By Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper
On Biden vs. Trump, his new book, and why manufacturing consent “is much easier now.”
Noam Chomsky has been a central figure on the American left for over five decades. His New York Review Of Books article from 1967, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” was called “the single most important piece of anti-war literature” from the Vietnam period. That helped launch him on a course to being “the most widely-read American voice on foreign policy on the planet,” as the New York Times described three and a half decades later, in 2004.
Chomsky’s academic field is linguistics, where he’s won numerous prizes for work developing theories like universal grammar, but he’s famous mainly as an anti-propagandist. A chief attraction to his work for readers across the spectrum is his relentless, Cassandra-like habit of calling out official untruths, especially American ones, be they about war or domestic politics or the subject he seems lately to care most about, the environment.
Chomsky calls himself a “libertarian socialist,” which he defines as a belief that “enterprises ought to be owned and managed in a democratic fashion by the people who participate in them.” The left has always claimed him as a champion and some on that side of the aisle regularly appeal to him to settle disputes, as something like a Papal authority (humorously, he seems to intensely dislike this). I’m not so sure any particular political label fits him, however.
Categories: Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy