Noam Chomsky's Jihad against America
December 19, 2001 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Noam Chomsky's Jihad against America
posted by Steven Den Beste (47 comments total)

 
Wow, this article is full of so much classic Horowitz hyperventilating overstatement, it's hard to know where to begin. Yes, Chomsky tends to play the same damn tune over and over again, but so does Horowitz.

Horowitz's defining delusion is that he assumes everyone to the Left of himself hates America as much as he used to. He seems to think that if he declares Chomsky a traitor loudly and long enough, it will be so.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:41 PM on December 19, 2001


David's rant appears in two parts. What I like is that each guy represents an extreme and there is no middle ground.
For Chomsky there is simply nothing that America does that is honest, ethical, decent. To begin to list some redeeming things would take too much space and time.
posted by Postroad at 2:42 PM on December 19, 2001


"...Chomsky’s book, Manufacturing Consent, a vulgar Marxist tract arguing that the American media functions as a propaganda agency for the government and its ruling class bosses."

This is just one quote from the extensive article debunking Chomsky's speech at MIT, which the site claims was a misinterpretation of the facts. Seeing these people misinterpret Chomsky's speech further is just another example of how the American media can warp people's ideas to fit their own agenda of maintaining the status quo.

There is no liberal media bias; the only bias, as Chomsky accurately pointed out, is that of the media to defer to the ultimate word of the government. If channels like CNN and Fox News continue to cover the war by marching forth generals and government officials, aren't they acting as arms of the government, spewing the government's propaganda?
posted by Hammerikaner at 2:43 PM on December 19, 2001


If channels like CNN and Fox News continue to cover the war by marching forth generals and government officials, aren't they acting as arms of the government, spewing the government's propaganda?

Because there's no one else to give a play-by-play of what's happening? Because everyone in the government isn't an evil manipulator, and sometimes they speak the truth? Because, however imperfect the process, the military is directed by elected officials? Because Chomsky proposes no alternative mechanism for governing? Because people who start out hating someone/something are going to find a reason to do so, no matter what?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:50 PM on December 19, 2001


Chomksy suggests that democracy would be preferable to our current system, if I'm not mistaken. I'm sure nobody needs me to dig up the abundant White House/Pentagon quotes from the past 3 months to the effect of "we have lied to you, we will lie to you, and we're lying to you right now."
posted by sudama at 2:56 PM on December 19, 2001


--"Because there's no one else to give a play-by-play of what's happening?"

Except for actual journalists who might do the actual investigating for themselves, instead of increasingly going to "official sources." If reporters want to risk their lives in a war zone, they should be allowed to.

--"Because everyone in the government isn't an evil manipulator, and sometimes they speak the truth?"

Who has claimed otherwise? Certainly not Chomsky, or anyone on this thread.

--"Because, however imperfect the process, the military is directed by elected officials?"

Which indicates what, exactly?

--"Because Chomsky proposes no alternative mechanism for governing?"

Chomsky has spoken and written in detail about anarcho-syndacalism, and the process by which American society could be transformed through completely voluntary associations. (I'm not saying I agree with him, just letting you know that he has proposed alternatives.)

--"Because people who start out hating someone/something are going to find a reason to do so, no matter what?"

you mean like Horowitz hates Chomsky?
posted by Ty Webb at 3:01 PM on December 19, 2001


Is there anyone alive on the planet that isn't tired of both Chomsky and Horowitz? Be honest now. Listening/reading to either one of them is like putting your favorite song on continual replay -- it's interesting the first time you hear it, but after three days of continuous play you'd rather shoot yourself than hear it again.

...the only thing that's worse is reading nine billion screeds about how one or the other is a great/terrible person. Someone should just create an automated program to do it; we'd save untold hours of professorial/pundit labor, and when all nine billion possible pro/anti Chomsky essays have been written, the universe might end and save us all the trouble.
posted by aramaic at 3:08 PM on December 19, 2001


Aramaic,
Great idea. I await the unveiling of the Rant Generator.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:21 PM on December 19, 2001


Civil debate requires that you assume a rational, open-minded audience that doesn't necessarily share your assumptions and then do your best to present your case. Do either Chomsky or Horowitz really think they're going to change anyone's mind? Do they care?
posted by lbergstr at 3:25 PM on December 19, 2001


aramaic and lbergstr: I agree with both of you and don't give two sh*ts about Chomsky or Horowitz.
posted by msacheson at 3:30 PM on December 19, 2001


Sort of offtopic, but while we're discussing Chomsky here's a funny article from a leftist paper about his speaking tour reaching Pakistan. While Chomsky may have extensive knowledge of the U.S. role in Vietnam, Latin American, Indonesia, he knows very little about the India/Pakistan conflict, check this dodge:

Asked whether the world was giving Pakistan strongman President Musharraf a blank cheque, Chomsky rambled for 10 minutes about the crimes of U.S.-backed former Indonesian dictator Suharto.

nowtoronto.com - Chomsky Falls Flat

posted by bobo123 at 3:34 PM on December 19, 2001


By David Horowitz

Enough said. Next link please.
posted by fleener at 3:37 PM on December 19, 2001


Great idea. I await the unveiling of the Rant Generator.

Sadly, the Chomskybot only comes in linguistics flavor.
posted by snarkout at 3:45 PM on December 19, 2001


--"Because, however imperfect the process, the military is directed by elected officials?"

Which indicates what, exactly?


Ty Webb, it indicates that Western Europe, the US, are actually democracies -- flawed of course but democracies with elected officials you can kick out of office if you didn't like the way they did their job (like Bush senior, if I'm not mistaken). And the Taliban's Afghanistan that Chomsky doesn't have the time to attack or condemn for its appalling policies towards women for example was NOT a democracy. It basically indicates that anyone who says that Bush is like Osama and there's no difference between Washington's government and Al Qaeda (like Chomsky basically does) is saying a terrible, terrible lie. And by the way, I don't like Horowitz but he's right, Chomsky seriously misquoted the NyTimes piece -- I hope this is not his regular modus operandi. I have many of his books, I'd hate to have to double check every newspaper he quotes.
I don't have a problem with Chomsky hating his country -- he's free to do that. I have a problem with his carelessness with facts.
posted by matteo at 3:45 PM on December 19, 2001


Wow. Great. One disgruntled, fact-inventing windbag disagrees with another disgruntled, fact-inventing windbag. Fascinating.

Having spent hours of my otherwise productive life reading Horowitz and Chomsky, with the understanding that these men are educated and intelligent, I've failed to find any reason to take either of them seriously. I give up.

They're nothing more than inflammatory trolls. Neither is writing to educate or solve problems. It's all about being the center of attention by inciting yelling and slap fights. I put both into the same category as street preachers - Fun to listen to for a few minutes, but then I'm sure I can find something better to do.

Horowitz and Chomsky = Jerry Springer for elitists.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:56 PM on December 19, 2001


Matteo,
I understand and agree with your point. Chomsky has a horrible tendency toward moral equivalency. He was, however, critical of the Taliban from the moment they took power, just as was most of the American Left.

What I find undeniable in Chomsky's writing is the idea that the U.S. appeals to international standards of justice when it suits its purpose, and casts those standards aside just as quickly.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:12 PM on December 19, 2001


Horowitz and Chomsky = Jerry Springer for elitists.

sort of the same after-taste.

i just have to say the writings and speeches of people i used to have a great deal of respect for have dulled my appetite for them somewhat. I'm still a leftist, but i'm not a pacifist anymore by any means. Mostly...as i read chomsky lately, i think...This is supposed to be a great respected intellect? I feel guilt over it....sometimes. Great people are often overtaken by themselves...their agenda, ego, etc...the weight of everything they have ever said somehow crashes in upon them and turns to rubbish.

they then turn into giant talking puppets, like in Jan Svankmajer's Faust. Babblers. bla bla bla bla bla bla. A decent comedic actor could make up that stuff as they go.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:49 PM on December 19, 2001


It's obviously a lover's quarrel. I wonder who did the leaving?
posted by Ty Webb at 4:52 PM on December 19, 2001


Horowitz and Chomsky = Jerry Springer for elitists.

Well said!
posted by holycola at 5:01 PM on December 19, 2001


"Hello, there is no CNN in Afghanistan" Welcome to a War without TV coverage.

It seems like that we're escaping reality, by either approving or condemning a point of view, either Chomsky or Horowitz one ; it is so easy to forget that we don't have the faintest idea of what is really happening in Afghanistan, all we got are scenarios.

Scenarios aren't but the summary of many details and what people need, imho, are not summaries but a lot of accurate details.

One guys says USA is evil because some innocent people in Afghanistan is starving thanks to USA bombings and political pressure. I'm 99% confident that this is true, but I don't accept the accusation of USA=Evil because USA is attacking Afghanistan.

I haven't seen a bomb hitting a food convoy. I haven't seen Americans pressuring Pakistani not to let convoy food enters. But I haven't seen Americans or Europeans escort food convoys either. Me and you really don't know anything and we must accept any info that is given us ..unfortunately there isn't a really independent media doing the job of reporting only unedited, unfiltered videos from the war zones.

At the end of the day all we know is that something is happening thousand kilometers away from our eyes and we can't do nothing about that ; I accept that, I could only do very little to help Afghani people , but I don't accept the fact that my representatives (aka government people) aren't reporting each and every detail of what is happening there : my tax dollars are there, my people is there and I don't know what is really happening. That's scary.
posted by elpapacito at 5:13 PM on December 19, 2001


You know, I was reading this and trying to fairly take it all in. Horowitz is certainly prone to rant, but he makes a few good points.

But then he brings up Cuba. He draws the conclusion that Cuba is poor because of a lack of intervention on the part of the United States.

It's one thing to say that Castro is driving the country into the ground, and he's causing poverty. Maybe one could argue that. But the man overlooks the crippling economic sanctions imposed by us. Doesn't even mention it.

If that's not intervention, what is, exactly?

Then he moves on to Chile. He parades out "the new dictator, Augusto Pinochet" as an example of successful U.S. foreign policy.

When you yourself can think of no better way of describing someone than "the new dictator," I'm thinking it's time to come up with a few better examples.
posted by mragreeable at 5:31 PM on December 19, 2001


I see very little difference between Chomsky and Horowitz, between the extremes of the left, and the extremes of the right. The left screams that the news has a right-wing bent, that they don't report the "real story", and are nothing but a mouthpiece for the ruling class. The right asserts that there is a massive liberal bias in the media, and that anyone holding conservative viewpoints is pilloried, and their views contextualized to make them appear selfish and evil.

Both share one thing in common: They both want the current, "corrupt" system to be replaced by one of their choosing ... generally some sort of idealized philosophical system that has never existed on earth, and would create a comfort zone for themselves and their followers. In the Ideal Land of the left, those evil rich people would share their wealth equally with all (they rarely explain why people would have a motive to work their asses off creating value for others - but if we all dressed in hemp and ate only vegetables we wouldn't need that much I suppose). In the Ideal Land of the right, we'd all bow to the one, true religion, live by righteous values, cure gayness instead of accepting it, and never run with scissors (they rarely look at the fact that there's around 170 different religions in America, and the anachronistic fantasy world of everyone going to a Christian mass on Sunday is fairly well impossible).

Both amount - IMO - to one thing: They keep their followers onboard their respective trains by asserting that an "elite" runs this country incorrectly, but both, in essence, want the same thing ... to replace the current elite (that each claims imposes it's nefarious value system on all) with an elite of their choosing (that - presumably, would, er, well, impose it's value system on all).

These are, basically, the kids that always got picked last for kickball teams during gradeschool, and as a result, decided the entire system of organized sport had to be questioned. They're grown up now, and use bigger words ... but the motivating force is essentially the same.

I think the single most appropriate response to both Chomsky and Horowitz would probably be the same one they probably got when they were 12: Give them a noogie and jeer at them 'till they go away.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:43 PM on December 19, 2001


midas, you are aptly named. you know...i just finished Atlas Shrugged a few weeks ago....and the way that the 'intellectuals' are portrayed has become frighteningly realistic. Creeps me out.

I don't agree about the noogie part--yes, i was also one of those kids--but the press, politicians and intellectual elite all need some type of accountibility, and they need to acknowledge where their facts are wrong instead of clinging to them as they harden into dogma. Once they refuse to admit errors or changes or hyperbole, it just turns into rabid defense.
posted by th3ph17 at 6:02 PM on December 19, 2001



posted by y2karl at 6:13 PM on December 19, 2001


Steven, I just gotta ask: Why in the world did you post this drivvel? I know when it comes to Chumpsky,you wouldnt piss him out if he was on fire. If we don't need more dylithium crystals, why in the hell should we start digging in that filthy pit?
Everything MidasMulligan said. They want the current, "corrupt" system replaced by one of their choosing ... How many revolutions started out this way and ended up dictatorships?
posted by Mack Twain at 6:21 PM on December 19, 2001


Because it was interesting, unlikely to have been encountered by others, and likely to inspire comment.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:03 PM on December 19, 2001


Before we all agree that Horowitz and Chomsky are the same but different, we should note that Chomsky has been effectively ostracized from the mainstream media since the 1960s, while Horowitz is basically allowed to spew wherever he wants to. They're both smug, self-satisfied blowhards, but Horowitz's views and tactics (He's baiting college progressives! That imp!) are much more media-friendly. I mean, who makes the better story: a leftist intellectual criticizing American media and foreign policy, or a "reformed leftist" who saw the "error of his ways" and became a ranting rightist?

And Chomsky never formed a "think tank" to advance his views. At least, not to my knowledge. I could be wrong, and correct me if I am. But if anyone's looking for a "media bias," the fact that Horowitz has a lot more exposure than Chomsky does speak volumes.
posted by solistrato at 7:09 PM on December 19, 2001


midasmulligan: they rarely explain why people would have a motive to work their asses off creating value for others

some would posit that this is the usual outcome of our current system.
posted by rebeccablood at 7:16 PM on December 19, 2001


some would posit that this is the usual outcome of our current system.

I think that was Midas's point: that our system encourages people to create value for others more than a system that rewarded everyone equally would. Of course, this assumes that people like Bill Gates do more to create surplus value than to extract it from their underlings. (Which I believe, by the way.)
posted by lbergstr at 7:34 PM on December 19, 2001


[Horowitz quotes Chomsky:]
Nicaragua has now become the 2nd poorest country in the hemisphere. What’s the poorest country? Well that’s of course Haiti, which also happens to be the victim of most U.S. intervention in the 20th Century by a long shot….Nicaragua is second ranked in degree of U.S. intervention in the 20th century. It is the 2nd poorest. Actually, it is vying with Guatemala. They interchange every year or two as to who’s the second poorest. And they also vie as to who is the leading target of U.S. military intervention. We’re supposed to think that all of this is some sort of accident. That it has nothing to do with anything that happened in history. Maybe.
[Horowitz continues:]
Chomsky’s anti-American fever is so high that he sometimes doesn’t even bother to make sense. In this passage, he describes Haiti as the country subject to the most U.S. interventions and (therefore) also the poorest. Then he describes Nicaragua and Guatemala as vying with each other as to who is the poorest and therefore "who is the leading target of U.S. military intervention." But he has already said that this distinction belongs to Haiti "by a long shot." Obviously it cannot be both. Who knows what Chomsky himself thinks. Or if he thinks.
----------
Too bad MS Word doesn't have a logic-checker yet. Chomsky says Nicaragua and Guatemala "interchange every year as to who's the second poorest". Horowitz then claims Chomsky has said they are "vying with each other as to who is the poorest" and proceeds to ridicule him..."or *if* he thinks"--when one only has to look a few lines up the page to wonder if Horowitz *reads*. That kind of ridicule works much better if it's not founded in complete misunderstanding--and if you can set a better example than the person you're trying to rip apart. I value Chomsky even if he's so unremittingly radical (and, I think, so used to preaching to the choir) that he often hurts his own cause. Horowitz is only valuable in so far as being annoyed is better than being bored.
posted by uosuaq at 7:40 PM on December 19, 2001


y'know an open debate between Chomsky and Horowitz could be the intellectual/academic equivalent of that Browns/Jaguars game the other day. Dennis Miller could moderate(he's smarter and more well..right than either of them). All us MeFi'ers could get drunk in the stands and pelt them both with dogbuiscuits, beer bottles or best of all, hardbound copies of their own unreadable, self-satisfied, self-righteous screeds.
posted by jonmc at 7:46 PM on December 19, 2001


lbergstr: I think that was Midas's point: that our system encourages people to create value for others more than a system that rewarded everyone equally would.

you misunderstand my meaning.

midas is arguing that if wealth were more equitably distributed, people would have less incentive to work hard, because they wouldn't personally benefit from the fruits of their labors.

I'm pointing out that our present system rewards a small subset of people (CEOs, stock holders, and the like) for the work of the majority of people (the regular joes like you and me), and yet those workers still seem willing to go work hard every day.
posted by rebeccablood at 7:51 PM on December 19, 2001


I'm pointing out that our present system rewards a small subset of people...for the work of the majority of people...and yet those workers still seem willing to go work hard every day.

You're right, I didn't address your point. It's true that many people work hard for what looks like little reward. It's not difficult to explain, though: if they worked less hard, they'd be destitute. No one said capitalism was nice.

I was trying to defend the system as a whole by saying that most regular joes don't, individually, create much value. An executive who knows how to shave a small percentage off the cost of manufacturing a car does much more for society than, say, an assembly-line worker, so it makes sense for us to reward them accordingly.
posted by lbergstr at 8:34 PM on December 19, 2001


...regular joes don't, individually, create much value.

Collectively we create it all.
posted by chrismc at 9:03 PM on December 19, 2001


But when that shaving of small percentages means exporting factories offshore to save on labor costs and yet we, the downsized Americans, are all supposed to buy, buy, buy to keep the world economy afloat, or when we see the golden parachutes awarded to all the top execs at Enron just prior to bankruptcy, or when Congress rolls over and pees on themselves at the administration's behest to make multi-billiion givebacks to companies like GM and every big Texas based industry that donated to the Bush campaign, this after all the corporate income, estate, capital gains tax cutting that's gone on for years--oh one could go on and on...

Not nice at all, capitalism: and the service to society from all this top end corruption is?
posted by y2karl at 9:10 PM on December 19, 2001


... I'm pointing out that our present system rewards a small subset of people (CEOs, stock holders, and the like) for the work of the majority of people (the regular joes like you and me) ...

Ahhh ... this is exactly what I was trying to say. Our "system" does not reward anyone. Michael Dell (as an example) and a college buddy built their first computers in the bathtub of their dorm room. Michael Dell is now a CEO. He's a multibillionaire. Not because our "system" made him one, but because he built a company selling something that you, and hundreds of thousands like you, bought. Not because a "system" made you buy it, but presumably because you believed it met your needs and desires better than anything else you could have bought with the money you had to spend.

At various times over the years, he went into the equity markets to raise capital - by issuing shares of the company to investors (many of them, by the way, "regular Joes"). When they invested their money, they took a risk. With Dell, many of them were, indeed, "benefited" - again, not because any system benefited them, but rather because they invested in a company that you and others judged as providing the best value. Dell was able to raise the capital necessary to do the research, and produce the product you thought best suited your needs because those investors took that risk. They were rewarded. Do you consider that unfair?

Even further, if you wish to attempt to undertake the almost inconceivable work of discerning a huge public need or want, developing a good or service that satisfies it, figuring out how to get it made, marketed, and offered for sale at a price at which people will buy it ... you have a shot at no longer being a "regular Joe".

And if you think the only ones benefiting are CEOs and shareholders (because they seem to have a lot of money) ... consider this ... in a good 1/2 to 2/3's of the world, including many countries allegedly designed around "fair systems" - the thought of even the country's regular Joes actually being able to afford a computer, internet connection, and the leisure to write to blogs ... is almost unimaginable luxury.

Yes, one can make a fortune here. There's a reason why the number of people trying to get into this country (even from other so-called first-world countries) is so large. The brilliance of our "system" is that it somehow gets our best and our brightest to engage in fierce competition with each other with the sole end of trying to figure out what you want, and trying to deliver it to you cheaper and faster than anyone else. Yes - if they succeed, they get wealthy. But if you think that you and the regular Joes of the nation do not benefit enormously from that same system ... spend a couple of months being a regular Joe in China.
posted by MidasMulligan at 10:09 PM on December 19, 2001


y2karl: multi-billion dollar givebacks...tax cutting...oh one could go on and on...

Oh yeah, those are all bad. But like you said, that's corruption, not capitalism.</disingenuous>

sigh

Well, ok. I'm also not sure how to prevent huge sums of money from distorting the political process. I just don't have a better idea.
posted by lbergstr at 10:31 PM on December 19, 2001


This was posted on Indymedia last night, I didn’t read it then and I’m not going to read it now because Horowitz is a bad writer. I will comment on the title.

The title implies Chomsky is out to bring down to the US government. This is most definitly true despite Horowitz’s inane red-baiting. Chomsky has said (and echoed) many negative things about communism, including something to the effect that (leftist) totalitarians are worse than (rightist) fascists.

The US recieves most of his attention because it tends to have a hand in many events. He does not just say bad things about the US, he says bad things about all nation-states. He echoes Amartya Sen’s comparision of governmental reaction to famine and medical reform in communist China and capitalist-democratic India. Both systems have endemic problems which led to the deaths of tens of millions. His conclusion is implicit: how can anyone support either?

Chomsky’s goal, as is the goal of every flavor of “socialist libertarian”, is Global Anarchy. Most critiques of Chomsky skirt the difficult issue of addressing flaws in reigning political theories or make false accusations (Commie!). This is a mark of worthless polemics.

solistrato: And Chomsky never formed a "think tank" to advance his views.

True. However, in America he is guaranteed publication in a variety of small “organized dissent” magazines and a couple of book publishers. Despite being mostly ignored by mainstream media, his speechs draw overflow SRO crowds, his books sell exceedingly well for barely being advertised and he is well-published in the foreign press.

If anything, he’s a wonderful example of a successfully operating meritocracy. But I doubt conservatives would make Chomsky a poster boy for one of their pet theories.

matteo: ... anyone who says ... there's no difference between Washington's government and Al Qaeda (like Chomsky basically does)

No he doesn’t. Saying seperate ideologies have similiarities is not the same as saying they are the same. This is a willful failure to grasp nuance that lead critics to paint Chomsky in pathological colors. It speaks to an unwillingness to evaluate ideas on their own terms.

Chomsky has said that democratic countries are far better than non-democratic countries, that living in them provides most of the citizens freedom from violent oppression. It does not, however, provide freedom from other oppression which he believes anarchy would rectify. In essence he says, democracy is better than monarchy, but it could be much better. For this, he is called a marxist, but that just shows the critic’s ignorance of political theory.

Midas: ... to replace the current elite with an elite of their choosing ...

Funny, that sounds like democracy.
posted by raaka at 10:49 PM on December 19, 2001


rebeccablood: I'm pointing out that our present system rewards a small subset of people (CEOs, stock holders, and the like) for the work of the majority of people (the regular joes like you and me)[...]

It should be pointed out that stockholders are not a 'small subset'. Almost half of all US households own stock. And while that includes 401(k)'s and 403(b)'s, I don't think it includes union pension funds, which may be the largest single class of shareholders in the US, and directly benefit 'regular joes'. (Or were 20 years ago; the recent rise in individual stock ownership may have eclipsed them.)
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:56 PM on December 19, 2001


Our "system" does not reward anyone. Michael Dell (as an example) and a college buddy built their first computers in the bathtub of their dorm room. Michael Dell is now a CEO. He's a multibillionaire.

The self made CEO is a thing of the past, unfortunately; Dell isn't a representative example at all.
posted by skyline at 11:19 PM on December 19, 2001


"... The self made CEO is a thing of the past, unfortunately; Dell isn't a representative example at all..."

Actually, it is quite common. Examples all over the place. Most CEOs either built their companies (like Dell), or came up through the ranks only after long and exhausting work in the trenches ... and quite often because they took large business risks that others were unwilling to take. I do some business with Merrill Lynch - biggest brokerage in the US, one of the 100 largest companies in the world. Their new President & COO - next in line for the Chairmanship, is Stan O'Neil - a black man who's great-grandfather was a slave, grandfather a sharecropper, father a farmer. Worked his way through college. Is now rich, and in line to run a huge multinational. That's the American "system" that everyone complains about. That's who is being pointed at when people talk about the "few" who benefit from our "system".

"... Midas: ... to replace the current elite with an elite of their choosing ... Funny, that sounds like democracy..."

Yes it does - but the thing that drives everyone from the Chomskys to the Buchanans crazy is that the vast majority of population doesn't seem to want to replace the current elite with elites of their choosing. So naturally either 1) the whole system must be corrupt, or 2) the "people" don't know what's good for them due to the misinformation of the media and corruption. The thought that the vast majority of Americans might actually like their country, think their lives are pretty damn good (even regular Joes), and virtually always vote to maintain the rather bland and unexciting status quo ... is impossible for these people to believe.

" ... Well, ok. I'm also not sure how to prevent huge sums of money from distorting the political process. I just don't have a better idea..."

Ah - I'm with you there. I often stay up nights wracking my brain to figure out how we could distort the political process with something other than money ... but alas, nothing else seems to work anywhere near as well. (Ha ha ha).
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:53 PM on December 19, 2001


I'm just pleased to now know the word meritocracy.
posted by glenwood at 6:58 AM on December 20, 2001


midas - The brilliance of our "system" is that it somehow gets our best and our brightest to engage in fierce competition with each other with the sole end of trying to figure out what you want, and trying to deliver it to you cheaper and faster than anyone else. Yes - if they succeed, they get wealthy.

i have yet to see much, if any evidence of this. what i see are people/companies vying to control a market in competition for profits, not customer satisfaction. those two can be bound together, but more often are not.
customer satisfaction is treated like any other asset - something that can be dropped when a more 'efficient business model' is developed.

in the example of dell, that company rode the tidal wave of home pc proliferation, which has now subsided. they are 'downsizing' to survive. i would say that anyone could have ridden that wave, and many did, but as with all consumer fads, back-wash is included in the deal.

on a personal note, i once met one of the original dell team (who re-confirmed negative american stereotypes, by attempting to explain ski-ing to a room full of europeans, as if we had never heard of it), he left the company and cashed in his options around 1991. how i laughed.
posted by asok at 8:02 AM on December 20, 2001


Slithy_Tove: It should be pointed out that stockholders are not a 'small subset'. Almost half of all US households own stock.

"Half of all US householders" is still a small subset of the world's population. I'm not sure that rcb's comment referred solely to the US.
posted by davehat at 8:05 AM on December 20, 2001


I expect what was meant by stockholders was something more like major stockholders.
posted by fidelity at 11:24 AM on December 20, 2001


The rich are merely glorified lottery winners. The myth that the rich somehow deserve what they have plundered or blundered upon is perpetuated by...wait for it...the rich themselves (and their many pathetic followers).

As usual, Chomsky says what everyone knows to be true, but which the powerful and their sycophants cannot bear to hear.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 4:23 PM on December 20, 2001


The rich are merely glorified lottery winners. The myth that the rich somehow deserve what they have plundered or blundered upon is perpetuated by...wait for it...the rich themselves (and their many pathetic followers).

This is so obviously wrong it's virtually self-refuting. As is much of Chomsky. Which is why I don't bother listening to him anymore.
posted by kindall at 5:17 PM on December 20, 2001


« Older "Jackass: the Motion Picture"...  |  Saudi princess arrested in Orl... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments