Saturday, April 17, 2010

Noam Chomsky - "Hegemony Or Survival"

Well, before I say what I want to say about the book, I need to state a caveat, i.e., that I've just added Google's "adsense" to my blog, and specifically Amazon's book finder which gives you a link to buy the book. Both Google and Amazon pay me if you click the ad link or buy the book through Amazon, probably pennies in both cases. But, please don't do that for my benefit. I don't need the money... at least not yet. If you live close to Castro Valley, you can pick up the book at the Castro Valley Public Library, which is where my copy of the book is going after I loan it to George and he finishes reading it. I'm sure your library has a copy, too.

So, what about Noam Chomsky and his book? It took me a long time to read it because I was interrupted by a home remodeling project that caused us to move furniture (and stuff) around, and around again, enough that I lost track of it several times. Anyway, I finally finished it.

I guess what surprises me most about the information "out there" on Noam Chomsky is the suggestion that he's an anarchist, i.e., someone who promotes a "stateless society." Ha! That sounds like Tea Partiers to me. I found him to be the opposite, someone who advocates that we come to our senses for the good of our society, government and country. That's not anarchism to me. That's common sense, unless the dictionary I'm using is nonsense. I believe the book explains a lot about the fog we're in, the same fog that Robert McNamara spoke about in his "Fog of War," where he finally admitted that the Vietnam War was a bunch of hogwash, illogical logic; that our reasons for the war were just more ideology that turned reasoning on its head. The fog that lead us into Iraq and Afghanistan was no different. The end result, however, is that we've made things worse. Collateral damage and water boarding are acceptable when they shouldn't be. And, people around the world are more afraid of us than of Al Qaeda and, in fact, our invasions caused more to join Al Qaeda than any Muslim appeal for Al Qaeda. Had we limited our response to Al Qaeda to criminal investigations and prosecutions, Al Qaeda would have slowly withered away.

Anyway, it's a good book and worth reading. It makes me more skeptical, if that's possible, of what I hear are our reasons for supporting one foreign policy or another; such as our blind Israel support, our Iraq invasion and plans, or the Afghanistan surge. But, what I really think about when I read books like Chomsky's is the hero's welcome Owensville gave to its returning, dead solder and Lafayette's welcome to its returning war, living hero, or when I hear, "thank you for your service." Do younger people, perhaps as young as Mason, Owen, Brayden, Edward and David, watching these events confuse a hero's welcome with glory? To go die for your country? Right or wrong? To those Owensville parents, the question as to whether it was worth their son's death will never be answered out loud, but they know in their hearts that it wasn't. To the troubled mind of Lafayette's young man, he will know, if not now then someday, that it wasn't worth it. So, all the gestures and words are really empty, unless they are followed up by trying to prevent empire foolishness when there was another choice. In all of our wars after World War II, there were other choices. Save the "thanks" for the WWW II vet.


1 comment:

Bernard said...

Yes of course he is an anarchist, Chomsky himself has mentioned this many times; it's the key to understanding his philosophy; everybody who deals with Chomsky needs to understand his anarchism.

His philosophy is what he calls "libertarian socialism". Anarcho-syndicalism influenced him literally from childhood.

Anarchism is, if you like, a broad church, and Chomsky is not dogmatic. One of his characteristic and memorable formulations of anarchist ideas is that structures of hierarchy and and authority should be challenged; if they are illegitimate (and they usually are) then they should be dismantled.