Monday, August 07, 2006

Replying to Nagarjuna, Chomsky and the implied allies

August 07
This is not something I intend to do much of, (and shudder... it's another after midnight post...), but this began with a series of comments on One Cosmos (), spilled over onto Nagarjuna's sites comments , and I'd like to wrap it up here.

Blogs, when quipping about rival blogs points of view, tend to take a tone of, at best, collegial belly up to the bar back slapping & trading back & forth of in-jokes and cheeky insults amongst themselves, which I don't give much stock to one way or the other beyond light hearted impishness.

I think that anyone who doesn't expect & even occasionally revel in intra-blogal fraternal rivalry is dreaming, and not taking advantage of a little well intentioned high spirited fun & frolic.

However, some tend to go way beyond such levels crossing forcefully into the vicious - Daily Kos & Huffington Post come first to mind. This
guy at Vanity Fair I know little beyond he doesn't seem my cup of tea & that's fine & dandy.

When we take that wise-cracking seriously, as Nagarjuna did, and as I did in response, it is a bit ... um, well just a step above silly, but worth no sweat. The effective result was Nagarjuna said "...Bob never admitting that he's wrong or that he even could be wrong about any of his spiritual and political pronouncements, and disparaging the intellectual capacity, psychological maturity, or morality of those who disagree with him. Perhaps he's mistaken about this. If he is, I hope you can cite examples for us that illustrate this." And so after the least bit of effort,
I did refute it.

Nagarjuna said he knew before I posted my reply to his reply of Gagdad Bob's reply... to whoever's reply, that I'd resort to the examples I used (from the same weeks reincarnation post 8/4/2006). Fine. I didn't consider it worth researching much further. Although fairly new at
One Cosmos, I tend to move on rather quickly from sites that exihbit the traits he described - and frankly I don't see that at One Cosmos. You may disagree.

Nagarjuna however went on to mention Noam Chomsky. I think bringing in his name, goes beyond a little point for point ribbing of Gagdad Bob, it casts this in a light I didn't at first intend, but perhaps should have seen from the start.

I remember reading something of Chomsky long ago, having to do with what he actually is, a linguist, if I remember right (this was at least 10, maybe 15 years ago?) having to do with there being a single ancestral language that all languages are descended from... and I remember thinking it was fascinating.

Afterwards I read an interview in Bill Moyers "A World Of Ideas", which was a bit jaring, and since then I've rented a couple DVD's of his seminars - and after the most cursory research, he stands out in my opinion, as far as the world of political analysis & judgment go - as an absolute twisted wacko. Someone who selects facts, shorn of context, in order to advance an anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist agenda over and above any honest consideration of nature and the requirements of humanity, Individual Rights or (in a secular, Objectivist sense) morality.
I propose a hypothetical - which from
previous commenting back & forth's you should know I feel is a shaky thing to stand on at the very best, but still, humor me.

It is 1937. Winston Churchill is a mostly discredited hasbeen - a big time drinker, one time reporter, adventurer, political hack supposedly responsible for leading Britain into the disaster of Galipoli. He's continually railing against the political celibrity movement of the day, socialism, drawing all kinds of apocolyptic conclusions from their every move.

Those who agree with him - he calls wise, those who disagree with him, who think we just need to dialogue with Hitler & Mussolini & Tojo, he calls fools and wrong beyond measure.

Now, we know from our stand point in history that he was right, and they were wrong, but forget about what we know at this end of history - at that 1937 end of the tunnel, one group felt they were right to keep communication open to all, one felt such discussion folly bordering on treason. Where would you fall in that time frame? I have my suspicions - I may be wrong, but the real point, is that not that Churchill proved them all wrong and He himself right, but that a person must read the tealeaves of current events in conjunciton with your best analysis of history, and take a stand one way or the other.

It is proper to identify what you consider to be Right and what you consider to be Wrong, and responsible to also provide the context and facts pertaining to your conclusions.

More than likely one camp will be proven right, and the other wrong, in histories due course - but I'm not going to condemn either for making their opinion known, providing that they back it up with their reasoning, best analysis, and examples from current events. Each of us must do the same, and point out where you think yourself right and the other wrong. People will consider our points, history will swell forward in it's own time, and our grandkids will know for sure how it turned out for each camp.

My point is don't condemn Gagdad Bob, or even Chomsky, for saying what they think is right, criticize what they're saying, point out what you see to be the flaws, and let the conversation go forward.

In my opinion going from commenting on the needling of Gagdad Bob and your Cafe buddy, or Bill Harryman of whom I know nothing, is but intra blogal rivalry - Chomsky however rises to an entirely different level. Stepping up to Chomsky, it's as if you equate the silly spinmeistering of a Mike McCurry and Ari Fliesher, with that of a Joseph Goebles.

" I dare say that if Bob or any of his obsequious "Bobbleheads" were to attempt to debate Chomsky on American foreign policy, THEY would undoubtedly be the ones made to look like ranting, paranoid fools. This is not to say that I agree with all or even most of what Chomsky says, but I respect the fact that he stays focused on issues ..."

What would you have said of Goebbels ability to say that the Jews were undermining the master race? He kept on point?

Chomsky was an apologist for Pol Pot, an excuser of 911, and all around condemner of America, he is... well perhaps Goebbels is going a bit far - at this point in time anyway, but at the very least he is an enabler of the evil to come.

Chomsky said of China, who's policies at the time (mid 1960's) were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of it's own citizens:
"China is an important example of a new society in which very interesting and positive things happened at the local level, in which 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. "

Where do you start with someone who claims that:"Of all the major powers in the Sixties, according to Chomsky, America was the most reprehensible. Its principles of liberal democracy were a sham. Its democracy was a “four-year dictatorship” and its economic commitment to free markets was merely a disguise for corporate power. Its foreign policy was positively evil. “By any objective standard,” he wrote at the time, “the United States has become the most aggressive power in the world, the greatest threat to peace, to national self-determination, and to international cooperation.”

The United States of America, the greatest threat to peace. Greater than China, North Korea, Syria, Iran and all of their client organizations combined.

Chomsky recently says, in an interview posted on his website: "One day before, on June 24, Israeli forces kidnapped two Gaza civilians, Osama and Mustafa Muamar, by any standards a far more severe crime than capture of a soldier..."

A random Googling of the news (this from YNet daily) says:"Army officials confirmed the operation, saying that the two Hamas activists were involved in planning a terror attack in the immediate future. One of the brothers arrested is a student at the Islamic University affiliated with Hamas, Osama recently returned from Sudan."


That two suspected terrorists, sons of a Hamas terrorist, are equated with a member of the military defending a liberal country, is to my mind, sick.

And then of course, on 9/12/2001, Chomsky wrote:
"The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton’s bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people."

Who do you ally yourself with? You can say that you don't agree with everything he says, but you still imply that in a debate over foriegn policy, Chomsky would aquit himself quite respectably. You say you "... respect the fact that he stays focused on issues". Respect. Respect?! Again, your tendency to paste a words label where it looks nice, after gutting it of all meaning... are you aware of it?

Who do you ally yourself with?

You can dismiss this, and say you aren't really allying yourself with Chomsky, that you're just being open minded - but just as we look back on 1937 and the years that followed, our grandchildren will do the same from the future. One of us they almost certainly will condemn, one of us they probably won't.

Are you so confident of those you ally yourself with, to think that the road they are attempting to stear us down, will be one of reason and peace?

At this point in history, without the benefit of future hindsight - we must all make our stand. I have chosen my stand and I hope to be proved wrong. But I seriously doubt it.


Original Comments:

Blogodidact
I did catch on towards the end of the "Free Will" comments - still though, I am a bit of a gluton....August 07 12:38 PM(http://normalguy.spaces.live.com/)

Gagdad Bob
Van-- I should have warned you about Nagarjuna, but you had to learn for yourself. By the way, Chomsky is not only clinically paranoid, but he is a fine example of someone who has a deep soul pathology as well. He is one of the sickest wackedemics in the entire looniversity bin, and that's saying a lot. I don't believe it is streching the point to say that he would require the services of an excorcist as much as a psychiatrist. Or put it this way: if he's not demon possessed, he might as well be. Keep up the good work. August 07 7:02 AM(http://www.onecosmos.blogspot.com)

5 comments:

Nagarjuna said...

"that a person must read the tealeaves of current events in conjunciton with your best analysis of history, and take a stand one way or the other."

Should "taking a stand one way or the other" mean ad hominem attacks on those who take a different stand, or should it mean substantive and respectful discussion of your differing stands? And once we take our stand, should we cling to it no matter what new facts and insights come our way, or should we keep our ears open to the different stand of others and our minds and hearts open to the possibility that they might contain some truth?

"My point is don't condemn Gagdad Bob, or even Chomsky, for saying what they think is right, criticize what they're saying, point out what you see to be the flaws, and let the conversation go forward."

Your point is well taken. For the record, I don't condemn Bob for stating his opinions. In fact, I don't "condemn" him for anything. I QUESTION his insulting remarks about other people and their opinions without providing explanations of how their opinions are so egregiously wrong that they deserve the scorn he heaps upon them. I have never seen Bob take any of Chomsky's statements or opinions and rebut it. Instead, he engages in ugly name-calling. That's his right, just as it's my right to point it out.

"What would you have said of Goebbels ability to say that the Jews were undermining the master race? He kept on point?"

Are you suggesting that Chomsky has said or done anything so hideously comparable to what Goebbels said or did that his arguments should be dismissed without regard for whether or not he stays "on point"?

"Chomsky was an apologist for Pol Pot, an excuser of 911, and all around condemner of America"

Can you show us where Chomsky EVER said that what Pol Pot did was good, that 9/11 was justified, or that America is to be condemned? As I recall, he has argued that nations tend to do what they must to survive and prosper, and that the more powerful the nation, the more power it's likely to exert to achieve these ends even if it means hurting and destroying other nations and peoples. This strikes me as a pretty realistic view.

"China is an important example of a new society in which very interesting and positive things happened at the local level, in which 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."

Are you telling us that all Chomsky's EVER done with respect to China from the time of Mao to the present is praise it?

"Where do you start with someone who claims that:"Of all the major powers in the Sixties, according to Chomsky, America was the most reprehensible. Its principles of liberal democracy were a sham. Its democracy was a “four-year dictatorship” and its economic commitment to free markets was merely a disguise for corporate power. Its foreign policy was positively evil. “By any objective standard,” he wrote at the time, “the United States has become the most aggressive power in the world, the greatest threat to peace, to national self-determination, and to international cooperation.”

I would start by reading his full justification for this opinion and by giving it serious consideration before I dismissed it out-of-hand. And then, if I respected people for taking a stand and presenting arguments to back it up, and not just those who take and back up stands that I agree with, I would respect him for the fact that he at least takes his stand and backs it up with more details and logic than most people are capable of.

"Chomsky recently says, in an interview posted on his website: "One day before, on June 24, Israeli forces kidnapped two Gaza civilians, Osama and Mustafa Muamar, by any standards a far more severe crime than capture of a soldier..."

Again, I would read and consider his argument carefully before I denounced him as "an absolute twisted wacko" for making it.

"Army officials confirmed the operation, saying that the two Hamas activists were involved in planning a terror attack in the immediate future. One of the brothers arrested is a student at the Islamic University affiliated with Hamas, Osama recently returned from Sudan."

And we're to accept this without question? If Chomsky doesn't accept it, does he provide any reasons for skepticism ragarding this claim? Or have you bothered to find out?

"The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton’s bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people."

What is Chomsky's rationale for this opinion? Did you bother to read and consider it before passing judgment on his mental health?

"Who do you ally yourself with? You can say that you don't agree with everything he says, but you still imply that in a debate over foriegn policy, Chomsky would aquit himself quite respectably."

I still maintain that. I maintain that if Gagdad Bob or any of his "Bobbleheads" were to engage Noam Chomsky in debate, he would almost certainly make them look like ignoramuses with his awesome intellect and command of facts. I DO "respect" that and make no bones about it.

"One of us they almost certainly will condemn, one of us they probably won't."

What reason will our grandchildren have to "condemn" Noam Chomsky? What harm has he done to you or me or this country by 'reading the tealeaves of current events in conjunction with his best analysis of history, and taking a stand one way or the other?'

Namaste,
Steve

Nagarjuna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Van said...

hmm... no wonder I had to page up & down so much.
sigh.

Van said...

Oh my... first, let me say, yes English is my first language - honest. 2nd I'm going to keep this here to remind me to NEVER AGAIN try to do something involved on a PocketPD EVER again.
3rd, Nagarjuna... don't even try. I'll re-write this on a full screen and make it a post.
What's the smiley for red faced embarassment?

Van said...

I couldn't bear it. It haunted me at night. I deleted my comment.
Ok, I now have 2 Blogging rules - don't post at 2:00am & don't try to write a lengthy post on a PocketPC.