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05/15/2016

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Jim

I suppose I have to respond. My first reaction was to chuckle, because I figured this was a sort of response to newer readers as to why you don't like Chomsky (as I had written in my earlier comment), and you certainly spelled out why you're not a fan of his here.

To me, the above is partially fair. It's fair in that it is a flaw in liberal thinking that man can be whatever he/she wants to be, as long as the effort and the systems are in place to support it, and I do think Chomsky falls prey to this in certain ways (and it is demonstrated in the video).

However, I'd nitpick two points. The first is the word "vacuous". I'm not sure that's fair, as it implies that his views are worthless. Think of it this way - a doctor may accurately diagnose an illness without knowing the root causes of that illness. In fact, many illnesses are diagnosed in that way today. Chomsky is seeing the symptoms and accurately describing the illness without fully understanding its root cause. It's not "vacuous", really, it's more "incomplete".

I'm not willing to chuck everything a person says in the trash because they might have erroneous other beliefs, or if their methodology at coming to a particular belief is incomplete. That describes every human that has ever lived. Chomsky is wrong about some things, and it's totally fine to go after his anarcho-syndicalist fixation, but if he's accurately describing and analyzing an issue, I think it's okay to consider it, especially as he's almost the only one out there saying this stuff. Anyway, I referenced him and that particular link as a sort of short-hand description of the issue of elite control of the media and the educated class. Besides yourself, I can't name another person out there who is describing it as thoroughly or as well.

The second nitpick is this: while Chomsky is an activist, and does believe in politics with a socialist hue, and this essentially requires a Flatland negation of many fields that may threaten these beliefs, he actually made his name arguing that man is NOT a blank slate - namely, that man has the hard-wired capacity for language, rather than learning it wholly via the environment. In the video above, he indicates he's not a pure "blank slate" believer, and he has actually argued specifically against that position in the past:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/118110269?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1

Does Chomsky really think humans are infinitely malleable? I don't think he does.

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