Monday, December 10, 2018

An Antisocial Socialist And His Addiction

     I don’t read The Nation, as a rule. Neither do I pay a lot of attention to the gasbaggery of Noam Chomsky. “Why not?” I hear you cry. For the same reason I don’t hire dwarves to pelt me with llama feces: it would be expensive and pointless, and doing something expensive yet pointless would only make me look ridiculous, and a man in my position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous. But when Instapundit Co-Contributor David Bernstein cites a Noam Chomsky interview, I’ll deign to give it a moment’s attention. What I reaped from that interview follows this segment.

     Note that I’m not plunging into it immediately. Chomsky is a master of linguistic dissimulation and verbal distortion. He deliberately changes the meanings of common words, such that to make any sense out of what he’s saying, it’s necessary to set aside what you know and understand about the tools with which people communicate. If you allow him that tactic, he can convince you of anything he pleases, because his superimposed definitions for fundamental concepts predetermine his “conclusions.”

     This sort of rhetorical trickery is the Left’s main weapon. It makes an honest man’s hackles rise, even if he doesn’t quite know why. Anger is the natural response, but it’s impotent anger: it’s incapable of disentangling the morass of verbal chop suey in which Chomsky seeks to trap his audience. And so for some it’s vital to avert one’s eyes and ears. If you’re one such, you might be wise not to read any further.

     I was going to quote from the interview as it stands, but the attempt brought me afoul of “fair use;” I found that to make my point that way I would need to lift virtually the whole of it. So you, Gentle Reader, have a choice: You can read the interview for yourself, or you can trust that in what I say below I haven’t twisted Chomsky’s sentiments as he expressed them.

     Chomsky starts by citing two venerable Leftist bugaboos: the development of nuclear weapons and “the environment.” He proposes “social democracy” as the “main barrier” to the destruction of the world, and “neoliberalism” – the Right’s campaign for freer markets and freer individual decision-making – as the principal influence in weakening that “barrier.” He gives us the clearest glimpse of the target of his ire in the following passage, the only one I’ll quote directly:

     That’s [“social democracy”] sometimes called “the golden age of modern capitalism.” That changed in the ’70s with the onset of the neoliberal era that we’ve been living in since. And if you ask yourself what this era is, its crucial principle is undermining mechanisms of social solidarity and mutual support and popular engagement in determining policy.

     It’s not called that. What it’s called is “freedom,” but “freedom” means a subordination to the decisions of concentrated, unaccountable, private power. That’s what it means. The institutions of governance—or other kinds of association that could allow people to participate in decision making—those are systematically weakened. Margaret Thatcher said it rather nicely in her aphorism about “there is no society, only individuals.”

     She was actually, unconsciously no doubt, paraphrasing Marx, who in his condemnation of the repression in France said, “The repression is turning society into a sack of potatoes, just individuals, an amorphous mass can’t act together.” That was a condemnation. For Thatcher, it’s an ideal—and that’s neoliberalism.

     For Chomsky, only collective decision-making is morally acceptable. He terms it “the one barrier to the threat of destruction.” This is an entirely unsubstantiated assertion, but that’s what you get from Noam Chomsky.

     Chomsky goes on to rail against “inequality, stagnation,” without the slightest consciousness that it is stagnation that perpetuates and worsens inequality. He rails insubstantially against “special interests” and the “liberal establishment.” He asserts that the promoters of freedom are the agencies responsible for the corruption of education: “The young have to be returned to passivity and obedience, and then democracy will be fine.” [Note that when Chomsky says “liberal” he doesn’t mean it in the American sense, but rather in the John Locke / Adam Smith sense of individual freedom as the goal to be striven for.]

     So what we have here is a Jeremiad against freedom, especially in the economic sphere, on the grounds that it’s leading us toward “destruction.” Chomsky’s solution is collectivism. He engineers it out of verbal distortion and unsubstantiated assertions. His technique is designed to induce semantic collisions and conceptual destruction in the mind of the reader. It seems that as far as interviewer Christopher Lydon is concerned, that’s perfectly all right.

     The most salient thing about the Left, of which Chomsky has long been a major luminary, is its total unconcern with the well-being of actual persons. In citing the Chomsky interview, David Bernstein comments thus:

     Chomsky goes on and on about the horrors of what he calls “neoliberalism” since 1979. As with other leftists of a similar ilk, he simply ignores the fact that the rate of extreme poverty globally has fallen from around 27% to around 4% (!). Indeed, poverty rates worldwide have fallen dramatically more generally. You’d think if you were a socialist (or really almost anyone, but especially socialists), this would be the greatest thing to happen in the history of mankind. And yet, they not only don’t celebrate it, they don’t even acknowledge it. Which makes you think that their purported concern for the poor and downtrodden isn’t really what’s motivating them.

     This “should” be “obvious.” As I and others have said many times, when a man proposes the exact same “solution” to every “problem,” you may be sure that the “problem” isn’t what matters to him. The Left seeks the elimination of individual liberty: the centralization of all human enterprise under the unyielding hand of a Supreme Soviet. So it proposes that as the “solution” to any and every “problem,” including any fictitious “problems” (e.g., “global warming / climate change”) it can invent to bedazzle the layman.

     Socialism isn’t about economic efficiency, or the elimination of inequality, or the defense of the environment. The history of socialism in the saddle has made that plain. Socialism is about power. Leftists are addicted to power. Under Carter and Obama they had a taste, and they want more – as much more as they can gather unto themselves.

     Pace their guiding light Noam Chomsky, they seek to destroy our language, all the way down to the words we use for the most basic concepts. Once they’ve succeeded at that – and through their control of education, journalism, and entertainment they’ve made a good start at it – they can reply to the protests of those they trample with a verbal head pat of “You just don’t understand, but then, we know you can’t.”

1 comment:

Glenda T Goode said...

I understand the concern of presenting enough material to properly paint a picture verbally of Chomsky's notions. When you describe someone who is nothing more than a wordsmith with liberal tendencies you will be required to create your own exercise in vocabulary in order to cover the subject fully.

As a result, it was in the second to the last paragraph before the true aspect of all political systems is exposed for the reader to see. The true purpose of all political systems is the acquisition of power.

The willingness of individuals to be corrupted dictates the methods used to gain this power. Left or right, it matters little. Power is one universal constant and is corrupting in and of itself. Thus, any political system or individual belief is automatically corrupt and an abuse of power. A vicious circle as it were.

Intellectuals can rant all day long about this issue but the truth is elemental and no amount of word packaging will change that.