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  • On Media/Chomsky

    If Chomsky offends you, just ignore the parts where this writer glorifies him.

    I'm sure this will offend enough people to stimulate some debate about the media though (or why people think Chomsky is a nut).

    One of the more intriguing things that this article reminded me of, is how much colletive contempt we have for foreign media (in non-liberal democracies) in general without really recognizing that we have it bad here too.

    If someone posted something from electronicintifada.com, warning flags go up immediately, the article is disseminated carefully and everything is questioned. If someone posted something from CNN.com, everything is typically taken for granted.

    It's sort of amusing, sad and worrying all at the same time.

    Anyways, a long read. But worth a readover of the first half of it as the second part gets into things that will turn off a lot of posters.

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/mag/2003/0...2400020100.htm
    Last edited by MikeJ; 28 Aug 03, 19:39.
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

  • #2
    The loneliness of Noam Chomsky

    After September 11, the mainstream media's blatant performance as the U.S Government's propaganda machine has only served to highlight the business of `managing' public opinion. The resultant `mistrust of the mass media' would at best be a political hunch or at worst a loose accusation, if it were not for the relentless and unswerving media analysis of one of the world's greatest minds. And this is only one of the ways in which Noam Chomsky has radically altered our understanding of the society in which we live. Rationally and empirically, he has unmasked the ugly, manipulative, ruthless American universe that exists behind the word `freedom', says ARUNDHATI ROY, in an essay written as an introduction for the new edition of Noam Chomsky

    "I will never apologise for the United States of America — I don't care what the facts are."
    President George Bush Sr.

    SITTING in my home in New Delhi, watching an American TV news channel promote itself ("We report. You decide."), I imagine Noam Chomsky's amused, chipped-tooth smile.

    Everybody knows that authoritarian regimes, regardless of their ideology, use the mass media for propaganda. But what about democratically elected regimes in the "free world"?

    Today, thanks to Noam Chomsky and his fellow media analysts, it is almost axiomatic for thousands, possibly millions, of us that public opinion in "free market" democracies is manufactured just like any other mass market product — soap, switches, or sliced bread. We know that while, legally and constitutionally, speech may be free, the space in which that freedom can be exercised has been snatched from us and auctioned to the highest bidders. Neoliberal capitalism isn't just about the accumulation of capital (for some). It's also about the accumulation of power (for some), the accumulation of freedom (for some). Conversely, for the rest of the world, the people who are excluded from neoliberalism's governing body, it's about the erosion of capital, the erosion of power, the erosion of freedom. In the "free" market, free speech has become a commodity like everything else — — justice, human rights, drinking water, clean air. It's available only to those who can afford it. And naturally, those who can afford it use free speech to manufacture the kind of product, confect the kind of public opinion, that best suits their purpose. (News they can use.) Exactly how they do this has been the subject of much of Noam Chomsky's political writing.

    Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, for instance, has a controlling interest in major Italian newspapers, magazines, television channels, and publishing houses. "[T]he prime minister in effect controls about 90 per cent of Italian TV viewership," reports the Financial Times. What price free speech? Free speech for whom? Admittedly, Berlusconi is an extreme example. In other democracies — the United States in particular — media barons, powerful corporate lobbies, and government officials are imbricated in a more elaborate, but less obvious, manner. (George Bush Jr.'s connections to the oil lobby, to the arms industry, and to Enron, and Enron's infiltration of U.S. government institutions and the mass media — all this is public knowledge now.)

    After the September 11, 2001, terrorist strikes in New York and Washington, the mainstream media's blatant performance as the U.S. government's mouthpiece, its display of vengeful patriotism, its willingness to publish Pentagon press handouts as news, and its explicit censorship of dissenting opinion became the butt of some pretty black humour in the rest of the world.

    Then the New York Stock Exchange crashed, bankrupt airline companies appealed to the government for financial bailouts, and there was talk of circumventing patent laws in order to manufacture generic drugs to fight the anthrax scare (much more important, and urgent of course, than the production of generics to fight AIDS in Africa). Suddenly, it began to seem as though the twin myths of Free Speech and the Free Market might come crashing down alongside the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

    But of course that never happened. The myths live on.

    There is however, a brighter side to the amount of energy and money that the establishment pours into the business of "managing" public opinion. It suggests a very real fear of public opinion. It suggests a persistent and valid worry that if people were to discover (and fully comprehend) the real nature of the things that are done in their name, they might act upon that knowledge. Powerful people know that ordinary people are not always reflexively ruthless and selfish. (When ordinary people weigh costs and benefits, something like an uneasy conscience could easily tip the scales.) For this reason, they must be guarded against reality, reared in a controlled climate, in an altered reality, like broiler chickens or pigs in a pen.

    Those of us who have managed to escape this fate and are scratching about in the backyard, no longer believe everything we read in the papers and watch on TV. We put our ears to the ground and look for other ways of making sense of the world. We search for the untold story, the mentioned-in-passing military coup, the unreported genocide, the civil war in an African country written up in a one-column-inch story next to a full-page advertisement for lace underwear.

    We don't always remember, and many don't even know, that this way of thinking, this easy acuity, this instinctive mistrust of the mass media, would at best be a political hunch and at worst a loose accusation, if it were not for the relentless and unswerving media analysis of one of the world's greatest minds. And this is only one of the ways in which Noam Chomsky has radically altered our understanding of the society in which we live. Or should I say, our understanding of the elaborate rules of the lunatic asylum in which we are all voluntary inmates?

    Speaking about the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, President George W. Bush called the enemies of the United States "enemies of freedom". "Americans are asking why do they hate us?" he said. "They hate our freedoms, our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."

    If people in the United States want a real answer to that question (as opposed to the ones in the Idiot's Guide to Anti-Americanism, that is: "Because they're jealous of us," "Because they hate freedom," "Because they're losers," "Because we're good and they're evil"), I'd say, read Chomsky. Read Chomsky on U.S. military interventions in Indochina, Latin America, Iraq, Bosnia, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. If ordinary people in the United States read Chomsky, perhaps their questions would be framed a little differently. Perhaps it would be: "Why don't they hate us more than they do?" or "Isn't it surprising that September 11 didn't happen earlier?"

    Unfortunately, in these nationalistic times, words like "us" and "them" are used loosely. The line between citizens and the state is being deliberately and successfully blurred, not just by governments, but also by terrorists. The underlying logic of terrorist attacks, as well as "retaliatory" wars against governments that "support terrorism", is the same: both punish citizens for the actions of their governments.

    (A brief digression: I realise that for Noam Chomsky, a U.S. citizen, to criticise his own government is better manners than for someone like myself, an Indian citizen, to criticise the U.S. government. I'm no patriot, and am fully aware that venality, brutality, and hypocrisy are imprinted on the leaden soul of every state. But when a country ceases to be merely a country and becomes an empire, then the scale of operations changes dramatically. So may I clarify that I speak as a subject of the U.S. empire? I speak as a slave who presumes to criticise her king.)

    If I were asked to choose one of Noam Chomsky's major contributions to the world, it would be the fact that he has unmasked the ugly, manipulative, ruthless universe that exists behind that beautiful, sunny word "freedom". He has done this rationally and empirically. The mass of evidence he has marshalled to construct his case is formidable. Terrifying, actually. The starting premise of Chomsky's method is not ideological, but it is intensely political. He embarks on his course of inquiry with an anarchist's instinctive mistrust of power. He takes us on a tour through the bog of the U.S. establishment, and leads us through the dizzying maze of corridors that connects the government, big business, and the business of managing public opinion.

    Chomsky shows us how phrases like "free speech", the "free market", and the "free world" have little, if anything, to do with freedom. He shows us that, among the myriad freedoms claimed by the U.S. government are the freedom to murder, annihilate, and dominate other people. The freedom to finance and sponsor despots and dictators across the world. The freedom to train, arm, and shelter terrorists. The freedom to topple democratically elected governments. The freedom to amass and use weapons of mass destruction — chemical, biological, and nuclear. The freedom to go to war against any country whose government it disagrees with. And, most terrible of all, the freedom to commit these crimes against humanity in the name of "justice", in the name of "righteousness", in the name of "freedom".

    Attorney General John Ashcroft has declared that U.S. freedoms are "not the grant of any government or document, but... our endowment from God". So, basically, we're confronted with a country armed with a mandate from heaven. Perhaps this explains why the U.S. government refuses to judge itself by the same moral standards by which it judges others. (Any attempt to do this is shouted down as "moral equivalence".) Its technique is to position itself as the well-intentioned giant whose good deeds are confounded in strange countries by their scheming natives, whose markets it's trying to free, whose societies it's trying to modernise, whose women it's trying to liberate, whose souls it's trying to save.

    Perhaps this belief in its own divinity also explains why the U.S. government has conferred upon itself the right and freedom to murder and exterminate people "for their own good".

    When he announced the U.S. air strikes against Afghanistan, President Bush Jr. said, "We're a peaceful nation." He went on to say, "This is the calling of the United States of America, the most free nation in the world, a nation built on fundamental values, that rejects hate, rejects violence, rejects murderers, rejects evil. And we will not tire."

    The U.S. empire rests on a grisly foundation: the massacre of millions of indigenous people, the stealing of their lands, and following this, the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of black people from Africa to work that land. Thousands died on the seas while they were being shipped like caged cattle between continents. "Stolen from Africa, brought to America" — Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier" contains a whole universe of unspeakable sadness. It tells of the loss of dignity, the loss of wilderness, the loss of freedom, the shattered pride of a people. Genocide and slavery provide the social and economic underpinning of the nation whose fundamental values reject hate, murderers, and evil.

    Here is Chomsky, writing in the essay "The Manufacture of Consent," on the founding of the United States of America:

    During the Thanksgiving holiday a few weeks ago, I took a walk with some friends and family in a national park. We came across a gravestone, which had on it the following inscription: "Here lies an Indian woman, a Wampanoag, whose family and tribe gave of themselves and their land that this great nation might be born and grow."

    Of course, it is not quite accurate to say that the indigenous population gave of themselves and their land for that noble purpose. Rather, they were slaughtered, decimated, and dispersed in the course of one of the greatest exercises in genocide in human history... which we celebrate each October when we honour Columbus — a notable mass murderer himself — on Columbus Day.

    Hundreds of American citizens, well-meaning and decent people, troop by that gravestone regularly and read it, apparently without reaction; except, perhaps, a feeling of satisfaction that at last we are giving some due recognition to the sacrifices of the native peoples.... They might react differently if they were to visit Auschwitz or Dachau and find a gravestone reading: "Here lies a woman, a Jew, whose family and people gave of themselves and their possessions that this great nation might grow and prosper."

    How has the United States survived its terrible past and emerged smelling so sweet? Not by owning up to it, not by making reparations, not by apologising to black Americans or native Americans, and certainly not by changing its ways (it exports its cruelties now). Like most other countries, the United States has rewritten its history. But what sets the United States apart from other countries, and puts it way ahead in the race, is that it has enlisted the services of the most powerful, most successful publicity firm in the world: Hollywood.

    In the best-selling version of popular myth as history, U.S. "goodness" peaked during World War II (aka America's War Against Fascism). Lost in the din of trumpet sound and angel song is the fact that when fascism was in full stride in Europe, the U.S. government actually looked away. When Hitler was carrying out his genocidal pogrom against Jews, U.S. officials refused entry to Jewish refugees fleeing Germany. The United States entered the war only after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. Drowned out by the noisy hosannas is its most barbaric act, in fact the single most savage act the world has ever witnessed: the dropping of the atomic bomb on civilian populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war was nearly over. The hundreds of thousands of Japanese people who were killed, the countless others who were crippled by cancers for generations to come, were not a threat to world peace. They were civilians. Just as the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were civilians. Just as the hundreds of thousands of people who died in Iraq because of the U.S.-led sanctions were civilians. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a cold, calculated experiment carried out to demonstrate America's power. At the time, President Truman described it as "the greatest thing in history".

    The Second World War, we're told, was a "war for peace". The atomic bomb was a "weapon of peace". We're invited to believe that nuclear deterrence prevented World War III. (That was before President George Bush Jr. came up with the "pre-emptive strike doctrine". Was there an outbreak of peace after the Second World War? Certainly there was (relative) peace in Europe and America — but does that count as world peace? Not unless savage, proxy wars fought in lands where the coloured races live (chinks, niggers, dinks, wogs, gooks) don't count as wars at all.

    Since the Second World War, the United States has been at war with or has attacked, among other countries, Korea, Guatemala, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. This list should also include the U.S. government's covert operations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the coups it has engineered, and the dictators it has armed and supported. It should include Israel's U.S.-backed war on Lebanon, in which thousands were killed. It should include the key role America has played in the conflict in the Middle East, in which thousands have died fighting Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. It should include America's role in the civil war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, in which more than one million people were killed. It should include the embargos and sanctions that have led directly, and indirectly, to the death of hundreds of thousands of people, most visibly in Iraq.

    Put it all together, and it sounds very much as though there has been a World War III, and that the U.S. government was (or is) one of its chief protagonists.

    Most of the essays in Chomsky's For Reasons of State are about U.S. aggression in South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It was a war that lasted more than 12 years. Fifty-eight thousand Americans and approximately two million Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians lost their lives. The U.S. deployed half a million ground troops, dropped more than six million tons of bombs. And yet, though you wouldn't believe it if you watched most Hollywood movies, America lost the war.

    The war began in South Vietnam and then spread to North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. After putting in place a client regime in Saigon, the U.S. government invited itself in to fight a communist insurgency — Vietcong guerillas who had infiltrated rural regions of South Vietnam where villagers were sheltering them. This was exactly the model that Russia replicated when, in 1979, it invited itself into Afghanistan. Nobody in the "free world" is in any doubt about the fact that Russia invaded Afghanistan. After glasnost, even a Soviet foreign minister called the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan "illegal and immoral". But there has been no such introspection in the United States. In 1984, in a stunning revelation, Chomsky wrote:

    For the past 22 years, I have been searching to find some reference in mainstream journalism or scholarship to an American invasion of South Vietnam in 1962 (or ever), or an American attack against South Vietnam, or American aggression in Indochina — without success. There is no such event in history. Rather, there is an American defence of South Vietnam against terrorists supported from the outside (namely from Vietnam).

    There is no such event in history!

    In 1962, the U.S. Air Force began to bomb rural South Vietnam, where 80 per cent of the population lived. The bombing lasted for more than a decade. Thousands of people were killed. The idea was to bomb on a scale colossal enough to induce panic migration from villages into cities, where people could be held in refugee camps. Samuel Huntington referred to this as a process of "urbanisation". (I learned about urbanisation when I was in architecture school in India. Somehow I don't remember aerial bombing being part of the syllabus.) Huntington — famous today for his essay "The Clash of Civilizations?"— was at the time Chairman of the Council on Vietnamese Studies of the Southeast Asia Development Advisory Group. Chomsky quotes him describing the Vietcong as "a powerful force which cannot be dislodged from its constituency so long as the constituency continues to exist". Huntington went on to advise "direct application of mechanical and conventional power"— in other words, to crush a people's war, eliminate the people. (Or, perhaps, to update the thesis — in order to prevent a clash of civilizations, annihilate a civilisation.)

    Here's one observer from the time on the limitations of America's mechanical power: "The problem is that American machines are not equal to the task of killing communist soldiers except as part of a scorched-earth policy that destroys everything else as well." That problem has been solved now. Not with less destructive bombs, but with more imaginative language. There's a more elegant way of saying "that destroys everything else as well". The phrase is "collateral damage".

    And here's a firsthand account of what America's "machines" (Huntington called them "modernising instruments" and staff officers in the Pentagon called them "bomb-o-grams") can do. This is T.D. Allman flying over the Plain of Jars in Laos.

    Even if the war in Laos ended tomorrow, the restoration of its ecological balance might take several years. The reconstruction of the Plain's totally destroyed towns and villages might take just as long. Even if this was done, the Plain might long prove perilous to human habitation because of the hundreds of thousands of unexploded bombs, mines and booby traps.

    A recent flight around the Plain of Jars revealed what less than three years of intensive American bombing can do to a rural area, even after its civilian population has been evacuated. In large areas, the primary tropical colour — bright green — has been replaced by an abstract pattern of black, and bright metallic colours. Much of the remaining foliage is stunted, dulled by defoliants.

    Today, black is the dominant colour of the northern and eastern reaches of the Plain. Napalm is dropped regularly to burn off the grass and undergrowth that covers the Plains and fills its many narrow ravines. The fires seem to burn constantly, creating rectangles of black. During the flight, plumes of smoke could be seen rising from freshly bombed areas.

    The main routes, coming into the Plain from communist-held territory, are bombed mercilessly, apparently on a non-stop basis. There, and along the rim of the Plain, the dominant colour is yellow. All vegetation has been destroyed. The craters are countless.... [T]he area has been bombed so repeatedly that the land resembles the pocked, churned desert in storm-hit areas of the North African desert.

    Further to the southeast, Xieng Khouangville — once the most populous town in communist Laos — lies empty, destroyed. To the north of the Plain, the little resort of Khang Khay also has been destroyed.

    Around the landing field at the base of King Kong, the main colours are yellow (from upturned soil) and black (from napalm), relieved by patches of bright red and blue: parachutes used to drop supplies.

    [T]he last local inhabitants were being carted into air transports. Abandoned vegetable gardens that would never be harvested grew near abandoned houses with plates still on the tables and calendars on the walls.

    (Never counted in the "costs" of war are the dead birds, the charred animals, the murdered fish, incinerated insects, poisoned water sources, destroyed vegetation. Rarely mentioned is the arrogance of the human race towards other living things with which it shares this planet. All these are forgotten in the fight for markets and ideologies. This arrogance will probably be the ultimate undoing of the human species.)

    The centrepiece of For Reasons of State is an essay called "The Mentality of the Backroom Boys", in which Chomsky offers an extraordinarily supple, exhaustive analysis of the Pentagon Papers, which he says "provide documentary evidence of a conspiracy to use force in international affairs in violation of law". Here, too, Chomsky makes note of the fact that while the bombing of North Vietnam is discussed at some length in the Pentagon Papers, the invasion of South Vietnam barely merits a mention.

    The Pentagon Papers are mesmerising, not as documentation of the history of the U.S. war in Indochina, but as insight into the minds of the men who planned and executed it. It's fascinating to be privy to the ideas that were being tossed around, the suggestions that were made, the proposals that were put forward. In a section called "The Asian Mind — the American Mind", Chomsky examines the discussion of the mentality of the enemy that "stoically accept[s] the destruction of wealth and the loss of lives", whereas "We want life, happiness, wealth, power", and, for us, "death and suffering are irrational choices when alternatives exist". So, we learn that the Asian poor, presumably because they cannot comprehend the meaning of happiness, wealth, and power, invite America to carry this "strategic logic to its conclusion, which is genocide". But, then "we" balk because "genocide is a terrible burden to bear". (Eventually, of course, "we" went ahead and committed genocide any way, and then pretended that it never really happened.)

    Of course, the Pentagon Papers contain some moderate proposals, as well.

    Strikes at population targets (per se) are likely not only to create a counterproductive wave of revulsion abroad and at home, but greatly to increase the risk of enlarging the war with China and the Soviet Union. Destruction of locks and dams, however — if handled right — might... offer promise. It should be studied. Such destruction does not kill or drown people. By shallow-flooding the rice, it leads after time to widespread starvation (more than a million?) unless food is provided — which we could offer to do "at the conference table".

    Layer by layer, Chomsky strips down the process of decision-making by U.S. government officials, to reveal at its core the pitiless heart of the American war machine, completely insulated from the realities of war, blinded by ideology, and willing to annihilate millions of human beings, civilians, soldiers, women, children, villages, whole cities, whole ecosystems — with scientifically honed methods of brutality.

    Here's an American pilot talking about the joys of napalm:

    We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn't so hot — if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene — now it sticks like **** to a blanket. But then if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter [white phosphorous] so's to make it burn better. It'll even burn under water now. And just one drop is enough, it'll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorous poisoning.

    So the lucky gooks were annihilated for their own good. Better Dead than Red.

    Thanks to the seductive charms of Hollywood and the irresistible appeal of America's mass media, all these years later, the world views the war as an American story. Indochina provided the lush, tropical backdrop against which the United States played out its fantasies of violence, tested its latest technology, furthered its ideology, examined its conscience, agonised over its moral dilemmas, and dealt with its guilt (or pretended to). The Vietnamese, the Cambodians, and Laotians were only script props. Nameless, faceless, slit-eyed humanoids. They were just the people who died. Gooks.

    The only real lesson the U.S. government learned from its invasion of Indochina is how to go to war without committing American troops and risking American lives. So now we have wars waged with long-range cruise missiles, Black Hawks, "bunker busters". Wars in which the "Allies" lose more journalists than soldiers.

    As a child growing up in the state of Kerala, in South India — where the first democratically elected Communist government in the world came to power in 1959, the year I was born — I worried terribly about being a gook. Kerala was only a few thousand miles west of Vietnam. We had jungles and rivers and rice-fields, and communists, too. I kept imagining my mother, my brother, and myself being blown out of the bushes by a grenade, or mowed down, like the gooks in the movies, by an American marine with muscled arms and chewing gum and a loud background score. In my dreams, I was the burning girl in the famous photograph taken on the road from Trang Bang.

    As someone who grew up on the cusp of both American and Soviet propaganda (which more or less neutralised each other), when I first read Noam Chomsky, it occurred to me that his marshalling of evidence, the volume of it, the relentlessness of it, was a little — how shall I put it? — insane. Even a quarter of the evidence he had compiled would have been enough to convince me. I used to wonder why he needed to do so much work. But now I understand that the magnitude and intensity of Chomsky's work is a barometer of the magnitude, scope, and relentlessness of the propaganda machine that he's up against. He's like the wood-borer who lives inside the third rack of my bookshelf. Day and night, I hear his jaws crunching through the wood, grinding it to a fine dust. It's as though he disagrees with the literature and wants to destroy the very structure on which it rests. I call him Chompsky.

    Being an American working in America, writing to convince Americans of his point of view must really be like having to tunnel through hard wood. Chomsky is one of a small band of individuals fighting a whole industry. And that makes him not only brilliant, but heroic.

    Some years ago, in a poignant interview with James Peck, Chomsky spoke about his memory of the day Hiroshima was bombed. He was 16 years old:

    I remember that I literally couldn't talk to anybody. There was nobody. I just walked off by myself. I was at a summer camp at the time, and I walked off into the woods and stayed alone for a couple of hours when I heard about it. I could never talk to anyone about it and never understood anyone's reaction. I felt completely isolated.

    That isolation produced one of the greatest, most radical public thinkers of our time. When the sun sets on the American empire, as it will, as it must, Noam Chomsky's work will survive.

    It will point a cool, incriminating finger at a merciless, Machiavellian empire as cruel, self-righteous, and hypocritical as the ones it has replaced. (The only difference is that it is armed with technology that can visit the kind of devastation on the world that history has never known and the human race cannot begin to imagine.)

    As a could've been gook, and who knows, perhaps a potential gook, hardly a day goes by when I don't find myself thinking — for one reason or another — "Chomsky Zindabad".

    Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things.
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello,

      Chomsky is a traitor to the United States of America, in my opinion, if given a chance to lead America, he would sell out American troops to the United Nations, and bow before them like a dog on its heel at the master's command. Chomsky is a radical liberal who hates America's nationalistic tendencies. He is an idiot whom, I thank God, isn't the President of America.

      Pitifully enough, Chomsky doesn't realize that the very privileges he enjoys were paid in blood by American troops scarificing their own lives protecting the sovereignty of America. Really, it's quite amusing.

      Chomsky is not the greatest thinker of 20th century. You want to know what I think of media? I think most of media companies are liberal in nature, and none of them express decidedly pro-American ideals. They all want to bow before the United Nations, oblivious to the idea of surrendering national soveriegnity.

      Chomsky, in my humble opinion, is nothing but a nuisance to the real patriots -- the conservatives who at least acknowledge the true scarifice the troops have given for America and supporting the concept of national sovereignty.

      Dan
      Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

      "Aim small, miss small."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MikeJ
        I'm sure this will offend enough people to stimulate some debate about the media though (or why people think Chomsky is a nut).
        I think you posted this just to get Cheetah772 fired up!
        "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

        Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Chuck
          I think you posted this just to get Cheetah772 fired up!
          Chuck,

          Yeah, he got me fired up....I yelled things at the Indian's glowing review of Chomsky's work and I don't think God would be pleased with me.

          At least MikeJ can't argue that I haven't read it...

          That Indian thinks he is a subject of so-called "US Empire" is really amusing, nobody from here in America held a handgun to his head and forcing him to do things he wouldn't want to do. And it would very well point out that if he think it's America's fault by placing sanctions on India for joining the nuclear club, he is sadly mistaken. The condition India is in is all her faults, and shouldn't be mistaken for so-called "US Empire" taking control of India.

          And the picture of a couple of soldiers holding an Iraqi citizen? I find it amusing that they aren't American troops, they're British troops! Finally, I can rest easy considering this Indian has a real lack of common sense and I'll excuse him for being a foreign national instead of a traitor to America. After all, prehaps 3/4 of this world hates America more than Nazis or even Jews.

          Dan
          Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

          "Aim small, miss small."

          Comment


          • #6
            Well I was hoping more for comment onthe media than Chomsky, but okay Chomsky is good too .

            Originally posted by Cheetah772
            Chomsky is a radical liberal who hates America's nationalistic tendencies.
            It could easily be argued that nationalism in the sense you're speaking about actually isn't. If we define nationalism as love for ones country, does that mean you must not dissent? Or does that mean you must obey the principles on which your nation is based? If it's the latter, it could easily be argued that the nationalists are those whose loyalty to their country comes not from staring at the flag and a sense of pride in the country as much as an understanding and an appreciation of what makes the nation great - tolerance, individuality and Liberalism (with a capital L, not to be confused with what you were thinking right when you read it).

            Intense nationalism, in the sense you seem to be using it, has been a leading cause for countless deaths in the 20th century alone. Intense nationalism blinds reason and rationality. There is a balance in there and while I won't speak for Chomsky, I certainly don't think disliking America's nationalistic tendancies is necessarily a bad thing, especially when it conflicts with the ideals of the nation.

            Pitifully enough, Chomsky doesn't realize that the very privileges he enjoys were paid in blood by American troops scarificing their own lives protecting the sovereignty of America. Really, it's quite amusing.
            Oh I think he realizes it. I think what he also realizes is that you can't bank morality. You can't do a good deed today and save it to offset a bad deed later.

            You want to know what I think of media? I think most of media companies are liberal in nature, and none of them express decidedly pro-American ideals. They all want to bow before the United Nations, oblivious to the idea of surrendering national soveriegnity.
            What is pro-American? You seem to equate pro-American with agreeing with conservatives. I'm guessing that you consider Clinton a traitor too, so it's probably not necessarily blind obedience to the President. That seems to be against the ideals which are enshrined in your constitution.

            Chomsky, in my humble opinion, is nothing but a nuisance to the real patriots -- the conservatives who at least acknowledge the true scarifice the troops have given for America and supporting the concept of national sovereignty.
            Okay, so you do equate pro-American with conservatism. I guess you read Ann Coulter's new book . I tried to read it, but fascism in a miniskirt just didn't do it for me.
            Last edited by MikeJ; 28 Aug 03, 22:11.
            "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

            – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chuck
              I think you posted this just to get Cheetah772 fired up!
              On a sub-concious level, you might be right. But conciously no .
              "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

              – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

              Comment


              • #8
                Chomsky is a radical leftist. That's not a crime in and of itself (no more it is a crime to be a radical right-wing), but it surely gets on my nerves of the politically moderate person I am.

                What I dislike with political radicals is that they have to distort and/or exaggerate facts and reality so that it fits into their view of the world. When you are a radical, you can't allow many contradictory facts into your view of the world, otherwise, well, you would have to recognize you are not always right and then stop to be a radical, no?

                Chomsky is of that kind, and moreover, he relishes to be in the spot of acute political controversy. He kind of play the role a guy like Pat Buchanan plays on the other side of the political spectrum (although Buchanan is less intellectually polished).


                Originally posted by Cheetah772

                You want to know what I think of media? I think most of media companies are liberal in nature, and none of them express decidedly pro-American ideals. They all want to bow before the United Nations, oblivious to the idea of surrendering national soveriegnity.

                Dan
                Let me tell you that from a non-American observer, I found that the American mainstream media is usually sympathetic to the current White House administration. I am sure other non-Americans on this board would concur with me. Being a Canadian I have access to all American news channel and main network and whether you are listening to CNN, CBS, ABC or NBC, you definitely feel that favorable tilt towards Bush. So I find it weird you say American media is liberal. The only mainstream media I can think of the top of my head which is not tilted towards Bush is the New York Times.

                Granted, that pro-Bush stance has started to soften in recent months. A lot of people are disillusioned with the outcome of the Iraq war, and it's starting to show in the media. But before that, Bush didn't have too much problem with the press.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tzar
                  Chomsky is a radical leftist. That's not a crime in and of itself (no more it is a crime to be a radical right-wing), but it surely gets on my nerves of the politically moderate person I am.
                  He is radical, but I find his work on the media (particularly since he's a linguist) to be very good. He makes some very keen observations and that's kind of what I was hoping to emphasize here.

                  I just posted the entire thing in case people were bored with that and wanted to bash Chomsky instead (so that the thread wouldn't die without any posts in it ).
                  "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                  – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello,

                    Having calmed down (well, maybe just a little bit), I am curious about one thing on this board.

                    Am I a radical right-wing conservative in the eyes of this board? I know I spend of most of my time on this board screaming at the liberals and bashing France (okay, the rest of world as well, not just to exclude the world), so I'm just wondering.

                    I've never posted another person's opinion or work, many of you have done that, so I'm just curious.

                    Now....granted, Chomsky is a US citizen who is allowed to voice his opinions, even if they're highly baised, and he should enjoy this privilege. There's nothing I can do about it.

                    It is true that in the past few months, the media had been pro-Bush. However, it's just foreign news, not the domestic news stuff. For example, many media reports continue to portray the homosexual agenda as something wonderful, and desired by many people. The media takes a lot of poking at the religious issues that have been rised by "Ten Commandments" Judge Moore in Alabama. There are many other stuff that it is quite liberal in political nature and obviously baised against the conservatives.

                    To me, CNN and many other news organizations are decidedly liberal due to the domestic reporting news. I have never watched Fox News, maybe, that's because I don't have a television. I threw it out several months ago. (Relax, I don't think a television is evil, just that it takes away so much of my time).

                    What you foreign nationals are watching on CNN and other news aren't always depicting the conservative nature of political America in either domestic or foreign policy.

                    Moving on to the next point, when is the last time you have heard a liberal, radical or no, actually expressed uttermost support for the military and it scarificed everything to protect America? Clinton doesn't count because he made it plain that he never really loved or supported the military despite his use of them in Haiti, Somanlia, Kosvo, etc. Not even LBJ could really count in this regard because he did fear the military going over board, and had he gotten his way, he would rather disband the military and use extra money for his Great Society programmes.

                    Unfortunately, the liberals have a bad track record for supporting the military and patriotic values endorsed by the conservatives in America.

                    Dan
                    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                    "Aim small, miss small."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cheetah772
                      Hello,
                      Am I a radical right-wing conservative in the eyes of this board? I know I spend of most of my time on this board screaming at the liberals and bashing France (okay, the rest of world as well, not just to exclude the world), so I'm just wondering.
                      Well, left/right, liberal/conservative, so many double meanings, but in the general sense you're not really extreme as many people I know. Still, it'd be just about impossible for me to consider you a leftie, based on what I know of where you stand politically .

                      To me, CNN and many other news organizations are decidedly liberal due to the domestic reporting news. I have never watched Fox News, maybe, that's because I don't have a television. I threw it out several months ago. (Relax, I don't think a television is evil, just that it takes away so much of my time).
                      I have a pretty low opinion of CNN too, just not for the same reasons.

                      Moving on to the next point, when is the last time you have heard a liberal, radical or no, actually expressed uttermost support for the military and it scarificed everything to protect America?
                      If you mean blind support no matter what, then I don't think you'll find too many people, conservatives or liberals (in the American sense) who would support the military no matter what. If a squad of American soldiers decided to have a giant gang-bang orgy with some Iraqi women against their will I think conservatives and liberals alike would be outraged. If we found out those pilots involved in the Canadian friendly fire incident purposely bombed Canadians because we're "socialist scumbags and a threat to America", I think most people would find that kind of behaviour disheartening. So at what point, if any, is "supporting" the troops crossing the line and no longer patriotic?

                      And I would draw a distinction between supporting the troops and supporting a war. It's not the same thing to many, even if that's the perception those in the military might have. Perceptions are more important, but we're talking about political dissent here and if some soldiers feel bad because they don't see the difference between being against a war and being against them, then at least it's for a worthwhile cause.

                      And finally, I'm not sure what about supporting or not supporting the military you view as patriotic or unpatriotic. Can you be more specific? Funding? Moral support? Freedom of action?

                      Clinton doesn't count because he made it plain that he never really loved or supported the military despite his use of them in Haiti, Somanlia, Kosvo, etc. Not even LBJ could really count in this regard because he did fear the military going over board, and had he gotten his way, he would rather disband the military and use extra money for his Great Society programmes.
                      FDR? As for republicans, well if the common argument is that LBJ restrained the military, then Nixon would be a sellout wouldn't he?

                      My history here is a little shaky, but I believe if you look a little further into history it's generally been the republicans against war and democrats for war.

                      Unfortunately, the liberals have a bad track record for supporting the military and patriotic values endorsed by the conservatives in America.
                      What patriotic values are we talking about here, specifically? Once I get passed the connotations and innuendos its hard to discern what exactly you're talking about. Support for the military is one you've been using, but what else?
                      "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                      – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cheetah772
                        Hello,

                        Having calmed down (well, maybe just a little bit), I am curious about one thing on this board.

                        Am I a radical right-wing conservative in the eyes of this board? I know I spend of most of my time on this board screaming at the liberals and bashing France (okay, the rest of world as well, not just to exclude the world), so I'm just wondering.
                        He he...

                        I would say you are definitely right-wing. Without a doubt

                        Now, are you a radical right-wing. I would say that some of your opinions sound radical right-wing, some others less radical.

                        But as I said, it's not a crime in and of itself

                        Originally posted by Cheetah772

                        It is true that in the past few months, the media had been pro-Bush. However, it's just foreign news, not the domestic news stuff. For example, many media reports continue to portray the homosexual agenda as something wonderful, and desired by many people. The media takes a lot of poking at the religious issues that have been rised by "Ten Commandments" Judge Moore in Alabama.
                        Ah, now I understand. You mean the American media is liberal on social issues. I was thinking strictly about the Republican administration's image in the media. In that sense, you are right, American mainstream media is somewhat more liberal than conservative in general on social issues. I would not say though it is unfairly biased towards liberal values. I think the conservatives' point of view is reflected in the media.

                        The medias is not there to promote any ideology, whether it's liberal or conservative. The medias are there to report facts and let the viewer decides for himself. As long as the media is basically doing that, I don't have a problem with this.


                        Originally posted by Cheetah772

                        Moving on to the next point, when is the last time you have heard a liberal, radical or no, actually expressed uttermost support for the military and it scarificed everything to protect America? Clinton doesn't count because he made it plain that he never really loved or supported the military despite his use of them in Haiti, Somanlia, Kosvo, etc.
                        Its seems to be quite a popular line among conservatives to complain about the perceived lack of support of Democrats and liberals in general for the military and the soldiers. I have the impression there is some kind of misunderstanding of the liberal's attitude towards the military.

                        Most of the time, liberals do not believe in military solutions or are very skeptical of military solutions to an issue or problem. Because of this, they do not tend to bang the drum of patriotic militarism as louder as conservatives, which might give the impression that they are not as supportive. But I do not believe liberals are less thankful or admirative of the work the military can do. It's just that they will be more discrete about it. A guy like LBJ was acutely aware of the great responsibility he had on his shoulders while sending American boys over there in Vietnam and was very respectful of the work they did. I think pretty much can be said of any Democrat or liberal in general.
                        Last edited by Tzar; 29 Aug 03, 00:01.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not all liberals have been against the military or 'patriotic' values. Look at WWII. The socialist in the White House had to push and push against the right-wing to get the country involved in the war.
                          "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                          Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tzar
                            The medias is not there to promote any ideology, whether it's liberal or conservative. The medias are there to report facts and let the viewer decides for himself. As long as the media is basically doing that, I don't have a problem with this.
                            What about nationalism/patriotism (in whatever perverted definition of it its become)?

                            Seeing as you're Canadian and get most American networks, what do you think of it in general? Do you believe our media (Canadian/American) does this?
                            "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                            – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cheetah772
                              Pitifully enough, Chomsky doesn't realize that the very privileges he enjoys were paid in blood by American troops scarificing their own lives protecting the sovereignty of America. Really, it's quite amusing.
                              I thought that Chomsky had been banned from giving interviews or publishing any material in the USA. That alone says a lot about his views. His criticism is more or less philosophical. Certainly, he dosen't preach any violence or unapologetic hatred, so how much harm can he really do? An organisation that banishes opposing ideals is often vulnerable and insecure about its own policies. They don't want anyone to know that there might be better ideas other than their own.
                              Last edited by Martin Schenkel; 29 Aug 03, 01:38.

                              Comment

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