Noam Chomsky

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Tue Oct 6 11:59:39 PDT 1998

>Brad, this is demented, and I'm stunned you're saying these things.
>Noam Chomsky is an anarchist, which makes him about as far from
>a fascist as you can get. In fact, he's too anti-statist for me...


I've been wrong before. I'll be wrong again. And I may be wrong this time. But I don't *think* so.

I will admit that the first time I heard Chomsky it was a... bad experience. It was 1976 or maybe 1977 or 1978, and he was comparing the Khmer Rouge to the Free French, and mocking those who said: "Look. The Khmer Rouge has sealed the borders. Refugees are saying horrible things. When a regime that professes a totalitarian ideology seals its borders and refugees start telling horror stories, fear the worst." Ever since then he's been on my list of bad guys: enemies of human freedom who are not to be cut any slack.

Chomsky is certainly old enough to know that the benefits from Keynesian policies are not confined to a "corporate sector" that can be distinguished from the American "people," and that a policy that in the aftermath of World War II uses tax revenue to boost exports--the Marshall Plan--is not a step toward greater inequality. And certainly everybody else in American politics today--from Bill Clinton left and from Bill Clinton right--who sets up good "taxpayers" in opposition to sinister enemies (whether "those who don't play by the rules" or "radical artists who dump Jesus in piss") who include foreigners who talk funny is, how shall I put it, coquetting with the modes of expression of Benito Mussolini.

And, as I said above, Chomsky used up all the slack I was willing to cut him (as well as the serious attention I was willing to pay him) back in the 1970s

But if you think I should take another look at what he's saying de novo, with a re-opened (or, at least, with a tiny chink pried off of the lid) mind, I would be happy to do so...

Brad DeLong

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