23 April 2009

Little Atoms with Noam Chomsky

On this week's Little Atoms Neil Denny and Padraig Reidy talk to Noam Chomsky.

Noam Chomsky has been described as the world's greatest public intellectual. Born in 1928 in Philadelphia, Chomsky earned his academic stripes as a young linguistics professor at MIT in the 1950s. His theory of transformational grammar, forged at this time, posits that the capability to form structured language is innate to the human mind. But the general public first came to know Chomsky for his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam war. For more than 40 years, he has been the academy's loudest and most consistent critic of US policies at home and abroad.

Chomsky has written more than 40 books, includng American Power and the New Mandarins, Manufacturing Consent, Hegemony or Survival, Deterring Democracy and Failed States, and continues to lecture frequently, as prolific a provocateur as ever.


Anonymous Chris Probert said...

Hi - I am sure you are probably already aware but the main website appears to have some malware issues at the moment. Might need to get the boffins to take a look!

8:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I'd heard this one - was he really in the studio as Resonance implied?

1:23 pm  
Blogger Little Atoms said...

unfortunately not, although that did seem to be the implication from the write up on the Resonance blog...

Interview is online now.



6:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just heard it (over the breakfast table with the kids), excellent stuff lads!

7:40 am  
Blogger Joe said...

I've never even thought of leaving a comment at this blog before, because I never thought that comments at this blog were relevant or even necessarily read. As a long-time follower of Little Atoms, I feel almost ashamed at the poor questions posed to Chomsky.

I understand that the style of this broadcast is generally and indulgently hospitable to guests and non-confrontational, but there are numerous examples of Chomsky's distortions and outright lies which should not have been ignored and left unchallenged.

Not least of these is his treatment of the Vietnam-Cambodia war. Chomsky has been allowed to cite this as evidence of a humanitarian effect or purpose in foreign intervention. He ignores that the Vietnamese rationale for the invasion owed not to the inhumanity of the regime but to the constant cross-border warfare between the two communist states. He is also allowed to recite limited diplomatic support for the continued representation of the KR government as evidence of western lack of concern for human rights in Cambodia, while not acknowledging his beyond belief skepticism (at best) of the true nature of the "Cambodian revolutionaries'" crimes when they were happening. Chomsky's line simple mirrored the line of Hanoi, and by extension Moscow, by accepting the "Khmer Rouge" when it was perceived to be a favorable force to their interests, and discarding it once it was not. [One only needs to consult the well-established record of his open propagandizing, in the country for state media, for the benefit of the "Democratic Republic of Vietnam" to understand this as a pattern of his.] The simple fact is that the rate of political murder under the Vietnamese puppet regime in Cambodia (a long-term goal of Vietnam's communists) under Heng Samrin was reduced, but not negated. One might note that this was much more markedly true of western Europe under Allied (US-UK) hegemony following their actions in the Second World War to defeat the Nazi regime, but Chomsky must never be forced to concede this or any other benefit of military action by western powers, lest the whole edifice of his anti-liberal ideology crumble. And let's not even discuss the Balkans, shall we?

As for 9/11 conspiracies (and JFK), Chomsky has long been on record against their proliferation (in a similar vein to Monbiot). That this subject was even brought up shows that the researchers did not know his expressed views on the subject and perhaps desired to have a gotcha game at the fringes rather than engage (and question) him on the substance of certain matters. Of course he trivializes vulgar conspiracy theories, since they tarnish the polish on his own, more subtle conspiracy theories, which are rarely challenged by any commentator who could, would, or should know better.

Despite my deservedly harsh criticism of this particular interview, I will remain an avid follower of Little Atoms' broadcasts, which often illuminate much. Unfortunately, in this case, Little Atoms has illuminated little other than what an aging propagandist can get away with saying, without proper fact-checkers.

3:58 am  
Blogger David Abstract said...

Haven't heard this one yet (pc issues) but it seems as though we shall be treated to a repeat of the very very awkward moment when Brendan O'Neil went all "challenging" and "post-modern" about Serbian Radical concentration camps...

8:07 pm  
Blogger Nucleo said...

Why don't you e-mail your statements to Chomsky himself. From personal experience I know he answers many of them.

Please cite the sources for so called Chomsky distortions.

I always see nationalist fool trying to criticise Chomsky cause they have a chubby for their flag.

Cite source else begone.

12:47 am  

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