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I've got this all completely wrong! Facts are construed to fit the theory, and not the other way around. That quality - falsifiability - is what distinguishes valid argument from dogma.

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The fact that something is capable of being proven false is what gives it explanatory traction in the world. If a statement is true for all possible circumstances, it's either circular, tautological or it bears no relation to the world we live in. So when the stooges in his audience meekly suggest that his proposal for how to really manage an economy namely: everyone pulls together and works towards the common good, no-one fights, no-one wants more than their fair share, everyone co-operates - utterly brilliant, isn't it?

Nonetheless, there are still some glaring facts which Chomsky can't explain away: The most obvious is that if the media and corporate elites are so indoctrinated, so suppressive of "dissident" views like Chomsky's, then how can Chomsky himself have been such a roaring success? Chomsky is a global superstar, an arch propagandist, a fantastic brand, and though he commends his disciples not to take his word for it, legions of them most notably the slurpers who sit cross-legged at his feet in the pages of this book simply do.

No-one subjects his patter to sustained criticism - possibly because it is no more fun than arguing with a born-again Christian. I suspect what sticks in Chomsky's craw more than anything else isn't that he's suppressed by his political opponents - he simply isn't - it's that he's happily tolerated and, for the most part, ignored.

And it's not really hard to see why. On one hand, Chomsky has little enough faith in the intellectual integrity of his common man to blame the prevalence of consumerism and capitalism on his brainwashing by the media and the corporate elite, but enough faith in it to suppose that some sort of anarcho-syndicalist communal form of existence for humankind is even remotely viable. He may well be right in his first assessment but if they're happy, so what, actually?

But it's the only solution he can come up with - such is the poverty of his constructive analysis. It is one thing to criticise, quite another to propose a constructive alternative - and I'm afraid consensual, non coercive, state-free social planning if by that you don't mean naked capitalism, and trust me, Chomsky doesn't just ain't it.

Lest you think I'm exaggerating about Chomsky's skills as a propagandist, check out this little piece of disinformation: The dust jacket of Understanding Power quotes the New York Times as describing Chomsky as "arguably the most important intellectual alive". Well, if you read the book, you'll know that Chomsky is no fan of the New York Times, so I was surprised by this quote - surprised enough to Google on it to see if I could find the original. And I did: properly contextualised, it reads " At the end of the day, the most withering criticism of Noam Chomsky's political outlook comes not from the New York Times, but from the much-beloved satire on the anarcho-syndicalist peasant in Monty Python and the Holy Grail quoted in the title of this review.

I must say, I tend to side with King Arthur's ultimate view, as he trudges away, bored and frustrated with totally pointless conversation.

Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky

Python Afficionados will know what I mean. I've since spent quite a lot of time reading around Chomsky, and it turns out that he's anything but: The linguistic "nativism" championed by Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker is perhaps the last bastion of intellectual support for moral and cognitive objectivism, and this world view is apparent ironically in Chomsky's political writing. My fault: I guess I just couldn't credit that anyone still seriously advanced this perspective, especially from the Left.

Chomsky's explanations tend to rely on "hidden hands" conspiracies between capitalists, government agencies and so forth which are characterised by nothing so much as their lack of evidence - indeed, this very lack of evidence of conspiracy is often the "clincher" by which Chomsky claims the conspiracy must exist. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason.

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    Customer Reviews. Within a decade, he became known as an outspoken intellectual opponent of the Vietnam War.

    Chomsky has written many books on the links between language, human creativity, and intelligence, including Language and Mind and Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use Understanding Power : The Indispensable Chomsky. Peter R. Mitchell , John Schoeffel. A major new collection from "arguably the most important intellectual alive" The New York Times. Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era.

    Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power , Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky's recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power. In a series of enlightening and wide-ranging discussions, all published here for the first time, Chomsky radically reinterprets the events of the past three decades, covering topics from foreign policy during Vietnam to the decline of welfare under the Clinton administration.


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    4. And as he elucidates the connection between America's imperialistic foreign policy and the decline of domestic social services, Chomsky also discerns the necessary steps to take toward social change. With an eye to political activism and the media's role in popular struggle, as well as U.