Thoughts on Chomsky...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by NT1440, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Hey guys, you all know me around here but it's not often I start threads. Anyway....

    I had a hell of a 7 hour drive today to get back to school. Well, being in the academic mood naturally I listened to a little NPR, but my itunes skipped over to a talk by Noam Chomsky. Now, I've heard a bit about the guy but this was the first time I've ever actually listened to him speak.

    From what I've heard so far, he seems like a well reasoned intellectual type and his ideas, while definitely needing more follow research on my part, were fascinating.

    Have any of you ever read or listened to him? What did you think? Got any praises/criticisms of the man or his ideas?

    Any specific lectures or books by him that you'd suggest?

    Lets try not to let this one devolve into culture wars guys, please just once!:eek:
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Off-topic... but at least not starting a culture war...

    You at the SUNY Rochester?

    My sister-in-law's a prof there.
  3. NT1440 thread starter macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Nope, a little school called St. John Fisher College. Being from connecticut it wouldn't make sense for me to drop the out of state price on a SUNY school (thought most of them are GREAT).

    I take it you have nothing to say on the Chomster? :p
  4. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    I'd recommend "understanding power" as an good starting point. It's a book put together using quotes from Chomsky covering his political thought. It's very broad and in my opinion well done. Don't forget to search iTunes u as well (or audiobooks). I've got some good lectures by him as well.
  5. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    My first exposure to the man was in 2002, when I heard him speak on our campus. As I'm sure you've heard, he's deeply critical of capitalism, especially the form that has developed in the US. He's also been intimately involved with social justice movements since at least the 1960s.

    I think it's worth pointing out his analysis of "the system" and how it has thoroughly propagandized people against socialism. I mention this specifically because of how the term is raised in this forum (having been a lurker for a while), which is never spoken of honestly. Chomsky identifies as anarchist, which in its original sense is more or less socialist. The term is brought up these days almost entirely as something completely unlike what it's historically meant, despite the failure of the Bolshevik revolution, German revolution, and other mass working class movements. He points out often that the only way to properly address the ills of society is to further democratize it. What he proposes (along with other socialists) is that productive activities -- the production of goods and services for society -- must be done democratically.

    The foundation of what is called a society based on socialism is that people who work get to decide how to work, when to work, and what to do with the products of their labor. For example, people who build cars run the factory, not CEOs and their managers. Only a society which is built on this foundation is socialist.

    If we're honest, and this is especially true to the conservative posters in this forum who are critical of socialism, you cannot remotely say in any sense that socialism is taking hold in the US. Folks in this forum are deeply indoctrinated, and please do not take this as any sort of criticism of individuals in this forum. We are all victims of a system that works in the interest of a very small minority (rich businesspeople and their politicians) which benefit greatly from a society which believes that socialism is some sort of evil monolith that oppresses people. If a factory worker participates in a meaningful democratic workplace, would they agree to a CEO and corporate board that looks like its current form...
  6. NT1440 thread starter macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    This is what I like in PRSI, some good old fashion honest discussion, keep it up guys! :)

    I found this quote from a random radio interview to be particularly thought provoking: " power, unless justified, is inherently illegitimate and that the burden of proof is on those in authority to demonstrate why their elevated position is justified. If this burden can't be met, the authority in question should be dismantled, and authority for its own sake is inherently unjustified."
  7. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    I don't think I've read enough Chomsky to seriously contribute to a debate, though I did cite him a few times in my undergrad thesis. I often find his ideas compelling and I tend to agree with the great majority of what I've read, though I do have deep reservations about anarchism. Chomsky's particular brand of anarcho-syndicalism that Chomsky appears to be less radical than some, however I find even the premise of anarchism to be blindly unrealistic. Even if only used concept to entertain for debate about political issues it has always struck me as willfully ignorant of the way human beings seem to be naturally inclined to act.

    On real life political issues, however, I often find myself aligned with Chomsky, and I've always tried to focus on the practical more than the theoretical.
  8. R94N macrumors 68020


    May 30, 2010
    I've never heard of this guy, but I will look into it perhaps.
  9. Peterkro macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2004
    Communard de Londres
    For those interested in what Chomsky has to say,a few sources:

    Radio Chomsky:

    Talks and Q+A's broadcast 24 hours a day.Ideal for those with a internet radio although listening on a computer is also possible.(out of New Zealand)


    On the left of the page under categories.(propaganda of the seed :D )

    His own site:

    He is a regular guest on DemocracyNow:

    His output is prodigious and any of his books are worth a read whether you agree with him or not. I'd particularly recommend,Chomsky on Anarchism,a short book but very informative to those not familiar with Anarchist thought.
  10. MowingDevil macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2008
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
  11. spblat macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2010
    ...or the book of the same name. That's what put him on the political map I think. I read Hegemony or Survival a few years ago and that's how I became a fan.

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