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Only the most insensible can escape these questions.


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I want to return to them, later on, after a few scattered remarks about the responsibility of intellectuals and how, in practice, they go about meeting this responsibility in the mids. It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies. This, at least, may seem enough of a truism to pass without comment.

Not so, however.

Chomsky Reader, The

For the modern intellectual, it is not at all obvious. Americans tend to be more forthright. It is of no particular interest that one man is quite happy to lie in behalf of a cause which he knows to be unjust; but it is significant that such events provoke so little response in the intellectual community—no feeling, for example, that there is something strange in the offer of a major chair in humanities to a historian who feels it to be his duty to persuade the world that an American-sponsored invasion of a nearby country is nothing of the sort.

And what of the incredible sequence of lies on the part of our government and its spokesmen concerning such matters as negotiations in Vietnam?

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The facts are known to all who care to know. The press, foreign and domestic, has presented documentation to refute each falsehood as it appears. But the power of the government propaganda apparatus is such that the citizen who does not undertake a research project on the subject can hardly hope to confront government pronouncements with that fact. The deceit and distortion surrounding the American invasion of Vietnam are by now so familiar that they have lost their power to shock.

It is therefore well to recall that although new levels of cynicism are constantly being reached, their clear antecedents were accepted at home with quiet toleration.

Had the statement been made six months earlier, one could attribute it to ignorance. But this statement appeared after months of front-page news reports detailing the United Nations, North Vietnamese, and Soviet initiatives that preceded the February escalation and that, in fact, continued for several weeks after the bombing began, after months of soul-searching by Washington correspondents who were trying desperately to find some mitigating circumstances for the startling deception that had been revealed.

According to his analysis, the guerilla warfare in Indochina in was launched by Stalin, and Hanoi initiated the guerilla war against South Vietnam in The View from the Seventh Floor, pp.

It is interesting to compare these observations with studies by scholars actually concerned with historical events. But even government sources concede that in Hanoi received the first direct reports of what Diem referred to as his own Algerian war, and that only after this did they lay their plans to involve themselves in this struggle.

In fact, in December , Hanoi made another of its many attempts—rebuffed once again by Saigon and the United States—to establish diplomatic and commercial relations with the Saigon government on the basis of the status quo. See All Customer Reviews.

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The Chomsky Reader

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Exploring Drug-Induced Synesthesia

The Fire Next Time. This description is based on the MIT professor's writings on linguistics in the s; but beginning with his criticism of the Vietnam War in the s, Chomsky became much better known for his radical politics than for his theories of language. Over the past forty years he has gained a devoted following in the United States and Europe for his increasingly bitter--some say hysterical--censure of U.

The Chomsky Reader by Noam Chomsky (1987, Paperback)

In "The Anti-Chomsky Reader," editors Peter Collier and David Horowitz have assembled a set of essays that analyze Chomsky's intellectual career and the evolution of his anti-Americanism. The essays in this provocative book focus on subjects such as Chomsky's bizarre involvement with Holocaust revisionism, his apologies for Khmer Rouge tyrant Pol Pot, and his claim that America's policies in Latin America in the s were comparable to Nazism.

Scholar Paul Bogdanor writes about Chomsky's hatred of Israel. Ronald Radosh and David Horowitz discuss his gloating reaction to the September 11 attack. Linguists Paul Postal and Robert Levine reevaluate Chomsky's linguistics and find the same qualities there that others see in his politics: "a deep contempt for the truth, descents into incoherence, and verbal abuse of those who disagree with him.