ThoughtStorms Wiki

Theorist of linguistics and political commentator.

Used to blog at ZMag

1) Linguistics

Defined 4 kinds of grammar : ChomskianGrammar

See aslo LanguageAcquisitionDevice

2) Politics

Lots of very serious, sensible criticisms of US policy.

Gets lots of criticism for it :

Possibly for saying some stupid things.

Rebuttal to Oliver's holocaust-denier/self-hating-Jew charges:

Chomsky interview and Andrew Sullivan rebuttal (Andrew is referenced in Oliver's blog entry):

AaronSwartz offered a bounty for people who can substantiate falsities in Chomsky's work


I'm pretty convinced that Chomsky has a bias against the US and Israel. He will compare the US / Israel unfavourably to appalling crimes done elsewhere even though the numbers are against him. But isn't this just a particularly acute case of TheirBastardsAndOurBastards thinking? Shouldn't we all be more outraged by crimes commited in our name than by crimes committed by the enemy?


In a televised CNN debate, Noam claimed, "I choose to live in what I think is the greatest country in the world, which is committing horrendous terrorist acts and should stop."

Also, Noam gets a bit ornery at times and makes foreign interviewers uncomfortable by listing their own country's crimes, who wanted to hear what a bad nation the US is: "So we'd have whatever it is, fifteen minutes, and this guy would ask me some leading questions, I'd tell him how rotten the United States is, big smile. Well, one time I really got sick of this, and I started talking about Canada."

However, he explains why he highlights the US's problems. He's an American citizen, and America's actions are something he shares responsibility for, and moreover he can do something about. He argues that it's all well and nice to point out the problems of others, but what can WE most easily affect? Our own actions.

If we have unprecedented power in humanity's history, and we do a significant amount of awful things, he asks whether should we spend all our time extolling our virtues, with blindspots to our faults. If he believes the media rarely reports on our problems, how is Noam's personal time best spent?

He also claims that one-sided reporting of other people's faults may be immoral in some situations. An example he offers is of a Soviet journalist commenting truthfully of Afghanistan's terrorism, which helps gain popular support for far greater Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan. That journalist may be absolutely truthful; however, in being one-sided and ignoring the Soviets' own greater terrorism, he's helped rather than hindered atrocities.

Anyway, that's his rebuttal, not my personal opinion; people can take it as they wish. Incidentally, there seem to precisely be two common detailed attacks against Chomsky: the introduction which appeared in Faurisson's book, and something about Cambodia. Some of the prolific critics include Alan Dershowitz (gained much fame for representing OJ Simpson and advocated legalized torture after 9-11), and Frontpage Magazine.

As for Chomsky being a "self-hating Jew," one might also include Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt in that category. In the New York Times, they claimed that Menachem Begin (future Israel Prime Minister) led "a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties."