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Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

Avram Noam Chomsky was born December 7, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were William Chomsky, a Russian immigrant and Hebrew scholar, and Elsie Simonofsky, a Belarusian native, teacher, and activist. Both parents were of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Chomsky was married to his wife, Carol Doris Schatz, in 1949. Carol passed away in 2008 due to cancer. He was remarried in 2014 to Valeria Wasserman.

Chomsky is an American linguist with many other classifications such as a philosopher, social critic, and political activist. He received his Bachelors, Masters, and PhD in analytic philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been called "the father of modern linguistics" and a leader in the development of cognitive science. He has written many books on the subject of linguistics such as the following:

  • Language and Responsibility by Noam Chomsky
  • Reflections on Language by Noam Chomsky
  • Manufacturing Concent by Noam Chomsky
  • Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky
  • Syntactic Structures by Noam Chomsky

Other subjects he has authored in include politics, mass media, and war. His political views, which some suggest to be radical and controversial, is that of libertarian socialism.

About Noam Chomsky

During the sixties, Chomsky was involved in Anti-Vietnam War activism. He condemned the United States' stance on the Vietnam War in his published essay The Responsibility of Intellectuals. He held an anti-war speech outside of the Pentagon, which led to his arrest. Chomsky and several others founded RESIST, anti-war collective created as "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority". His further involvement in anti-war and left-wing activism got him on the official Enemies List of President Richard Nixon.

Chomsky sees that propaganda began in the U. S. in the Wilson Administration. This Administration was voted into office on the promise of "Peace Without Victory." This slogan summarized Wilson's position regarding the U. S. and the First World War being waged in Europe he espoused when he was running for President. Since the U. S. would not get involved in the War, the country would not have to achieve victory. Not getting involved in the War, the U.S. would enjoy peace. After Wilson was elected President, however, he established the Creel Commission. This Commission "succeeded, within six months, in turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war-mongering population." (Chomsky 1) This was accomplished by the propaganda of the Commission. Through this propaganda, the Commission succeeded in dehumanizing the Germans by reporting that they were ripping the limbs from Belgian babies and committing other sorts of atrocities. Such propaganda changed the opinions and positions of the majority of the public who had elected Wilson from wanting to stay out of the War to clamoring to "go to war and save the world."

The first conception of democracy Chomsky describes is "one in which the public has the means to participate in some meaningful way in the management of their own affairs." To this, he adds that in this conception of democracy, the means, or sources, of information for the public are open and free. Opposed to this conception, Chomsky sees a second conception of democracy. This is really a plutocracy or oligarchy. In this second conception, the ones controlling the society believe that "the public must be barred from managing their own affairs." In this type of democracy, "information must be kept narrowly and rigidly controlled." Chomsky believes that the United States today, and throughout most of the twentieth century, is closer to this second conception of democracy than the first. The first conception is the ideal of democracy; one that reflects the fundamental principles and aims of democracy. But the second is the reality of the democracy of the U. S. The second one is the "prevailing conception."

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