This is a brief introduction to Noam Chomsky, a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator, social justice activist, and anarcho-syndicalist advocate. Sometimes described as the Father of Modern Linguistics,he is also a major figure in analytic philosophy. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the World’s Top Public Intellectual in a 2005 poll. (Wikipedia)
“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state: the means by which leaders keep the masses in line. InMedia Control, Noam Chomsky looks at American propaganda efforts, from the warmongering of Woodrow Wilson to the creation of popular support for the 1991 military intervention in Kuwait, and reveals how falsification of history, suppression of information, and the promotion of vapid, empty concepts have become standard operating procedure for the leaders of the United States in their efforts to prevent citizens from raising awkward questions about U.S. policy.” (Goodreads)
“As long as people are marginalized and distracted, [they] have no way to organize or articulate their sentiments, or even know that others have these sentiments. People assume that they are the only people with a crazy idea in their heads.
They never hear it from anywhere else.
Nobody’s supposed to think that.
Since there’s no way to get together with other people who share or reinforce that view and help you articulate it, you feel like an oddity, an oddball. So you just stay on the side and you don’t pay any attention to what’s going on. You look at something else, like the Superbowl.”
I remember reading an interview with Noam Chomsky in ‘Z’ magazine (?) in which he discussed a trip he just made to South America. There, the peasants were using low wattage radio broadcasts—sometimes with a range measured in city blocks!—to communicate, to organize socially and politically, and to make things happen for themselves and their families and neighbors that actually benefited themselves and their families and neighbors.
The conversation ended with what was a first for me: Noam Chomsky on marginalization in American voting was unable to answer a direct question (and I am paraphrasing below from memory because I could not find the interview online).
Interviewer: “Why do Americans consistently vote against their own self interest?”
Chomsky: “I don’t know . . .”