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Chomsky on religion and the ethics of war

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William Crawley | 13:40 UK time, Sunday, 25 October 2009

noam-chomsky.jpg"I don't join the New Atheists. So, for example, I wouldn't have the arrogance to lecture some mother who hopes to see her dying child in heaven -- that's none of my business ultimately. I won't lecture her on the philosophy of science."

That's how Noam Chomsky responded today, during our conversation about politics and religion. (LIsten to the interview here.) While Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens challenge the claim that religion has made any constructive contribution to the world, Chomshy lauded the sacrificial work of the murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero and the social critique of liberationist theology.

When I asked him for contemporary examples of religion making a positive contribution, he told me this: "The Catholic Bishops Conference in the United States comes out with statements that are so progressive that the press won't report them. The Pope's new year messages are often not reported because they would be considered so far 'to the left' (whatever that means in the US spectrum)."

Though himself an atheist or agnostic, Chomsky opposed both the tone and the focus of the new atheist movement. Here's another excerpt from today's interview:

Chomsky: "I'm not impressed with it, frankly. And I don't think they address the concerns, feelings and commitments of seriously religious people. Yes, they do address the concerns of people who think the world was created ten thousand years ago, but they're not going to listen to these arguments -- not in the arrogant form in which they are presented. Discourse is possible. And if people want to believe in, say, a future life, or a divine figure, that's their right. What does bother me much more is, for example, reading publications from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University which describe Ronald Reagan, their divinity, as a 'colossus' striding over the country whose spirit looks over us like a loving ghost.

Crawley: "Good Lord."

Chomsky: "Yeah, I'm almost literally quoting. When secular figures are turned into divinities, they way they are in Peian Yang or Stanford University -- that I don't like."

We also talked about pacifism and the justification of war. Noam Chomsky denied that he was a complete pacifist. He supported the Allied military response to Hitler, and when pressed he accepted that the British intervention in Sierra Leone was justified. But, in general, he said, the case for war is a very hard sell, and governments turn to military action much too easily, without fully exhausting peaceful means.

Noam Chomsky was speaking to me, ahead of his visit to Belfast next week. He'll be giving this year's Amnesty International Lecture on Friday evening. That event has been sold out for quite some time, but the lecture and audience event will eventually be screened online on the Amnesty website.


  • Comment number 1.

    At last!

  • Comment number 2.

    'he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus'

    I don't think there's anything more I need say.

  • Comment number 3.

    Noam Chomsky is one of America's most dangerous liars and criminals. He's just a hair's breath short of being an out and out traitor. By American political standards he's well into what we call "the lunatic fringe."

    "I wouldn't have the arrogance to lecture some mother who hopes to see her dying child in heaven"

    He's too busy lecturing people who see their own lives being ruined when people of his mentality gain power and impliment ideas akin to his into laws. His ideas strike me as being very close to Marxism-Leninism.

    Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT who uses the meanings of words to tell lies by distorting them, altering their definitions to suit his political agenda. He uses connotations and pejoratives to sell his message. These among many lignuistic tricks he has up his sleeve are a playbook from which BBC can and does learn to sell nearly the same message. He is strongly anti-American and anti-Israel. For example, in his interview with BBC about 5 or 6 years ago, he called America "a rogue state." Then later in what amounted to the fine print, he defined a rogue state as any state which acts exclusively in its own self interest. Excuse me Mr. Chomsky but that describes every nation on earth.

    What makes him dangerous is that many people take him seriously. They believe what he says because it sounds like what they want to hear. Stripped of his pedantic trappings and his academic credentials, he's no more AFAIAC than any other crackpot spouting off. Instead of MIT he should be lecturing at America's version of "Speaker Corner" which is where 42nd street meets Broadway and Seventh Avenue in New York City. If you've ever been there you know he'd be in good company.

  • Comment number 4.

    No lectures from Atheists?
    Just the preaching, sermonizing, evangelizing, proselytizing of the religious?
    Atheists until quite recently had been quite mute.
    The 'New Atheist'. A reaction to the new fundamental and violent manifestation of religion.
    Enough. no more reticence.

  • Comment number 5.

    What rattles your cage about Chomsky, Marcus? Was it when he said -

    "Everybody is worried about stopping terrorism. Well there is a really easy way to stop it. Stop participating in it."

    Or when he said -

    "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, every post-war US President would have been hanged."

    I can see how he wouldnt be your flavour of the month, MA.

  • Comment number 6.

    See RJB, Chumpsky and you think alike. The part you left out and he left out is that it would also include EVERY LAST LEADER OF EVERY MAJOR AND MOST MINOR COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD AND OF MOST RELIGIONS. For example, it would include the leaders of NI, the UK, China, Russia, India, Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Most of Europe, Most of Africa, the entire Middle East, many other Moslem countries, and the leaders of the Catholic Church for systematically aiding and abetting the mass sexual, physical, and mental abuse of children all over the world destroying their lives. When you tell the truth, the only real truth is THE WHOLE TRUTH.

  • Comment number 7.

    Markie doesn't like anything that isn't along the lines of that Major that Kenny Everett used to play in the Sherman tank.

    Having said that, the chomskmeister has missed a trick - the New Atheists very much do address the concerns of the fluffily religious, because they in turn hide behind the nonsensical waffle of apologists like Craig and Plantinga and pop out every now and then to take a swipe at atheists, before scuttling off and bleating about how meek and inoffensive they are. The constituency of the "New Atheists" is not the mother of a dying child (Noam, what a silly allusion!), nor is it the fluffy pretend-inoffensive Eagletons and Armstrongs and Lennoxes (whose contributions have been vastly overrated), nor is it even the gonzo creationists and fundies. To a large extent it is ordinary atheists and agnostics who form the fastest-growing demographic in western society. These are people who work alongside you; they go to your churches, your shops; their kids go to school with your kids. Atheists are here, and we are not about to go away, and we are not about to apologise for not believing in ridiculous sky pixies.

    Iz it coz I iz shrill?

  • Comment number 8.

    RJB, how could I have forgotten one that is right at the top of the list, the United Nations. Imagine overlooking the leaders of the United Nations on a roster of the world's worst criminals.

  • Comment number 9.

    Aw c'mon Marcus,
    give him credit. He also said loads of things with which I'm sure you'd agree, like -

    "If a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, it would probably choose the American system."

  • Comment number 10.

    Helio, it really is good to have you back!

  • Comment number 11.


    ""If a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, it would probably choose the American system.""

    That's an oxymoron, just like a "rational socialist dictatorship," a "rational communist dictatorship," a "rational theocratic dictatorship," a "rational monarchist dictatorship," and a "rational politically active linguist" are.

    While it is believed that talk radio in America has been taken over by the far right and the mainstream media largely taken over by the left, what is probably not well known outside America and even in much of America itself is that the left wing lunatic fringe allied with politically militant Islam have conspired to take over the intellectual life of most of America's colleges and universities. The evil heart of darkness is located at Morningside Heights in upper Manhattan at Columbia University. If you do not agree with their political point of view and are invited to speak there, there will be a well organized cadre present to shout you down. I'm sure Gnome Chimpsky is always a welcome guest there, they probably hang on every phrase and inflection of his pearls of wisdom. Upon reflection, I'd say his views are more in line with George Gallway than Lenin. That the famous attorney Alan Dirschowitz couldn't easily take him apart in the debates they had only demonstrated to me that Dirschowitz wasn't the clever lawyer he was cracked up to be.

  • Comment number 12.

    Good lordy, Markie - America sounds almost as bad as Europe!

  • Comment number 13.

    Not yet helio but if the President and Congress are dumb enough or corrupt enough to go along with the atrocity Europe will try to impose on America in Copenhagen in December, we could be headed that way. What they will want seems inconceivable, I can't imagine the US allowing itself to be conned that way.

  • Comment number 14.

    Marcus - we love even when you're wrong (which, of-course, is most of the time)...

  • Comment number 15.

    Will I did,nt hear your interview with Chomsky but his views about the RC church sound bizarre.The Catholic Bishops conference put out progressive statements. So what. These are the same people who covered up clerical sex abuse for the last 40 years.The diocese of Delaware has just filed for bankruptcy in order to avoid its debts to victims.In ethics its not what you say its what you do that counts.As for the Pope's New Year messages, is he serious?

  • Comment number 16.

    Parrotitis, Gnome Chimpsky is an even bigger parriah than you are.

    Dirschowitz's performance against Chimpsky was even more pathetic than it was when he appeared on BBC. I wouldn't hire him as my lawyer.

  • Comment number 17.


    "In ethics its not what you say its what you do that counts.As for the Pope's New Year messages, is he serious?"

    In ethics as for everthing else in America that is true. But Europe is the biggest pile of horse manure on the planet. They're all talk and no action....except when they're killing each other.

  • Comment number 18.

    Marcus -

    We may have our differences re theism / atheism, but on this particular topic I happen to agree with you (broadly speaking).

    Take a look at this article concerning Noam Chomsky: https://www.city-journal.org/printable.php?id=831

    I particularly like the reference to the distinction between "vertical and horizontal fame".

  • Comment number 19.


    Chimsky is the darling of the fringe left wing in America. He has credentials, teaches at one of our most prestigious institutions of higher learning, and agrees with their political philosophy. The more mainstream liberal left pays lip service to him. In Europe his views might be considered mainstream in some places but not here in America. Neither do we take his academic credentials at face value especially now that some of our most prestigious accredited economists proved they didn't know what the hell they were talking about when they got us into the economic disaster we find ourselves in. Credentials may get you a foot in the door for a job interview but we do not bow down to the "Herr Professeur." To us he's just one more crackpot who got a cushy job.

    I don't need to look at an article making reference to more of Chimpsky's invented terminology. I wouldn't characterize Chimsky as vertically famous or horizontally famous but as "notorious." I'm on to his word games and I won't fall for them.

    BTW, if his theory of inborn gramatical structure was correct, every language would have the same structure or if there were variants within people based on their DNA as he implies, individuals with an inborn structure incompatible with the language of their parents and society would not be able to learn to speak, read, write or think in that language. Skinner was right, Chimpsky's a chump, a pseudointellectual and just plain wrong even in his own supposed field of expertise.

  • Comment number 20.

    Marcus - also love you when you're ignorant.

  • Comment number 21.

    Marcus -

    I think you would agree with the article, and the "fame" distinction is not one of Chomsky's definitions.

    Vertical fame: Luciano Pavarotti - he was famous for what he was good at: singing. Period.

    Horizontal fame: Barbara Streisand and Bono giving lectures on public policy: i.e. famous for one thing (singing) and deluding themselves into thinking they can be famous for something else.

    The writer of the article puts Mr Chomsky firmly in the second category.

    His so-called expertise: linguistics (which is dubious, as you have rightly pointed out); his conceit: geopolitics.

    BTW - you compare Europe with a certain form of animal waste. It is quite good fertilizer, ya know, so perhaps some good can grow in this neck of the woods!

  • Comment number 22.

    On his views of religion, Chomsky said in a Common Sense interview in 2002, "...if you ask me whether or not I'm an atheist, I wouldn't even answer. I would first want an explanation of what it is that I'm supposed not to believe in, and I've never seen an explanation."

  • Comment number 23.


    I'm aware that the characterization of "fame" as being horizontal and vertical is not Chomsky's characterization but is widely accepted. I merely made a comment reflecting my opinion of has "fame."


    Which of Chimpsky's lies or mistakes would you like to defend? I've already pointed out the obvious illogic regarding his contention of an inborn gramatical structure to the human mind.

  • Comment number 24.

    Marcus, may I suggest you read a little more about Chomsky before your arrogant ignorance begins to make your comments an embarrassment to read.

  • Comment number 25.

    Hate to have to point this out Marcus, but you really should quote the person correctly before you attempt to rip lumps out of them. Speak of Chomsky's definition of a 'rogue state' you claimed:

    "The part you left out and he left out is that it would also include EVERY LAST LEADER OF EVERY MAJOR AND MOST MINOR COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD AND OF MOST RELIGIONS".

    Now here is an interview with Chomsky from 2001 when he is asked specifically about 'rogue states':

    QUESTION: How would you define a "rogue state"?

    CHOMSKY: A "rogue state" is a state that defies international laws and conventions, does not consider itself bound by the major treaties and conventions, World Court decisions -- in fact, anything except the interests of its own leadership, the forces around the leadership that dominate policy. That would be an extreme case of a "rogue state." And then there's variations, of course.

    QUESTION: Give me some examples of those variations.

    CHOMSKY: Well, you know, there are states that partially reject international law and convention insofar as they can get away with it. In fact, every state is like that. Virtually every state would be. That's the nature of states. They would be "rogue states" if they could get away with it.

    As you will see from this Marcus, not only is Chomsky's definition of a rogue state much more detailed than you suggested, he also clearly states that every state is, almost intrinsically, a 'rougue state'. You see both you and Chomsky do agree on something :)

  • Comment number 26.

    dickywicky, parriah; so far all I've heard from you is that I'm wrong. No substantiation, no validation of your argument to back it up. Is that the best you can do? Do you customarily genuflect to "the great man?" He is after all Gnome Chimpsky, not Jesus Christky. Don't expect me to bow down before the simian too.

    dickywicky, you said;

    "Chomsky said in a Common Sense interview in 2002, "...if you ask me whether or not I'm an atheist, I wouldn't even answer. I would first want an explanation of what it is that I'm supposed not to believe in, and I've never seen an explanation.""

    So here's a man who is well advanced in years and who says he has never had an explanation of what god is so he could make up his own mind or at least know what nine tenths of the human population is thinking about when it talks about god. Now what does that tell you about his own education? About his desire to be educated to at least be aware of concepts so many people hold as important and which played a vitally important role in human history? It tells me he's either a bullshitting liar or an unbelievable ignoramus. This from a man who claims to be a "linguist." Doesn't know even one definition of god so he can decide whether or not to believe in it. What sort of person would believe one word such a man says?

  • Comment number 27.

    "While Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens challenge the claim that religion has made any constructive contribution to the world..."

    Is it not interesting that one of the things the BNP was condemned for was stating that "Islam is a wicked faith".

    The papers were full of it.

    But yet when Dawkins et al dismiss ALL religion and religions as useless and evil - in effect, condemning the views of all believers - we hear not a peep of criticism from the media or the political establishment. In fact, the media are not slow to lend their support in promoting such a viewpoint.

    If the former viewpoint is to be condemned as a form of fascism, then the latter view should suffer the same treatment.

    I think such logical and moral inconsistency is called cognitive dissonance.

    By the way... I don't regard any critique of any viewpoint as "fascism". And I also reiterate that I am not a supporter of the BNP - I am merely pointing out a serious inconsistency in our contemporary media culture: it's vile to call any particular religion evil, but perfectly acceptable to call all religions evil.

    Mad logic!

  • Comment number 28.

    Pumpkin, I hate to burst your bubble but if you go back and read the rest of the interview, you'll see he didn't get to that part where he admits all states are rogue states by HIS definition until long after he characterized the United States alone as a "rogue state." This is how the term is used pejoratively obtaining shock value, by characterizing the nation he wants to villify with terminology usually reserved for miscreants and not until the thought is planted in the audience's mind that this is what he is saying does he come back and say after being prodded by the moderator that by his particular definition all other states fit the same description. This is what I mean when I call him a liar. It's a cheap trick anyone who cares to can see right through. He's as transparent as clear celophane film.

  • Comment number 29.

    Marcus, I suspect you are looking at a mirror, not a window.

  • Comment number 30.

    willynilly, you're pathetic. Do you have one thing of merit that is substantive to say in Chumpsky's defense? What's the matter, you don't like me knocking that America hating, Israel hating, Jew hating, self hating miserable wretch off the pedistal you've put him on in your mind? Too bad. He's no damned good. He's the intellectual equivalent of Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, Jim Jones. A genuine home grown monster made in America and unleashed on the world. A perfect icon for the American lunatic fringe and mainstream Europe that sees the world through his same warped vision.

  • Comment number 31.

    Marcus, Marcus, Marcus....

    Chomsky has been attacked by people like you for many years - and I suspect his answer to you would be extremely short, and to the point.

    There is much about Chomsky, especially on the net - try this for starters, Marcus, if you genuinely want to be less ignorant....but I fear I might be wasting my time :


  • Comment number 32.

    Who knows what causes Chumpsky to exhibit his mental abberation? Perhaps it was some sort of trauma during his life we don't know about. Two others who come immediately to mind in the same vein are Kurt Vonnegut and Gore Vidal. Similar symptoms. Similar mental syndromes. That they get a political following is ludicrous, they should better be followed by a team of psychiatrists.

  • Comment number 33.

    I listened to the interview. "Liberation Theology"....code words for Christianity in the service of Soviet Imperial expansionism....as in Nicaragua. Judaism reduced to nothing more than ritualism with no theology. The Israeli government didn't exhaust every possibility of negotiating an end to the rocket attacks on its citizens coming from Gaza...with a government that says Israel doesn't even have a right to exist. This guy is so full of crap how can anyone stand him? All pure unadulterated unabashed lies from a liar of the lowest order and a traitor to his own country who betrayed the very principles and people who fought and died to guarantee him the right to spout of his idiocy. Now just one more aging refugee from the 1960s. Chumsky doesn't just give aid and comfort to America's enemies, HE IS America's enemy.

  • Comment number 34.

    Marcus you suggest that upon further reading the interview with Chomksy that I quoted:

    ''you'll see he didn't get to that part where he admits all states are rogue states by HIS definition until long after he characterized the United States alone as a "rogue state."

    In my previous post, which was lifted from the very start of the interview, I pasted the exact part where Chomsky says that by definition all states are rouge states.

  • Comment number 35.


    That's a great style you have. Especially the novel idea of changing names. Chimpsky, Chumpsky. Never seen that done on the internet before. Really helps to ram the point home.

  • Comment number 36.

    Pumpkin, the point was in case you missed it that by the time he admitted that his definition of the term rogue state included all other countries, he'd already planted the notion in his audience's mind that he was calling America some kind of criminal parriah. It was a linguistic trick using the psychology of language to tell a lie because had he told that truth from the beginning, that the US acts in its own self interest like all other countries, it would have had no impact, he would not have made his point.

    Why not listen to yesterday's Sunday Sequence and hear his latest interview with William Crawley where he makes at least three more ludicrous statements? Frist he lauds what is termed "liberationist theology" which is Christianity used in the service of spreading the Soviet Union's empire as it was in Nicaragua the example he cited. Recall that once Communism was established in the Soviet evil empire, all religion was outlawed. Second he dismisses Judism as nothing more than a ritualistic religion with almost no theology of its own. You have to wonder what any rabii would say about that. And third he claimed that Israel was unjustified in attacking Hamas in Gaza from which rockets were fired at its civillians incessently because it had not exhausted every possible "peaceful means" to negotiate an end to it. What lunacy is this? We're talking about negotiating an end to what the UN just called crimes against humanity the Palestinians were perpetrating on a daily basis with a government that asserted Israel doesn't even have a right to exist and this terrorism was what it called "armed resistance." That's one more linguistically based lie Chumpsky would appreciate. (I haven't checked whether the six month lull in the rocket attacks was just a lull of rockets fired by Hamas members or by all Palestinians but as I recall, it was just by Hamas. I think there were others still being fired rockets so if true, Hamas' cessation was not sufficient, Hamas did nothing to try to stop others from doing the same from its territory.) So from a supposed position of expertise in "linguistics" this man is now accepted as an expert philosopher and his political views are supposed to be taken as gospel. Sorry, even in his own area I'm not impressed that his main theory is right. Outside of that area, he uses whatever tricks he has as a linguist in service of his advancing his political agenda which has no more value than any Joe Sixpack off the American street. Having grown up near enough to Madison Avenue and lived in that other con capital of the world California, I know a con man and a con job when I hear one. IMO this man is nothing but an ordinary demagogue. They are only to be feared when they have a following. Now he's just one more refugee from the 1960, the era he probably loved best.

  • Comment number 37.

    Which one are you accusing of employing linguistic tricks, Marcus?
    Chimpsky or Chumpsky?

  • Comment number 38.

    May I suggest that you "play the ball - not the man" - in other words, criticise Chomsky's ideas, not him as a person.

    Personal name-calling only makes you look silly.

    Deal with his specific ideas & comments - that way, you might be better able to persuade someone to your own point of view.

    At the moment, by being so insulting to him as a person, it makes you look ignorant and Chomsky look a genius of uncommon sense.

  • Comment number 39.

    There's some interesting stuff buried in the bile there Marcus. As it is, it may as well be the real Chimpsky talking.

  • Comment number 40.

    Unfortunately I cannot claim originality completely in this case as the Chimpanzee "Nim Chimpsky" was around for a long time.


    Perhaps Nim Chimpsky was actully smarter the Gnome Chumpsky. At least when the chimp used a word, he probably knew what it meant. If you listen carefully to Chumpsky's interview with William Crawley carefully, you will hear him say; "The Bishop's conference, the Catholic Bishop's conference in the United States, it comes out with statements that are so progressive that the press won't report them. In fact the Pope's New Years Day messages are often not reported because they'd be considered so far to the left, whatever that means." Whatever that means from a man who is a linguist. He uses words he immediately admits he doesn't understand the meaning of if you can believe him. Did you notice his gramatical error too when he used the word "it" in that sentence? This from a man whose main thesis and claim to fame is that grammatical structure is inherent in the human mind.

    Did you notice his reference to the Eastern Europeans liberating themselves from "the Russian grip?" A historical inaccuracy since it was the Soviet grip that enslaved them, the Russian Federated Soviet Socialist Republic being only one of fifteen SSRs. Chumpsky is if nothing else consistent...consistently wrong about just about everything.

  • Comment number 41.

    Listen to this sentence from the interview; "Well that is going to be commemorated in the United States (pause) very marginally." The very structure of the sentence has the second phrase negating the meaning imparted by the first phrase and you don't get what he really means until you take the sentence as a whole. His very style of speech seems instinctively structured to subliminally deceive the person(s) he is talking to to a point where you don't even know if that is what is intended, it's so ingrained in him.

  • Comment number 42.

    Marcus, try not to linguistically disappear up your own posterior...

    Chomsky makes it crystal clear what he means - for example, the US is itself a terrorist "rogue" state by it's own definitions.

    That statement - which is not a linguistic trick - might be very difficult for many of us to stomach....but he's trying to tell the truth as he sees it - not make us feel better with our illusions.

  • Comment number 43.

    U14188778, aren't you the person who posted under the moniker jacksforge, a Brit living in Oregon who got banned from all other BBC blog sites for incessent anti-semitic statements and profanities?

    BTW, you got it wrong, you fell into his trap. Re-read the transcript carefully this time.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    BTW, Marcus, I am not "Anti-Semitic" - but I am "Anti-Zionist".

    There is a chasm of difference to those who can read - and think clearly for themselves.

  • Comment number 46.

    Oh, & BTW Marcus, I am not that person you think I am.

    If that was an attempt to belittle & ridicule - you'll have to be more creative...or destructive.

  • Comment number 47.

    Midas Aures-asini

    Whatever about Chomsky, I think America is a rogue state. It has undoubtedly been one of the greatest ever promoters of international terrorism and lies squarely on any 'axis of evil' a reasonable person might describe. The only quibbles I would have with the late Ayatollah Khomeini when he typified America as 'the Great Satan' would be in terms of his restraint and his moderation.

    I cannot begin to describe to you the sheer physical exhilaration I felt when America was humiliated in Vietnam - the memory of the announcement of their withdrawal is still a vivid thrill. Much though I deplore the loss of all life in Afghanistan, part of me anticipates the replication which will surely happen there.

  • Comment number 48.

    I agree with you, Parrhasios, which makes the actions of the Tony Bliar "pushers", who are determined to get him President of Europe, a moral obscenity....a view which appears to be shared by the Professor.

  • Comment number 49.

    The (London) Independent - Letter - August 3 2004 - by Richard W. Symonds

    "Blair's war rhetoric still fails to convince"

    Sir :

    So, our present Prime Minister operated outside international law, with profound sincerity and conviction. That just makes him a profoundly sincere international outlaw with convictions",

  • Comment number 50.

    U14188778 (38):

    Asking Marcus Bronxman to ‘play the ball, not the man’ is like asking God to stop people dying. It’s a forelorn hope. Perhaps, like God, Bronxman doesn’t really exist, and it’s a gigantic computer designed by the Pentagon to spew out threats and bile to anyone on the internet who dares to challenge the hegermonic power of the great o’l US of A. The atheism is merely a disguise to fool people into thinking he’s authentic.

    Can we see Bronxman? No. Can we touch Bronxman? No. Is there any evidence other than unauthenticated ethereal texts for his existence? No. Does his poisonous verbal essence prove his existence? Can Alvin Plantinga prove that Bronxman exists? No. Could Norman Malcolm if he were brought back from the dead? No. Does Bronxman have ‘sufficient reason’ for his existence? Or is He ‘a mere unintelligible brute fact’?

    Perhaps we need Chomsky to perform a linguistic dissection of his posts.

  • Comment number 51.

    "Remember your Humanity. Forget the Rest" (Bertrand Russell - one of Chomsky's 'mentors' I believe).

    We've forgotten our Humanity. We remember the Rest.

    In other words, we've lost the (moral) plot.

    People like Chomsky can help us to recover that lost plot.

  • Comment number 52.

    If we fail to heed the clear warnings, by the likes of Chomsky, I predict our Humanity will be wiped our by 2050 - leaving us barbarians on a nuclear wasteland.

  • Comment number 53.

    Parriah and U-in-the-same-boat;

    Chumsky's point that BBC eventually pried out of him is well taken. You can define a word to mean whatever you want it to so that you can use it as a pejorative label to condemn someone or something you don't like. Now take Ireland. I could label it a potato state (as opposed to a banana republic) since it seemed to have existed to a great extent on potatoes. That's what historians tell me and as a result, a potato blight caused a famine that sent millions of Irishmen packing for the US in the mid 19th century. Or I could call it the blarney state for all its hot air that has spewed out of it masquerading as poetry which people accepted as truths because they liked the sound of the words. But I can also call it a terrorist state that had a 400 year long civil war with victims beyond number fought over two stupid theologies which, for the life of me don't have a hairline's crack of daylight in substantive difference between them as far as I can tell. If the interpretation of the war between Lilliput and Belfescu had been taken to mean the war between Dublin and Belfast I could have found that entirely plausible, the difference over their combating doctrines of which end of an egg should be opened about as meaningful. I could also accept the tag for Ireland the land of "The Little People" since by my sense of it, there is much of the leprechaun in much of its population. And the term "Little England" doesn't bother me eihther.

    Did the US lose the war in Vietnam? In a sense yes but it was a pyhrric victory for the Communists at best. Vietnam became one of the poorest most drecrepit nations in the world under the Communist "victors." Only recently under capitalism has it started to make any progress at all. Had it followed the policies in 1959 that it follows in 2009 there wouldn't have been a war. Of course while America may have lost this war which was really just one battle in the much larger cold war, it won that war and smashed the USSR. Europeans, Gnome Chumpsky, and his followers may not be willing to admit that America in general and President Reagan in particular was responsible for that victory but that is the historical fact. Meanwhile, the once mighty British Empire on which the sun never set, whose crimes against humanity and crimes of war are far beyond recounting is now reduced to a chain of little islands fighting for its very identity and likely to lose that battle as well. He who laughs last laughs best.

    I seem to recally having read Bertrand Russell's book Summerhill about a school where students were free to do what they wanted and if they got no education at all at the end of a dozen years of it, that was considered okay. As long as they felt happy. The feely touchy whatever makes you feel good philosophy of life. Fits the liberal left wing political theology of the 1960s to a tee. Would hardly bother me a bit if it became the EU's modus operandi for primary and secondary eduction.

  • Comment number 54.

    As a perfect example of the critical danger Humanity had now put itself in, by losing the moral plot, please see above.

  • Comment number 55.

    The problem with Chumpsky's followers that was created by President Reagan smashing the Soviet Union's evil empire is that there is nobody around left to surrender to. That is why the EUSSR superstate had to be created. It will be a substitute for the USSR and is right on target to follow in its footsteps of tyrannical socialist dictatorship justified by seeing to everyone's "humanitarian needs." It will be exactly like any other prison. Adequate food, adequate medical care, adequate housing, adequate clothing, adequate everything for everyone with any dissent meeting with the most severe punishment and no way out.

  • Comment number 56.

    brainlessmcclinton, you're even more pathetic when you're angry.

    If what you said were true and my postings were what the Pentagon wished, I should offer my services for a very large sum. I'd be cheaper than them buying a supercomputer. But in the unlikely event that the Pentagon is even dimly aware that I exist and has any opinion at all about what I post, I'd bet they'd prefer that I stop.

    BTW, taking any bets on whether the Bronx Bombers will beat the Phillies in the World Series. Guess who I'm rooting for :-)

  • Comment number 57.


    What other countries are involved in the world series? Not that I'm bothered, I have every faith that an American team will win it. You'll see.

  • Comment number 58.


    Canada. Toronto and Montreal both have teams in the major leagues. I speculate that one day perhaps Japan, Taiwan, and if they ever become a democratic nation Cuba might enter professional baseball teams in competition that could play in the World Series too. But not yet.

  • Comment number 59.

    Almost all of the countries we colonised (aka invaded & occupied) took up the game of Cricket - except North Americans.

    Maybe the rules were too subtle ;)

  • Comment number 60.

    the answer you were looking for is "TWO" then.

  • Comment number 61.


    Crickit? Cricket? We don't play no stinkin' cricket. Not in America, not so anyone would notice.

    In the US soccer is an adolescent girl's game. The term "soccer mom" was coined here for women who chauffer their daughters to practice and attend their games. I'm sure some of those in the LA area had hopes of one day meeting David Packham or whatever his name is. To anyone else in the US, they wouldn't know him if they met him on the street from a bag of sour apples. If Chumpsky was a baseball player, you could be sure his position would be out in left field. Way out in left field.

    We have Rutgers University in New Jersey but no rugby that I'm aware of. Eurosports don't generate much interest in the US. I'm surprised anyone even watches the farce of the Olympics.

  • Comment number 62.

    If Marcus is typical of a 'six-pack' American, I can see why they didn't take to a game like cricket...

  • Comment number 63.

    U-Tube, I threw my tea in the harbor along with others. And I DON'T EAT SCONES OR WATERCRESS SANDWICHES.

  • Comment number 64.

    Built into the game of cricket is the concept of fair play, and giving your opponent the chance to win - a concept which seems totally alien to American pathology.

  • Comment number 65.

    U-Tube, built into the British pathology is the concept of surrender. The only disagreement among Brits is whom to surrender to. It can't be the USSR anymore, President Reagan destroyed them. Will it be the EUSSR? Militant Islam? The Sheep in the Malvinas islands? I'll just have to wait and see.

  • Comment number 66.

    Yea, Marcus, we have surrendered - by becoming a 'satellite state' of the American Empire - you lot - and what a bunch of global bullies you have turned out to be !

    If any other state gets in your way, or opposes your so-called "democracy", you have a tendency of either threatening to nuke them (eg Iran), or invade & occupy them (eg Iraq & Afghanistan).

    You lot are trigger-happy, and export your cowboy capitalism with the same arrogance & ignorance as Ghenkis Khan.

  • Comment number 67.


    "You lot are trigger-happy, and export your cowboy capitalism with the same arrogance & ignorance as Ghenkis Khan."...

    .....and the British Crown, you left them out I'm sure as an oversight. You're just jealous because America replaced Britain...well not exactly but you'd think so to hear BBC tell it in their badly flawed and skewed series "America Age of Empire." They compare the US with Rome. Hmmm, how'd you like to be on American TV U-Tube? Maybe I could get you a job as a gladiator. How are you at fighting lions?

  • Comment number 68.

    Marcus Bronxman:

    The book on Summerhill to which you refer is presumably the one written by its founder AS Neill, not Bertrand Russell.

    It is easy to see why most Americans prefer baseball to cricket. Baseball is a predictable, simplistic, unidimensional game played by men who look like rednecks on steroids (in NI a baseball bat is appropriately something used to beat somebody up with). Cricket is a complex, skilful, subtle and graceful game played by refined and cultured gentlemen (and increasingly women).

    Cricket has infinitely more variety: of batting stroke play, bowling speed and tactics, fielding prowess, strategies to stay in or get batsman out. There is variation of lengths of game: 5 day tests, one day internationals, 3 hour T20s. Baseball, by contrast, is homogenised Mcworld.

    Baseball is riddled with cheating. In fact, there's a saying: "if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying". Cricket at its best epitomises the idea of fair play, a concept largely alien to the American psyche.

    Americans think they own the world. But, thankfully, the world isn't listening. Hence a 'world series' largely confined to North America. Its isolation from the civilised world is symbolised in its choice of dominant sport.

    Indeed, the US preference for baseball proves Chomsky's point: it is indeed a 'rogue' state.

  • Comment number 69.


    "Cricket is a complex, skilful, subtle and graceful game played by refined and cultured gentlemen"

    Yes, I noticed the few times I've watched it that when what you call the batsman (I think that's what you call him) hits the ball, he doesn't run, he skips. He wouldn't want to perspire now would he, that would be ungentlemanly of him (perish the thought of using the word sweat and cricket in the same sentence.)

    I don't pretend to have even the most rudimentary understanding of cricket. All I know is that once when I worked in a plant managed by an Englishman, he had this strange poster hanging on his office wall explaining cricket to foreigners (Americans) like me. There was something about the ins being in and the outs being out and then the ins went out and the outs went in. Don't even ask me to guess what all those overs are about. BTW, can a bowler (I think that's what you call him) throw a curve ball, fast ball, knuckle ball, screw ball, slider, change up, and other pitches through a one foot diameter hoop 60 feet 6 inches away at 106 miles per hour? If he could, could a cricket batsman hit it? Could he hit it 450 feet over the center field fence? For those kinds of skills, major league baseball teams will pay millions of dollars a year just the way your top soccer stars are paid big salaries. You don't know much about American culture do you? Baseball is called America's national game by the way. And the players DO sweat.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm with George Orwell here - and in many ways Chomsky is 'America''s Orwell' :

    Orwell fought against 3 primary 'evils' in his (sadly) short life :

    1, British Imperialism (eg in colonial Burma).
    2. Russian Communism, and
    3. German & Spanish Fascism.

    If he was alive today, I sense he would continue the fight :

    1. American Imperialism
    2. Chinese Communism
    3. USrael-UK Fascism

    I also sense he would not use the much-abused term "Fascism" (aka Bully), but rather "Rogue States".

    Orwell, who was a kind of atheistic agnostic like Chomsky, called himself a Democratic Socialist.

  • Comment number 71.


    Shoosh! If he finds out that cricketers run away when the rain comes on and that they stop for tea, he'll slaughter us.

  • Comment number 72.


    "Built into the game of cricket is the concept of fair play, and giving your opponent the chance to win - a concept which seems totally alien to American pathology."

    That's how Brits fight their wars too. That is why they nearly lost two world wars. Americans are out to win and only to win. That's why they had to rescue the Brits in both the first and second world wars or they would have lost. But in the end whether the Brits surrender to the EUSSR or Islamic militants, there is nothing the US can do to protect the UK from itself.


    "It is easy to see why most Americans prefer baseball to cricket. Baseball is a predictable, simplistic, unidimensional game played by men who look like rednecks on steroids (in NI a baseball bat is appropriately something used to beat somebody up with)."

    The game of baseball can be enjoyed at many levels. Small children can learn to play it but at the highest level among seasoned professionals it is almost strictly a mental game, a battle of wits as much as of physical skill. On October 1, 2009 Charlie Rose, perhaps the best interviewer in America or anywhere else for that matter IMO interviewed former New York Yankees outfielder and hitting champion Reggie Jackson and former ace pitcher for the Saint Louis Cardinals Bob Gibson. They explained how the game is one of psychology akin to a chess match between the pitcher and the batter when it is seen by the most expereienced participants in the game, the two of them for example. You may have to register to view it but it's worth seeing. And they don't look anything like the stereotype of a redneck, both are African Americans.


    BTW, why would people in Norther Ireland who by and large don't play baseball even have baseball bats? Oh of course, as you say to beat each other up. And a baseball bat can be quite an effective weapon. I believe Al Capone murdered someone who betrayed him at a dinner in his own house with a baseball bat. Jason Robarts starred in the movie "Capone."

  • Comment number 73.

    Marcus Six-Pack American "is worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way : stop participating in it." (Chomsky)

  • Comment number 74.

    Ahemmm! U14

    Post # 5!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Great & beautiful minds think alike, RJB ;)

  • Comment number 76.

    #70 This I find interesting - concerning Fascism & the US :

    This past Thursday I attended the first meeting of Dr. Gordon Iseminger's History 300 class (O'Kelly Rm. 301, meets Thursdays 3:30-5:30, one credit). The topic of the class is the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). As Dr. Iseminger pointed out, this was a major turning point in world history, a testing ground for the European fascists' military might. As Noam Chomsky has argued (bad paraphrase), the scope of WWII was determined by the outcome of the Spanish Civil War. It stands to reason that if Franco (fascist leader in Spain) had been stopped, Hitler would not have felt secure being as brazen as he was in the following years and thus, some of the horrors of the holocaust would likely have been averted.

    Okay, but WWII is over, what's the big deal? There were young folks, in their 20's from all over the world, the US and elsewhere, who volunteered to fight the fascists in Spain. In the US, this went against the wishes of the US government and after the war, resulted in prosecutions and jail time for some of those involved. Why were people willing to risk death or jail to fight a civil war in a country that they didn't even live in?

    The answer to this question is perhaps the deciding factor in the political history of the 20th Century. The Spaniards who fought the fascists in Spain were not government forces, they were self-organized militias, consisting of a variety of political ideologies, primarily emerging from the far Left. The armies were completely, radically volunteer based- folks could go up to the front and fight as long as they chose to and leave the front whenever they chose. This may sound like a recipe for disaster, but it worked, and it has been argued that one of the main reasons the resistance lost was because the US was selling arms and munitions to Franco's fascist forces and refusing to sell to the resistance. The organization of society during the Spanish Civil War was based on an anarchist model (where the resistance was in control), especially in the cities. That is to say, self-organized councils of workers were running factories and farms, free from the coercion or wishes of (former) bosses. This lasted for three years, until Franco's forces overtook the resistance forces.

  • Comment number 77.

    "If someone was watching this from Mars, they'd collapse in
    ridicule. The United States is telling Iran to stop its aggressive militarism? I
    mean we occupy two countries on their border, US spending on arms is
    approximately equal to the rest of the world combined, we're threatening them
    with attack and violation of the UN Charter and on and on" - Noam Chomsky

  • Comment number 78.

    Is this a deliberate attempt of 'sabotage', on the eve of Chomsky's delivery of the Annual Amnesty International Lecture tomorrow ?


  • Comment number 79.

    I believe so.

    Chomsky has already dealt with this fully :


    The Guardian/Observer should be hanging their heads in shame...

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    U14 - agree totally about Blair - would rather see him in The Hague than Brussels.

    Note you like Orwell - I often think of the words he puts in Gordon Comstock's mouth in his poem about the Money God when I listen to friend Marcus.

    For if in careless summer days
    In groves of Ashtaroth we whored,
    Repentant now, when winds blow cold,
    We kneel before our rightful lord;

    The lord of all, the money-god,
    Who rules us blood and hand and brain,
    Who gives the roof that stops the wind,
    And, giving, takes away again;

    Who spies with jealous, watchful care,
    Our thoughts, our dreams, our secret ways,
    Who picks our words and cuts our clothes,
    And maps the pattern of our days;

    Who chills our anger, curbs our hope,
    And buys our lives and pays with toys,
    Who claims as tribute broken faith,
    Accepted insults, muted joys;

    Who binds with chains the poet's wit,
    The navvy's strength, the soldier's pride,
    And lays the sleek, estranging shield
    Between the lover and his bride

    I think we may be in the presence of an avatar.

  • Comment number 82.

    Ah yes, Ph, George "The Crystal Spirit" Orwell (nee Eric Blair - but not spelt Bliar).

    His "Last Statement on 1984" totally misunderstood (& misused) by the US Cold War Propaganda Merchants...

    Re-Reading 'the book within the book' in 1984 - by Emmanuel Goldstein - is like reading Chomsky !

  • Comment number 83.

    A Reflection on George Orwell's "Last Statement" on 1984....illustrating that it is not only Chomsky who gets seriously (& dangerously) misrepresented by those in political & economic power :


  • Comment number 84.

  • Comment number 85.

    How did Chomsky's Amnesty Lecture go last night ?

    Nothing in the papers this morning, as far as I can see.

    Surprise, surprise ?

  • Comment number 86.

    Since there were no reports of Gnome Chumpsky's death, I assume he survived it. As for the audience, that is still an unknown as the fate of non celebs often goes unreported. Of course for the most part, Chumpsky was probably preaching to his choir so he will probably get excellent reviews from those who attended. Probably nothing more though than a rehash of his usual nonsense.

  • Comment number 87.

    The Corporate-State Establishment Media have 'worked in partnership' this weekend to keep Chomsky's UK Lectures away from public view - a classic example of Herman & Chomsky's Propaganda Model in action, highlighting the manufacture of consent, denial, obedience...and public ignorance.

    Deeply disturbing.

  • Comment number 88.

    I notice that there is a discussion here about sports not played much in the USA, and the implication that somehow American sports are superior to those played in "soft" old Europe.

    Perhaps Marcus would like to have a go at rugby - a game with hardly any padding and certainly no helmets (unlike the American version of "football"). And the game doesn't stop with a tackle - have you ever seen a scrum, ruck or maul, Marcus??

    I was brought up playing that sport. "Padding and helmets?!" You gotta be joking!! (BTW, I'm actually quite an admirer of the NFL, so no disrespect intended to that great sport.)

    Talking about cricket - we use a really really HARD ball. I mean it can kill (and has done so quite a few times - and I was nearly seriously injured at school with one). Any decent batsman would have no problem facing a baseball pitcher. It would be a cakewalk.

    So all this utter tripe about the Americans being "hard" and Europeans "soft" may turn on the deluded directors of the APA (American Propaganda Agency, a.k.a. Hollywood), but in the real world....

    As for "soccer", it's no more "effeminate" than golf, basketball or tennis. So I don't really know what you're talking about (and I suspect neither do you).

    Just get over your anti-European prejudice will you; it's not that hard ya know...

  • Comment number 89.

    Mr Crawley, have you actually checked that reference of Chomsky's? His references aren't always as accurate as they might be, though of course he includes the word "almost" as his usual insurance policy.

    Like his "probably" when he describes Ed Vulliamy's reporting of the Bosnian war death camps as inaccurate.

    Interesting to see that the Catholic Church in the US has now joined the ranks of the people says aren't reported. Have you checked out the accuracy of that? I'm a little surprised to learn that the Church has such incapable press relations.

    Chomsky seems to know of a lot of things that aren't reported that somehow manage to get into the public domain. I sometimes wonder whether he reads the newspapers.

    He obviously missed the findings of the LM libel trial which is presumably what enables him to deny the truth of what was done to people at Trnopolje (and the other Prijedor camps he ignores).

    He may disclaim the arrogance to lecture some mother who hopes to see her dying child in heaven - he seems to have no such qualms about dismissing the pretensions of Bosnian Muslims to death, rape and torture.

    Can I suggest you go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AapFe-C6tB4&NR=1 and listent to an extract from an interview Chomsky gave to Serbian Television Online.

    Listen to Chomsky talking about Trnopolje as a refugee camp, where people were free to come and go, and dismissing Fikret Alic as "the thin man", right near to whom there was a fat man. Remember that Alic said that Penny Marshall, the ITN journalist Chomsky is dissing, saved his life.

    Chomsky is too busy to linger on the reality or otherwise of Alic, he has more important fish to fry - the libel action by which ITN crushed the plucky individuals of LM. Chomsky has a rather idiosyncratic analysis of the outcome of the libel trial.

    The great intellectual gets away with his manipulative discourses because overawed journalists and international humanitarian organisations don't do their homework.

    Before you interview Chomsky next time Amnesty invite him, I suggest you listen to the whole of Chomsky's interview with RTS. Try to follow the substance of his arguments and deployment of evidence as he speaks to an audience whose media he knows can rely on to have provided him with an accurate context for his assertions. The whole edifying sequence starts at https://www.youtube.com/user/otporash#p/u/7/EEhgwdJldeU

    (As a short cut to the substance of what Chomsky denies, can I refer you to David Cambell's essay on the ITN/LM/Trnopolje controversy at https://www.david-campbell.org/photography/atrocity-and-memory )

  • Comment number 90.

    Interestingly your interview with Chomsky is unavailable at iPlayer. Is that because of the iPlayer time limit or should I read anything else into this?

  • Comment number 91.

    ET, are you aware of contributing to an orchestrated "Chomsky Smear Campaign 2009" ?


  • Comment number 92.

    An important point raised at the beginning of this post is that many people believe that religion can not make any constructive contribution to the world. This is simply not true, as Chomsky said. Ignoring the fact that religion and religious leaders can make a difference in promoting peace and tolerance is ignoring a vital tool we have in the fight against intolerance and misunderstanding.



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