The US as a Rogue State
The Flaming Accusation of Noam Chomsky
[This article is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.n24.de/politik/ausland/?a2003120316422769073.]
The gray eminence of the American left, the linguist Noam Chomsky, presented a new flaming accusation against US imperialism and the power of corporations on his 75th birthday on December 7. In his most recent book "Hubris" now arriving in German bookstores, the tenacious adversary of the Iraq war denounces the hegemonial claims of the only remaining superpower.
The very distinguished linguist tries to show that president George W. Bush did not create a new US policy. From Chomsky's perspective, the US for centuries - using morality as a propaganda instrument - uninhibitedly struggled for unrestricted world domination. The real "rogue state" of the modern age is the US itself.
The Shining Hero of Globalization Critics
With his addresses and lectures, Chomsky attracts almost as many people as the other popular American critic of the US, the filmmaker and author Michael Moore. However thanks to his scholarly reputation, Chomsky has a special attraction for the splintered left worldwide. To globalization opponents, he is increasingly regarded as a shining hero and cult figure.
The enormously productive professor at the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT) does justice to his image in his latest work. For many, the most quoted living researcher in the humanities and social sciences is a genius and "brilliant hero", the Indian writer Arundhati Roy exclaimed.
What is Hidden Behind Freedom?
With his "anarchist, instinctive mistrust toward power, he has unmasked the dangerous merciless universe hidden behind the word freedom", Roy says. Chomsky has shown that "freedom" for the US only means "killing and dominating nations (... ), financing and supporting dictators, arming and protecting terrorists, building and using weapons of mass destruction and waging war against any country whose government it dislikes."
Neo-conservative antagonists and others see in Chomsky, Israel's harsh critic, a very argumentative intellectual who successfully uses the freedom of the US society to slander it as a system of finance capital without genuine freedom. Now and then Chomsky speaks of the US as the freest country in existence.
Cool Objectivity and Scathing Analysis
Chomsky, who still untiringly writes, teaches, gives interviews and addresses, impresses with brilliant rhetoric, cool objectivity and scathing analyses. He seeks to inform, not convert. He looks skeptically at the media and sees in the media instruments of capital and the ruling political class.
Chomsky rejects Marx although many arguments recall Marxist analysis. Early on he felt allied to different anarchist theoreticians. Today he vaguely propagates a democratization of the economy and hopes in the "second superpower" in the world beside the US, "world public opinion".
Linguist of the "Copernican Turn"
There is little doubt in Chomsky's scholarly rank despite many critics and rivals. Chomsky revolutionized linguistics with the still controversial theory that every person has innate language ability as a kind of program. Language preexists and is marked much less by the cultural environment like the family and ethnic group.
Experts described his discoveries as a "Copernican turn" for linguistics. Chomsky's "generative transformation grammar" was created according to the laws of mathematics and logic and consists in a complex structure of contractions, abbreviations and equations. The son of a Jewish Hebrew teacher who emigrated from the Ukraine still strives for a "universal grammar" including the structural forms of all existing languages.
Chomsky was born in Philadelphia on December 7, 1928. He studied linguistics, mathematics and philosophy, moved to Harvard University and gained a doctorate in 1955 at the University of Pennsylvania. After his graduation, he taught at MIT and was a professor of linguistics in 1961 though only 32 years old.