Why Brad De Long is allergic to Noam Chomsky

Have a look at this video.  It’s pretty damning.  Please comment below if you know of any come-back that Chomsky might have.

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mick
14 years ago

Wow, that is pretty damning.

wbb
wbb
14 years ago

Sorry, I couldn’t get past the enormous coffee cup. Reminds me of Denis Waterman in Little Britain.

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

Anticlimax. I thought this was going to be a secret tape of Chomsky praising Bin Laden or something.

I’d need a bit more than that to convince me that Chomsky systematically distorts his sources. He quotes an awful lot of material, and is bound to get it wrong once in a while. Obviously he wanted to interpret it the way he did, and may have digested it too quickley. He probably didn’t read the whole document carefully, and carelessness is the most suitable indictment. De Long here reminds me of Windschuttle on Reynolds. He has been on about this particular transgression for a while, it seems. If he had more examples, he would have given them.

Paul Frijters
Paul Frijters
14 years ago

I agree with James. As a referee I’m already happy if the author seems likely of have read the source and has picked up the most relevant points. To expect full accuracy in all occasions from anyone is unfair. By the same token though, I hope Chomsky had the decency to admit his errors?

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

I can’t watch it because Quicktime is malware.

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

But the subject matter doesn’t lend itself to hope and optimism. Do you complain when chroniclers of the Black Death or the Battle of the Somme exhibit unrelenting negativity? Chomsky’s subject matter is human rights abuse carried out or sponsored in some way by the government of the country he happens to be a citizen of, and the role of the main stream media and intelligentsia in rationalising these abuse.

I’ve commented before that having a kick at Chomsky seems to be ritual signaling device whereby members of the moderate left distance themselves from the extreme left, indicating that their views are reasonable rather than hysterical. Dismissals of Chomsky springing from this motive tend to be very general, formulaic and second hand. Thus, Chomsky is an ‘apologist for Pol Pot’, ‘refused to condemn the September 11 attacks’, thinks the US is ‘the root of all evil’ etc., etc. De Long, to his credit, actually cites a concrete instance of distortion, but I need more than that to convince me that the man is a charlatan or a fruitcake.

I have confronted members of the moderate left on these points. Mark Bahnisch’s reply was ‘I just don’t happen to find Chomsky that helpful’. John Quiggin promised to write a post one day!

wbb
wbb
14 years ago

Onya, James. Takes an independent thinker to stick up for Noam.

It’s people who are relentlessly cheery who give me the shits!

Ingolf Eide
Ingolf Eide(@ingolf)
14 years ago

I’m with you, James. I don’t read him often, don’t always agree with him — in fact, hardly ever do on economics — but as far as I’ve been able to judge he has integrity and is far more often right than wrong. And I’m not from any wing of the left.

I think he annoys the hell out of a lot of people because he covers such a lot of territory and on-balance does so both fearlessly and well. It’s hard to understand how he manages to absorb so much raw info, much less retain and integrate it.

As for the video, too hard to download on dialup but I’ll take James’ and Nicholas’ word that it’s not too bad.

Mark
Mark
14 years ago

James, I wonder what your take is on Barrie Zwicker’s (and other ‘9/11 Truth’-types) change of heart vis a vis Chomsky (i.e. was regarded as a hero, but now is dismissed as a liberal left “gatekeeper,” for his alleged refusal to question the standard 9/11 narrative.

This sort of thing:
http://reprehensor.gnn.tv/blogs/17577/Zwicker_Chomsky_9_11

Regards,
Mark

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

Mark

I’m used to hearing rightwingers dismiss Chomsky as a conspiracy theorist, so it’s an amusing twist when actual conspiracy theorists get disappointed on finding that he in fact isn’t one of their number.