Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Rousting the WikiChomskyites

It has been recently pointed out to me that the folks over at the supposedly open-source encyclopedia called Wikipedia, have a page on Chomsky which is notable in its unrelenting Chomskyite blubbering. I will deal with their analysis (such as it is) of Chomsky's politics at a later date, but the section on criticism of Chomsky is; inadvertently, no doubt; far too hilarious in its relentless apologetics for all manner of the good professor's intellectual atrocities to ignore.

It begins with a plethora of vile apologetics for Chomsky's defense of the Khmer Rouge, which I will not reiterate here; a full exposition of Chomsky's attempt to deny mass oppression and slaughter is detailed here; I invite you to reach your own conclusions regarding Wikipedia's seeming inability to look upon Chomsky with the same unrelenting critical gaze they praise in their sensei, even when the slaughter of millions is involved.

The post on the Sudan is much easier to deal with, since (as with the Afghani "genocide" that never happened, which, by the way, the WikiChomskyites don't even bother to mention) it was pure fantasy on Chomsky's part, a fact of which Chomsky, if not his amen corner, is no doubt well aware. The ameners give us this fascinating piece of self-serving drivel to compensate for Chomsky's asinine and obvious lies:
On 16 January 2002, Suzy Hansen of telephoned Chomsky and conducted an interview [5] in which he said "That one bombing, according to the estimates made by the German Embassy in Sudan and Human Rights Watch, probably led to tens of thousands of deaths", thus accidentally implying that Human Rights Watch had put a number on it. This led to Carroll Bogert, communications director of Human Rights Watch, writing to to deny they had made an estimate.

In subsequent clarifications made in an article on [6] and elsewhere, Chomsky has asserted that any ambiguity in a "telephone interview [which] does not have quotes, details or footnotes" is easily cleared up by "turn[ing] to what is in print".
In fact, there is no ambiguity in this case at all, nor did Chomsky "imply" anything; he stated quite clearly that Human Rights Watch had made an estimate they did not make, and did so for the express purpose of lending illegitimate rhetorical weight to an obvious falsehood. I advise you to read Chomsky's response, which is linked herein; its a fascinating piece of intellectual evasion and dishonesty; Chomsky essentially throws a stack of references at the reader and hopes that no one will notice that he doesn't even deny the fact that he was wrong in citing Human Rights Watch for an estimate that never existed. This is fairly typical of Chomsky's method of argument: intone a bunch of impressive sounding balderdash and pray people will be so intimidated that no one notices you're talking nonsense. Its a fairly debased form of intellectual bullying and typical of the fundamental bad faith which Chomsky employs as his primary method of argument. His acolytes at Wikipedia seem to suffer from the same contempt for their readers' intelligence, since they quite openly provide the links to the evidence that disproves their craven apologia, apparently in the hopes that we wont be smart enough to figure it out for ourselves. Of course, its all in a good cause:
Noam Chomsky has quoted these three sources more than once when making comparisons between these attacks and the attacks on New York on 11th September 2001, arguing (in a reductio ad absurdum) that if the US had the right to bomb Afghanistan in retaliation for the latter attack, then "Sudan [would have] every right to carry out massive terror [against America] in retaliation" for the attack in Khartoum.
One thinks that, in a purportedly honest overview of anti-Chomsky criticism, the WikiChomskyites might have deigned to quote Paul Berman's extensive critique of Chomsky's reductio ad absurdum (and absurd is right) from Terror and Liberalism, in which he pointed out the absurd amorality of Chomsky's comparison, since the collateral damage from the 9/11 attacks was infinitely more massive than the Sudan attack, considering its impact on the American and world economy and its enormous political ramifications, and considering the blatantly obvious fact that the mass death Chomsky attributed to the attack never occurred. More than can be hoped for, apparently; we must be satisfied with the assurances of the wise men at Wikipedia that Berman's critique does not exist. Nor, apparently, does Christopher Hitchens' widely read criticism of Chomsky's equation of Sudan and Afghanistan.

The Chomskyites then turn to slandering David Horowitz, a favorite pastime on the Left, since there is nothing more dangerous to the totalitarian than people who dare to think beyond the proscribed limits of their ideological sureties. The authors manage to pack more lies and evasions than one would think possible into two short paragraphs:
Right wing author David Horowitz is one of Chomsky's more vocal critics. He has described Chomsky as the "Ayatollah of Anti-American Hate" and "the most treacherous intellect in America" claiming Chomsky has "one message alone: America is the Great Satan" [8]. However, while Horowitz claims "It would be easy to demonstrate how on every page of every book and in every statement that Chomsky has written the facts are twisted" he feels "there really is no need" and notably has not done so, leaving few claims to refute.

Chomsky has not responded in detail to Horowitz's allegations, stating in an interview that "I haven't read Horowitz. I didn't read him when he was a Stalinist and I don't read him today." [9] This response has in turn been disputed by Horowitz, who argues he was never in fact a Stalinist and that Chomsky has in fact read and analyzed his writings in the past [10]. However, in a Guardian article, a Ramparts Magazine writer describes Horowitz as an ex-Stalinist [11]. In a National Review article, Horowitz is mentioned as a former Stalinist [12].
Nearly every sentence in this ridiculous menage is either a distortion or an outright lie. The claim that Horowitz has not issued detailed critiques of Chomsky's writings is patent balderdash; he has published several articles (which can be found here) attacking specific writings of Chomsky's in detail and has edited a recent book, The Anti-Chomsky Reader, which contains similar criticisms by himself and a collection of other authors. This is typical of Chomsky's defenders: pretend his critics are shallow and ill-informed and cannot hope to pierce the carefully researched and objective findings of the great mind that is Chomsky; should detailed and in-depth criticism be found, they simply act as if it doesn't exist. This is intellectually shameful, and, while typical of Chomskyites, is something any self-respecting person capable of independent thought would find beneath contempt, whatever their ideology.

As for Horowitz being a Stalinist, this is also typical, and bespeaks the intellectual weightlessness the disciples seem to have inherited from the master. Put simply, anyone who knows anything about the history of the New Left would know that Horowitz was never a Stalinist and that both he and the entire movement he had a hand in founding were consciously anti-Stalinist from their beginnings (though by no means anti-totalitarian). The claim that Chomsky never read Horowitz is also obviously ridiculous, as can be gleaned by reading any of Chomsky's writings on the Cold War, which are little more than iterations of the historiography put forward by Horowitz in his revisionist history, The Free World Colossus. Considering the fact that Horowitz also published articles by Chomsky in Ramparts and that Horowitz was a hero of the New Left before Chomsky even got into the game would seem to indicate that the WikiChomskyites are asking us to believe that Chomsky (who, by their own assertion, is superhumanly well informed) never bothered to read the writings of a man who was one of the intellectual luminaries of the New Left, whose writings clearly influenced Chomsky's own work, and who edited Chomsky's writings for publication. If you buy that, of course, you're well on the way to the dream palace of the Chomskyites, at which these sycophants have clearly long since arrived.

The question of anti-semitism, of course, arises, as it must when discussing Chomsky's longtime hostility towards Jews and Judaism, but any hopes for elementary honesty and fairness are summarily dashed upon arrival:
Chomsky was also [sic] involved in a high-profile controversy over an essay he wrote in defense of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson's freedom of speech, which was then used as the introduction to a book by Faurisson. Chomsky's defense of Faurisson was rooted in his support for civil liberties, even for those he feels are guilty of "war crimes," and mirrors the position advocated by civil liberties organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union. On various occasions, usually resulting from the Faurisson affair and his criticism of Israeli politics, Chomsky has also been accused of supporting anti-Semitism, notably in Werner Cohn's book "Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers" (ISBN 0964589702) [13]. Chomsky has replied once to Werner Cohn's allegations, calling him "a pathological liar" [14].
Like most of Chomsky's defenders, and Chomsky himself, the WikiChomskyites refuse to confront the actual controversy in the Faurisson affair, which was never freedom of speech, but rather a petition that Chomsky signed in support of Faurisson which put the word "Holocaust" in scare quotes, and attempted to portray Faurisson as a legitimate, qualified historian and a political moderate (he was neither). When a great many critics (including many from the French Left, not a group noted for anti-Chomskyite attitudes) found this act morally appalling, which it most certainly was, Chomsky, in typical fashion, dashed off an essay on the subject of free speech, which had nothing to do with the issue at hand, which was Chomsky's own moral and intellectual bankruptcy and his refusal to recognize the reprehensible nature of his actions regarding Faurisson (it is worth noting that there were other petitions circulating which concentrated on the free speech issue while acknowledging the immorality of Holocaust denial, which Chomsky did not sign). As per usual, Chomsky salved his own ego and sated his acolytes by blubbering irrelevant nonsense combined with a few self-serving pieties and petty character assassination against better and smarter men than himself; such is sufficient, apparently, to satisfy Wikipedia's insatiable desire for the open-source truth.

As for Werner Cohn, I invite everyone to read his book, which is better documented than any of Chomsky's, and which is corroborated by Pierre Vidal-Naquet's excellent Assassins of Memory (Vidal-Naquet's devastating condemnation of Chomsky's actions in the Faurisson affair is easily linked to on line at, something the WikiChomskyites, in their infinite dedication to free speech and intellectual honesty, appear to have missed) and Alain Finkielkraut's The Future of a Negation, and make up your own minds. The Chomskyites have apparently found Chomsky's "pathological liar" slander (and he ought to know) to be the last word on the subject. Perfectly understandable, of course, since to conclude otherwise, or to allow access to the information which would allow others to conclude otherwise, is indeed a frightening prospect for people whose purpose is not to inform, but to manipulate and control.

Nor, I would note, do the writers bother to cite Chomsky's many anti-Jewish and anti-semitic statements, such as his claim that Judaism teaches genocide, or his recent statements to the effect that Jews are "the most privileged part of the population", who only raise the issue of anti-semitism because "privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control"; statements which would appear to any thinking person as familiar invocations of some of the most vulgar and debased myths of anti-semitic ideology.

All in all, this page has to rank as one of the shoddiest and fundamentally dishonest pieces of pseudo-scholarship I've ever seen in my young life. Fortunately, Wikipedia can be publicly edited, so I invite anyone interested to add their own thoughts to the piece; they will be summarily erased in short order, but at least it will give the censorious minions a no doubt much needed workout.