Every time I read anything from Noam Chomsky I end up repelled by this guy that I wish so much to admire. Not because I disagree with him, but because of the effect that his words have on my psyche.
Every time, without exeption, a brush with Noam Chomsky’s world views leaves me helpless, sad, hysterical, destroyed. But the predominant feeling is hatred, hatred for the world, hatred for the stupid people that inhabit it, hatred for the governments and hatred for the trap of reality that will, according to him, inevitably end in a global conflagration.
I just read an article online about Requiem for the American Dream, where Chomsky discusses parts of his new book with his co-author. It took me about fifteen minutes to read the article. For about twelve of those minutes, my heart was aching, physically, with the cringing helplessness one might feel under repeated and unrelenting abuse. If the world is indeed irrevocably headed for destruction because of human folly, can I just live my last days with some hope? After all, we must have a small but non-zero chance of not destroying ourselves, regardless of how many catastrophe-oriented books Chomsky publishes.
What does he thinks he is accomplishing with this language of cynicism and despair? Surely you would want to awake people to the harsh realities of the world only to the point in which they are energized and motivated to work for change?
I have nothing against educating our instinct of heroism and recognizing the complexities of the problems we, as a society, face. I agree that a little bit less Hollywoodesque simplicity and a bit more solid understanding are worth the time to acquire. However, helplessness, worst, a masterful expression of learned helplessness, is not only a waste of time but it chases away those that would otherwise listen to the message.
If you are brave (or masochistic) enough for a taste, Chomky’s new book Requiem for the American Dream, is discussed in this interview: