Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chomsky speaks to Choir

I attended a lecture by Noam Chomsky this evening at the university. It was better than I was expecting, but hardly sensational. I went in expecting a "rah-rah Bush bad" sort of thing, and make no mistake, there was some of that, but it did at least have some content. The most enlightening part of the lecture was his view of the world oil economy, but really it wasn't anything new. He just highlighted the interest the US administration has in keeping oil under US control and out of the hands of China, India, etc.. He also went over the lessons other countries learned from the Iraq war which is, don't be a defenseless nation with resources (thus why Iran would want nuclear weapons).

Actually, after some thought the lecture wasn't that great at all. He really didn't touch on why the administration wanted war in Iraq, just why the war was wrong and why the administration would now want to stay there. Most of his justifications for taking Bush to task had to do with international law, but as far as I can see international law is law in name only. It's tough to call something law when there is no apparatus (or willingness seemingly) in place to enforce it.

Chomsky wrapped up his lecture with (predictably) a call to get out and do something about it, but he really didn't seem to give any indication as to what that something is. When, in the Q&A session afterwards, he was asked about it he merely responded that it was "simple" and "obvious." He also made mention that most solutions to the world's problems are simple. I don't know about you, but when someone says to me that the solutions to the world's problems are simple I get just a tad skeptical.

Overall it was pretty much preaching to the choir. I agree with many of his positions, but I can't say that I know more now than I did before.


Dave said...

People go to univesities for degrees, not education. Semesters and grades have never been condusive to critical thought. Payed-for-canned-lecture-circuit lectures are often "simple" and "obvious" adding nothing new to dialogue. I'm not attacking Noam, he's simply doing what he's payed to do.


Matt Maxwell said...

Yeah, doesn't keep me from wanting more though. I heard Stephen Jay Gould speak (probably 9 years ago) at the university and he was good. I learned some new ways of looking at evolutionary theory from him.