Sunday, July 25, 2004

Some Wisdom From a Fellow Anti-Chomskyite

A very articulate and well-informed reader who wishes to remain anonymous sent me this excellent commentary on the Faurisson affair, which I think ought to be posted in its entirety:

1.  It's not so much that [Chomsky] says that he didn't read what Faurisson wrote; to me it is more that he didn't bother to read carefully or verify what the petition said.   Any careful reader would have noticed the quote marks around the word "Holocaust" and seen that loaded word "findings".  The drafter--I understand a Holocaust denier himself--was clearly trying to write a free speech petition that did a bit more than support free speech--he wanted to express some substantive support for the author and the author's views.  But Chomsky could never admit that he should have been more careful.  The principle that one is responsible for the expected outcome of one's actions is a principle that Chomsky applies to others and from which he exempts himself.

2.  The utter hypocrisy (1): if he followed his own stated principles, he would have said that this is a matter for France to work out, because he needs to focus on his own official enemy, the United States.  There should have been NO moral value, for Chomsky, in attacking France over this issue.

3.  The utter hypocrisy (2):  if he cared so much about Faurisson's freedom of speech, why has he visited, praised, and lent support to, countries with far less freedom of speech?  Why is Faurisson worthy of a petition and a foreword, to help boost the sales of the book, when Chomsky has publicly praised totalitarian North Vietnam for having achieved "social justice"?  Hundred of thousands have suffered far worse fates than Faurisson, for far less offensive speech, in countries Chomsky has lent his considerable support to.  These are excerpts from a speech Chomsky gave in Hanoi in 1970 (found on many websites).  Judge whether the speaker, addressing an audience to whom any freedom of speech is denied, can be called a champion of unconditional freedom of speech:

We saw brave men and women who know how to defend their country from brutal aggression, but also to work with pride and with dignity to build a society of material prosperity, social justice, and cultural progress. I would like to express the great joy that we feel in your accomplishments.

The people of Vietnam will win, they must win, because your cause is the cause of humanity as it moves forward toward liberty and justice, toward the socialist society in which free, creative men control their own destiny.   More important still is our admiration for the people of Vietnam who have been able to defend themselves against the ferocious attack, and at the same time take great strides forward toward the socialist society.

Decent people throughout the world see in your struggle a model for themselves. They are in your debt, everlastingly, because you were in the forefront of the struggle to create a world in which the chains of oppression have been broken and replaced by social bonds among free men working in true solidarity and cooperation.

I believe that in the United States there will be some day a social revolution that will be of great significance to us and to all of mankind, and if this hope is to be proven correct, it will be in large part because the people of Vietnam have shown us the way.

While in Hanoi I have had the opportunity to read the recent and very important book by Le Duan on the problems and tasks of the Vietnamese revolution. In it, he says that the fundamental interests of the proletariat of the people of all the world consists in at the same time in safeguarding world peace and moving the revolution forward in all countries. This is our common goal. We only hope that we can build upon your historic achievements.

Is the person who gave that speech one who supports freedom of speech unconditionally?  Is he one who takes responsibility for the expected outcome of his actions?

4.  In his various defenses of his actions regarding Faurisson, Chomsky cites with approval his friend Serge Thion, and calls him a foe of all forms of totalitarianism,  The last I heard, Thion had joined Faurisson in publishing articles that deny that the Holocaust occurred.  Chomsky, so far as I am aware, has never stepped back from his support of Thion.

A wonderful denunciation; I wish I wrote it.  I can only add that Chomsky's speech cited here rather conclusively puts the lie to the perennial excuse of anti-American intellectuals: that they are only criticizing American policies, and not endeavoring for America's defeat and the victory of its enemies.  The urge towards absolute treason is not merely present in the speech, it is palpable, it fairly shrieks in your face.  Those are the words of a man infused with desire for the violent slaughter of his country and its recreation in the image of a murderous totalitarian utopia.  The fact that they are also the words of the primary intellectual guru of today's anti-war movement is not something we should lightly dismiss.