Sunday, July 04, 2004

Chomsky the Eurocentric

From Chomsky's very nasty proto-seditious tract What Uncle Sam Really Wants:

The struggle for freedom is never over. The people of the Third World need our sympathetic understanding and, much more than that, they need our help. We can provide them with a margin of survival by internal disruption in the United States. Whether they can succeed against the kind of brutality we impose on them depends in large part on what happens here.

The courage they show is quite amazing. I've personally had the privilege -- and it is a privilege -- of catching a glimpse of that courage at first hand in Southeast Asia, in Central America and on the occupied West Bank. It's a very moving and inspiring experience, and invariably brings to my mind some contemptuous remarks of Rousseau's on Europeans who have abandoned freedom and justice for the peace and repose "they enjoy in their chains." He goes on to say:
When I see multitudes of entirely naked savages scorn European voluptuousness and endure hunger, fire, the sword and death to preserve only their independence, I feel that it does not behoove slaves to reason about freedom.
People who think that these are mere words understand very little about the world.

Its quite fascinating to see Chomsky wholeheartedly - and apparently completely uncomprehendingly - embracing the Rousseauvian idea of the noble savage; precisely the sort of Eurocentric fetishization of exotic primitivism that normally sends the Left into paroxysms of indignant rage. This does seem to bear out the oft-repeated idea that the Left's aggrandizment of the Third World is born as much out of patronizing racism as genuine sympathy.

And I like the line about "internal disruption in the United States"; at least he's being honest for once.