Give Noam Chomsky credit for consistency. For nearly half a century, he has unfailingly praised the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes, even as he has slandered democracies. In 1970, Chomsky–a leading opponent of the Vietnam War–visited North Vietnam and wrote admiringly of the “high degree of democratic participation at the village and regional levels.” The Hanoi leadership he termed “flexible and intelligent.” Later in the 1970s, reports of the Khmer Rouge’s bloody atrocities surfaced; the MIT linguistics professor dismissed them as products of “the U.S. propaganda system.”
Chomsky has become one of the all-stars of the radical Left because he embodies that distinct vitriolic passion, the paranoia of the self-hating Westerner. He reserves his criticism mainly for America and Israel. The Middle East might achieve peace, he tells us, if not for Israel’s commitment to “Jewish dominance throughout the region”; he references the “genocidal texts of the Bible” as sources of this Zionist drive for imperial rule. It’s not too surprising that neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers are among his supporters.
His approach to current events is rife with bias and distortion. After 9/11, for example, he asked: “Why did [the terrorists] turn against the United States? Well, that had to do with what they call the U.S. invasion of Saudi Arabia…. That’s the home of the holiest sites of Islam.” Never mind that the Saudis welcomed U.S. aid in defending against Saddam Hussein’s 1990 aggression. Chomsky also avoids mentioning the homicidal intent articulated by America’s Islamist enemies. His recommendation to America for ending global terrorism: “Stop participating in it.”
Chomsky’s words fall on receptive ears, particularly on liberal campuses across the nation. His influence is pervasive, and a systematic rebuttal is long overdue. It has now arrived: The Anti-Chomsky Reader is a masterpiece of Chomsky debunking. Editors Peter Collier and David Horowitz have assembled a collection of nine essays (by nine writers) refuting the aging professor’s wildest claims.
“Today, as throughout his long career,” writes Collier, “America’s peril is Chomsky’s hope.” After terrorists murdered thousands of American civilians on 9/11, Chomsky fretted about a predicted “silent genocide” caused by U.S. retaliation in Afghanistan. He remains “committed to the idea that America had it coming for a history of misdeeds stretching back at least to 1812, the last time foreigners attacked the homeland, but really to 1492, where the nightmare began,” according to Collier.
In an essay on the Vietnam War, Steven J. Morris of the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins analyzes Chomsky’s view of American imperialism. The U.S. effort in Vietnam, Chomsky alleged, was part of a “long-term effort to reduce Eastern Asia and much of the rest of the world to part of the American-dominated economic system”; anti-Communism was merely a convenient device for garnering support for the war. But, as Morris points out, Chomsky’s contention was at odds with the facts. Chomsky’s willingness to whitewash the Vietnamese Communists as earnest, idealistic peasants–as well as his studied avoidance of the terms “Leninist” and “Stalinist”–demonstrates that he was unwilling to face important truths about the ideological dimension of the Vietnam conflict.
In an essay on “Chomsky’s War Against Israel,” Paul Bogdanor contrasts Middle East reality with Chomsky’s reverence for Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. It is “quite clear,” wrote Chomsky in The Fateful Triangle (1999, foreword by Edward Said), that the PLO “has been far more forthcoming than either Israel or the U.S. with regard to an accommodationist settlement.” Chomsky ignores the inconvenient truth that the PLO’s charter still calls for “the liquidation of the Zionist entity economically, militarily, politically, culturally, and intellectually.” Meanwhile, the bloody outbursts of PLO terrorists continue. Chomsky passes over these atrocities and points the finger at Israel, which, he says shares “points of similarity” with the Third Reich.
Since the 1960s, when he parroted Vietcong propaganda and ignored mass executions, Chomsky’s star has continued to rise. Supporters of a freedom-based global order must contend with this intellectual spinmeister for hearts and minds around the globe. The Anti-Chomsky Reader performs a service to the whole world, by exposing Chomsky as one of the most damaging charlatans ever to ride the wave of campus adulation.
–Clara Magram is a National Review intern.