Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Wise Words from Noam

I have recently stumbled upon these wise words once uttered by Noam Chomsky,

The Internet is an elite organization. Most of the population of the world has never even made a phone call.

Considering the fact that Noam Chomsky has his own blog I am wondering does that make him an elitist too?

19 Comments:

At July 1, 2004 at 7:38 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At July 1, 2004 at 7:40 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At July 1, 2004 at 2:47 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Your comment was removed because it contained an ad-hominem attack against me and I will not tolerate such garbage on my blog.

 
At July 1, 2004 at 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you expect people to use the internet to campaign for issues of importance for the poor in this world (those who have never made a phone call)?

Now, what are the numbers of individuals with internet service versus those without? You'll probably find that the majority of individuals do not have access to the internet, that those who do have access are a minority.

Robert Hardy.

 
At July 1, 2004 at 8:24 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Robert,

My point was not to make a big deal about who in the world has access to the Internet or not. I was just pointing out the hypocrisy of stating an organization is elitist and then going out and creating your own weblog. If you have a problem with a certain institution you don’t go and join it. Plus, if Chomsky has such strong feelings about the Internet why doesn’t he boycott it, just as he purposes that people should boycott Israel. I think we both the reason why he doesn’t.


--Dhimmi

 
At July 1, 2004 at 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you have a problem with a certain institution you don’t go and join it."

Here is a hypothetical, there is a corporation, its racist, it rarely hires blacks. An individual is black (doesn’t have to be black though) and dislikes the corporation, should he not apply so that the corporation will continue the status quo, or should he apply for the job, and in the unlikely chance he does get hired, work hard and try to change the corporation as he moves up the hierarchy?

To assume that if one criticizes an institution, that he should not be allowed to join that institution is pretty ignorant. That would imply that no one could ever criticize an institution they were part of. Those who do not have money for private schools would not have the right to criticize public schools, those who feel that news editorials are biased in the NYT would not have the right to submit editorials to the NYT. If its possible to change an institution from the outside, more power to you, but this isn't always possible, and the internet is a forum to transmit communication. Why can't Chomsky use it to battle the mainstream? The internet is an institution that can be changed from the inside.


"Plus, if Chomsky has such strong feelings about the Internet why doesn’t he boycott it, just as he purposes that people should boycott Israel."

I do not speak on behalf of Chomsky, but I will guess that its possible to argue the alliance between the US and Israel and the terrorism that has resulted from this can best be done outside of joining the US-Israel alliance/institution. Where as the elitist internet can best be changed within the institution.

Robert Hardy.

 
At July 1, 2004 at 9:54 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Robert,

I can appreciate your point of view; however, I must respectfully disagree.

Take your analogy, I think a more accurate one would be the following: Assume there is a pacifist who abhors any use of military force and calls the military, a institute of demons. Then later we find out that this person joins the army. What are we to think of this person?

I don't think we are going to get anywhere with this debate, so I think I will end it here and let you have the last word.

--Dhimmi

 
At July 2, 2004 at 2:33 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

Don't know how my attack was 'ad hominem'.
And even if it were, your whole blog is ad hominem with regard to Chomsky.

I just pointed out and I'm pointing out again that Chomsky knows he's part of the elite and keeps repeating it.
You were implying (or so it seems to me) that Chomsky is saying he's not part of the elite.

Other than that, I (surprise, surprise) agree with Robert. How exactly one can compare using the internet while knowing it's an elite commodity and a pacifist joining the army is beyond me.

Oh, and censorship sucks!

 
At July 2, 2004 at 12:11 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Luka,

If you don't know what made your comment ad hominem, than thats your problem. Just for the record I did not take your post off because you claimed that Chomsky often times says he is part of the elite. It is a well know fact that Chomsky is a critic of the elite and I was just pointing out one of his hypocritical stances regarding that topic. As for my webiste being an ad hominem on Chomsky, well if you show me which part I will gladly point out how it is not.

Regarding your agreement with Robert (surprise, surprise) I don't care. If you can't see how the analogy, keyword here analogy, fits that is, again, your problem.

As for your remarks about censorship, I find it ironic how you laud me for deleting one of your comments, while on Chomsky's blog, when comments were open to the general public the administrators had the offensive ones removed. Now Chomsky' blog is only open to the 'elite' members of Znet – I guess his message was loud and clear: freedom of speech but only to all those that think like we do. I agree censorship sucks, maybe you should tell it to Chomsky.

Like the debate with Robert I am going to end this one with you here with you as well too.


--Dhimmi

 
At July 2, 2004 at 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, certain institutions can best be changed from the inside, and others can best be changed from the outside. To determine the best way to change an institution would depend upon subjective values and would rely on debate.

I do not agree with the pacifict argument. A pacifist, if he did not believe he could change the military from within, wouldn't join. But i do know that pacifists joined (or were drafted) during the Vietnam war. Many of these pacifists simply sat on the floor during boot camp and refused to move, a simple act of civil disobedience to show to those higher in command that they would not stand for something that they saw as an injustice.

I guess, it would come down to "how" someone acted if they joined an institution.

Robert Hardy.

 
At July 2, 2004 at 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's also the minor matter that Chomsky is wrong:

"If we assume that LeVert's original guess of half was right in 1994 (a big if), the new figure would be "Around two-thirds and still rising."

http://www.shirky.com/writings/half_the_world.html

That article also illustrates the tremendous rate at which telephony is penetrating the third world. Thanks to (IMO):

a) The technological brilliance of the US and European telecom industries and

b) The efficiency of the Western capitalist system and

c) The benefits of Globalization to the poorer countries.

Poor Norm. The world left him behind decades ago.

 
At July 3, 2004 at 4:25 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

"It is a well know fact that Chomsky is a critic of the elite and I was just pointing out one of his hypocritical stances regarding that topic."

It is also a well known fact that Chomsky repeatedly recognizes and points out that he is part of elite. So he can hardly be called hypocritical.

"As for my webiste being an ad hominem on Chomsky, well if you show me which part I will gladly point out how it is not."

We'll leave this for another day.

"If you can't see how the analogy, keyword here analogy, fits that is, again, your problem."

Well, I thought you would enlighten me :)

I just do not see how using a tool, albeit elitist, is the same as joining an organisation you oppose on principle. But I'll let every reader decide for themselves.

[snip - Dhimmi on censorship on Znet]

You know as well as I do that the Chomsky Blog or whatever it's called was flooded with LGFs and other people making debate impossible. Nobody was deleting serious or not so serious posts, only the offensive ones. Mine above was nothing compared what one could read over at Znet. Znet took measures to ensure serious debate.
And for the record, anybody can join Znet so it's hardly only for people who agree. You can for example go to Znet and register for a month for less than one NYT article costs to view and apart from commenting on the blog, you can ask questions on the forum where Chomsky replies directly. But it keeps the LGFs and the rest away from spoiling serious discussion as I and (I assume) you would like.

"Like the debate with Robert I am going to end this one with you here with you as well too."

OK. There's gonna be other posts where we can pick this up I suspect.




At 6:45 PM, Anonymous said...

"There's also the minor matter that Chomsky is wrong:"

"If we assume that LeVert's original guess of half was right in 1994 (a big if), the new figure would be "Around two-thirds and still rising."

http://www.shirky.com/writings/half_the_world.html"


Well, it all depends on _when_ Chomsky made that statement, doesn't it?

And if the only source given is an internet site full of qoutes, this is harder than it should be. Dhimmi, if you're gonna post links to Chomsky remarks in the future make sure they include where and when he wrote it.

Anonymous, after a quick search (which you should have done) I found out that the statement was made by Chomsky in “The Observer Review” in 1996.[source at the end] The article you quote makes its conclusions on data avaliable in 2002.

So Chomsky was hardly wrong _when_he made the quoted statement. At least if we use the article you cite as proof.

It's like quoting Chomsky saying in let's say 1950 that the world population is 2.2 billion and then you quoting an article proving that there is 6.6 billion people in the world in 2004 and then saying "Poor Norm. [sic] The world left him behind decades ago."

Makes you look like a(n) ______ [I'll leave it to each reader to fill in], doesn't it?

[And I find the whole article very lacking. Instead of making us read lines and lines of growth rates for telephones in the developing world, which are obviousely going to be bigger in developing than in the developed, already saturated markets, and instead of comparing the number of phone lines in countries as different as Poland (40 million people) and Bahrain (360,000 people) and making conclusions on these very skewed findings, one could just take the number of phone lines in the world, the estimate for how many people use each phone line and how many use more than one phone line and calculate a rough rate of phone usage in the world. And this is just from the top of my head, I'm sure it could be done much better if you put more thought into it.
And if you're gonna write a serious article, you should base your conclusions on more than a statement made by one MCI executive, no?
("If we assume that LeVert's original guess of half was right in 1994..." is what the whole article is based on)]



I'll refrain from commenting on the wishful thinking you call reasons for the rate of phone penetration in the third world.

Source for the origin of the Chomsky quote [don't know for sure if it's correct as I don't have access to "The Observer Review" archive, but it should suffice for this debate]:
http://quotes-dujour.blogspot.com/2003_11_02_quotes-dujour_archive.html

 
At July 3, 2004 at 5:31 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

I said Bahrain above. It should be Brunei.

 
At July 10, 2004 at 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's "stumbled", not "stubbled." BTW, Chomsky doesn't run the blog; he just writes for it.

 
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