The first four chapters of this book deal with the perceived immorality and injustice of the Vietnam War. By now I am so used to Chomsky’s blame-America-first arguments that I tend to be dismissive of them, but his indictments in this book do make me stop and think. The rest of this book consists of rather abstract discussions of the nature of freedom and the relation of individual freedom to the state. Chapter Seven, which is a refutation of Skinner’s theory of behaviorism, is the most interesting chapter in the book, although it seems somewhat out of place. Chomsky is eloquent and logical but also a bit long-winded and tedious; he is clearly a product of the academic world, and his political ideas are well-intentioned but frankly pure fantasy. Orwell wrote about leftist intellectuals who are free to criticize the establishment and dream up utopias in the secure knowledge that they will never have any real power and therefore will never have any responsibility for governing. Yeah.
May 12 2014
For Reasons of State by Noam Chomsky
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