In a single volume, the seminal writings of the world's leading philosopher, linguist, and critic, published to coincide with his 80th birthday.
For the past 40 years Noam Chomsky's writings on politics and language have established him as a preeminent public intellectual and as one of the most original and wide-ranging political and social critics of our time. Among the seminal figures in linguistic theory over the past century, since the 1960s Chomsky has also secured a place as perhaps the leading dissident voice in the United States.
Chomsky's many best-selling works - including Manufacturing Consent, Hegemony or Survival, Understanding Power, and Failed States - have served as essential touchstones for dissidents, activists, scholars, and concerned citizens on subjects ranging from the media to human rights to intellectual freedom. In particular, Chomsky's scathing critiques of the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Central America, and the Middle East have furnished a widely accepted intellectual inspiration for antiwar movements over nearly four decades.
The Essential Chomsky assembles the core of his most important writings, including excerpts from his most influential texts over the past 40 years. Here is an unprecedented, comprehensive overview of Chomsky's thought.
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Noam Chomsky is a brilliant intellectual and Socratic genius, but like most geniuses, he is a frustratingly inept political strategist and tactician. Chomsky is an impractical idealist.
Chomsky has been at the forefront of the battle against government control of human freedom–beginning, most famously, with the Vietnam antiwar movement but extending to present day conflicts in Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Chomsky argues that the underlying mechanism for all nation-state’ conflicts is imperialism. He strongly believes capitalism is the source of many of these conflicts because of America’s preeminent economic and political position in the world. Just as Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”–Chomsky views America as the world’s leading corrupter, with China nipping at its’ shirttail, and other post-industrial nations serving the same shirt maker.
Where Chomsky frustrates his audience is when the question is asked, “What can we do?” Chomsky does a magnificent job of analyzing the problem. But, his solution is to politically organize based on ideals; then, raise hell with the establishment.
Without addressing the nature of human beings, nothing will change. Capitalism, with all its’ faults, is the best system of community that takes the nature of human beings into consideration. Geniuses like Chomsky need to address ideas that can take the place of capitalism; that offer a better way of life, without ignoring the nature of human beings. The inchoate ideas of more freedom, marching on Washington, or “Occupy Wall Street” do not offer alternatives to capitalism; they offer only twittered and tweaked capitalism.
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