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Friday, October 21, 2005

Chomsky, war profiteer

Spotted this interesting little piece at Benjamin Kerstein's blog, in relation to a TCS article about the mad professor. Chomsky paints himself as a good anarcho-syndicalist, seeing the evils of capitalism and free markets everywhere, run by the descendants of the Nazi regime and embodied, of course, by corporate America. In reality he is a hypocritical opportunist being quite rich and living comfortably in tenured security in the bad ole USA.
Indeed, Chomsky is rich precisely because he has been such an enormously successful capitalist. Despite the anti-profit rhetoric, like any other corporate capitalist he has turned himself into a brand name. As John Lloyd puts it, writing critically in the lefty New Statesman, Chomsky is among those "open to being 'commodified' -- that is, to being simply one of the many wares of a capitalist media market place, in a way that the badly paid and overworked writers and journalists for the revolutionary parties could rarely be."
A bit of war profiteering never goes astray either, but if you aren't in the oil or arms business then it is just dandy with the prof
Chomsky's marketing efforts shortly after September 11 give new meaning to the term "war profiteer." In the days after the tragedy, he raised his speaking fee from $9,000 to $12,000 because he was suddenly in greater demand. He also cashed in by producing another instant book. Seven Stories Press, a small publisher, pulled together interviews conducted via email that Chomsky gave in the three weeks following the attack on the Twin Towers and rushed the book to press. His controversial views were hot, particularly overseas. By early December 2001, they had sold the foreign rights in nineteen different languages. The book made the bestseller list in the United States, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. It is safe to assume that he netted hundreds of thousands of dollars from this book alone.
Even when it comes to his dotage, he's counting on the evil capitalists still being around to pay out on his investments,
Chomsky, for all of his moral dudgeon against American corporations, finds that they make a pretty good investment. When he made investment decisions for his retirement plan at MIT, he chose not to go with a money market fund, or even a government bond fund. Instead, he threw the money into blue chips and invested in the TIAA-CREF stock fund. A look at the stock fund portfolio quickly reveals that it invests in all sorts of businesses that Chomsky says he finds abhorrent: oil companies, military contractors, pharmaceuticals, you name it.
War profiteering for his retirement as well. Maybe he's working from the inside to bring the system down, dollar by grubby dollar. Or maybe he's just a big fat hypocritical parasite. It leaves Kerstein pulling no punches in his follow up
None of this is particularly surprising, and it merely serves to solidify my conviction that Chomsky is (to use the phrase bestowed by Albert Camus on the French communists) the judge-penitent par excellence, because the judge-penitent believes he has the right to simultaneously sin and to judge the sinner. The judge-penitent is one who weeps over the crimes of his brethren even as he absolves himself and condemns all others. Chomsky has spent his life trying to destroy the American system of capitalist democracy, but considers himself exempt from any guilt accrued by his own ruthless and highly effective exploitation of the very system he claims is a crime. He revels in the very riches he has accumulated through posing as a defender of the poor and an enemy of capitalist exploitation. This is hypocrisy on an epic scale and it may well stand as Noam Chomsky’s only truly extraordinary accomplishment. Noam Chomsky, the J.D. Rockefeller of hypocrisy, the most titanic charlatan the United States has ever produced.
It wouldn't be so bad except a lot of otherwise sensible people actually read and (pretend) to make sense of Chomsky's ridiculous distortions of history while at the same time making him rich and plump in the fashion he so rails against. They all apparently voted the Gnome of MIT the worlds top public intellectual as well. So much for intellectualism then.

There is a nice irony in the man making a bundle off the vapid crowd who lap up his anti-capitalist polemic, the very people for who capitalism is such a great evil. It brightens the day.

Posted by Chefen | 10/21/2005 10:48:00 PM


Blogger sagenz said...

dont want to blog whore (much) but I said the same thing about moore and klein. at http://sagenz.typepad.com/sagenz/2004/09/stones_cry_out_.html

they are all filthy capitalists. being paid by gullibles

10/22/2005 12:09:00 PM  

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