Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Law and Chomsky

Perhaps I was too hard on Chomsky in my first review of his lecture. Specifically I may have been too harsh in criticizing his use of international law in his argument. By bringing up the administration's flaunting of the law he is saying two things: 1) that the admin. is objectively criminal. 2) he can call the admin. hypocritical for being a signatory in intl. law and not obeying it. In either of these cases the admin. is no longer just wrong, misguided, or mistaken, but actually malicious and evil. I'm not saying I buy his arguments, I still stand by my statement that law that has no teeth is no law, but I can see what he's trying to do.

A second point is that he probably feels that he is doing something about the world's problems just by speaking about them. Thus the answer to the world's problems, in his mind, really is simple and obvious. He's doing it.

If I can say something for the lecture it is that at least it got me thinking a little bit, even if it is about things that Chomsky didn't intend.

For the record, I haven't read any of Chomsky's work except for an article (Scientific American?) many years ago on linguistics. I expect he's better in print. I also felt his lecture was disorganized and I know he didn't get to many of the points he outlined at the beginning. Too bad, as some of those (health care, nuclear armageddon, environmental problems) sounded interesting.

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