Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Promoting Fraud

For a minute just try to imagine that you knew of a person who declared the following in March of 2001:

Should not observers and academics keep skeptical about the U.S. government's assessment of the terrorist threat? To what extent do terrorist 'experts' indirectly perpetuate this irrational fear of terrorism by focusing too much on farfetched horrible scenarios? Does the terrorist industry[1], consciously or unconsciously, exaggerate the nature and degree of the terrorist threat to American citizens?
Just as a reminder to those who forgotten already this statement was made six months prior to the most devastating terror attacks on the soil of the United States. And now most democrats are saying that America was not doing enough to prevent such horrors. Who said this? No, it wasn't Noam Chomsky. It was Fawaz Gerges, a Sarah Lawrence professor specializing in international relations of the Arab world. So what's the relevance of all this to Noam Chomsky? Well in a recent article for Khaleej Times Online Chomsky envokes some of Gerges rhetoric. Chomsky first introduces him as a "Middle East expert". Then Chomsky quotes Gerges as saying it's "simply unbelievable how the war has revived the appeal of a global jihadi Islam that was in real decline after 9-11." Apparently Chomsky isn't aware that Gerges was claiming global jihad was on the decline before 9-11 and that Gerges even went so far as to say there was a 'terrorism industry' and fears of attacks like the ones on 9-11 are 'irrational.'

The rest of the article is pure nonsense and littered with inconsistencies. For instance in the beginning of the article Chomsky claims "the most threatening document of our time is the US National Security Strategy of September 2002," then he goes on to claim that "the doctrine of the NSS" had to be "revised." Which begs the question if there is such a thing as "the most threatening document" how does it remain threatening if it is "revised?" Leaving the discrepancies aside, doesn't one expect Chomsky to actually quote from the document and prove why it is "threatening?" Is it to much to ask Chomsky to prove it? All Chomsky does is point to a quote by Colin Powell which he claims America has the "'sovereign right to use force to defend ourselves' from nations that possess weapons of mass destruction and cooperate with terrorists." Apparently to those who don't know this is the ideology behind "the most threatening document of our time." And for those of you who want to read the document in question it can be found here. In addition, what is actually written inside of it is the following, "in pursuit of our goals, our first imperative is to clarify what we stand for: the United States must defend liberty and justice because these principles are right and true for all people everywhere." This leaves one to assuming that either Chomsky believes that the doctrine of protecting "liberty and justice" is the most threatening of our time or he is hoping no one will actually read the US National Security Strategy of September 2002.

In the end what is clear is that Chomsky is just promoting fraud.

[1] Just as a side note the 'terrorism industry' is an obvious reference to the so called 'Holocaust Industry.' The theory is the belief that Jews abuse the memory of the Holocaust to promote a Zionist agenda. Apparently Gerges was trying to make a similar claim with regard to terrorism and American policy.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Chomsky and Linguistics

As Keith Windschuttle pointed out in his recent article:

One of the main reasons Noam Chomsky's political views are taken seriously in universities and the media is because he has an awesome reputation for scientific accomplishment in the field of linguistics.
Yet, as Windschuttle notes Chomsky's contribution, or lack there, to the field of linguistics is rarely mentioned:
The most devastating articles in the Anti-Chomsky Reader are not those that expose the ideological prejudices, factual misrepresentations, and distorted logic of his political writings but the two at the end of the book that tear up his reputation as one of the towering intellects of our time. Two essays about linguistics reveal Chomsky's output in that field to be not the work of a rare, great mind but the product of a very familiar kind of academic hack. His reputation turns out not to have been earned by any significant contribution to human understanding but to be the product of a combination of self-promotion, abuse of detractors, and the fudging of his findings. John Williamson points out that fifty years after the announcement of the "Chomskyan revolution" in linguistics, immense progress has been made in almost every field of science. "We have been to the moon several times," he writes. "Our way of life depends upon the computer chip." The work of Einstein, to whom some of Chomsky's fans compare him, has been confirmed many times and can explain many physical phenomena. But in linguistics, Williamson shows, the results are comparatively trivial. All that Chomskyan grammar can explain is language which is transparent and easily labelled: "first-order" sentences such as The keeper fed the bananas to the monkey. Grammatical formulations of the "second order of difficulty," such as For there to be a snowstorm would be nice, still remain a mystery.
For more information on how the Chomskyan theory of linguistics is flawed please see the following:

Beyond Noam
Chomsky's Minimalism by Pieter A. M. Seuren
The First Idea: How Symbols, Language and Intelligence Evolve by Stanley Greenspan & Stuart Shanker
The origin of language stemmed from relationships, not genes By Ruth Walker