Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Response to Paul Bogdanor's Top 200 Chomsky Lies

So there's this guy by the name of Paul Bogdanor that apparently has as his mission to discredit Noam Chomsky. I have no real problem with that in principle. If you think somebody harms the world by misleading people and you think discrediting them would help prevent others from being led astray I suppose that's fine.

As an admirer of Chomsky I'm frequently pointed to Bogdanor's work in refutation of Chomsky. Bogdanor is published. In fact he contributed to an anti-Chomsky book by David Horowitz. Whatever one may think of Horowitz, you have to admit he's at least a fairly prominent pundit. So one might on the surface not expect Bogdanor to be a complete hack. Or would you? I guess I'm trying to say that there are degrees of lunacy. Arch neocons like Horowitz of course are not well reasoned people, but while I think Horowitz is way off base he is frequently in the media, has published some widely read books, etc. So it's not like he's completely bonkers.

So I'm told to go look at Bogdanor's Top 200 Chomsky Lies. And so I have. Wow. It's really bad. This is not really worth responding to.

But on the other hand I am regularly pointed to this by Chomsky's critics. Perhaps it would be useful to take some time and address it. Maybe just some of it. To give a sense of how bad it is. That way I can at least have something to point to to explain why considering Bogdanor is not worthwhile.

So here I'm going to respond to the first 10 lies and then maybe in the future I'll respond to more. Or maybe I won't.

OK, so the first thing that needs to be kept in mind when addressing Chomsky's 200 supposed lies is this. What is a lie? If someone disagrees with me, does that mean they are lying? Obviously not. What if they rely on a source and that source turns out to be wrong. Is that a lie? I think it's pretty obvious that it is not.

What if someone makes an error? Does that mean they lied? What if they won't admit their error? That's not a lie. It could be a character defect. It could be worthy of criticism. But it's not a lie. says that a lie is "a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive." It seems to me that merely knowing what a lie is would shrink Paul's list down to about nothing. But I haven't yet read them all, so we'll see. Here are his "lies" with Chomsky's words in blue, Bogdanor's in red, and mine in black. Bogdanor presents these in a countdown fashion, starting with 10 and ending with 1. I'm going to start with 1 just because it is so outrageous and must be emphasized. I'll take the remainder in the order they come from Bogdanor.

And these first 10 "lies" are under a section "10 Chomsky Lies About Communist Mass Murderers – General"

1. The Lie: “Of course, no one supposed that Mao literally murdered tens of millions of people, or that he ‘intended’ that any die at all.”20

The Truth: Mao spoke of sacrificing 300 million people, or half of China’s population. He warned that the policies he later adopted would kill 50 million people. Grain exported by the communists was sufficient to feed the numbers who starved to death, which they privately estimated at 30 million.21

This one is repeated constantly in discussion forums and blog comment sections as an example of Chomsky apologetics for Communist atrocities. In isolation it does sort of look like that. Bogdanor doesn't actually say that this is what Chomsky is doing. He presents it as if Chomsky thinks Mao wasn't expecting people to die from his policies. So we get a double whammy here. It's presented in a way that leads someone to have a mistaken understanding of Chomsky's views regarding Mao and secondly it's further mischaracterized by Bogdanor.

The solution as is typical is to just read what Chomsky said in context, which you can do here. But I'll summarize Chomsky's point.

Mao instituted polices that lead to famines in China. These killed tens of millions of people. Did Mao set out to starve people? No. What he did was he instituted polices that he knew would lead to massive death. But for him that was worth it. If he could have done it without killing so many he probably would have. But this does not absolve him. He is still guilty and justly condemned for this action.

In the same way Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan. Did he do it because he wanted to see poor Africans die? Obviously not. But this is the only source for life saving drugs for many poor Africans. Clinton would know that large scale death would result. But he thought it was worth it. The fact that he would have probably preferred to avoid killing many thousands of poor Africans does not absolve him. He engaged in actions that lead to that predictable result. Just as we rightly condemn Mao for tens of millions of starved Chinese peasants we should apply the same principles to our own side. Or if anything we should be even more condemnatory towards our side since these are the ones we can control and are responsible for.

For Chomsky the emphasis is on the fact that Mao cannot be absolved. Bogdanor turns it into a quote that makes it appear that Chomsky is in fact attempting to absolve Mao. He further critiques it as if Chomsky is unaware that massive death was the predictable consequence of Mao's policies. I'd be tempted to call Bogdanor a liar, but in truth I expect he's just lazy.

10. The Lie: “in comparison to the conditions imposed by US tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian rule was practically a paradise.”

The Truth: The communists murdered 4 million people in the Ukraine; 753,000 in Poland; 360,000 in Romania; 300,000 in Belarus; 200,000 in Hungary; 100,000 in East Germany; 100,000 in Lithuania; 70,000-100,000 in Yugoslavia; 30,000-40,000 in Bulgaria; 20,000 in Czechoslovakia; and 5,000 in Albania. Other atrocities included the murder of over 500,000 POWs in Soviet captivity and the mass rape of at least 2 million women by the Red Army.

The source is available here. The context is a speech a speech in Congress by Vaclav Havel who contrasted the Soviet Union and the US as one being a nightmare the other a defender of freedom, to great applause. Chomsky is not one to deny that the Soviet Union was a hideous and murderous regime. His point is that the US is a very murderous regime as well, and likewise a nightmare for many that suffer under its boot. The cartoonish presentation from Havel and self congratulation of those in Washington is kind of hard to take.

He asks us to consider Southeast Asia, Central America, and the West Bank. The West Bank is regarded as the world's largest open air prison by many respectable people. Malnourishment is severe. Unemployment is around 40%. Occasionally bombs are falling. The Soviet Union cannot claim a bombing campaign against any country that is on the scale perpetuated against Southeast Asia for their crime of preferring the wrong government. And in Haiti, with 70% unemployment where the lucky employed at the time Chomsky wrote this were making 38 cents per day, had a Haitian went to sleep and woke up in Poland, with high employment levels, state provided health services, and a functioning education system, they'd have probably thought they'd died and woke up in Paradise.

That's not to say that the Soviet Union was not responsible for massive atrocities. But in some places where US tyranny and violence is imposed, things are actually worse. I'd say that assessment, rather than being a lie, would more accurately be described as the truth. But if you don't agree that's fine. Reasonable people might not reach the same judgments on matters like this. So in other words one could decide that Chomsky is wrong, but you couldn't say that he lied.

9. The Lie: “Western norms require that we compare Eastern and Western Europe to demonstrate our virtue and their vileness, a childish absurdity… Elementary rationality would lead someone interested in alternative social and economic paths to compare societies that were more or less alike before the Cold War began, say Russia or Brazil… Such comparisons, if honestly undertaken, would elicit some self-reflection among decent people…”

The Truth: In Russia, Lenin’s food confiscations inflicted famine on over 33 million people, including 7 million children, and left 4-5 million dead; Stalin’s assault on the peasants killed another 8.5 million, half of them children.4 Brazil experienced nothing of the kind.

What is the relevance of listing various Soviet crimes? The point is that saying "Our culture is so much better because Britain is a better place to live than the Ukraine" is silly because Britain has been different for centuries. Russia and Brazil started at similar places prior to the Cold War. Since then Brazil has been subjected to US domination and Russia has been subjected to Soviet domination. In some ways perhaps Brazil is better, but in other ways (economically, with regards to access to health services) Russia is better. Honest comparison require that we consider countries that started from similar places. How is this a lie?

8. The Lie: “Internal [Soviet] crimes abated [after 1945]; though remaining very serious they were scarcely at the level of typical American satellites, a commonplace in the Third World, where the norms of Western propriety do not hold.”

The Truth: In 1947, the Soviets withheld food from famine victims, causing up to 1.5 million deaths.6 During 1945-53, there were over 300,000 officially recorded deaths in the Gulag; by 1953, the slave population exceeded 5.2 million.7 No American satellite – whether in Europe or in Latin America – was guilty of anything even remotely comparable.

Take a look at what Chomsky offers
in the context of this quote. Some evidence, this time in the form of testimony from a Guatemalan refugee, that in fact his assessment as we approach the 90's was true. Reasonable people might disagree. Chomsky if he were so inclined might offer additional evidence to support his claim. Bogdanor might offer counter evidence. All good. It's not a lie in any case.

7 The Lie: “In the Soviet sphere of influence, torture appears to have been on the decline since the death of Stalin… Since it has declined in the Soviet sphere since the death of Stalin, it would appear that this cancerous growth is largely a Free World phenomenon.”8

The Truth: Until the late 1980s, the Soviets ran 1,000 concentration camps where at least 2 million inmates endured constant violence. Torture was systematic in Soviet satellites in the Third World.9

Chomsky cites an Amnesty International report to justify his claim. Regurgitating the findings of respectable investigative human rights agencies is not lying.

6. The Lie: “Imagine the reaction if the Soviet police were to deal with refuseniks in any way comparable to the Israeli [anti-riot] practices that briefly reached the television screens.”10

The Truth: The Soviet police held 10,000 dissidents in psychiatric prisons and concentration camps. An estimated 50,000 were sent to uranium mines to die of radiation poisoning.11 Such practices elicited no reaction because the Soviets did not allow them to reach the television screens.

How is it a lie to imagine how people would react to certain violent images? Who is denying that the Soviets did in fact murder these thousands and more? Who is denying that they prevented such images from being broadcast? Nobody. But we should consider how we might have reacted if the images in fact had been broadcast. It's bizarre that Bogdanor regards this as a lie.

5.The Lie: “[Regarding] China’s actions in Tibet… it is a bit too simple to say that ‘China did indeed take over a country that did not want to be taken over.’ This is by no means the general view of Western scholarship.”12

The Truth: The Chinese invasion provoked massive popular uprisings. Mao welcomed the Tibetan resistance because it could be crushed by force. State terror and man-made famine had killed up to 500,000 Tibetans by the mid-1960s.13

Once again Chomsky goes on to source that claim and otherwise discuss the complexities of regarding it as expansionist. If Chomsky has been misled by his sources (Ginsburgs and Mathos) this cannot be called a lie.

4 The Lie: “It’s clear, I believe, that the emphasis on the use of terror and violence in China was considerably less than in the Soviet Union and that the success was considerably greater in achieving a just society.”14

The Truth: China’s communists officially stated that they had executed 800,000 in the first few years of their dictatorship; unofficially, they admitted to the massacre of 2 million in just one year. Concentration camps held an estimated 8 million, with 280,000 killed annually. The communists publicly declared that they had persecuted 20-30 million as class enemies in their first decade and that there were 100 million victims of the Cultural Revolution.15

What happened in China was really bad, but a reasonable person might have regarded what happened in the Soviet Union at that point as worse, especially given that Chomsky wrote this in 1971. Strange that this is regarded as a lie.

3-The Lie: “There are many things to object to in any society. But take China, modern China; one also finds many things that are really quite admirable… [In China] a good deal of the collectivization and communization was really based on mass participation and took place after a level of understanding had been reached in the peasantry that led to this next step.”16

The Truth: The communists reduced 550 million peasants to slavery. They forced at least 90
million to work on furnace-building projects alone. When famine resulted, they cut the food ration and used mass terror to stop the peasants eating their own harvest. Victims, including children, were tortured, buried alive, strangled or mutilated.17

I think to pretend that any one society fits neatly into a category of "pure evil" is really kind of infantile. You really aren't going to be able to find any society about which something positive can't be said. If pointing that out makes someone a liar then stating truths is lying. Nobody is disputing that the communists reduced 550 million peasants to slavery and engaged in a myriad of other horrors. Despite that there are obviously going to be SOME positive things that can be said about Chinese society at that time.

Chomsky wrote this in 1971, praising some of the structures that had been developed by that time. Note the reference to "modern" China. What has happened in China since then? Only the most massive reduction in poverty that has ever happened in human history. GDP/person in inflation adjusted dollars was $700 in China in 1971. By 2009 it had increased 10 fold. If you can't say something good about that society you are blind. This does not undo the past and present horrors, which are real and are acknowledged by Chomsky. But you can still draw lessons from their society.

2-The Lie: “Also relevant is the history of collectivization in China, which, as compared with the Soviet Union, shows a much higher reliance on persuasion and mutual aid than on force and terror, and appears to have been more successful.”18

The Truth: Its culmination was the Great Leap Forward, the worst man-made catastrophe in history, in which 30 million died.19

I think it's worth looking at the full quote here. After the word "successful" we get this: "See Thomas P. Bernstein, "Leadership and Mass Mobilization in the Soviet and Chinese Collectivization Campaigns of 1929-30 and 1955-56: A Comparison," China Quarterly, No. 31 (July-September 1967), pp. 1-47, for some interesting and suggestive comments and analysis."

So what is Chomsky saying? Collectivization in China was more successful than in the Soviet Union and likewise China was more reliant on persuasion and mutual aid. Does this mean that Chinese policies didn't induce massive famines or massive purges as well? No. Does Bogdanor present any reason for concluding that Chomsky's assessment is wrong? Once again no. He cites his source, which presumably would back his claim. If his source is wrong or if he's misused it, go out and prove it. To just respond to every non-nefarious observation about China with "But so many in China died" is beside the point.

I frankly don't see a single lie here. Bogdanor would think Chomsky is wrong on some of these points. I wouldn't agree with him. But how are these lies?


Sheldon said...

Good job. Its laughable that Chomsky is an apologist for the atrocities committed by Stalinist Communism. Reading Chomsky, especially back in the day when there was a SU, (or shortly thereafter) it was common for Chomsky to make a side comment or comparison with Soviet tyranny. And being familiar with the writing on the Marxist-Leninist left, I have at times read and heard gripes about Chomsky from Stalinist types.

Jon said...

Thanks Sheldon. And I'm enjoying your Michael Perelman recommendation.

Paul Bogdanor said...

This is, to my knowledge, the first time that a Chomsky apologist has even tried to challenge (some of) the 200 Lies, and the objections are so weak that, frankly, I'm surprised you've decided to publish them. It tends to confirm that nothing remotely persuasive can be said in Chomsky's defence. When I have some time to kill, I'll post a point-by-point response on my site.

lav said...

The best 'lie' is i guess somewhere among the last ones, where the lie and the truth is both from chomsky.

Jon said...

Paul, it's been 2 months. I eagerly await your reply. BTW I did say the West Bank above and should have said Gaza. The point is the same.

kelly g said...

Jon, thanks for putting together this post. Any idea why this bogdanor guy hates Chomsky so much? Is it some sort of jealousy thing or is he just another staunch defender of American authoritarianism?

Jon said...

Hi Kelly. You're welcome. Why the hatred from Bogdanor? Tough to say. I used to be a right winger and if I had to guess I'd say Bogdanor really believes Chomsky is evil and destructive. It's kind of part of an overall worldview. Chomsky of course threatens that worldview. People often react very aggressively and angrily to such things. A worldview is your paradigm for making sense of everything, and for humans we just really need to be able to make sense of things. Unanswered questions make us uncomfortable. People lash out to protect themselves from the discomfort.

That's pure speculation of course. I could be way off.

Stu said...

Good job Jon, Paul's arguments are so stupid and lazy the only reason that anyone would look at them is because someone in google likes to put charlatans in the service of empire at the top of the search results for Chomsky. This is ironic because this falls into Chomsky and Herman's media control model which google is apparently no exception. This idiotic slander spewed by these nimwits like paul bogdanor and david horowitz is so baseless and moronic google actually does Chomsky a service because they unintentionally make him look even better.

Stu said...

I'd also like to add that I've read Horowitz and Dershowitz's attacks on Chomsky. They are totally devoid of counterevidence and typical of scum lawyers (Dershowitz was on O.J. Simpson's defense team in the trial where O.J. won btw). Paul is among highly vitriolic and sociopathic company in his ridiculous attacks on Chomsky. Paul is a bullshitter with no regard to evidence or truth, liars at least know the truth to counter it, this stooge just makes hyperbolic arguments and ineffective red herrings.

Unknown said...

It's been about six months and Bogdanor still hasn't attempted a rebuttal, which (I think) is pretty telling about the intellectual honesty of this guy.

Anyway, great response to the right-wing propaganda machine of Horowitz/Bogdanor.

Unknown said...

Good connection to Herman/Chomsky's "propaganda model."


Chir0n said...

Bogdanor is a sad little fuck and I thank you for showing this to be the case.

I came across his examples of Chomsky's deceit purely by accident and couldn't believe what I was reading. His arguments range from the tenuous to the specious, which is exactly what you'd expect from a strident and unwavering ultra-conservative (I knew nothing of Mr Bogdanor prior to reading his "Top 200...", yet I feel fairly confident in my assessment of his character and his politics).

Personally, I don't always agree with Chomsky and, like any human, he gets stuff wrong, but not often.

Bogdanor's site is nothing short of a pathetic smear attempt and his failure to respond to your supposedly "weak" objections is telling.

Good one.

Emily Mackenzie said...

I believe Jon that you haven't refuted Paul Bogdanor completely and as such you haven't discredited the other facts that Chomsky has been reported to say and believe over the years. You have only selected a relatively small portion of facts about Chomsky, but you fail to tackle everything else? If you want to truly be open-minded, even at the risk of potentially changing opinions about Chomsky, that may be a good idea. After doing extensive research on Chomsky and hearing from his supporters, like yourself, I can definitely say alot of what he claims is not true.

Jon said...

Emily if you want to share untruths from Chomsky feel free. I'll be interested to see them. It's true I only addressed a small potion of Bogdanor's criticism. If there's a valid one I'll be happy to see it.

seven_six_two said...

Nice work! I've read a few of Chomsky's books, listened to some speeches, and saw him speak at a conference at our university. I found Bogdanor while searching for "better than noam chomsky", just in case I had missed someone. I read, oh, 2 or 3 of his "200 lies" paper before I realized what was going on. Not to mention the poor quality of his sources. Thanks for publishing this.

Honecker said...

Hi comrade. I'm Russian. I'm a mathematician with Keldysh Inst. Of Applied Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences. One can find out my scientific interests via this:

may I provide my 5 cents to the topic?

I have enjoyed the following snippet from Mr. Bogdanor's book:

"...The Truth: Until the late 1980s, the Soviets ran 1,000 concentration camps where at least 2 million inmates endured constant violence..."

Well, you know, it's genious indeed. 2 mlns prisoners in late USSR - yes, that looks like truth. Approximately as much as in US. But, hah! - "concentration camps"!!

What does he mean? Did we fire our criminals like Hitler did with jews? What kind of "violence"? As far as I know from Hollywood movies, a jail in US is prectcally the same as in USSR. yes, jail is jail...

Anonymous said...

Did Paul ever write back? Probably not. Silly rabbits always run, run, run.

Revolution-Evolution said...

Here you have an account of Chomsky's lies (or whatever) concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also Kosova. One might ask oneself how reliable the source/page is, but there are a lot of sources in this refutation of Chomsky's obvious lies, so it is definitely worth taking a look.

Chomsky is a great, acknowledged scholar, but he must also be criticized when he is wrong. And he is very wrong in some cases.

Jon said...

R/E I agree with you that any errors from Chomsky should be acknowledged. Thanks for the source and I will check it out.

And though I haven't read your link yet I'd say be a little cautious with the word "lie". A person can be mistaken without having lied. Chomsky may be mistaken. He starts from a position of suspicion when he reads of the atrocities of enemies of the state. That's a reasonable initial presumption based on history. We should be dubious. I've read stories of how the Nazi's covered living children with wood and lit it up. No good sources came with the story. It's easy to hate on Nazi's so it becomes easy to contrive evil tales of their behavior. If you are interested in truth more than perpetuating useful wicked stories you have to keep these kind of propensities in mind. There's plenty of evil that is rightly attributed to the Nazi's, but invented wicked tales exist as well so if we are committed to the truth we should try to weed those out.

Honecker said...

European court in Strassburg "it said it could not rule on a further charge - that Russia had allegedly failed to properly investigate the 1940 massacre - because the Kremlin had not made vital documents available.",,15886702,00.html

Still, the West interprets this desicion as if "The Soviet secret police killed around 22,000 Poles in the Katyn forest near Smolensk and other places in April and May 1940"

West folks could have missed that since Gorbachev and Yeltsin, USSR and Russia has provided to Poland TONS of "documents".

Now, The European court makes a brilliant movve. It says: hay, give me documents to Moscow. But Moscow has given TONS of "documents".

So, the translation from Jesuitical of Deutsche Welle and European court into plain English (or Russian) sounds like this:

Yes, we ordered you to make falsified "documents" to prove you bloody russians and bloody Stalin killed those polish oficers. But you false "documents" are oif a very bad quality. We can not judje using this stuff. TONS of stuff.

Please make YOUSELF some NEW false "documents" for we to judje that Stalin, not Hitler killed 22,000 polish oficers.

Honecker said...

USA have thrown 1 mln tons to Laos. In Laos there are so many american bombs, that 40 years after they use those bombs in their economy:

I am not anti-American, but this is just a fact, that Americans should take, just as we Russians take that YES we killed ~4 mlns at Stalin times due to political accusals.

4 mlns, not any absurd "100 mlns" by Paul Bogdanor and his falsified sources.

The only serious analysis of Stalin's repressions can be based of official archives (both Russia and other countries), not anyone's fantasies. Soviet historian Zemskov in late 80's.

Google Zemskov. PAUL Bogdanor is out of scope of adequate discussion.

Honecker said...

USA - NATO crimes in Yougoslavia:

Honecker said...

This is my old open letter to Tom Hanks
Dear Mr Tom Hanks
July 4th, 2011
Dear Mr. Hanks!

You can find it to be a surprise to receive such kind of message from me. But it is also a surprise for me to address you. Still I can't stay silent.

My name is Pavel Kurakin, I live in Russia, I am 40 and I am an applied mathematician. I used to think I am a fan of your movies. But some days ago I have seen your movie of 2007, "Charlie Wilson's War".

I thought a lot, how to formulate so as to get you thinking hard at the problem I want to point to you, instead of getting you just annoyed... Still, I think it is your choice to do one of these, not mine.

You know, when I was a schoolboy, I have seen in Soviet papers photoes of "toys" stuffed with explosive, found in Afghanistan by Soviet soldiers. And now I see that these were Soviet troops who made this dirty facsist meanness...

I do have some evidence from the press that these facsist "toys" were West - made, but I don't want to overload you with such details. I don't want you to think I provide you one more propaganda. Also, this evidence can be disputable.

Instead, I want to show you some broad picture. Just in two topics.

First. Did you ever think, WHAT kind of war did Soviet Army do in Afghanistan? In 1976 there was a communist revolution in Afghanistan, and Afghan leaders asked the USSR government for Soviet Army to enter their country. Brezhnev refused. But the situation in Afghanistan was becoming more and more instable. Afghanistan was a bordered neighbour of the USSR! And finally, super - extremist islamic revolution occurs in Iran. And at this moment Brezhnev decided to enter Afghanistan. Just to provide ANY so - so stable regime in that country.

I wonder, do many Americans understand, that USSR did exactly what US Army does now - protect all the West Civilization (USSR was a pert of it, in fact, as compared to Islamic world) from Islamic extremism?

Sorry, but I am almost sure that you don't know, that the Soviet Union helped Afghans to build ~60 large industrial, educational, infrastructural, health and transportation objects in Afghanistan. Including the Cabul Airport the US Army is using right now.

So - the "war" the Soviet Army did was to protect industrial cargoes from USSR on Afghan roads. Did you know this?

Second. Did you know that in 1962 Algeriа government asked many European governments to make extensive mine cleaning of their territory? ALL West countries refused OR assigned huge price for this. Where from were the mines? From former French occupation. The only country which agreed to make this HUGE job FOR FREE, was the Soviet Union. And, the Soviet Army did this job.

The job was: 1200 km along Algeria - Tunis border, and ~ 800-900 km along Algeria - Maroc border. Each kilometer had ~ 20,000 of French mines.

If you have a friend who knows Russian, ask him to translate this to you:

So, my question is, can you really imagine that the Soviet Union changed so radically its opinion on mines for Asian people from 1962 to 1979?

It's your choice to make your own resume. Thak you for reading this.

Jericho Cain said...

Did Paul ever give his point-by-point response on his site? I can't find it.

Jon said...

As far as I know he has not replied.

Nandu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The documentation provided on the Balkan Witness site is overwhelming and should be addressed by Chomsky.

Unknown said...

Just read your defence of lie 1 and the post Chomsky made on ZNet.
"The centerpiece of the accusation was the Chinese famine of 1958-61, which accounted for 1/3 of the grim total. Of course, no one supposed that Mao literally murdered tens of millions of people, or that he "intended" that any die at all. Rather, these crimes were the outcome of institutional and ideological structures of the Maoist system, as discussed in the primary scholarly work on the topic by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and his colleague Jean Dreze.

So Noam believes that Mao did not 'intend' to kill millions. Just collateral damage then? And who developed and guided those institutional and ideological structures. Micky Mouse? Certainly Chomsky's analysis if not mendacious is criminally naïve. The biography of Mao by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday would indicate that Mao knew what was happening, but continued the exports of grain to the USSR. I wonder if Noam would defend the position taken by the British government during the Irish famine as a result of "institutional and ideological ....." The role of Mao's personality is important here in Mao's Great famine by Frank Dikotter confirms that Mao was a a depraved monster; sadistic, vindictive, cowardly and callous. And by the by Clinton was capable of ordering the attack on the plant to deflect interest from his sexual peccadilloes. After all he did order the execution of a black man who was learning disabled to prove that he was tough on crime.

So my question is, When is saint Noam going to give us his revised view of Moa. Don't hold your breath.

Jon said...

So Noam believes that Mao did not 'intend' to kill millions. Just collateral damage then?

Yeah. He knew they would die and didn't care. He was indifferent to their death. He knew his policies would lead to that result. And for this, according to Chomsky, Mao is a monster. It doesn't mitigate the situation that he didn't do it for the purpose of starving people. That was a side effect.

If that's true for Mao, isn't it also true for Clinton? Didn't Clinton know that the bombing would lead to the death of thousands? The fact that he bombed anyway, even though it wasn't for the purpose of killing all these people dependent on these medicines doesn't mitigate the situation.

And who developed and guided those institutional and ideological structures. Micky Mouse?

What the hell are you talking about? Are you suggesting that Chomsky doesn't regard Mao as responsible? The whole point is that Mas IS RESPONSIBLE, not Mickey Mouse. I find it odd that people can miss the point in this way.

The biography of Mao by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday would indicate that Mao knew what was happening, but continued the exports of grain to the USSR

Yes, and this is why Mao is justly condemned according to Chomsky.

When is saint Noam going to give us his revised view of Moa.

What revised view of Mao? It is obvious that you have grossly missed the point as Bogdanor has done, pretending that this is some sort of defense of Mao when it in fact is condemnation of Mao. Chomsky agrees with your condemnation of Mao but asks you to apply the same standard to American presidents. Since Mao's behavior is indefensible Clinton's behavior is likewise indefensible. But for the defenders of US violence the only sins that are worth talking about are the ones committed by others that we aren't responsible for and can't control.

Daniel Brockert Actor said...

The thing that you need to understand about Chomsky as an admirer of his is that people like you are exactly what he's looking for. He's not interested in persuading people in the mainstream or changing their mind, which would be a lot of work. He's interested in filtering out the skeptics and cultivating a dedicated audience. That being said, the very fact that you'd at least read Republican books criticizing Chomsky shows that you have a much higher level of integrity and self-doubt than the idol you admire. What's necessary is a book about Chomsky's errors written by people with leftist commitments and thus would be taken seriously by those Chomsky is trying to reach.
Rather than get directly into debates about Chomsky's views, I'd like to recommend an amazing, thorough and richly argued book about propaganda by Jacques Ellul with the simple title "Propaganda." It's an excellent book, written by a French Marxist who is perfectly willing to criticize the Soviet Union.

Jon said...

Hi Daniel and thanks for your comments and book recommendation. I do also read some criticism of Chomsky from the left. Particularly those that criticize his views on Israel/Palestine. I've seen some of what at least appears to be reasonable criticism. Some not also, as you might expect.

Daniel Brockert Actor said...

Dear Jon, that's good. Let me recommend an amazing criticism from a left-wing source. A guy named Bruce Sharp has written extensively about Cambodia. He has an extremely detailed article called "Averaging Wrong Answers" which literally critiques Chomsky's Cambodia writing line by line. In June 1977 Chomsky wrote an article title "Distortions at Fourth Hand" in which he challenged the credibility of authors claiming there was a genocide in Cambodia. In that same article he praised a pro- Pol Pot book as "scholarly" and "well-documented." To this day Chomsky lies about what he wrote in that article, including to me in private emails. Here is Chomsky's 1977 article
Now let me add that his attacks on the media coverage of Cambodia are already bad enough, but what he leaves out is worse. If you read the article you'll see that there is absolutely no mention of East Timor in it. Chomsky wouldn't begin talking about East Timor publicly until a year and a half later, at which point we can assume it was part of a campaign to save his credibility.

Jon said...

Hi Daniel,

I have seen criticisms of Chomsky's claims regarding the Khmer Rouge, but I have to say what I saw really wasn't fair at all to him and in fact misrepresented what he had said. If you are interested take a look at a blog post I wrote a while back which evaluated Brad DeLong's criticism. DeLong basically misrepresented what Chomsky had said.

Dr. Ferris said...

I agree with Bogdanor. These criticisms of his list are laughable, and his assessment about trying to defend Chomsky's decades-long campaign of Leftist shilling and lies is right on the money, but unlike him I must nevertheless commend you for your attempts at advocacy. Most Chomsky fans don't even try to defend his outrageous whoppers, instead depending on personal attacks and innuendo to protect this charlatan. If we're going to get at the real truth, we need more people like you to get courageous enough and reveal the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Chomsky's supporters.

So please. These are the first ten. There's 190 more. Give it your best shot, whenever you're ready. I really, truly, sincerely encourage your best efforts.

Jon said...

Well, it's been a while since I wrote this obviously and I guess I've sort of moved on to other things. Is it really worth it to go further? Take the first example I discussed. Chomsky is criticizing Mao and using it to make a point about how we should treat atrocities committed by our own side. Bogdanor takes that quote and tries to somehow make it appear that Chomsky is trying to get Mao off the hook. The point from Chomsky is not hard to grasp. But Bogdanor doesn't get it. I'm supposed to dig through another 190 examples of this kind of thing, find the source, read it in context (which maybe Bogdanor just didn't do) and explain the (simple) meaning? I think these 10 show us Bogdanor's modus operandi. This is not really about discovering truth. This is about smearing an individual, and doing whatever it takes to get it done, honesty be damned.

I think if you read through the comments you'll see that I'm not afraid to accept that Chomsky has made an error and been wrong. I'm not saying that other criticisms of him expressed here are valid, only that I'm open to accepting they are valid. I haven't explored them. If certain criticisms of him are valid this doesn't change the fact that he's right that Clinton engaged in a heinous crime when he bombed that pharmaceutical factory, a crime that led to the death of probably many thousands of people (we don't know for sure how many, but there are credible estimates that put the number around 40,000). At the end of the day what matters is not Chomsky himself but the issues. Obviously for Bogdanor this is not about the issues. This is about Chomsky. He wants to make Chomsky the issue (much like today the media wants to make Edward Snowden the issue, not the information he has disclosed). I think it was worth it for me to make a minor effort and expose Bogdanor's agenda here, at least for the kind of person that likes to casually throw his criticisms around like it is good reason to dismiss what Chomsky has to say. I feel my post here does show that he's not being truthful. So let's ignore what he's saying and get back to the issues. Exposing more of his untruths would probably help, but only marginally, so I guess in my estimation it's not worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

So, I am somewhat familiar with Chomsky and his writing, but am not by any means an expert. I do find his point of view interesting. I have looked at Paul Bogdanor's 200 lies list and read your responses. I think you are splitting intellectual hairs. When you deliberately ignore sources or facts that don't support your narrative you are being intellectually dishonest. I think Chomsky has sometimes been guilty of this. I came across a specific example today. Chomsky stated in an interview on Democracy now (about US intervention in Syria) that sept 11th was the ""It’s the first time since the War of 1812 that U.S. territory had been attacked.". I could site a half dozen examples, the most obvious being the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but that is beside the point. Being wrong about facts in some cases might be excusable, but if you wish to be taken seriously as a scholar, critic or person, misstating basic information to support your argument greatly diminishes your credibility. I don't trust statements of people who play fast and loose with facts. Here is a link to the audio and the transcript. It is even somewhat more surprising that neither of the interviewers questioned him on this. It was more like a forum for Chomsky to hold forth than a substantive interview.

Jon said...

Chomsky is right and you are wrong, gflac, that's why the interviewer didn't correct him. Hawaii was not a US state when it was attacked. Pearl Harbor was a military base that existed in a land that was being occupied by the US, without the consent of the people.

Sometimes Chomsky sounds like he's making an error, but often that's because we've been fed so much propaganda that we don't know the truth, so truth sounds like error.

Ff said...
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Ff said...
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Ff said...

What I didn't like about the list was posting just one sentence, or just a few words, and calling it a lie. Why not post the whole paragraph, so we can read it in context?

I looked through most of the list, and noticed that a few truths, were actually lies. The denial the United States was involved in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala is one obvious example. The last point about refuting bombing a city, with burned it to the ground, is pretty humorous. There are several other studies which suggest higher casualties, but of course he picked the smallest one. I'm almost certain he didn't even try to find out how they got that number. That brings me to my next point:

What I really can't stand about the whole debate in the first place. This is every fucking political debate that has ever happened (Republican/Democrats just to pick different ideologies):

R: A happened
D: No, B happened
R: No, A happened, and I can prove it with my source.
D: No, B happened, and I can disprove A with my source.
R: Here are six more studies all with my ideological leanings to disprove your source.
D: Well, here are 10 neutral studies, who just by chance received a large donation by some of our members, they disagree with all our your findings.
R: You just refuse to believe "The Facts"
D: No, it is I who have found the sources known as "The Facts."

At least, people with unsophisticated political views don't make you have to weed through 400 ideological footnotes.

Then, there's the gotcha argument that this list loves:

R: D said A in 1976, when he was 20, therefore he is wrong about everything.
*shows 4 more studies from leading public intellectual who can't possibly be ideological influenced.

Politics fucking sucks.

kropotkin said...

Bogdanor, are you simply a liar, or illiterate, or both? Not a single word you've said shows Chomsky to have lied about anything, though this is common in anti-Chomsky drool land. I'm still waiting for at least ONE person to 1)Actually read his material 2)Demonstrate that they have understood it 3)Make something resembling an argument. You, squirt, haven't even started Step 1 yet, and anyone at all familiar with Chomsky's work is quite well aware. Calling folks "Chomsky apologists" is itself ignorant. Here, let's make it simple for you:

The Anti-Chomsky Idiot
A) Chomsky Thinks X (which is factually incorrect)
B) No, Chomsky thinks Y, just as he says so here, here, here, here, and here. (which are factually correct)
A) YOU'RE AN APOLOGIST for Chomsky!!! You're in his cult! You can't see what's right there in his writings (the ones I've never read)
The End

Srnec said...

According to gflac, Chomsky said that 11 September 2001 was "the first time since the War of 1812 that U.S. territory had been attacked". Jon responded with: "Hawaii was not a US state when it was attacked. Pearl Harbor was a military base that existed in a land that was being occupied by the US, without the consent of the people."

Hawaii was U.S. territory in 1941, even though it was not yet a state. The original inhabitants of New York never gave their consent to U.S. rule either.

But if an attack on the World Trade Center orchestrated by foreign nationals in 2001 is an attack on U.S. territory, wouldn't an attack on the World Trade Center orchestrated by foreign nationals in 1993 also be such an attack?

This is what makes Chomsky infuriating. On the face of it, he's wrong. But we all know he's not stupid enough to make obviously false allegations. So, charitably, we try to figure out what he means. But who can tell? Do Pancho Villa's raids count? Does the Japanese fire balloon campaign of World War II count? Does the Civil War mean anything? The Black Tom explosion?

Aaron Carine said...

You haven't answered some of Bogdanor's main points. Chomsky said that Communist rule in Eastern Europe, and in the Soviet Union after 1945, wasn't as bad as what was going on in "U.S. satellites". Bogdanor claims that the Communists killed a gazillion people in those people in those times and places. If he is right, Chomsky is wrong. I doubt that Bogdanor's numbers for deaths in Eastern Europe are right, but you haven't done anything to refute him.

Aaron Carine said...

Also, there is no evidence for this claim that thousands of Sudanese died because Clinton blew up a factory. None of the people who have actually been tracking Sudanese mortality--the World Bank, USAID,UNICEF, and Human Rights Watch--have provided any support for this. The sources that Chomsky cites have not provided any evidence for it.
Leo Casey pretty much demolished it back in 2001.

Aaron Carine said...

Sorry about the typos.

Jon said...

If he is right, Chomsky is wrong.

I'm not here trying to prove that Chomsky is right and Bogdanor is wrong. If you read my post you know that Bogdanor fails to distinguish between a lie and an error. He may think Chomsky is in error, you may as well. I think Chomsky is right. I'd take Poland under Soviet domination over Haiti under US domination. You can disagree if you like, but that's my honest opinion, and perhaps Chomsky's opinion as well. So it's not a lie. I don't need to refute Bogdanor's numbers to establish this point.

Also, there is no evidence for this claim that thousands of Sudanese died because Clinton blew up a factory.

The point on this one is to expose Bogdanor's out of context citation, which he presents as if it's a defense of Mao. Chomsky in fact is condemning Mao. He's saying that Mao is justly condemned even though we wouldn't suppose that he enacted policies for the purpose of killing peasants. In the same way we should condemn Clinton for taking action that he would know (or he would at least expect) that the consequence of this is dead Africans now deprived of life saving drugs.

Note that the morality of Clinton's behavior is not necessarily based on what actually happened but on what he would expect would happen. The morality of a decision is based on the conditions that are known at the moment. If the worst isn't realized, this doesn't mean the action wasn't immoral. In the same way when Kruschev sent nuclear armed submarines to Cuba fortunately the worst didn't happen. But in sending them he would have known that he was taking a huge risk. The fate of maybe half the world's population was at stake. Do we let him off the hook because the worst didn't happen? He is to be condemned for this reckless and dangerous behavior, and Clinton is as well even if it turns out 40K didn't die, assuming he was under the expectation that they would or might.

Aaron Carine said...

Perhaps. The question of whether a false statement is a lie or an error doesn't seem very interesting, but you are, of course, free to write about any subject you wish.

We can blame Clinton and Khrushchev for their actions, but there is an enormous difference between reckless actions that don't cause death and actions that do cause death.

I don't think much of Bogdanor; some of the casualty figures he throws around are vastly higher than what I've heard from other sources, and his trick of rejecting the testimony of eyewitnesses just because they are left-wing is contemptible.

kropotkin said...

Bogdanor, which books of Chomsky's did you say you had read? Just a list will be fine. No need to give any explanations as to why you don't need to, etc...JUST a list. Then we'll begin handing you your ass on a platter.

Aaron Carine said...

I read Bogdanor's essay "The Devil State", which is his attempt to refute Chomsky's writings on Israel. It is total dreck.
Bogdanor engages in a lot of shenagins with his citations. He rejects the testimony of any witness or journalist who is left-wing or pro-Palestinian, which I think is a McCarthyite tactic. Finally, he relies on some dubious sources, such as the Israeli government and Rafael Israeli's propaganda tome The PLO in Lebanon.
Bogdanor is just a shill.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I am starting to think that Chomsky is some sort of cult leader because I find it hard to believe any intelligent person would fall for this type of oscurantism, and proclaim them to be high intellectual debate

Firstly debunking the first 10 of 200 is kind of a sneaky rhetorical trick employed by the Author to only answer one substantive idea since the piece is composed of 10 quotes per block, If you wanted to fairly debunk this you would deal with at least one quote from every section

And if you read carefully all this "debunking" has offered is quibbling over minor details to distort Chomsky's clear intentions and obscurantism

10) All this has offered is some half assed "the US is bad too" line without any supporting evidence,

9)How is it an unfair comparison, "to say What is better alternatively to this" especially when the body of Chomsky's advocates Soviet style communism

8)This effectively agreed with Bognador

7)Perhaps Chomsky was mislead with data from Amnesty international but This is becoming a pattern with Chomsky, Cherry picking the worst data to justify the US imperialism disaster narrative, Take for Example his prediction that 7.5 million people would starve in the wake of the Afghan invasion

The fact of the matter is he picked exaggerated sources from agencies with which he had ideological congruence, and even implies that this was a deliberate US plot to starve Millions of Afghans

As anyone familiar with this era, happily this did not result due to US efforts to bring in extra aid, and as a result of removing the Taliban Food aid actually increased in the wake of the Afghan war. Either way, This point at the very best implies that Chomsky was Mistaken, hardly a win

6)The point here was completely missed, Chomsky is clearly attempting to minimize Russian atrocities by saying that The Russians refusniks were treated more humanely than the Palestinians are treated under Israel, Bognador's statistic clearly demonstrates the outrageous nature of this claim

5)You effective said Chomksy was wrong, and was Misled, Fine, But he was still wrong, Also see point 7 for how conveniently "wrong" he is all the time

4)This isn't a very important point, but, Bognador cited statistics to back him, and all you have said is that you disagree, and that the facts are not clear, especially given the time frame, Bognador cited numbers of what had happened at the time you have provided noe evidence

3)Fine, China has improved, being Chinese myself I find that awesome, but the point is this,
a)Given he had written it in 1971, the point about China Today is irrelevant
b)It's a bit rich don't you think given the Chomsky's style of criticism of every minutia of western "fascism" that he would praise China when their practices were worse
c)You really think China is economically still a communist state? They only started pulling people out of poverty after embracing the worst version of capitalism

2)The broader point here is that Chomsky is trying to make it seem that some version of Communist economies works, and the Author has not disagreed with anything he's said

1)I'll concede that Chomsky was quoted out of context in this instance to the extent that he says it is purely an accident, however Chomsky shows that he himself is willing to morally equivocate the worst atrocity in human history with a spurious unproven accusation that the Al Shifa Bombing was a atrocity that led to millions of deaths. I doubt that if a US official said anything as remotely horrifying as Mao that Chomsky would ever stop posturing about it.

To quote Jesus (as an atheist) the problem with Chomsky is that he strains gnat's and swallows camels wholes, that's almost the definition of moral Hypocrisy

Mister Fox said...

Have you done it? If so, can you post a link to the response so I can see it?

AGFJR said...

I never paid much attention to Chomsky before 3 or 4 years ago when my sister sent me a transcript of an interview and asked for an evaluation. On the whole, it dealt with a grand conspiracy of advertisers and capitalists whose propaganda steered a gullible society toward an apathetic materialism, while at the same time enlarging the gap between rich and poor. To be charitable, it bordered on incoherence. He bemoaned the growing poverty in America, the falling standard of living of the middle class and the poor, blaming all greedy capitalists, without ever mentioning the surge in immigration which is largely responsible for the drop in American workers' wages and the influx of welfare cases.

I couldn't help but surmise that he knew better, that this grand distortion of basic economics was not accidental, that his characterization of the situation was intended for an ignorant and gullible audience that would never ask pertinent questions. He keeps up the revisionist history with claims like this in Scientific American a couple of weeks ago: "As Amartya Sen has shown, Maoist China saved about 100 million people – not a small number – as compared with democratic capitalist India from independence to 1980, not from “enlightenment” in the usual sense, but from rural health programs and other reforms."

He continues with this view: "As for the Enlightenment and modern science, no serious analyst can question their major achievements – or overlook their role in the age of discovery that brought untold horrors to much of the world, devastating the Western Hemisphere and Africa, crushing the leading world centers of civilization in India and China."

Trying to make sense of that, is he talking about the disease induced annihilation of Native Americans, else which "devastati[on]" are we talking about? And if so does he not distinguish between the Enlightenment, which came after the "Colombian Exchange," and the Renaissance (which didn't)?

And now Chomsky, who over the years has condemned the press and both political parties alike as corporate puppets, is softening his stance on the press in order to distance himself from the new great satan, the Donald, and seems to be teaming up with it, condemning Republicans who don't believe in the "truly existential threat" of global warming, and evil bankers who are "..increasing investments in fossil fuels, knowing very well what they are doing." Fossil fuel disinvestment surely is a current fad, but not one which thinking people take seriously. It's not the bankers' fault or even Big Oil's fault that I'm willing to pay good money to buy gas and drive a car, or that Chomsky likes to make good money flying from lecture to lecture.

There are many good reasons those competent in economics or history or climate science (or linguistics, for that matter) can't take Chomsky seriously. Intelligent lies have currency; idiotic lies don't. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

What is your source for the claim that immigration is largely responsible for wage stagnation? George Borjas and the Cato Institute say that immigration has only depressed wages for Americans without a high school diploma--that is bad enough, but it is relatively few people. The Economic Policy Institute has said that immigration exerts "mild downward pressure on the wages of the lowest paid American workers", which also would only account for a part of the decline in real wages.

Chomskys Cosy Cardigans aaaawh said...

Wow...what started with me curiously checking if I could shrewdly invest my £1 Google Play credit on a chomsky audio book, which led me down a rabbit hole of nonsensical neoliberal jibberal fibberal tom fuckery, the likes of which hasnae haunted ne-ry a burrow since Woondwart era watership down. A mean for the love of Christ..or Allah..or Sprokit fae Fraggle Rock, every lie that Noamsie is accused of, in the Anti-Chomsky Reader & all the various comments I've just spent 3 retina melting hours tutting & swiping at, are at best misconstrued misinterpreted misunderstandings by the dimwitted accusers, at worst thinly veiled attempts to smear the quiffed crusaders credentials, twisting the chpmpmiesters wisdom round the u-bend and flushing out the exact opposite of its jist. Even Trump would be embar....actually hed probably be proud of the Fakenayoos fuckers and wid offer them all jobs as his personal sqaud of whitehoose baw scrubbers and barse trimmers.

Acht fuck it, 4 hours now..missed 2 episodes of corrie, and wee Dec and big willyboobys antipidean exploits, barely time left for ma midweek wank afore bed..and ma £1 Google credits probably expired by noo tae. Ah..the sacrifices us political dissidents make in the name of democracy eh.
Aw the best.

AGFJR said...

@Aaron Carine:

Labor unions have a long history of opposition to unrestricted immigration, as they knew well they could not compete with the desperation of newly arrived immigrants who could barely speak the language. As Irish and Chinese built the railroads, so Latinos now build our houses and clean them and take care of our kids. It's the simple rule of supply and demand: abundant labor equals cheap labor. Immigration means surplus labor, automatically creating competition for work and lowering wages.

Of course cheap labor is profitable for the employers and the upper crust in general, and tends to increase the disparity between rich and poor, which is precisely what Chomsky ridiculously blames on a grand conspiracy of media and advertisers.

As for NC's general credibility, Paul Postal (former MIT colleague) said it best:

“After many years, I came to the conclusion that everything he says is false. He will lie just for the fun of it. Every one of his arguments was tinged and coded [coated?] with falseness and pretense. It was like playing chess with extra pieces. It was all fake.”
(The New Yorker, March 31, 2003)

Amen. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

I cited sources that said immigration only depresses wages for a people without a high school diploma--that's bad, but it's ten percent of the population. Chomsky doesn't blame the gap between rich and poor on the media, but on the people who control the materials and the means of production.

Chomsky's credibility used to be very high. It's only since 2001 that he's been getting a lot of stuff wrong.

AGFJR said...

@AC: "Chomsky's credibility used to be very high. It's only since 2001 that he's been getting a lot of stuff wrong."

No, nothing changed in 2001. Chomsky's entire career has been one of plagiarism, beginning with his graduate thesis, which was ripped off from Leonard Bloomfield. See Barsky's pseudo-biography of ANC ("A Life of Dissent"), p. 55, where ANC claims he had no knowledge of Bloomfield's paper until the 60's. ANC can't even defend himself against plagiarism without telling more lies: Bloomfield's paper was published in a festschrift for Nikolay Trubetzkoy who famously died when the Nazis confiscated his unpublished study, ("On the Prehistory of Slavic Languages"). It was hardly published in an obscure journal, and in those days linguists could easily keep up with all the pertinent literature. All of ANC's peers know he has always been a phony. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

Even if he was a plagiarist, that wouldn't be a reason for rejecting his political works. You would have to show that his sources were unreliable, or that he misrepresented his sources. There were very few instances of that before 2001. I don't believe the charge of plagiarism, but I may look into it.

AGFJR said...

Quite a bit of work has been done showing that ANC's sourcing is never reliable, and never has been. You pick the study: I'll show you that every reference is fake. --AGF

AGFJR said...

For about a year this link worked for me to get p.55 of Barsky's book, but it quit working very recently (after I posted it on a popular website). I'm curious to see if it works for you:

Aaron Carine said...

Okay, The Fateful Triangle and Turning the Tide.

AGFJR said...

OK, I just ordered the latter. In the mean time here is the Barsky quote:

“Hoenigswald—and Harris, as well—likely knew that there existed another example of generative grammar (albeit a less detailed one than Chomsky's 1948 thesis work, and limited to the phonological level) that had preceded Chomsky's by roughly eight years. It was called “Menomini Morphophonemics,”and was published by American linguist Leonard Bloomfield in the Czech Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague in 1939. It is remarkable, in Chomsky's view, that neither Hoenigswald nor Harris revealed the existence of this text to his student. “Menomini Morphophonemics” is an extraordinary text, completely inconsistent with Bloomfield's other writings about language and how research in the area should be done. This, Chomsky believes, was one of the reasons Bloomfield decided to publish it in Europe."

[And from Chomsky's letter, quoted by Barsky:] “Hoenigswald and Harris were very close to Bloomfield, and certainly knew his work. But neither of them mentioned to their only undergraduate student that he was rediscovering, more or less, what Blooomfield had just done eight years before. It's not surprising in Harris's case, because he didn't know what I was doing. But Hoenigswald read it, and must have recognized the similarities, back to classical India. I learned nothing of this until the 1960s when Morris Halle found out about Bloomfield's work. (31 Mar. 1995)”


Such is and always was ANC.


AGFJR said...

And this is vintage Chomsky:

"A hundred-word item buried in The New York Times of June 14, 1976, cites an official U.N. report that teams of “human buffaloes” pull plows in Laos in areas where the buffalo herds, along with everything else, were decimated (by the American bombing, although this goes unmentioned in the Times."

Chomsky seems to think farm animals were either targeted by American bombers or wiped out by carpet bombing--just how stupid can a man be? Of course famine was the real reason for the buffalo shortage, famine caused by the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, who of course are the good guys for Chomsky.

And he hasn't changed in the slightest--he blames all of Maduro's troubles on the U.S. And then he tries to portray himself as something other than a full fledged commie--a "socialist anarchist" or some such oxymoron. Only morons can take such claims at their word. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

It seems plausible that the ferocious American bombing killed a lot of animals. You cite Chomsky referring to Laos(although he talked about a buffalo shortage in Cambodia in the preceding paragraph); I haven't heard that the Pathet Lao caused a buffalo shortage. Chomsky is an anarchist, not a communist.

Aaron Carine said...

I don't see that this passage demonstrates that Chomsky committed plagiarism. But I don't know anything about these allegations.

AGFJR said...

AC: "It seems plausible that the ferocious American bombing killed a lot of animals."

A few maybe, accidentally. But what ANC is claiming is that the draft buffalo shortage, i.e., the complete lack of draft animals, was caused by bombing, which is absurd, and most likely ANC knows it is absurd, but he is always ready to twist his brain into a pretzel to defend any Marxist regime. Chomsky's enemy number one is and always was the USA, the primary impediment to global Marxism. Only after losing much of his leftist audience did he allow that the Khmer Rouge were guilty of anything, and the fanatical Marxist apologies continue to the present. The notion that ANC is anything other than a diehard commie is absolutely ridiculous, as his lifetime record proves. He only claims not to be one in order to dupe a few more million gullible disciples. --AGF

AGFJR said...

AC: "I don't see that this passage demonstrates that Chomsky committed plagiarism. But I don't know anything about these allegations."

So when ANC claims he was unaware for a couple of decades of a study which in large measure anticipated his own, published in a festschrift for a famous linguist, you believe it? And that nobody mentioned it to him for all those years? Keep in mind that ANC always told his students that Bloomfield (and all of the prerevolutionaries) were not worth reading. Maybe he didn't want them to find out about Bloomfield's paper, or that there was no revolution. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

That the study anticipated his own doesn't seem to me to be proof of plagiarism. MIT apparently didn't consider it proof. I don't know how many animals were killed by American bombing, but since the bombing killed a huge number of civilians(not accidentally) I don't think it's absurd to suggest that a lot of animals died.

AGFJR said...

Again, ANC's own words: "But Hoenigswald read it, and must have recognized the similarities, back to classical India. I learned nothing of this until the 1960s when Morris Halle found out about Bloomfield's work."

Setting aside the amazing coincidence, ANC's claim is not only that Hoenigswald never told him, but nobody else did either for over a decade or two. This from a man who reads everything. Believe it if you will.

Bombing is incapable of selectively killing buffalo. Famine (caused by the KR) is quite capable. --AGF

PS, nobody has Chomsky's number like David Horowitz:

Aaron Carine said...

Who says they were killed selectively? The carpet bombing was indiscriminate; it would have killed a number of beasts as well as people. How many, I don't know. The KR genocide in Cambodia may well have caused a buffalo shortage, but there wasn't a genocide in Laos. I haven't heard that the Pathet Lao did anything to cause a buffalo shortage.

AGFJR said...

It seems I have to spell out every little detail. ANC, the pinhead, suggests as a possible explanation for the necessity of humans pulling the plow (as depicted in the picture we've been talking about for the last week but which you probably never looked at) that the shortage of buffalo was due to American bombing. So here's the picture: plenty of people, no buffalo. They're gone, dead, nigh extinct. What did it? Chomsky says bombs did. That's what you call selective bombing, damn it. Everybody else says famine did it, famine caused by the Khmer Rouge. That's ALWAYS what happens in a famine: after the vegetables run out the animals get eaten.

Now as always the truth is evident: Chomsky's heroes, the Khmer Rouge killed a couple million people through both massacre and famine. In Chomky's fairy tale where all commies are good and all Americans evil that could not have happened. All evil is blamed on the West. Therefore, American bombing did it, selectively of course, impossibly of course, but there will always be ignorant, lazy, gullible people who will believe anything the pathological liar Chomsky says, no matter how ridiculous. In case that too went over your head, I was talking to you and about you. --AGF

AGFJR said...

One more thing: soldiers on the ground eat buffalo, KR and VC. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

You keep talking about Cambodia-and I said that the KR may well have caused a buffalo shortage; did you read that?--but I was referring to Laos. The Pathet Lao didn't cause a famine or a genocide, so there would have to be some other reason for the buffalo shortage in Laos. It could be the bombing. According to the Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign(couldn't post a link)the livestock population of Vietnam had been reduced by 700,000 by 1973. I guess you should contact them and tell them that is impossible, huh, sport? I don't know anything about the size of Laos' buffalo population relative to the human population, how quickly the losses could be replaced, or whether there were any factors making the herds especially vulnerable to bombing.
I don't think the KR are Chomsky's heroes. He was skeptical about the genocide when there was good reason for skepticism, but he was careful to say that he didn't know what was happening in Cambodia.

AGFJR said...

Here's the whole quote on bombing buffalo:

"Even if the photographs had been authentic, we might ask why people should be pulling plows in Cambodia. The reason is clear, if unmentioned. The savage American assault on Cambodia did not spare the animal population. Hildebrand and Porter, in their Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution, cite a Cambodian Government report of April 1976 that several hundred thousand draft animals were killed in the rural areas. The Post did not have to resort to probable fabrications to depict the facts. A hundred-word item buried in The New York Times of June 14, 1976, cites an official U.N. report that teams of “human buffaloes” pull plows in Laos in areas where the buffalo herds, along with everything else, were decimated (by the American bombing, although this goes unmentioned in the Times." (same link as above: ) Need it be stressed that you can't wipe out buffalo with bombs without killing their owners too, or without largely defoliating the jungle to boot.

If anyone chancing upon this page wants the facts about ANC and the KR, Bogdanor has done a fine job of putting the story together here:

The facts are clear: ANC dismissed Ponchaud's assimilation of refugee accounts as unreliable and politically motivated, and his own motivation is transparent. The hawks said if we pull out of Nam there'll be a bloodbath, and SE Asia will go down like dominoes --dogma anathema to ANC. When it happened just like they said it would ANC denied it as long as he could, and would have forever if he could have fooled his dupes forever. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

Hold on, you're saying our bombs didn't kill people or defoliate the jungle? Because they did. Two million Vietnamese died, and the way I've heard it, only a quarter of a million of those were ARVN. In 1972 our government said that the Communists had killed 36,000 civilians since 1957, not counting the Hue massacre. So we did kill a huge number of people as well as animals. After the war, the Hanoi regime said that thirty million acres of farmland and five million acres of timber had been destroyed--how that's for defoliation? That could be exaggerated, but it's quite plausible, given the intensity of the bombardment.
As for Cambodia, Chomsky said he didn't know what was happening, his point was that the data wasn't being evaluated properly. He provided evidence that this was so. Yeah, the predictions of a bloodbath came true in Cambodia, but not in Vietnam or Laos. Many feel that American ruthlessness in Cambodia helped the KR win. If that theory is correct, the bloodbath wouldn't justify American actions.

AGFJR said...

May I remind you, we were talking about "selective" bombing as required to annihilate buffalo without annihilating human plow pullers. Are you aware of any "smart" bombs that could (and would) be aimed at animals? For the nth time, only famine or soldiers' pillaging could have caused the buffalo shortage. And no, ANC provided no evidence calling into question Ponchaud's numerous interviews--he only chose (pretended) not to believe them, as any good propagandist would have done. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

For the nth time, it didn't require "selective" bombing to kill buffalo. We killed a huge number of people, and destroyed a lot of farmland. Why is it so hard to believe that animals were killed too?
I may have to reread Chomsky's writings on Cambodia, and try to locate Ponchaud's stuff. But I don't know if I could find the sources they cited.

AGFJR said...

So you detonate a bomb of strength σ in an area α populated by t trees, a animals, and p people. If we assume a random dispersion of trees, animals and people, and assume that they were of equal ability to withstand and survive the effects of the blast, we would expect the numbers of t,a,p to be reduced by approximately equal amounts. But trees are tougher than animals and animals are tougher than people. Accordingly we would expect a higher proportion of trees to survive the blast than animals, and a higher proportion of animals to survive than humans.

The situation indicated in the photo of humans pulling plows is one of an absence of buffalo and an abundance of healthy farmers. Blaming this contrast on bombing automatically entails "selective" bombing, which we have seen was nigh impossible under the technology available in the 70s, and of no strategic value besides. Now maybe Chomsky was incapable of understanding this, and maybe not. --AGF

Aaron Carine said...

I don't know enough about the war to know if people and animals were killed in equal proportions everywhere. Anyway, I acknowledged that the KR-created famine was a plausible cause of livestock shortage in Cambodia. But Chomsky also said there was a shortage in Laos, where the Pathet Lao didn't cause a famine. So there would have to be a different cause in Laos. The Spring, 1983 issue of Natural Resource Journal said that loss of livestock did cause problems for agriculture in Vietnam.

biospot said...

Have you read Thomas Sowell 's book A Conflict of visions?

Aaron Carine said...

No. Anyway, if he was wrong about the bombing causing a livestock shortage, it's a relatively minor point. The major point is that the bombing was devastating.

Aaron Carine said...

It's probably accurate to say that Japan's aggression contributed to Asian independence. Anyway, Chomsky said that Japan's war wasn't justified; he was making an analogy between Japanese imperialism and the invasion of Iraq to argue that invading Iraq wouldn't be justified even if something good came out of it.