posted Oct 09, 2001

Joining the Chomsky-Bashing Bandwagon Personal Commentary 'If I ever hear from that effete, boorish, pseudo-intellectual rectocranial inversion again, it'll be too soon. It's like listening to George Bush's ineffectual, bookish cousin, minus the charm.'

I first heard of Chomsky in computer science class. He discovered/outlined/defined the Chomsky language hierarchy (do you "discover" or "invent" math concepts?). For a while after I heard about his more mainstream fame, I had a hard time believing the two were the same person... not that the personas were contradictory, I just didn't expect them to be the same.

Chomsky and his mind-atrophied followers* bother me. "The US is evil, evil, evil, everybody else isn't." (Note: As far as I can tell, these two statements always appear together, though of course the second is never said out loud, only implied and slipped in where your concious mind can't analyse and reject them.) Un-nuanced views of the world immediately raise red flags with me. The US is only the source of all evil if you define the US as evil, which is the very definition of a circular argument.

A more nuanced view notes that the US, both the government and the people (entities not fully seperable), give an awful lot of money, time, and support to the rest of the world. A full cataloging of just the work of the American Red Cross would take days. So, is it evil because it's American? Or is it not American because it's not evil? Either answer comes from circular logic. The only sane answer is that it's both American and good.

The US isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I'll will extremely happily compare the US to any other superpower in the history of the world. The US rebuilt two of its largest enemies after winning one of the largest wars in history (WWII). Rome didn't re-build Carthage. Who else has fed the losers, and rebuilt them to the point that forty years after the war, the original victors began worrying about being economically conquered (by Japan)? For these actions alone, the US accrues a huge chunk of good karma, and of course, this is merely a large example, not the sole example.

The only way you can have a better record then the US is not to have enough power to screw up. The Taliban as a government have a spotless international record... because they have no international record. They sure do screw up the people under them, though. I'm in no hurry to cede the moral high ground to them, unlike Chomsky et al.

May our successor, whoever or whatever it is, be even better then us. But in the meantime, the US is a long way from the incarnation of Satan; you can only wish we were that simple and one-dimensional, in any regard.

*: I chose that term carefully. Chomsky and his followers are most emphatically not mindless or idiotic. Indeed, it is their intelligence that makes them dangerous. What Chomsky does bears a lot of resemblence to the statistical idea of overfitting a curve. No matter what data is presented, Chomsky et al. can spin it in such a way that it fits their theories. This takes a lot of creativity and intelligence, where a "lesser" intellect may simply... and correctly... discard the theory. This is an excellent example of when a little less "intelligent" behavior can result in much wiser behavior. Chomsky does not seem interested in wisdom, however.I leave the task of deciding how ironic it is for a 22-year-old to be accusing others of having a lack of wisdom as an exercise for the reader.



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