• Powers and Prospects

    Author(s): Noam Chomsky
    Date:   1999
    Pages: 244 p
    Size:  1.2 Mb
    Format:  PDF
    Language: English





    Noam Chomky's books are very important, scientifically, politically, economically and morally. The 8 essays in this volume are a proof of the depth of his analyses as well as of his moral integrity.

    As committed anarchist, his `Goals and Visions' are actually to defend some state institutions (!) against the massive assaults on democracy, human rights and even markets. At the same time, he would open those institutions to more meaningful public participation and ultimately, in a much more free society dismantle them.
    In (`Democracy and Markets in the New World Order') he unveils clearly the fear and hatred of democracy in elite circles, who (try to) impose nationally and internationally James Madison's policies of `protecting the minority of the opulent against the majority' and for whom `the rights of property have priority on the rights of persons.'

    One of the means to bring more freedom, justice and a better world is to give better information to the many. In `Writers and Intellectual Responsibility', Chomsky sets the minimum standard for journalism as follows: `It is a moral imperative to find out and tell the truth as best as one can about matters of human significance to an audience that can do something about them.'
    But, the media are kept from the public domain and handed over to a few huge private corporations (`private tyranny equals freedom'). Journalism is turned into mere servility and cowardice. Journalist are gagged and silenced (e.g. the genocides in East Timor and Indonesia, see `The Great Powers and Human Rights: the Case of East Timor' and `East Timor and World Order') or fundamentally biased (`The Middle East Settlement').
    For Chomsky, the moral culpability of those who ignore the crimes that matter by moral standards is greater to the extent that the society is free and open.

    Economically, he points out that the US has been `the mother country and bastion of modern protectionism', imposing now free trade on the Third World.

    His scientific work is ground-breaking (`Language and Thought' and `Language and Nature'). He proved that language is a biological process. To question `innate' knowledge is the same as to suppose that the growth of an embryo to a chicken rather than a giraffe is determined by nutritional inputs.
    Behavior and texts are of no more intrinsic interest than observations of electrical activities of the brain. A computer program that beats a grandmaster in chess is about as interesting as a bulldozer that wins the Olympic weight-lifting competition.
    The only thing that we can say about language is `that we use it for expressing or clarifying our thoughts, inducing others whose language resembles ours to do likewise.
    Language doesn't represent the world (Frege) and the content of expressions and of thought is not fixed by properties of the world and society (Putnam).

    This is a book written by a formidable free mind.
    A must read for all those interested in the future of mankind.

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