — they are kindred spirits if you will. It is thus only natural that the linguist should defend his own. What should really be reflected upon, dissected and challenged is what that own really entails.
How about a more recent example, how about an Al-jazeera Media interview conducted by Medhi “non-muslims are cattle” Hassan with the esteemed lecturer. A interview wherein Chomsky is asked about his position on the presidential race. Firstly, he refers to Bernie Sanders as a New Dealer, rather than a socialist, even though Sanders self-describes as a socialist. So there’s one distortion. Next up he is asked what he thinks of the GOP presidential candidates in relation to the question of climate change. Chomsky responded,
Every Republican candidate is either a climate change denier or a skeptic who says we can’t do it — what they are saying is, “Let’s destroy the world.” Is that worth voting against? Yeah.
First of all, being skeptical of the degree to which human industrialization has negatively impacted the climate is not worth voting against. Nor is being skeptical that any total solution to man-made global climate change can be realistically attained. It is healthy for a rational and inquiring mind to maintain skepticism, even in the face of those subjects which have been absorbed into the sphere of “common knowledge,” so long as those skeptical know nothing about the topic at hand. The second and more pressing point is that being skeptical of climate change does not, in any way whatsoever, equate to an aspiration for world destruction. To obfuscate things in such a way is no longer just disingenuous, it is frankly stupid.
Lastly, let us observe Noam Chomsky’s curious exchange with the moral philosopher, neuroscientist and stalwart critic of religion and Chomsky himself, Sam Harris. Chomsky asserts that Harris (a vehemently outspoken critic about the Islamization of the West) is an “Islamaphobe” and it is here that any cognitively functioning individual should say, “Hold up just a sec, fearing a international death cult that has publically stated it wishes to conquer both Europe and the US is hardly irrational.” But Chomsky barrels on, saying of Harris, “He specializes in hysterical, slanderous charges against people he doesn’t like.” What had Harris said that so upset the good professor? Well, one of Harris’ main criticisms was simply that Chomsky was, “Not properly accounting for intention,” and that he, “Only saw body count.” This is quite a far-cry from anything even remotely resembling “hysterical.” Indeed, here it’s the good professor that seems the hysterical one.
Chomsky continues, “I am much more concerned with it [Jihadism] than he [Harris] is.” This is manifestly false, Chomsky has long defended the aggressive posturing of the Palestinians, no matter how horrible the crime. He also has a long standing history of subtle, Islamic apologism. It bears noting that, regardless of your feelings on Harris, the one thing he most certainly is not, is a liar — the same cannot be said of Mr. Chomsky.
The point of bringing this to your attention is simply to show how irrational and often outright false Chomsky regularly is. A absurd patina of moral purity and intellectual untouchability has been built up around the man that causes left-leaning philosophy students the world over to take up a dogmatic position on his ideology. This is unfortunate and I sincerely hope that the progressives find a less slippery, immoral and fanatical chieftain. One of the primary problems with debating Chomsky’s acolytes is that they will often implement his tactic of throwing out long lists of historical atrocities, so while one is attempting to formulate a response they become lost in the tangled skein of history’s loom. Hopefully this article will help those wishing to address the linguist’s, as well as his followers, inconsistencies. Always remember that even giants can be eaten by the ants.