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  #161  
Old 12-05-2010, 12:52 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by pod2 View Post
Chomsky sees the traditions of Enlightenment liberalism as running directly counter to the structures of state capitalism that we see today. By your definition, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, von Humboldt, JS Mill were not liberals either. See, for example here, where Chomsky stands up to defend Adam Smith, et al. from modern-day revisionists.
There is some truth in what Chomsky says about Smith, but only some. For example:

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all." (WN, book 5)

This could have come straight out of Rousseau, but Smith never thought that "civil government" could correct the inequality resulting from unequal economic relations. Chomsky is right in saying that Adam Smith was not a blind apologist for "corporate capitalism," but that is only because corporate capitalism didn't exist when Smith was writing.
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  #162  
Old 12-05-2010, 01:28 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
There is some truth in what Chomsky says about Smith, but only some. For example:

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all." (WN, book 5)

This could have come straight out of Rousseau, but Smith never thought that "civil government" could correct the inequality resulting from unequal economic relations.
Actually, Smith says exactly that. He may think that, in most cases, civil government is merely a puppet of the manufacturers and merchants who brought "dreadful misfortunes" to most English and Scottish subjects. However, he sees it as crucial that the government should intervene to limit these misfortunes. Check the passage Chomsky was referring to about the division of labor: Smith absolutely rails against the consequences of it, saying that

"The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same...generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become... His dexterity at his own particular trade seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the expence of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it." (WN V.i.e.50: 782)
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  #163  
Old 12-05-2010, 01:57 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Actually, Smith says exactly that. He may think that, in most cases, civil government is merely a puppet of the manufacturers and merchants who brought "dreadful misfortunes" to most English and Scottish subjects. However, he sees it as crucial that the government should intervene to limit these misfortunes. Check the passage Chomsky was referring to about the division of labor: Smith absolutely rails against the consequences of it, saying that

"The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same...generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become... His dexterity at his own particular trade seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the expence of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it." (WN V.i.e.50: 782)
Yes, you are right of course that Smith saw the evils of the division of labor, but what does he propose as a remedy? Nothing, as far as I can see, but state supported education and..... military training so that the "martial virtues" are preserved.

Without the division of labor, Smith's whole system falls apart. Because it is the division of labor---between the "baker and butcher" but also inside the factory---that makes possible the increase of "wealth" (productivity in modern language) that distinguishes modern "commercial society" from previous forms of society (hunting, pastoral, agricultural, feudal etc.) The division of labor may be stultifying, but what is the alternative?

Last edited by Florian; 12-05-2010 at 02:01 PM..
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  #164  
Old 12-05-2010, 02:21 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Yes, you are right of course that Smith saw the evils of the division of labor, but what does he propose as a remedy? The division of labor may be stultifying, but what is the alternative?
The alternatives are laid out by those who see themselves carrying out the Enlightenment liberal political philosophy-- libertarian socialists like Orwell and Chomsky who agree with Smith that the goal of a good society is to promote human welfare and potential, not to go along with "the vile maxim of the masters of mankind": "All for ourselves, and nothing for other People" (Smith, WN, III, 4, p. 448)
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  #165  
Old 12-05-2010, 02:35 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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The alternatives are laid out by those who see themselves carrying out the Enlightenment liberal political philosophy-- libertarian socialists like Orwell and Chomsky who agree with Smith that the goal of a good society is to promote human welfare and potential, not to go along with "the vile maxim of the masters of mankind": "All for ourselves, and nothing for other People" (Smith, WN, III, 4, p. 448)
I am certainly more in sympathy with Orwell and Chomsky than with the vile masters of mankind. But I am too Kantian to think that "libertarian socialists" have much chance of defeating the vile masters of mankind. To do so, they will have to give up their belief that the state, or civil government, is evil. But then they will no longer be libertarians...

But there is hope, but not for us (as Kafka said).
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  #166  
Old 12-05-2010, 03:02 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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I am certainly more in sympathy with Orwell and Chomsky than with the vile masters of mankind. But I am too Kantian to think that "libertarian socialists" have much chance of defeating the vile masters of mankind. To do so, they will have to give up their belief that the state, or civil government, is evil. But then they will no longer be libertarians...
That is certainly another question-- can you call yourself a "libertarian" of any kind and still think that the state is useful? I would say of course, especially in the traditions that Chomsky sees as coming naturally out of the British and Scottish Enlightenment-- traditions from which he draws inspiration.

But this strain of posts was mostly a response to Wm. Blaxton and chrisn, who were describing their impressions of Chomsky as a fundamentally anti-liberal, Bolshevik type of figure. And I was just pushing back on that impression, because it doesn't seem to be accurate-- Chomsky himself has been very explicit in drawing from the greats of the liberal tradition, and vocal in condemning the crimes of the various Bolshevik/Stalinist/Maoist regimes out there. It's just that he spends more of his time criticizing crimes in which he and we are participants and which we can do something to stop.
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  #167  
Old 12-05-2010, 03:26 PM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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But this strain of posts was mostly a response to Wm. Blaxton and chrisn, who were describing their impressions of Chomsky as a fundamentally anti-liberal, Bolshevik type of figure. And I was just pushing back on that impression, because it doesn't seem to be accurate-- Chomsky himself has been very explicit in drawing from the greats of the liberal tradition, and vocal in condemning the crimes of the various Bolshevik/Stalinist/Maoist regimes out there. It's just that he spends more of his time criticizing crimes in which he and we are participants and which we can do something to stop.
I observed that Chomsky identifies himself as coming out of the anarchist (or anarcho-syndicalist or "libertarian socialist") tradition, and noted that there is a big difference between anarchism and liberalism, and that anarchism is inherently anti-liberal. You disagreed with at least parts of this, suggesting that Chomsky is in fact part of the broader liberal tradition.

I didn't call him a Bolshevik. I didn't call him a totalitarian, Maoist, Stalinist, whatever. Is the distinction between Bolsheviks and anarchists another you don't recognize?

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-05-2010 at 03:49 PM..
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  #168  
Old 12-05-2010, 04:32 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Wm. Blaxton View Post
I observed that Chomsky identifies himself as coming out of the anarchist (or anarcho-syndicalist or "libertarian socialist") tradition, and noted that there is a big difference between anarchism and liberalism, and that anarchism is inherently anti-liberal. You disagreed with at least parts of this, suggesting that Chomsky is in fact part of the broader liberal tradition.

I didn't call him a Bolshevik. I didn't call him a totalitarian, Maoist, Stalinist, whatever.
On para 1: some people's definition of anarchism is anti-liberal, I agree. Chomsky himself has said that he agrees with classical liberal thinkers, and that many who claim these thinkers to justify modern state capitalism are on the wrong track.

On para 2: I think I may have conflated your points with those of "operative" or someone else. Sorry. Of course, the socialists, labor unionists, and anarcho-syndicalists were among the first ones rounded up and shot by Lenin-- and Mao (and Hitler, for that matter).
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  #169  
Old 12-05-2010, 06:46 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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I am certainly more in sympathy with Orwell and Chomsky than with the vile masters of mankind. But I am too Kantian to think that "libertarian socialists" have much chance of defeating the vile masters of mankind. To do so, they will have to give up their belief that the state, or civil government, is evil. But then they will no longer be libertarians...

But there is hope, but not for us (as Kafka said).
Are Orwell and Chomsky all that compatible? I'm not all that well read on Orwell (I think Shooting an Elephant is a near perfect writing, but I couldn't get into 1984), but he strikes me as someone who would be very opposed to Chomsky's attack on the fundamental notion of property rights (without which, I would argue, there could have been no Enlightenment or move toward Democracy) as well as some of Chomsky's other writings; while Orwell shares Chomsky's disdain toward colonialism, I don't think he would be as kneejerk in defending any leadership of any country with a colonial past and a postcolonial present.
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  #170  
Old 12-05-2010, 06:50 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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On para 1: some people's definition of anarchism is anti-liberal, I agree. Chomsky himself has said that he agrees with classical liberal thinkers, and that many who claim these thinkers to justify modern state capitalism are on the wrong track.

On para 2: I think I may have conflated your points with those of "operative" or someone else. Sorry. Of course, the socialists, labor unionists, and anarcho-syndicalists were among the first ones rounded up and shot by Lenin-- and Mao (and Hitler, for that matter).
Yes, I am the one who called him an authoritarian. I also think that Rousseau is essentially a groundwork for authoritarianism (Pol Pot was a huge fan of his writings), but that Chomsky is more explicit. By rejecting private property, Chomsky essentially says that there is no such thing as a public and private sphere--only a public sphere. And this is what he has in common with the major authoritarian movements, including the ones he has defended.

Communists and Nazis absolutely despised one another, but while you can note several fundamental differences (Communists being materialists, Nazis being spiritualists), they had an awful lot in common (emphasis on awful). So the fact that the authoritarians inevitably rounded up their opponents doesn't make their opponents inherently less authoritarian.
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  #171  
Old 12-05-2010, 06:57 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Wm. Blaxton View Post
If John Locke, John Stuart Mill and Mikhail Bakunin are all part of the same political tradition, labels are truly meaningless.
That (emph. added) is what I was thinking when you said a belief in property rights is inherently liberal. Most people call me a liberal. I consider property rights a necessary evil only, and look forward to the day when our species is less graspy.
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  #172  
Old 12-05-2010, 06:58 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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That (emph. added) is what I was thinking when you said a belief in property rights is inherently liberal. Most people call me a liberal. I consider property rights a necessary evil only, and look forward to the day when our species is less graspy.
the dreaded utopian.
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  #173  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:10 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Are Orwell and Chomsky all that compatible? I'm not all that well read on Orwell (I think Shooting an Elephant is a near perfect writing, but I couldn't get into 1984), but he strikes me as someone who would be very opposed to Chomsky's attack on the fundamental notion of property rights
Chomsky approvingly cites George Orwell perhaps more than any other thinker. Orwell was a committed socialist (self-described democratic socialist) who opposed capitalism (as well as totalitarianism). Orwell's writings about the anarchist revolution in "Homage to Catalonia" had a huge impact on my thinking about political and social organization, and should be required high school reading. Orwell's (usually suppressed) introduction to "Animal Farm" was an important reference for Chomsky when describing the 'propaganda model' of the American media in "Manufacturing Consent."

Last edited by pod2; 12-05-2010 at 09:32 PM..
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  #174  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:19 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Yes, I am the one who called him an authoritarian. I also think that Rousseau is essentially a groundwork for authoritarianism (Pol Pot was a huge fan of his writings), but that Chomsky is more explicit. By rejecting private property, Chomsky essentially says that there is no such thing as a public and private sphere--only a public sphere. And this is what he has in common with the major authoritarian movements, including the ones he has defended.
Citations or quotations would be useful here. Chomsky does not often cite Rousseau-- and usually critically, if he does, and I agree with you that Rousseau has been misused by a wide variety of odious characters. I also agree with you that that strain of Romanticism has unpleasant parallels with the Hegelian strain of thought that leads to death camps in Poland and Cambodia, as well as the gulags of Siberia and the Red Guards of China. However, to say that Chomsky, who is radically committed to questioning and challenging illegitimate forms of authority, and who violently disagrees with Bolshevism, colonialism, Stalinism, and whose opposition to the modern corporation is grounded in his diagnosis that these legal fictions are ubiquitous examples of "tyranny"-- to say that he is some kind of closet authoritarian sympathizer seems strange.
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  #175  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:25 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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the dreaded utopian.
From wikipedia's entry on libertarian socialism:

"Contrary to popular opinion, libertarian socialism has not traditionally been a utopian movement, tending to avoid dense theoretical analysis or prediction of what a future society would or should look like. The tradition instead has been that such decisions cannot be made now, and must be made through struggle and experimentation, so that the best solution can be arrived at democratically and organically, and to base the direction for struggle on established historical example. Supporters often suggest that this focus on exploration over predetermination is one of their great strengths. They point out that the success of the scientific method comes from its adherence to open rational exploration, not its conclusions, rather than dogma and predetermined predictions."
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  #176  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:47 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Citations or quotations would be useful here.
Is there a specific claim you were wanting citations for?

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Chomsky does not often cite Rousseau-- and usually critically, if he does, and I agree with you that Rousseau has been misused by a wide variety of odious characters. I also agree with you that that strain of Romanticism has unpleasant parallels with the Hegelian strain of thought that leads to death camps in Poland and Cambodia, as well as the gulags of Siberia and the Red Guards of China. However, to say that Chomsky, who is radically committed to questioning and challenging illegitimate forms of authority, and who violently disagrees with Bolshevism, colonialism, Stalinism, and whose opposition to the modern corporation is grounded in his diagnosis that these legal fictions are ubiquitous examples of "tyranny"-- to say that he is some kind of closet authoritarian sympathizer seems strange.
I see both Rousseau and Chomsky as fundamentally dismissive of the notions of individualism. For Rousseau, this leads to the outlandish notion of the General Will (Rousseau explicitly calls the masses a "stupid, pusillanimous invalid" and states that it's natural for the "best and wisest" to govern them, believing that it took great leaders to fundamentally move society forward). For Chomsky, it's the dismissal of property rights, which shifts the emphasis from individual rights to 'collective rights'--the individual and what he might hope to own is not important because it takes away from the collective. But this is inherently authoritarian--it must be enforced, and just as Rousseau called for the intellectually elite to forcibly move society forward, so too must Chomsky's ideology inevitably result in an intellectual elite forcing a social arrangement that protects the collective rights against the self-interest of the individual. Chomsky of course will probably never explicate this--he's neglected to more fully flesh out specifics on his own proposals in favor of attacking the United States. But there's simply no other way to achieve Chomsky's vision. And, the attack on the societal elites and the call for an end to property rights is basically the Khmer Rouge without the Killing Fields.

Moreover, Chomsky shares Rousseau's unconstrained view of human nature, and the unconstrained view has more often than not been the root of the worst of the crimes against humanity in the last hundred years, from Hitler's actions to Pol Pot's--they were both attempts to advance society by eliminating those who stood against this progress, whether it was Jews or Cambodian urbanites. Chomsky never explicates an eliminationist philosophy, but his philosophy is very similar: he sees the fundamental advancement of the human race as being prevented or stalled by a certain section of the population, of our country and any other country he chooses to assail. And I see this as very dangerous--it's not just "these people are wrong," but rather "these people are enemies of human advancement" which very, very easily lends itself to gross abuses of human rights. Moreover, by diminishing individual rights in favor of the notion of collective rights (thus again the rejection of private property), he further opens the door for this to happen.
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  #177  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:50 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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From wikipedia's entry on libertarian socialism:

"Contrary to popular opinion, libertarian socialism has not traditionally been a utopian movement, tending to avoid dense theoretical analysis or prediction of what a future society would or should look like. The tradition instead has been that such decisions cannot be made now, and must be made through struggle and experimentation, so that the best solution can be arrived at democratically and organically, and to base the direction for struggle on established historical example. Supporters often suggest that this focus on exploration over predetermination is one of their great strengths. They point out that the success of the scientific method comes from its adherence to open rational exploration, not its conclusions, rather than dogma and predetermined predictions."
The problem is that libertarian socialists, like all radical theorists, have a fundamentally different notion of what 'democracy' constitutes (the best example is the Port Huron Statement). Mao considered his actions to be democratic, as did Lenin. So that they mention democracy doesn't necessarily mean much--that "democracy" comes in the context of the enlightened leaders having "achieved" democracy by eliminating property rights and other vestiges of the 'non-democratic' society.
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  #178  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:55 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Is there a specific claim you were wanting citations for?
How about this claim,which is pretty strong: "I also think that Rousseau is essentially a groundwork for authoritarianism (Pol Pot was a huge fan of his writings), but that Chomsky is more explicit. By rejecting private property, Chomsky essentially says that there is no such thing as a public and private sphere--only a public sphere. And this is what he has in common with the major authoritarian movements, including the ones he has defended."
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  #179  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:02 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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, so too must Chomsky's ideology inevitably result in an intellectual elite forcing a social arrangement that protects the collective rights against the self-interest of the individual. Chomsky of course will probably never explicate this--he's neglected to more fully flesh out specifics on his own proposals in favor of attacking the United States. But there's simply no other way to achieve Chomsky's vision. And, the attack on the societal elites and the call for an end to property rights is basically the Khmer Rouge without the Killing Fields.
No, no, no. Just because another way to achieve Chomsky's "vision" (which you don't seem to have a solid grasp of) does not occur to you, does NOT mean that, q.e.d. he must believe in Bolshevism. Again, Chomsky has been explicit and repetitive in his absolute rejection of Bolshevism and authoritarianism-- whether that be in Lenin's Soviet, Mao's CCP, or General Electric's boardrooms.

As for attacking the United States, his stance is to object first to crimes in which he is a participant, and to urge others who can do something to stop them to take action.
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  #180  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:10 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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The problem is that libertarian socialists, like all radical theorists, have a fundamentally different notion of what 'democracy' constitutes (the best example is the Port Huron Statement). Mao considered his actions to be democratic, as did Lenin. So that they mention democracy doesn't necessarily mean much--that "democracy" comes in the context of the enlightened leaders having "achieved" democracy by eliminating property rights and other vestiges of the 'non-democratic' society.
Ok, but Mao and Lenin were a) lunatics, b) obsessed with preserving and expanding their own authority, and c) explicit in advocating for a VANGUARD of elites who would dictate the "correct" or "red" direction in which society should move. Chomsky is EXTREMELY antagonistic to any notion of a vanguard, and spends most of his time attacking elites who, as Adam Smith also recognized, basically rule the world in service of their own interest. The answer is to grope toward institutions that prevent the control of the political or economic spheres by a small group of elites. Now, you can say that "Well, Chomsky hated the Bolsheviks, rails against elite control and authoritarianism in all contexts-- particularly in contexts where he has some influence-- but he is secretly just a totalitarian." But it is a bit strange, and perhaps not quite accurate.
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  #181  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:12 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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How about this claim,which is pretty strong: "I also think that Rousseau is essentially a groundwork for authoritarianism (Pol Pot was a huge fan of his writings), but that Chomsky is more explicit. By rejecting private property, Chomsky essentially says that there is no such thing as a public and private sphere--only a public sphere. And this is what he has in common with the major authoritarian movements, including the ones he has defended."
Well, for Rousseau being a groundwork for authoritarianism, I think that Robert Nisbet wrote one of the best articles on the subject (Rousseau and Authoritarianism, from 1943). There are others who have made the same point but his is the one that I'm most familiar with--I'm actually reviewing it as we type.

I'll excerpt a little from the article:

""The individualism of Rousseau's thought is not the individualism of a William Godwin; it is not the libtertarian assertion of absolute rights against the state. Rousseau's passionate defense of the individual arises out of his opposition to the forms and observances of society. "What excites Rousseau's hatred,"" Professor Vaughan has commented, "is not the state, but society of any sort, quite apart from the civic ties by which in fact it is held together. His ideal, alike in the Discourses and in Emile, is no doubt individual freedom: freedom, however, not in the sense of immunity from control of the state but in that of withdrawal from the oppression and corruptions of society."
...In a letter to Mirabeau, he writes, "It is of the essence of a society to breed a ceaseless war among its members; and the only way to combat this is to find a form of government which shall set the law above them all.""

This is, in fact, very similar, almost identical even, to Chomsky's view. His libertarianism is not one of the individual being sheltered from government but of society being sheltered from itself--the 'greed' of private property, etc.

Going on, and very significantly:
"The traditional bonds of society, the relationships we generally speak of as social, are the ties which to Rousseau symbolize the chains of existence. It is from these that he desires to emancipate the individual, and to replace their gross inequalities with a condition of equality approximating as nearly as possible the state of nature. "Each citizen would then be completely independent of all his fellow men, and absolutely dependent upon the state: which operation is alwways brought by the same means, for it is only by the force of the state that the liberty of its members can be achieved.""

That statement is basically Rousseau saying what Chomsky has refused to say, but that which is the inevitable product of his philosophy.

For Pol Pot:
http://books.google.com/books?id=XW2...usseau&f=false
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  #182  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:18 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Well, for Rousseau being a groundwork for authoritarianism...
Ok, sorry I was unclear. I agreed that Rousseau was used as a groundwork for authoritarianism.

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That statement is basically Rousseau saying what Chomsky has refused to say, but that which is the inevitable product of his philosophy.
Ok, this is just unhelpful. Chomsky has published, spoken, been interviewed, etc. for nearly 50 years, and the verbiage is overwhelming, yet he has refused this thing that you are asserting is his secretly held belief? Can you even find a place where Chomsky refers to Rousseau charitably?
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  #183  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:23 PM
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Ok, sorry I was unclear. I agreed that Rousseau was used as a groundwork for authoritarianism.



Ok, this is just unhelpful. Chomsky has published, spoken, been interviewed, etc. for nearly 50 years, and the verbiage is overwhelming, yet he has refused this thing that you are asserting is his secretly held belief? Can you even find a place where Chomsky refers to Rousseau charitably?
I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't (I've read fairly little of Chomsky, admittedly). He might not even be aware that their philosophies are the same--it might have been subconscious influence or just happenstance that they ended up awfully similar to one another (it wouldn't be the first time two philosophers happened upon similar points without either consciously referencing, or perhaps even being aware of the other). But whether it's conscious, unconscious, or incidental, I think it's still there.
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  #184  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't (I've read fairly little of Chomsky, admittedly). He might not even be aware that their philosophies are the same--it might have been subconscious influence or just happenstance that they ended up awfully similar to one another (it wouldn't be the first time two philosophers happened upon similar points without either consciously referencing, or perhaps even being aware of the other). But whether it's conscious, unconscious, or incidental, I think it's still there.
Do you use some kind of Republopedia for reference?
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  #185  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Ok, but Mao and Lenin were a) lunatics, b) obsessed with preserving and expanding their own authority, and c) explicit in advocating for a VANGUARD of elites who would dictate the "correct" or "red" direction in which society should move. Chomsky is EXTREMELY antagonistic to any notion of a vanguard, and spends most of his time attacking elites who, as Adam Smith also recognized, basically rule the world in service of their own interest. The answer is to grope toward institutions that prevent the control of the political or economic spheres by a small group of elites. Now, you can say that "Well, Chomsky hated the Bolsheviks, rails against elite control and authoritarianism in all contexts-- particularly in contexts where he has some influence-- but he is secretly just a totalitarian." But it is a bit strange, and perhaps not quite accurate.
But what has to happen for Chomsky's vision to be achieved? The same as Rousseau's--a leader (or leaders) must forcibly move society forward. You must a) overthrow the existing power structure, which involves far more than an election--it involves a fundamental top-down transformation of the economic, social etc. order, and b) enforce this new order to protect the collective rights against the residual self interest of the individual.

Chomsky is just unwilling to admit what Rousseau explicated, this is my point. It's not that he's talking about things and covering things up, he's just not developing his ideas to the degree that Rousseau did, because if he did, he would have to say what Rousseau said.

You're right that Mao was absolutely insane--possibly borderline personality. But remember that he encouraged rebellion--one of his famous philosophies was 'rebel against the four olds--Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. The Cultural Revolution was one sustained rebellion against the traditional structures of society--the same way Rousseau wanted to destroy those societal structures, and similar to how Chomsky attacks traditional societal structures. There's much similarity. Of course, Mao was also a maniac, but we can separate his insanity (and his bizarrely self-contradictory Little Red Book) from his underlying philosophy, which has some strongly Rousseau-like themes.
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  #186  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:57 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Do you use some kind of Republopedia for reference?
Heh. "I don't know anything about what he's actually said; but I know what he secretly believes, in contradiction to all the things he's, in fact, written (but I haven't read!)"
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  #187  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:58 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Do you use some kind of Republopedia for reference?
I use what I have read of his, and there is nothing that I have ascribed to him that is not true. He explicitly rejects the notion of private property.
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  #188  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:59 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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And this is what he has in common with the major authoritarian movements, including the ones he has defended."
I would like to see a citation of Chomsky defending Pol Pot and/or the Khmer Rouge. He has repeatedly called their regime monstrous, and has in fact cited the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia as one of the few cases where atrocities were actually disrupted or halted as a result of direct military intervention. The Khmer Rouge became a much more powerful and popular force for state terrorism as a direct result of US bombing along the Vietnam/Cambodia border, and in Cambodia proper, and Chomsky has been quite critical of our government's participation in those crimes.

He has often referred to the US media's eagerness to accept fraudulent aspects of Cambodian atrocities (which were horrific enough, without need of faked photos, misreported numbers, etc.) especially compared to the media's completely different approach to atrocities in which the US or its allies are implicated (Iraqi casualty numbers under sanctions or during post-invasion 03-06, Timorese casualties or Aceh-nese deaths at the hands of Indonesia in 75-79 or 66-68). Though Chomsky has condemned the "gruesome atrocities" committed by the Khmer Rouge, he correctly notes that, at the time, the major media and political elites were not offering a possible remedy. He contrasts this instructively with the large-scale atrocities that were occurring SIMULTANEOUSLY in East Timor, where the US could have halted the "genocidal" attacks by the Indonesian military by simply refusing to participate in them (Carter upped arms sales to the Suharto regime at the time). Which atrocities do you think were highlighted by the US press and intelligentsia? The ones where nothing could be done, or the ones where US participation and support were instrumental in their execution (see also UN vetoes)?
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  #189  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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(I've read fairly little of Chomsky, admittedly).
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Heh. I won't claim to be an expert on Italian history.
And yet, it stops you not, from pontificating on any number of fronts on innumerable threads. The less than gentlemanly corners that I hail from have a name for that sort: Blowhard.
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  #190  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:00 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Heh. "I don't know anything about what he's actually said; but I know what he secretly believes, in contradiction to all the things he's, in fact, written (but I haven't read!)"
Enter AemJeff with the useless response to what was an engaging and productive conversation. Keep up the quality contributions, Jeff.
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  #191  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:07 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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I use what I have read of his, and there is nothing that I have ascribed to him that is not true. He explicitly rejects the notion of private property.
I would be impressed if you found a quotation that "explicitly" shows this.

Do you think that George Orwell and Adam Smith are also secret authoritarians and Rousseau-ian (but only in the special way that leads to maniacal Maoism-Leninism), because they are avidly anti-capitalist and anti-Bolshevik (that's Orwell) and object to the division of labor and the unjust rule of "merchants and manufacturers" (that's Smith)? Because that's where Chomsky stands.
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  #192  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:09 PM
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I would like to see a citation of Chomsky defending Pol Pot and/or the Khmer Rouge. He has repeatedly called their regime monstrous, and has in fact cited the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia as one of the few cases where atrocities were actually disrupted or halted as a result of direct military intervention. The Khmer Rouge became a much more powerful and popular force for state terrorism as a direct result of US bombing along the Vietnam/Cambodia border, and in Cambodia proper, and Chomsky has been quite critical of our government's participation in those crimes.
He wrote an entire book attacking the widespread reports of the grave atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge.
From http://econ161.berkeley.edu/movable_...es/000155.html
Quote:


Take a look at Chomsky's 1979 After the Cataclysm:

If a serious study…is someday undertaken, it may well be discovered…that the Khmer Rouge programs elicited a positive response…because they dealt with fundamental problems rooted in the feudal past and exacerbated by the imperial system.… Such a study, however, has yet to be undertaken.

Reflect that it was published three full years after the Cambodian Holocaust of the Year Zero. Ask yourself whether this is an uncovering or a covering of the crimes of an abominable regime. But it gets worse. Go back to your Nation of 1977, and consider the paragraph:

...there are many other sources on recent events in Cambodia that have not been brought to the attention of the American reading public. Space limitations preclude a comprehensive review, but such journals as the Far Eastern Economic Review, the London Economist, the Melbourne Journal of Politics, and others elsewhere, have provided analyses by highly qualified specialists who have studied the full range of evidence available, and who concluded that executions have numbered at most in the thousands; that these were localized in areas of limited Khmer Rouge influence and unusual peasant discontent, where brutal revenge killings were aggravated by the threat of starvation resulting from the American destruction and killing.

...
I can't see how anyone can make the second claim in good faith: Chomsky not only said that there wasn't conclusive evidence that the Khmer Rouge were genocidal butchers, he wrote--falsely--that there was reliable evidence that they weren't genocidal butchers.

And I don't see how anyone can claim that Chomsky's lies are "uncharacteristic" of his work. There are just too damned many of them.

I tried (unsuccessfully) to ascertain the reasons for the appeal of Chomsky--to people who don't believe that the Khmer Rouge are benevolent friends of humanity, that Robert Faurisson is an apolitical liberal, and that U.S. intervention in Bosnia was motivated by metal mines and pipeline routes, that is--once before.
The Khmer Rouge was the worst regime in human history, and Chomsky sought to deflect criticism of their grave atrocities in favor of yet again attacking America. Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of more than a fifth of the entire country, and would've annihilated the entire country had the Vietnamese not invaded.

Quote:
He has often referred to the US media's eagerness to accept fraudulent aspects of Cambodian atrocities (which were horrific enough, without need of faked photos, misreported numbers, etc.) especially compared to the media's completely different approach to atrocities in which the US or its allies are implicated (Iraqi casualty numbers under sanctions or during post-invasion 03-06, Timorese casualties or Aceh-nese deaths at the hands of Indonesia in 75-79 or 66-68). Though Chomsky has condemned the "gruesome atrocities" committed by the Khmer Rouge, he correctly notes that, at the time, the major media and political elites were not offering a possible remedy. He contrasts this instructively with the large-scale atrocities that were occurring SIMULTANEOUSLY in East Timor, where the US could have halted the "genocidal" attacks by the Indonesian military by simply refusing to participate in them (Carter upped arms sales to the Suharto regime at the time). Which atrocities do you think were highlighted by the US press and intelligentsia? The ones where nothing could be done, or the ones where US participation and support were instrumental in their execution (see also UN vetoes)?
There is absolutely no equating Cambodia with Timor, let alone Iraq. I suggest you read First They Killed My Father, for a more visceral detailing of life under the Khmer Rouge, and perhaps The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79, for a more academic approach (I've read the former and part, but not all, of the latter).
This is the issue: Chomsky would later dismissively assert that he understood the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge but in a very backhanded manner: he would redirect the subject of the sentence to actually be about America. So it amounts to "yeah they were but let's talk about America which is far worse!" And this is atrocious. There has never been a madder regime than the Khmer Rouge, and Chomsky was an apologist, a propagandist, and then a minimizer for the regime.

Last edited by operative; 12-05-2010 at 11:13 PM..
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  #193  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:10 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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And yet, it stops you not, from pontificating on any number of fronts on innumerable threads. The less than gentlemanly corners that I hail from have a name for that sort: Blowhard.
And here comes the cavalry-- thanks, guys (graz, AemJeff), even if this is mostly a mopping-up 'operati'on at this point.
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  #194  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:14 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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And here comes the cavalry-- thanks, guys (graz, AemJeff), even if this is mostly a mopping-up 'operati'on at this point.
You've been holding your own and then some, pod - you need no help from us. I'm just weighing in on the optics.
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  #195  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:14 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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By example:




And yet, it stops you not, from pontificating on any number of fronts on innumerable threads. The less than gentlemanly corners that I hail from have a name for that sort: Blowhard.
I don't need to read all of the writing of a disgusting, lying, scumbag, Holocaust-denialism championing, Khmer Rouge propagandist to note what he is. Chomsky is human excrement and the world will be better off when he no longer wastes oxygen.
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  #196  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:18 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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No, no, no. Just because another way to achieve Chomsky's "vision" (which you don't seem to have a solid grasp of) does not occur to you, does NOT mean that, q.e.d. he must believe in Bolshevism. Again, Chomsky has been explicit and repetitive in his absolute rejection of Bolshevism and authoritarianism-- whether that be in Lenin's Soviet, Mao's CCP, or General Electric's boardrooms.
Right so why don't you tell me how he believes we achieve the fundamental reordering of society that he envisions, including the surrendering of property rights? Because so far you haven't given much in the way of substance as to specifics that Chomsky offers.

Quote:
As for attacking the United States, his stance is to object first to crimes in which he is a participant, and to urge others who can do something to stop them to take action.
What a pathetic line of reasoning. First, this has led him to lie about, or simply ignore, far worse atrocities than anything the US has ever directly or indirectly been involved in. Second, the notion that he is a "participant" in any US action is utterly absurd. The only thing he has been a participant in is the championing of Holocaust denialism and the conscious propagandizing for the Khmer Rouge. Crimes for which he has never apologized.
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  #197  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:19 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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You've been holding your own and then some, pod - you need no help from us. I'm just weighing in on the optics.
No, you're just being your usual useless self. But I can see where this is confusing for you.
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  #198  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:32 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

[QUOTE=operative;191458]He wrote an entire book attacking the widespread reports of the grave atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge.
From http://econ161.berkeley.edu/movable_...es/000155.html
Ok, this is a good example of how not to back up your assertions with sources. There is not a single quotation that shows how Chomsky is "defending" the Khmer Rouge. He has compared their atrocities to many of the most appalling crimes of the post-war period, and has lamented the US bombing of Cambodia as an important catalyst to Pol Pot's political and military strength. If you object so violently to the Khmer Rouge's genocide, do you support or condemn Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia-- an invasion that largely halted the atrocities? Or should we just condemn atrocities as loudly as possible if they a) don't require us to consider remedies and b) serve our ideological agenda?

What do you, personally have to say about the atrocities committed in East Timor during 1976-78? These were crimes completely ignored by the Western media, yet they depended on US military, diplomatic, and economic support. What do you have to say about them? There was an easy solution-- stop participating. Had the US halted arms sales or economic aid or diplomatic cover in the UN, the slaughter would have stopped. Yet all you can talk about is the Khmer Rouge. Do you even know about the Timorese genocide? Don't you find it amazing that you know so much about Pol Pot, yet you have never heard of Fretilin or Falintil or Xanana Gusmao? The former is someone to whose crimes you have no possible solution, and the latter are victims of your own government's (and, by extension, your and my) brutality.
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  #199  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:45 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

[QUOTE=pod2;191467]
Quote:
Originally Posted by operative View Post
He wrote an entire book attacking the widespread reports of the grave atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge.
From http://econ161.berkeley.edu/movable_...es/000155.html


Ok, this is a good example of how not to back up your assertions with sources. There is not a single quotation that shows how Chomsky is "defending" the Khmer Rouge. He has compared their atrocities to many of the most appalling crimes of the post-war period, and has lamented the US bombing of Cambodia as an important catalyst to Pol Pot's political and military strength. If you object so violently to the Khmer Rouge's genocide, do you support or condemn Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia-- an invasion that largely halted the atrocities?
Of course. They did what we should've done long before, albeit only because Pol Pot kept saber rattling at the border.

Furthermore, you seem to be missing the point: Chomsky lied about the genocide--he claimed that there was evidence that the Khmer Rouge was not committing genocide, when there was not, and he tried to claim that reports were overblown, which they were not. Then he tried to blame America for the atrocities, which is absurd. That's called being a propagandist. It is no different than Holocaust revisionism, yet you continue to ignore/excuse/champion this material, which is morally insulting.
Quote:
What do you, personally have to say about the atrocities committed in East Timor during 1976-78? These were crimes completely ignored by the Western media, yet they depended on US military, diplomatic, and economic support. What do you have to say about them? There was an easy solution-- stop participating. Had the US halted arms sales or economic aid or diplomatic cover in the UN, the slaughter would have stopped. Yet all you can talk about is the Khmer Rouge. Do you even know about the Timorese genocide? Don't you find it amazing that you know so much about Pol Pot, yet you have never heard of Fretilin or Falintil or Xanana Gusmao? The former is someone to whose crimes you have no possible solution, and the latter are victims of your own government's (and, by extension, your and my) brutality.
They were not completely ignored, and they did not come close to matching the scale of awfulness of the Khmer Rouge.
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  #200  
Old 12-05-2010, 11:53 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Right so why don't you tell me how he believes we achieve the fundamental reordering of society that he envisions, including the surrendering of property rights? Because so far you haven't given much in the way of substance as to specifics that Chomsky offers.
Did you read the wikipedia entry on libertarian socialism? Because it pretty much a) describes how any societal change should be popular, democratic, and anti-idealist/vanguard and b) explains how change should be open to a general approach of exploration rather than doctrinairism that characterizes both neo-cons and Leninists (both of whom Chomsky has been vociferous critics).

Specifics might start with, how about not participating in and carrying out atrocities and war crimes? Torture, aggression (a Nuremburg-level offence), assassination, illegal occupation, etc. There is enough there to occupy most of our time, without needing to go to the next step.

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What a pathetic line of reasoning. First, this has led him to lie about, or simply ignore, far worse atrocities than anything the US has ever directly or indirectly been involved in. Second, the notion that he is a "participant" in any US action is utterly absurd. The only thing he has been a participant in is the championing of Holocaust denialism and the conscious propagandizing for the Khmer Rouge. Crimes for which he has never apologized.
First the Holocaust denialist claim: he has said, numerous times, that to even enter the DEBATE about whether the Holocaust occurred is to LOSE ONE'S HUMANITY (please, click the link).

The 'propagandizing' you mention seems to be asserting that the US bombing made some contribution to the strength of Pol Pot and his subsequent horrors, also to comparing the Cambodian atrocities to Indonesian atrocities that were happening at the same time, with US support and complete silence on the part of Western media.

As to the idea of a 'participant'-- he considers us, as US citizens, taxpayers, voters, who can avail ourselves of the most open, radically supportive state of "freedom of speech" in the modern era-- he considers us as culpable for the behavior of our nation. If we disagree, the onus is on us to find the most effective way to object and to end our participation.
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