Since I had a go at old Noam yesterday, I thought I would clarify the spirit in which I intended my criticism. For the record, I actually think that many Israeli policies are morally repugnant and deeply counterproductive. I’ve also learned quite a bit from reading Noam Chomsky. I just also happen to think that Chomsky gets it wrong sometimes. One thing he gets wrong is a kind of inconsistency in tone and language when describing different actors in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. [Update: Obviously, I should have written "Middle East," since the original target of my comments was Israeli's strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor. My bad.] I learned to watch for that sort of thing . . . by reading Noam Chomsky.
But, as I’ve noted before, it is a mystery to me why Chomsky is regarded as somehow beyond the pale within American politics. There is something deeply wrong about a political culture that sees, for example, Charles Krauthammer as fit for an editorial page, but refuses, without debate, to consider a point because Noam Chomsky makes it.
I criticize the Bush administration a lot on this site because I think it’s important to dissent from very bad policies. But frankly, while there is room to quibble about details, an intellectually serious defence of the Bush administration is no longer possible, and hasn’t been for some time. We’re no longer having a real debate anymore. And so these days the more interesting project, as far as I’m concerned, is to mark out those areas in which I disagree with people who are in many respects in ideological sympathy with me. Look out, Noam et. al. I’ma comin’ to getcha!
That’s the spirit in which I intend my Noam bashing below. I hope that distinguishes me from that brand of liberal who tries to score “reasonable points” by bashing Noam Chomsky whenever he can.
Howls of outrage (3)