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So... back to business as usual?

By Owen Paine on Sunday March 13, 2011 06:27 PM

Will there be a second act in Libya?

Forget the no-fly zone BS. I suspect Uncle's technical experts have determined Q's "forces" have sufficient stand-off bombardment capability from the ground alone. Add in some helicopter mobility...

So far it seems the opposition looks to win on spirit. But events suggest they will lose if they hope to hold Benghazi with that alone.

I also suspect this will come down to Egypt as safe rear area for any people's gubmint and to fitful raiding actions into Libyan territory.

Will the new "revolutionary" Egypt play host? The arab league seems unwilling to form its own relief legion, eh? Imagine a Nasser brigade like the lanky-Link brigade made up of "volunteers" from egypt's military: part Korea, fall '50, and part Spain, fall '36.

It would be surprising if this clearly possible outcome of the asymmetric conflict underway doesn't get talked up by the herd of independent chatter monkeys fairly soon.

Oh yeah -- then there's the west side. Tunisia, a second safe zone? Since the dashingly brave souls that rose in western rebellion seem to have disintegrated before Q's minions, at least as a coherent city/town holding operation. Maybe talk of Tunisian "tacit support" for cross-border fighting units might arise before Egyptian side options set the liberal western press to gabbling.

The actions so far seem very brutish and bloody but comparatively light and brief, for both strokes and counterstrokes. We will see what any second act will bring after the fall of free Benghazi. If there is a fall of free Benghazi. If the great powers permit that to happen. If the brave spirits there -- Allah preserve them -- can't find some way to counter the bastard Q's big guns.

Awful awful awful.... so lopsided.

Don't tell me you aren't torn up by all this. I certainly am.

Comments (94)


Nice undertone of comedy in Chomsky interviewed by a pained fellow of the British-American Project.

That was a good interview. He was pretty spry. Kinda squishy on DoD/MIT but good on several points, especially chiding Paxman re Al Jazeera, and in emphasizing "there's a reason why" so many foreign nations' citizens hate the West and fear the USA's involvement in foreign affairs. Good "hands off" emphasis too.

While it's presented as unredacted, it seems more scripted or briefed than a fully impromptu interview.


"is that very different
from 'God promised noah ' "


speaking of international brigades
of course there's Q's sworn blood enemy
el Qdah

col Q themed "topple music "
might now be on the dvd
of every belted jihadi
in the near east

take one down for the Almighty

God fearing MBs
plus student-bohos
plus labor unionites

converge on the libyan border zones
Somalia with oil !!!
and on the Med !!!!

can the empire pretend not to see ???


Noam remains undefeated in debates (I guess it helps with you have truth and integrity on your side), and that's what all of these testy little interviews are: debates in another form. Paxman thought, as many have before, that he was somehow setting up a bunch of traps, but what he really did was toss one softball after another, and Noam batted them out of the park.

That's true about the slow-pitch/tee-ball, CZ, and that's why in some ways the interview felt to me like WWF Pro Wrestling.

I've never watched Paxman before. Is he always so jingoist and imperial?


That BBC HARDtalk style of "tough" interviewing is the worst. In theory it could be good, but in reality it's always just some poncey twat asking stupid questions in an obnoxious tone. It was nice to see Chomsky make Paxman look like a complete fool, though. Thanks for the link, sk.

Al Schumann:

CF, Paxman's schtick is a grab for the short and curlies with whatever affect he thinks will goad his interviewees into losing their temper. In Chomsky's case, jingoism.


CF: "I've never watched Paxman before. Is he always so jingoist and imperial?"

Have never watched him before, but feel like I've seen him my whole life. Perhaps he'd do better in Alistair's spot, teeing up Masterpiece Theater.

FB, yes this was almost too easy for Noam. At least a somewhat sharper blowhard like Dershowitz or Hitchens could make a show of putting up a fight, though they all end up on the mat eventually (to mix my sports metaphors from my prior comment).

In all of these years, I've never even seen someone bloody Chomsky's nose.


"In all of these years, I've never even seen someone bloody Chomsky's nose."

Probably the closest would be Foucault. If you were to ask a lot of European lefties, I bet they'd say that Foucault mopped the floor with a naive enlightenment liberal:


I think that they both make some good points, but ultimately I'm on the Chomsky side.

I'm probably more sympathetic to Foucault than most people because he touches on the only real issue I have with Chomsky, which is his concept of human nature (er, well that and his definitions of anarchism). Pretty much everything that I disagree with Chomsky on flows from his ideas about human nature, but it's not like I can really prove what my idea of Human Nature is superior. It's just one of those agree to disagree things.

But, FB, isn't one of the many huge differences between Chomsky and Foucault their disagreement over how much of the rest of their work hinges on their underlying views of human nature? Chomsky argues that people are hard wired to be able to communicate and choose, but also constantly says both that that capacity is not something that unfolds on its and that it's a mistake to overestimate the importance of theory when trying to explain current events and conjunctures. Foucault, meanwhile, is only interested in institutions insofar as they permit him to score theoretical points in his own favor.

Chomsky says states and social classes are the main problems. Foucault says medicine is arbitrary opression.

By the way, what is it you don't like about Chomsky's theory of human nature?

MD, I'm not seeing true counterpoise in the examples you provided. I see different ideas attributed to each, but the ideas are not speaking on parallel or the same issues. Example:

Chomsky says states and social classes are the main problems. Foucault says medicine is arbitrary opression.

Two entirely different notions, on their faces.

A bit deeper: "medicine is arbitrary oppression" would be a point of agreement with "states... are [a} main problem[]." In any nation where the medical "industry" is socialized directly or indirectly, the state is sponsoring the oppression-via-medicine.

I assume you're talking about Foucault holding a view similar to that of Szasz and Breggin. I'm not a student of Foucault or Chomsky so I can't say whether you're accurately portraying either. I'm commenting only on how you posted things.


FB, Michael,

I have seen that Foucault-Chomsky debate before, but it's a bit beyond my pay grade. Can I trouble you with this question: What, in essence, are their differing positions on human nature? (I realize that's a comically tough question to distill into a "soundbite.)


i think noam needs to get more manly hand gestures
or maybe just more manly hands
like Cameron Diaz

seen here with her de-butching nails attached


oh you terrible tom boy !!!!


i notice no takers on the civil war in libya

better to bat the pink birdie aka
back and forth like we're
on the play deck of the andrea doria

what is it with you duttering old
sausage links anyway ???

leave noam to the glue and parchment vultures

he's stricktly out to pasture these days



the secretariat of activism circa 65-75

but now ??

he's fucking past 80
and as
hopelessly a vintage anachronism
as ice heart
mick j
rollin stone
performing drag monkey

get with the program
listen to the under 35's

that's unfair
ask anyone but... lu lu proyect
if ya wanna know
who's really cookin
on the high burner these days

its this gal-guy

geoff pizzlehoff


knock off the idol bit

NC is strictly
out to pasture

he's fuckin 82 !!!!

the secretariat of rad-act
circa 65-75 fine
but today...?

leave him to the glue and parchment crowd
never trust anyone over 30

this gal-guy is the real voice of the turtle these days
i suggest you ask him

who's really cookin on the high burner these days


u don't know him by sight ??

then look him up

geoff gizzlehoff

Ox, I wasn't really trying to do anything in that paragraph but note the two individuals' sense of which topics are at the top of the agenda. Chomsky asks us to struggle to better understand world crises. Foucault asks us to appreciate how smart and interesting he is, and selects things like medicine, jails, and psychiatry to prove his point.

Personally, I understand Chomsky as being a philosophical pragmatist who also retains an important place for appreciating biology as a causal force in human behavior, albeit not in the usual Social Darwinist manner of making up just-so stories about genes and outcomes. Among other things, Chomsky always says we don't know nearly enough about biology and the brain yet to draw any heavy conclusions about this realm.

Foucault, meanwhile, is Jack's comrade, a Nietzschean, though I personally like Nietzsche a lot more than Foucault. The fact that building comprehensive social theories is a damned anti-Nietzschean endeavor seems to have escaped old Michel, whom I personally find to be quite sophomoric with logic and context, despite the obvious airs of greatness he puts on.

Ox, this gives a pretty good flavor of the exchange:

Still, I think it would be a great shame to put aside entirely the somewhat more abstract and philosophical task of trying to draw the connections between a concept of human nature that gives full scope to freedom and dignity and creativity and other fundamental human characteristics, and to relate that to some notion of social structure in which those properties could be realized and in which meaningful human life could take place.

And in fact, if we are thinking of a social transformation or social revolution, though it would be absurd, of course, to try to sketch out in detail the goal that we are hoping to reach, still we should know something about where we think we are going, and such a theory may tell it to us.

Yes, but then isn't there a danger here? If you say that a certain human nature exists, that this human nature has not been given in actual society the rights and the possibilities which allow it to realize itself...that's really what you have said, I believe.


And if one admits that, doesn't one risk defining this human nature -- which is at the same time ideal and real, and has been hidden and repressed until now -- in terms borrowed from our society from our civilization, from our culture?... [I]t is difficult to say what human nature is. Isn't there a risk that we will be led into error?...

...Our concept of human nature is certainly limited, it's partially socially conditioned, constrained by our own character defects and the limitations of the intellectual culture in which we exist. Yet at the same time it is of critical importance that we know what impossible goals we're trying to achieve, if we hope to achieve some of the possible goals. And that means that we have to be bold enough to speculate and create social theories on the basis of partial knowledge, while remaining very open to the strong possibility, and in fact overwhelming probability, that at least in some respects we're very far off the mark....

...I will be a little bit Nietzchean about this; in other words, it seems to me that the idea of justice in itself is an idea which in effect has been invented and put to work in different types of societies as an instrument of a certain political and economic power or as a weapon against that power. But it seems to me that, in any case, the notion of justice itself functions within a society of classes as a claim made by the oppressed class and as a justification for it.

I don't agree with that.

Ahhh. Okay, I gotcha.

I think the extent to which one would see either Foucault or Chomsky as using ideas and arguments to show how smart he is, well that would depend on one's temperament and one's philosophic bent, wouldn't it?

I find Chomsky's style nauseating in its clinical detachment, and that presentation style and personal style to me reeks of Hired Gun. I see no passion or interest, and I'm supposed to gather that stuff exists because of his reputation.

Meanwhile I hear people say likewise about Foucault. I'd never seen Foucault's face, let alone hear him talk and show mannerisms, before watching that linked ...uh... "debate"... which really wasn't a debate at all, but instead was two speeches that occasionally crossed paths. I say this even in view of the fragmented tit-for-tat presentation.

Still I found Foucault's excitement a bit more credible. I will say that my prior encounters with his work and/or those who say they're summarizing it, well it has been one which left me mostly thinking he's awfully impressed with his own flair for hairsplitting.

Chomsky does the same, IMO, when he dances around that subject of MIT employment, DoD funding of research, and the general utility and inherent "harmlessness" of technology. It's like he delights in apologizing for crap that is quite obviously not as morally neutral as he professes.

Another difference:

Chomsky explains specific institutions and conflicts and issues.

Foucault tries to explain medicine -- all medicine, everywhere. He uses historical examples to build his argument, but his explanation is always ultimately always about "modernity" or some other mega-abstraction.

Also, Chomsky is a pessimistic optimist, somebody who says the world could possibly be saved and civilized.

Foucault is a straight nihilist on this level. To him, it's all corrupt crap built on a bunch of arbitrary talk.

(4:34 pm was responding to 4:27 pm up there, MD)

Thanks for that excerpt, I'll read it. I did watch the two Parts of that video linked earlier in the thread.

The participants' fluency in each other's language, is that a real demonstration of their language skills, or is it because they knew beforehand the points each would make in each chunk of time?



Well, I can't really speak for Herr Doktor, and it's been a long time since I read him, but here goes:

Foucault would say that "human nature" is just an ideological construct that shifts over time. He would say that however one defines "human nature" at any given time is a function of their sociological position. Generally, those who control the production of "knowledge" (the overclass who control the universities, etc. ie Althusser's Ideological State Apparatus) seek to define human nature in a way that justifies their dominance. An example of this would be Hobbes' definition of human nature functioning as a justification for state coercion (human nature is vicious and competitive, therefore we need a leviathan to limit what people can do).

Part of Chomsky's idea of human nature seems to come out of his work in linguistics. Again, I'm no expert on his linguistics, but this is my understanding:

Humans have a lot of hard-wired characteristics to their brains, and do not start out as a "blank slate". If you look at how a toddler constructs language, the input that they hear is vastly less than what woud be needed to construct the language that they use, so they can't be just learning it, something has to already be there. ergo, there is an objective, fixed human nature.

I don't really have much of a problem with that, although I have listened to some linguists and cog sci types lambast his theories quite persuasively -- to my untrained ears, anyway.

My problem with his definition of human nature is that it seems a lot like Noam Chomsky's nature (noble, generous, creative) and that there are a lot more variations out there. Take his first point in that video for example. Sure, some people (like Noam Chomsky) have a strong need for creative work, but is that really a fundamental element of human nature, or is it just human nature as defined by a creative person?

In my own subjective life experience (which is where I think both Chomsky and I would ultimately get our ideas about human nature) I've met a lot of good, intelligent people who are absolutely not creative and have no need for creative work. Some people really do prefer routine tasks to uncertainty and new challenges, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, as a malcontent, I often envy them. Working in factories and construction, I've met many people (probably the majority) who were quite happy to just have a routine task to do and a paycheque; guys who just want to grab their coffee, throw on their tunes, do their work, and not have to think about a lot of bullshit. In fact, when anything deviated from the routine or if they were asked to solve a problem, they would become quite irate.

So basically, I'd say that one's ideas of what human nature is are highly influenced by their own characteristics, and those of the people that they meet day to day. I think that this has led Chomsky to be overly optimistic about human nature. He often remarks that under a different, less evil, less coercive system, people would be more ethical. While I do agree to a certain extent, I think that he vastly overestimates how nice people would become. But, as I mentioned above, it's just a disagreement about a counterfactual situation, based largely on our differing subjective experience, so it's not like it can really be resolved. Maybe I just grew up around a lot of dull Canadians.

Well, I don't think Chomsky argues that MIT is a pristine institution. I think he contends that it's quite the opposite, but has provided him with a foothold to strengthen popular knowledge of the crucial social issues of our time, as well as funds and equipment to perform linguistic research that everybody agrees is valuable, one way or the other.

If Chomsky had resigned to protest MIT and become an adjunct at Scranton CC, what difference would it have made in the operation of MIT? None. What difference would it have made to the left? Serious damage.

And, of course, this isn't exactly a new issue. Major figures have always combined contradictory personal situations and politics. And it's not like Chomsky is some kind of capitalist rentier.

Finally, this is like the green shopping argument. If we can only buy things that aren't implicated in the present order, we're going to starve and be naked. Should I quit my job as a paralegal because if helps insurance companies process claims and make profits? Okay, then what?

4:38 pm

Seems there's room for both men's view to be partly correct.

Based on what I just quickly skimmed at WikiPedia it seems Foucault for whatever reason became deeply interested in how the state is involved in people's lives in a very indirect fashion: because he began to study mental illness and human society's responses to it throughout history.

There is hardly a better example of how human organized societies can destroy "unwanted" or "problematic" fellow humans, without actual physical injury, than the treatment of those who now are generally called "mentally ill" but have enjoyed other categories and names in the past.

It would be very easy to build an entire critique of human organizations -- governments, business combines, social clubs, whatever -- by focusing on human psychology and the social treatments of "mental illness."

Any human who has been identified as "mentally ill" would be able to give you examples of how stigmatizing and artificially divisive that label can be, even in small close social settings like one's immediate family.

Chomsky seems to me to have always been comfortable, materially speaking, and has always accepted that his place in our society is higher than most, with accorded luxuries, because of his awareness of his own intellectual gifts and how our society rates those gifts. I'd imagine he probably doesn't have any reason to care about mental health because nobody's ever treated him as if he suffered any mental illness, and he's probably never suffered any. It's pretty tough to have mental illnesses of any type when your position in society is one of high privilege.

I think that's sorta the point Foucault was making in his tonal/attitudinal attacks on Chomsky in that "debate." So maybe I do agree with Foucault even though I didn't know I did.



Yep. I think that you'd really enjoy Foucault. Well, if you can deal with his writing style that is. He makes a lot of the same points that I've seen you make.

But, FB, I don't think Chomsky's overall theory of human nature is optimistic, though it certainly includes some potentially good news. Look at that passage from the debate, for instance. He's talking about needing to know a lot more and also about finding out that our biology might render certain dreams impossible.

As to work and happiness and creativity, have you ever looked at the stuff presented by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? He finds that everybody is happiest when in the state of "flow" and that meaningful work is the one and only way to enjoy that. Of course, "work" doesn't always mean "job."

If Chomsky had resigned to protest MIT and become an adjunct at Scranton CC, what difference would it have made in the operation of MIT? None. What difference would it have made to the left? Serious damage.

This type of conjecture is not very weighty.

It's not about lone impact on a monolith of MIT, it's about how his decision and action would match his rhetoric, which sends far different personal ripples -- in the OTHER direction, not directly at MIT's reprehensible characteristics, but at the people who admire Chomsky because of his stated positions of anarchic or at least authority-questioning content.

I think it a bit ...uh... ?curious? to see you downplay the Role Model impact a man like Chomsky has, while defending him so strenuously and regularly.

Why would you want to apologize for an inconsistency in his words/deeds matchup?

Why would anyone?

I know why HE would. We all have points of hypocrisy, and we all would prefer they not be there, to the extent we're aware of them that is.

I'm talking about the actual ripples it would have.

MIT might not change its sourcing of research funding nor the types of research it accepts and does, but it may see a change in its applicant pool, and it may see enrolled students departing.

It's not like there's no precedent for this stuff I'm describing here. For anyone who follows "social movements," the themes I'm talking about should be ...well... obvious.

My problem with his definition of human nature is that it seems a lot like Noam Chomsky's nature (noble, generous, creative) and that there are a lot more variations out there.

It seems that way to me too. Taken down that same path to a further synthesis, it strikes me that Chomsky wants a very modern, very technologically advanced society where people somehow all have transformed into (no insult intended here) Little Chomskys.

The fact that so many people are Manichean on Chomsky suggests to me a world of Little Chomskys would be no different than America 2011.

I'm a bit curious on how we'd supposedly get to a nation of highly evolved and enlightened people if nobody sets the example of leaving a comfortable position to endure hardship, in order to divorce one's self to the greatest extent possible from the system he's criticizing.

It seems to me like there's no guts behind the social criticism. Just solipsism.

Interestingly, that's the essence of the criticism pro-Chomsky folks tend to level at Foucault!


FB, thanks for the explanation @ 4:42. My (limited) understanding has been that Chomsky has taken a questionable leap in extrapolating what he understands as universal about language, to human nature generally. That is, if there are underlying, universal aspects to language, then there may also be a similar underlying human nature. Or something like that; I'm probably mangling it. But seems like a leap nonetheless.

And, yes, it seems like one can easily project one's own nature, or one's view of human behavior, integrity, etc, onto a broader concept of human nature. If you're gentle and compassionate at heart, then maybe you think all people are so, deep down. Or maybe you're gentle and compassionate at heart, but still think the world is a dark and violent place, in which people's essential natures are dark and violent. And so forth.

As to work and happiness and creativity, have you ever looked at the stuff presented by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? He finds that everybody is happiest when in the state of "flow" and that meaningful work is the one and only way to enjoy that. Of course, "work" doesn't always mean "job."

The biggest point of agreement I had with Chomsky's side of the "debate" was where he was talking about the essential need for humans to use their creative impulse.

It seems like that "debate" was really more like the scene in Animal House where Tom Hulce has the little angel on one shoulder and the little devil on the other shoulder. Chomsky is the angel, Foucault the devil.

Chomsky seems to imagine giving everyone free creative rein would result in endless prosperity. Foucault seems to imagine the limits that inhere because people have a great capacity to be creatively destructive and creatively lethal.

I would suggest this is where Chomsky's blind spot on MIT/DoD is explained: "if I don't feel what I'm doing here at MIT is tainted, then there's no taint at all at MIT." It really reminds me of that goofball movie Real Genius, ultimately.


"Of course, "work" doesn't always mean "job."

or job always mean work eh ??

Should I quit my job as a paralegal because if helps insurance companies process claims and make profits? Okay, then what?

I wish I knew. I've never...

...wait a minute.

I turned down a GC job and eventually left the employ of an insurer because I didn't like its practices in areas other than my personal responsibilities. In my own capacity I was able to help the company be a better citizen of the world, but I couldn't stop the owners of the company from doing a couple things outside my personal authority/power (in the company, I mean) that were jeopardizing the economic wellbeing of quite a few of the company's employees.

I didn't have anything certain to jump to, had no safe landing, but jump I did. Probably that would make me stupid in Chomsky's eyes. And probably that's why I find his position a bit strange.

Any reasonably intelligent human can find work in a wide variety of fields of employment, as far as abilities go, that is. There's a lot of work out in the world that doesn't require special skills or background or education. It may not pay a lot but it's there.

So I really can't understand the "I have no other options" argument. Especially for a man of Chomsky's talents, talents which obviously are highly valued in American society. A man of his intellect and communicative skill could get his message out from a submarine cave. A man who has earned a nice financial gift from MIT during his tenure there has plenty --had plenty-- of financial cushion onto which he could jump from MIT, which could fund a new outlet for his ideas.

I would think all these points would be obvious to everyone who reads here. Aren't they?



"But, FB, I don't think Chomsky's overall theory of human nature is optimistic, though it certainly includes some potentially good news. Look at that passage from the debate, for instance. He's talking about needing to know a lot more and also about finding out that our biology might render certain dreams impossible."

Yes. My disagreement with him isn't actually that big, and I don't think that he's being overly simplistic.

I agree with Chomsky that there is some type of objective human nature, however sketchy our understanding of it is, and is likely to be for a long, long time. I also agree with him on the pragmatic argument that we do just have to pitch our tent somewhere rather than endlessly search for the perfect spot; that we'll never be certain, but you just have to go on something imperfect rather than endlessly criticizing.

My differences with him are really only on the matter of estimating what that human nature is. I don't think that he is overly certain about his own tentative conclusions. They're just different from mine.


"My (limited) understanding has been that Chomsky has taken a questionable leap in extrapolating what he understands as universal about language, to human nature generally. That is, if there are underlying, universal aspects to language, then there may also be a similar underlying human nature. Or something like that; I'm probably mangling it. But seems like a leap nonetheless."

My problem isn't really with that leap, even though it is a bit iffy. I actually agree with his conclusion that there is some sort of objective human nature that we can and should attempt to describe. My own argument is just as weak, if not weaker. To me, intuitively, it seems that you can discern a sort of fuzzy core of human nature, even if there is a lot of variation amongst people. I just don't agree with him on where he goes from there in describing what that human nature actually is.


Re Chomsky vs. Foucault, this letter by Diana Johnstone might be of help in discerning "where they are coming from". Foucault, as even his ardent admirers will readily concede was quite lazy when it came to historical facticity, not to mention anything like clinical trials or controlled experiments. He had quite a few brilliant ideas, but given his incapacity to follow through with grunt work on them, most of his writings remain very stimulating — and entertaining — thought balloons. Also, worth keeping in mind that given his grand pessimism, he fell for some insipid do-gooder type NGO agit-prop ("ambulance politics" as it was called in France) in his last years while keeping aloof from attempts to either knock some shame into Mitterand's Socialist Party or do any serious consciousness raising of the type that historically French intellectuals had done by addressing the larger society, e.g. Sartre. (Just a coincidence, but Foucault's intellectual grandfather, Nietzsche while disdaining any determined attempts at improving the lot of 90%+ of the population from his 'radical aristocrat' position, was also seen sobbing and hugging a horse in his last moments of sanity).


"As to work and happiness and creativity, have you ever looked at the stuff presented by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? He finds that everybody is happiest when in the state of "flow" and that meaningful work is the one and only way to enjoy that. Of course, "work" doesn't always mean "job.""

Haven't read him, but I think I would agree. I'd just say that meaningful work is not necessarily the same as creative work. Collecting garbage or or putting the heads on barbies is not creative, but it's also not meaningless. In my experience, offices are where you find the truly meaningless jobs and the most miserable people. I think that gets to OP's point that job doesn't necessarily mean work.


that should read "the most meaningless work"

Myself, I took op-san's apt inversion to be a wink at what I've been "working" on half of today...

Having said that, I think sk gets at another key difference: Chomsky is all about the evidence. Foucault would write a playfully prolix tome contending that "evidence" is yet another oppressive fiction, all while completely fucking with the evidence.

Ox, what is solipsistic about Chomsky? I ask because I really can't picture how one makes that particular accusation...

MD, I guess it will always come back to the central theme for me: do as you say. The responses in the Paxman interview that I already called "squishy" way up at the top of the thread, that's what I mean. I said a bit more about it later in the thread.

Solipsism (in my own summary):

"technology is neutral"

"DoD was generous to make the Internet as it did, and to keep it free of charge"

If he was satirizing there, I'll forget solipsism and stick with oversubtlety.

quite lazy when it came to historical facticity

I don't see the problem with this.

What it suggests to me is that Marxists don't like Foucault's perspective wherever it diverges from Marxist Doctrine.

It's possible to concede that Marx made errors, despite the solidified unwillingness of many Marxists to do so.

This is veering into the area where Marxists' behavior turns off people like me and makes it impossible to work with the Marxists.

Perhaps this guy has some idea of what I'm saying?


And perhaps I'm talking about this, without realizing it:



FB: "My problem isn't really with that leap, even though it is a bit iffy. I actually agree with his conclusion that there is some sort of objective human nature that we can and should attempt to describe."

I agree with you. I can't prove it, but I think there's some essentially fuzzy human nature, and an innate capacity to distinguish right from wrong. This is evidenced in all kinds of altruistic behavior, but also in the fact that even the most monstrous people feel the need to justfify their hideous acts in moral terms: "liberating people," "building democracy," "owning slaves is morally superior to renting labor, because you treat what you own better than what you rent," etc etc etc.

Even the most grisly, sociopathic actions and policies must be rationalized and explained in a moral context. If there were no innate sense of right and wrong, perhaps rooted in human nature, then why the need to rationalize and justify? Why not just slaughter the natives and take the oil?

I missed this part, MD:

Chomsky is all about the evidence. Foucault would write a playfully prolix tome contending that "evidence" is yet another oppressive fiction, all while completely fucking with the evidence.

Again both men have a point. Evidence is useful if your claim is based solely on facts.

However, in the world of the mind, where people live when justifying uncomfortable facts, the machine operates on many different points, only some of which are proved "facts" and others of which are ideas, fragments, memories, feelings.

Litigation struggles often involve disputes over what is a "fact" and what is "evidence."

Therefore an obsessive reliance on "facts" and "evidence" seems to me to incorporate only half of reality, and makes me wonder who gets to be arbiter of what is a "fact" and what is legitimate "evidence."

Let's also not forget that American litigation recognizes 2 kinds of evidence:

- fact

- opinion

And jurors can weigh them however they choose, after hearing the Judge instruct them on how they're expected and required to use them.

Well, Ox, I think a pragmatist like Chomsky would agree with your summary of the situation: The truth is what most observers would agree the fact are. That's not a perfect or permanent endeavor, but it is what works.

Meanwhile, if your accusations of solipsism are merely due to your objections to Chomsky's personal choice about an employment choice that everybody in his position faces, then, pardon me, but that simply does not address the value of his intellectual work. What if Hitler's social secretary had produced the cure to cancer or the key to social harmony? I don't in any sense grant your accusations about the moral status of taking an MIT paycheck. Nevertheless, that's a separate issue from what Chomsky says about the world.

P.S. to Ox: It's easy for you to talk about what horizontal options you imagine Chomsky had or has. But the fact remains that MIT has never fired him.

P.P.S. If MIT offered me a job teaching sociology, I would accept it without hesitation. MIT is (partly) a device of, not the epicenter of, the US military.

I find it hard to believe Chomsky's only choice of faculty position is MIT, that it's been his only option for his whole life.

I find it hard to believe that a person of his intellect and communication skills couldn't make his same arguments to an equally wide audience without working for a major defense contractor.

Of course you and Chomsky are free to work wherever you like. I'm suggesting looking at other options and the more people approach life like you and Chomsky, the longer the extant problems will remain in place. To some of us there's hypocrisy in the act of working for MIT while criticizing empire, and I'm not so sure that we're that invisible a number, and I'm not so sure that we're all "without evidence" in our position.

I don't expect to change a man's faith, so I'm not trying to demand you change your position. Do what you will, be what you will. I'm just talking about what I admire and what I find to show personal integrity.

It's not my planet.

on the Q of what Chomsky says about the world:

I've never said his views (those I'm aware of) were mistaken "about the world" -- never said that. I find him eloquent in describing man's need to do something creative. His critiques of how "news" media work are excellent. As I said, his rebuffing Paxman on Al Jazeera was very good.

What I tend to see is a problem of soft-pedaling and very clever equivocation, evasion of specifics by eloquently shifting to the more general. No doubt he is a master of linguistics and rhetoric.

I'm not so sure why it would be a problem to discuss an icon's flaws. I'm not so sure why shying away from such criticism is good for anyone.

You are certainly a diligent beaver at the trees you choose to know, Ox. But they are, at least in the case of Chomsky, imaginary trees.

You seem to hold Chomsky to some personal standards that are as arbitrary and personal to you as they are irrelevant to the topics we're discussing.

Meanwhile, you continue to cast aspersions on Chomsky -- now, he's become shifty and equivocal, you say -- without the first example to prove your point. Where is Chomsky shifty and equivocal?

Meanwhile, why don't you just give us all a break and admit it? You either have not read Chomsky, or you're simply jealous, or you're a slightly adventurinst Ron Paulist. Which is it?

All the while, you know you haven't come within a yard of laying a finger on him, despite your vitriol, right?

I have given the example twice now. Maybe if you weren't so angry, worked-up, whatever, you'd have noticed?


"The actions so far seem very brutish and bloody but comparatively light and brief, for both strokes and counterstrokes."

The loyalist forces have been tentative in their attacks, trying to avoid taking losses in close combat. Because the rebels have poor communications and are unfamiliar with their commanders, when they come under attack they tend to withdraw at once, because they fear being isolated without support or relief. Once out of range, they rally.

Most of the loyalist bombardments have been done with the intention of intimidation, rather than destruction. Qadafi's forces can make a lot of fiery show, and then the rebels back off or melt away.

The rebels can only reinforce or resupply at night, to avoid their columns being observed or strafed on the roads. Thank God that Qadafi's troops seem to lack modern night vision equipment.

In the photos I've seen, it looks like the rebels are making no use whatever of camouflage (not even some netting over their guns or vehicles), dummy weapons and positions, etc.

If the rebels lose the Brega position, then militarily speaking they're in big trouble. Brega is a natural bottleneck. There is only one principal road connecting to Cyrenaica from the west. The ground for a very long ways to the south of Brega is soft sand and almost impassable to heavy vehicles. If Qadafi can clear the road through, then the front becomes untenable and he gains nearly complete freedom of operation from Benghazi to Tobruk.

The rebels lack the "shock troops" that most revolutionary armies usually need--fighters who, despite inadequate weapons and training, are determined nevertheless to attack and deprive the enemy of the initiative at any cost. As it is, the Loyalists seem more or less free to maneuver and deploy as they like.

It also becomes plain how valuable a "vanguard party" would be in providing cadres for a revolutionary army, even if "vanguard" is often a misnomer--"revolutionary follow-up echelon" would be more apt.

This war really makes me admire the Iraqi guerrillas who fought tenaciously at Fallujah, against enemy forces considerably more powerful than Qadafi's. Mind you, those guerrillas did have a cadre of former Ba'athist army officers.

A guerrilla war in Libya is problematic. The country is too urbanized and too dependent on outside supplies of food and water pipelines to offer good prospects for a classic rural guerilla.

Basing in neighbouring countries is also problematic. The Egyptian frontier is open desert with no convenient towns. Portions of that frontier are also landmined. The best frontier for infiltration purposes would be Algeria's, but the current regime has the oil camps and towns of eastern Algeria fully locked down.


i'm arriving too late to the party perhaps
i hate personal moral choice questions

to me
its like deciding whether or not
to slice off the crusts
on cucumber sandwitches

but oxy
imagine some one organizes
a total "mit walk out"
by its major "liberal to left faculty"
because the joint makes bomds and stuff
and the pledged walkout numbers
are large real large

surely well past large enough
to likely make "a lasting public statement"
and also ....also
to have direct nasty personal consequences to those walking out ...."career wise "...
of course !!!!

===as the insurance boys like to say
in wilder's 'the apartment' ===

yes career wise
equally grave consequences
as the statement
is big big big big "public wise"

would noam sign on ?? walk out ???
i 'd guess

maybe lots of personal moral rebellion
against institutions
doesn't happen because its not
self co ordinating enough
the activists judge the target and the effort
first and noam figures the pentagon and his citizenshoip in the state that sponsors that 5 sided butcher shop
is a better target for his personally limited efforts at rebellion

that a liberal left walk out
if even possible
amounts to more then passing around a letter of resignation
may well speak badly about the souls
as a group
as it would speak dufferently
if these souls were part of an organization like say...
the local italian american club
or the black shirts

consideration of career or life comforts or prestige may not entire at all here

is mit somehow qualitatively different
then other major universities ??

yes draper lab might be a nasty bit
but its fairly straight forward
to take a composite like mit
and condemn the naughty nasty bits
the evil compartments eh and still stay on board in one of the clean anti war cabins

billy clinton can do this trick inside his own head
co exist sincerely with his darker moments
as the decider in chief
so long as he can evoke in himself
when called on
a great hammy public display
of well articulated anguish

i will say noam's view on a walk out
in the plan stage is one thing
faced wiith a done deal and just join us
is obviously another thing

of course this as an anarchist
and it does take on a coloration
different then that
of say
a stalinist "submarine "

your guess ???


i substantially agreed with all of your comment

-- aside from holding brega as make or brake --

up to here where u move from fairly conventional positional conflict to guerrilla

i don't agree at all with this

"A guerrilla war in Libya is problematic."
so long as the arab league and egypt support the rebellion as legitimate

nor this even
"The country is too urbanized and too dependent on outside supplies of food and water pipelines to offer good prospects for a classic rural guerilla."
but i'll throw that out as an option
for the sake of brevity

first and most obviously
if somewhat problematic
there's urban guerilla r
no ??
one thinks of the magnificent hezzy's here

and i see you tacitly accept the viability in form at least
of a raiding system from
a cross border safe area
and suggest its only a no go because

" The Egyptian frontier is open desert with no convenient towns."

refugee camps ???

" Portions of that frontier are also landmined."
mines can be removed eh ??

once refuge camps are built and filled
they become the cover story
that is of course
if the egyptian "authorities "
are un officially supportive
of the guerrilla movement
and threaten serious retaliation
if Q's forces cross over
to strike at
" bandit camps "
and that the rebellion can maintain
a list of financial "sponsors "
--side bar
rangling over the proceeds of exported oil
becomes a big front in this conflict --

this is fairly straight forward stuff
don't you think
with much precedent

biggest best studied of course
jordan lebanon syria egypt
vis a vis israel and the west bank

might take time and serious backing
to put in place
but not problematic as to eventual outcome

i think of the polisario
and its near 40 year ..now in moth balls
liberation efforts

which brings out a key point
as with iraq kurdistan
and the kurdish rebels in south east turkey
the host becomes master of the camps
and master of the guerrillas prospects
unless the host is feeble
and of course if the host is feeble
then indeed counter raids will occur
and camp survival might indeed be problematic

we could go round and round on this

"The best frontier for infiltration purposes would be Algeria's"
not tunisia ??

" the current regime has the oil camps and towns of eastern Algeria fully locked down"

yes that regime would not sponsor a second polisario

btw in general
as my friend and fourth stage war advisor
col manfred mann
tells me

"terrain determines tactics
not the decision to fight or not fight"

there is always a way to fight
if the organization is determined
and the membership adequate in size finance
and recruitment rate

i think the rebellion needs
to stay "national" btw
with a second western front
maintained at all times on paper if not in reality

a free cyrenaica movement
gets to being too obvious a resource corporations' pawn ..
like free katanga

you gotta get UN backing

look to my beloved pol pot KR op out of thailand post topple 79

those multi nationally sponsored
un recognized refugee camps
form a tropical parallel
to operation libyan freedom


bottom line:

the pivot here is obvious
do great powers want to mess with q ??

submit my guess
"they " at least a sufficiency
are perpared to off him
and like
the viet installed gub in cambodia
the desire to oust him
may have real legs and pop

It is like cutting crusts off sammies, op.

Which is why I wonder why MD makes such a big thing of it.

It's just my stance. That's all. As I said: it's not my planet.

Yet he keeps insisting that I agree with him, or that I recant my testimony -- neither of which I'm going to do.

Some people can tolerate disagreement, some people cannot.

Obviously Foucault also had a problem with this thing I'm talking about, at least rhetorically. Maybe that's what sits at the bottom of MD's perseveration -- hates Foucault, assumes I agree with Foucault and know MD's hatred, thus I must be corrected. I didn't like Corrections when Franzen wrote them, I'm not going to like them any better here!



OP, "the pivot here is obvious
do great powers want to mess with q ??"

I am starting to think no. The great powers probably prefer the stability of Col Q locking down the country to uncertainty. Also, if Q shuts this rebellion down, doesn't this have a chilling effect on any similar uprising in Saudi? Ie: Wouldn't Uncle and the rest of the West prefer that this all quiet down, and that Q end up scaring the shit out of similar insurgencies? And hasn't Q become kind of "our" stooge anyway?



One way to look at it: The whole Chomsky/MIT/defense contractor thing just makes you realize how little they regard Noam as a threat. Or: "Look how great and open we are: we have this anti-empire dissident on our payroll and we don't lay a glove on him. That wouldn't happen in [add anti-US 'tyrannical' regime or ideology du jour here]."

CZ, that's a point I've made before, one of the most subtle managements of how to create or allow ideological gatekeeping happen -- the "token radical." I've made it regarding Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich, what their election to and retention of office means, why it's allowed.

There are multiple layers of rationale for MIT's side of the equation. If I ran MIT I'd want a few more Chomskys on my faculty.


re Qaddafi

He will serve as one of the distraction themes once again, after the coverage of Japan's disaster starts to wind down.

He will last as long as it makes sense to have him last, as long as it "makes sense" for those who seek long-term control over the oil-producing regions of N Africa/Middle East. Saddam Hussein was alternately bully and buddy over a long period. Qaddafi can play that role too.



I heard Amy Goodman once flatteringly ask him about how he had put himself in real danger of arrest and career ruination in the 60s ---- kind of teeing up a softball --- and he got very uncomfortable and sidestepped it. Said something to the effect of, "This isn't about me." But what I think I heard in subtext was: "uh....well, there was no chance I'd ever actually get arrested and convicted...." Weird, awkward moment.

"If I ran MIT I'd want a few more Chomskys on my faculty."

Is this because you think MIT would benefit from having more token radicals?


Sounds like things are really heating up in Bahrain now. Saudi soldiers have been sent in and one of the soldiers has already been shot dead


That's according to the Saudis. Could be propaganda

CZ, I'm joking. I don't imagine I would ever be in a position of running MIT or any analog. I'd probably make the place fail since I'd refuse to solicit or do any research that had destructive potential, and I'd probably define "destructive" in a way that some would say is "stifling intellectual growth in post-secondary education" (or similar). I don't believe "technology is neutral" and I think that statement evinces a strange latent sociopathy hiding behind a benevolent technophilic stance.


cz two nice comments i agree with entirely

11:41 11:45

on chum noamsky

thesis a famous lone wolf anarchist
with tenure can go
well past the edge of genteel prowggery
with an impunity
not there
for a member of a large well organized
subversive party


on Q or no Q i think we will get a nice x ray into the workings of uncle
if we look at the egyptian military
now so far as i know
sitting on its hands
but apres any rout in benghazi
and a flood of refugees ..

lots of nice moving parts here
that can come sharply into conflict
with each other ..perhaps


"Saddam Hussein was alternately bully and buddy over a long period. Qaddafi can play that role too"

oxy you bet

so long as you notice
not all empire work
is as simple as turning
on and off
the two taps in your sink

but Q types can be run that simple
often enough

"we can play it hot or cold makes no diff "

It's not that simple at the ground level (seeing Qaddafi do this, or do that) but the ways to get there are not all that complex. It may not be like flipping the ON/OFF light switch in my kitchen, but it's not like it's beyond the competence of those who are puppeteers in this game.

"MoBroSam wants to know what you want, Muammar."

add to the mix the knowledge of what Muammar tends to want anyway, no matter whether someone else is footing the bill. And that knowledge is easy for those who spend a lifetime watching others, eavesdropping on others, and gathering rumor and tall tale about others.

Well, I'm late to this, but Dawson coughed up a spore, so:

I prefer Nietzsche's perspectivism, not his antihistorical poses.

As for human moral nature - it's all bunk. Right and wrong are not coded into the brain. They are historically contingent. Chomsky's made any number of salient points, but trying to Kant up the brain ain't his best work, by a long shot.

There's no moral imperative. Context and syntax do matter.


"I prefer Nietzsche's perspectivism, not his antihistorical poses"

check jc

"antihistorical poses" ???

there's something
about casting first stones
that comes to mind

" human moral nature - it's all bunk. "

nature has history jc

"Right and wrong are not coded into the brain. "
but they could be perhaps
determined some how

"They are historically contingent."

is that
as opposed to historically determined

--nb not necessary ..determined --

"Chomsky's trying to Kant up the brain ain't his best work, by a long shot."
kant up ??

i see more 17 th century metapsychics
in noamsky
then post humean
twilight enlightenment
meta critique

"There's no moral imperative."

that may be
but does this follow

" Context and syntax ... matter "

or is that just an independent observation

or are you quoting

hugh heffner's
"context and contingency " ???

i'm sure you agree
anti historical poses are not restricted
to platonic statics
merely invoking dynamics is no escape
unless you spring for eternal regressions

i like G's faust:

in the beginning
was the act

i've found it difficult to join
a time evolving self discovering
self developing system
made up of self generations
of finite mind brain units
a system like human history
that i hold in the one hand
with n perspectives that history has produced in my other hand
as if two distinct beings

n perspectives one might insist
require the labeled radically unsortable
at least unsortable
into binary bundles
true and false
good and bad
beautiful and ugly
sacred and profane

let alone ordered within bundles
let alone cardinally ordered within bundles

but then bill murray's fate
in the movie ground hogs day
convinced me there was a way
to justify the platonic claim
that no one does evil with full knowledge


I find the word "nature" about as useful as "spirit." There are likely outcomes and statistically possible events. There is what came before, shaping what comes next, and some possibilities will never escape the potental to become kinetic.

"Nature" no better describes the unfolding of human events than "soul" explains why I'm attracted to my wife, but not her sister, why I like chocolate better than vanilla, or why you and I have similar aims and irreconcilable methods.


you suffer from a lack of alternatives

the theory of aperiodic systems might serve as a nice metaphor
releasing you from this

"There are likely outcomes and statistically possible events"

all outcomes/events are from a set
of statistically possible events
usually from the sub set
of likely outcomes/events

that's it ??

if so
then i re-iterate my above suggestion
with a bit more vigor

you wouldn't want to evolve into
a fuzz ball would you ??

an agnostic three monkey act

your taking nature and soul
and trying to force us to knock them off
because they are not hows
of course they're not hows

it really isn't much of a stretch to suggest
there might be too many causal elements too many moving parts to forecast
mental outcomes
ie soul motions
or social outcomes multi soul
interactive outcomes
or for that matter
the evolution of a species
or ecosystem
a natural system


the word nature extended to the qualifying word natural
natural versus artificial or divine
and applied to lots of social and mental
activity is indeed treacherous jc

natural morality
natural economy
natural sex

i often plug in spontaneous
for natural in economics
as in spontaneously systematic outcome
not natural outcome

as in mother nature's intended use or
means to an outcome

spontaneous helps more
as a blanking out
of penicious connotations
then a deepening of understanding

self organizing social systems
have nothing natural to them at all
there we agree i think

but how social systems have evolved
thru various forms
a very progressive 19th century notion
might once again
pit us against each other eh ??

We're whistling past each other, op.

I just don't think the word "nature," especially when modified with the word "human," is of much value.

We have thousands of cultures and subcultures, almost all of them still burdened with spiritualist, mythical and pre-method stop-gaps, contributing to a non-universal and unequal discussion of what it means to be human, a "discussion" which is also in fact quite often the record of conquest, appropriation and obliteration.

To have even half an eye to these conditions and propose a "human nature" seems especially arrogant, not to mention a historically conditioned imposition, since "being human" has a rather royal color to its cloak.

What we have, as best I can tell, is a limited understanding of what our biochemistry allows us to perform, to know, to think, to feel, to do - and how some of this seems common across ages and regions, whether or not the explanations and motives vary (and they do vary).

We also seem to know that there are actions we can imagine, but not perform, not at least without significantly altering ourselves and environment, and then with even less knowledge about those consequences.

So, we have a very incomplete picture of our potential, and an ill defined portrait of our weakness and lacks.

Scratch that.

We have hundreds if not thousands of communal but partial images of our available abilities, and hundreds or thousands of glimpses of things we cannot do, never mind cannot imagine we could do.

And then there are all the stop-gaps - mythic renderings of self and community which seem like explanations, but cannot be tested, or fail testing and yet still persist because millions of people derive comfort in believing them.

To assume a "human nature" from that set of conditions strikes me as an offense resting on a range between believing that the creator of the universe loves his best and brightest so much that he's going to punish most of them for eternity - and raping small children.



a hero of mine

"In 1926 he was offered positions both at the Moscow State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He decided to accept the latter,where he spent the rest of his academic career."

" He collaborated with Norbert Wiener on differential geometry, while continuing his research on the history of mathematics. He was made full professor at MIT in 1940."

why one of my heros ??

".. a steadfast Marxist. Having joined the Communist Party of the Netherlands in 1919, he remained a Party member his entire life. When asked, upon the occasion of his 100th birthday, how he managed to pen peer-reviewed journal articles at such an advanced age, he replied blithely that he had the "3Ms" a man needs to sustain himself: Marriage (his wife, Saly Ruth Ramler, was not alive when he turned one hundred in 1994), Mathematics, and Marxism.

It is therefore not surprising he suffered persecution during the McCarthyite era. He was accused of being a Soviet spy, a charge he vehemently denied. Invoking the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, he refused to answer any of the 200 questions put forward to him during the HUAC hearing. He was suspended from teaching for five years (with full salary) by MIT in the 1950s. he was re-instated in 1956. He retired from MIT in 1960 as Professor Emeritus of Mathematics."

"he died October 21, 2000, 21 days after celebrating his 106th birthday"


"By late 1955 he was reinstated in his teaching duties and held these until 1960 when, at the age of 65, he had to retire."

"MIT refused him an Emeritus position and his attempts to find positions in other universities in the United States failed."


Sometimes reading Crow I think he wants to reinvent the wheel or discover fire all for himself and resents the fact that some bastard from the distant past bequeathed these notions to him through generations of rain dancers.


"We're whistling past each other"

i think not

if you want to focus just on human nature
most of what you write in the latest comment is off topic

if i get its drift
it seems more about the sources of notions in heads

one bunch of these circle around
the notion
"we humans have something called a nature"
not far from
the arrays of formulations circling around
the even more general notion
of a substantial form
as in the aristotelian school there of

now we have the human genome
platonsim made material

blue prints for forms
constructed out of the arrangement
of long strips of just a few complex molecules

surely this endowment suggests
some fairly signifigant specifics eh ??
yes of course we have
"a limited understanding of what our biochemistry allows us to perform, to know, to think, to feel, to do "
but it would be mystical to expect we can't unravel lots of it in time

to me the beauty of this is really quite simple

now that we've found our limitations
we as true faustians are quickly figuring out how to improve ourselves
change our design
change our nature
this presumptive act
out does prometheus




i like amateur thinkers bold enough to range widely
ala montaigne

Sheesh, Boink. At least you didn't say the same about me. I'm another one of those amateur thinkers, I'd hope that means nobody takes me seriously ever, and considers my posts to be the spastic tremors of two dissociated hands and one disturbed merit-free mind.

op, the example of Struik makes me think of a whole lot of things, none of which has anything to do with Qaddafi, Libya, or MoBroSam. Mostly I'd suggest they have to do with the mathematician's mind and the ready fit with centralized authority on an assumedly benevolent platform (socialism, communism). That's fine for those who want to enjoy a technophilic society where we're forever chasing the dreams of science fiction authors. On a planet where the resources are scarce and the population expanding, I'd prefer a more durable, less fantasy/faith-based approach.


Resentment is for people who want to die.

Said it before, but Crow and Ox are comrades. They both swing way above their ability to hit.

Ox, you keep accusing Chomsky of preposterous things, then accuse me of starting it. And you refuse to try to defend your silly attacks. How is Noam Chomsky shifty and equivocal, other than in your own paranoid and jealous and SOLIPSISTIC mind?

Crow, you think Naomi Klein is a serious source on China. You display a similar talent in mentioning the concept of "perspectivism," which is a second-hand academicization of either "understanding" (which Nietzsche hardly owns) or nihilism. Sounds like you are some third-rate college teacher's victim.

Cz, meanwhile, uses Chomsky in the handle, but participates in it all. Another way to loof at it is that MIT appreciates Chomsky's world-historic research, and doesn't want to catch hell for firing him for speaking his mind. Fuck you.

You little pricks are all just the kind of little pricks who want medals for your own self-appreciated rebellion. It's a common type on what now passes for the left. Little fish in a tiny pond. I look forward to a day when regular people who have sanity and humility come on board, and you freaks get swept under the carpet.



You're right about the potential of refugee camps as bases for guerrillas. You're also right that one can always choose to fight. However, I fear that a tactical or strategic disadvantage, if severe enough, could prove fatal to the hopes of a generation.

In terms of examples, I guess Polisario would be the closest. Note that Libya would have enough money and resources to build Moroccan-style fortifications to frustrate the motorized desert guerrilla.

n.b. I remember that when the Moroccans started building limes a lot of people laughed at their apparent backwardness--including me. But events showed that the Moroccans knew what they were doing.

Either Egypt or Tunisia would have to show open or ill-concealed support. Would either of those countries really want a prolonged period of tension with Libya? Those countries have no shortage of domestic problems.

I'm afraid that the US, Israel, or KSA might be quite happy to see Egypt's new gov't wrestling with a protracted Libyan imbroglio. They would find it preferable to an Egypt active in Yemeni, or most of all, Palestinian, affairs.

Mr Dawson... I submit it's time you own up to what you really want: a piece of me.

1) I'm hetero. So, no thanks.

2) If it's just rhetoric you're looking for I'll engage you on any topic in whatever twisted form of "contest" your sycophantic mind can muster. I enjoy such games.

I wonder, however, about your ability to sublimate your bloodlust.

Don't you ever worry about embarrassing yourself?


"Crow, you think Naomi Klein is a serious source on China."

I think Ms. Klein sourced her claims about China. I referenced those sources.

"You display a similar talent in mentioning the concept of 'perspectivism,' which is a second-hand academicization of either 'understanding' (which Nietzsche hardly owns) or nihilism."

I mentioned perspectivism, because it's uniquely treated by Nietzsche, and it's the portion of his thought which I find most useful. I make no claims about its use by others, nor deny it. I was clarifying your misstatement, with the full knowledge that you'd eventually be a jerk about it anyway, because you can only appear to manage sycophantic groveling to op and fb, or turf pissing for the fighting 88th keyboard commandos.

I could care less about nihilism except to note that you fail to understand, utterly, that the Neetch was not one. Nor am I, fuckwit.

"Sounds like you are some third-rate college teacher's victim."

I went to college for less than a semester, and then I ran out of money, still had to hold two jobs, and eventually took to minor crime in order to feed myself, because it's hard to attend college, take care of an addict girlfriend, then a child, and be homeless for a good portion of it at the same time. My parents didn't have any money. I have worked, begged, borrowed and stolen just to say afloat for most of my life.

You, on the other hand, have all the good will and kind feeling of the common run of snotty, self-involved, self-promoting academics or middle management fucktards, the kind who have a little knowledge and lot self absorption.

When the common people actually come, fucker, it will be for throats and privilege like your bourgeois, sneering, bookselling, capitalist, posing own.



there are no minor crimes only minor criminals

hey i'm easily the biggest jerk here
i've come to civil terms with you
and the el oxo brigade

if that proves anything
it proves
we can all disagree
without bursting into flames every time here

dm holds his views with a conviction we all oughta admire
he's no sycophant anymore then you guys are

-- btw disagreeing with father S is an honored role here ...no ??--

disliking each other is good fun
at these distances
i know i enjoy it on occasion

sneer and loathing

but lets keep the real blasts
for interlopers
without any use for this site
but to crap on it
four engine bombers like
fathers friends
alex the clip
and little lu lu and pork rind lveraged buy out there

public and semi public --little lu lu --figures on the tiny left stage

and try not to over do it on each other

we unsifted residue


you have stolen my heart with that lovely riff on the polisario

col mann sez "yes...yes ...that guys got it " to pretty much all of comment 12:45 pm
in particular

"a tactical or strategic disadvantage,
if severe enough, could prove fatal
to the hopes of a generation."
one last thought

in better inter imperial days
rival great powers take opposing sides
keeping both teams .."in the game"
but even after the kold war went into the dumpster of Clio
and rendered such sedulous herding
un necessary
the great powers of the west
too often still move like a school of cod

china is way too non confrontational
and russia
can't do much for any group
more then a few klicks from her boarder
if she's flying solo

libya does seem to evoke more contradictions
among the global players
then most local conflicts eh ??

----- my favorite recent fart
an emerging
q and q axis ----

Son of Uncle Sam:

I don't know who any of those people are,...but the guy in the cheap sunglasses looks really friendly.


"the guy in the cheap sunglasses "

that's my sister blanche you ass hole !!!!


Michael, my admiration of Noam and my getting some enjoyment out of noting The Great One's contradictions aren't, in any meaningful way, in conflict. Possible to hold two competing ideas in the head at the same time, correct? Even for a sub-Fitzgeraldian intelligence such as my own.

Noam is neither a God nor an idol, and while I tend to be rather worshipful of him nonetheless, I still find Oxy's iconoclasm in this regard pretty refreshing and rare.

I'm always hardest on the home team.

"Another way to loof at it is that MIT appreciates Chomsky's world-historic research, and doesn't want to catch hell for firing him for speaking his mind."

Yes, that is indeed a compelling way to loof at it.


Michael, "You little pricks are all just the kind of little pricks who want medals for your own self-appreciated rebellion. "

I'll take any rebellion right now. Really. Not picky.


is part of nothing
uncle's security cliques fear

plain and simple
lone wolfs spouting righteous logic
are harmless as bleeting sheep

let the lack of repression speaks for itself

where my hero back in the day
i really obscure scholar
at the same institution got job wacked
for "threatening to over throw ...
the common wealth of mass-obtusettes

feast on la diff in the differentials

dT/dS versus dT/dC
S (r)

where r is rad outspeak
S my hero
C nohmansky
T tenure

Jack, you shouldn't be so rough on Mr Dawson. He makes a common mistake:

an eidetic memory = incomparable wisdom

I'd guess that's because Dawson struggled with a memorization-heavy curriculum on his way to earning his Merit Degree, and now puts a premium on facts facts facts facts facts facts facts EVIDENCE facts facts facts facts facts

Thus an idea-based, reasoning-based approach like Foucault demonstrated in the linked "debate," that's just an irritant to the facts facts facts facts facts facts facts mind. WHERE ARE YOUR FACTS, MICHEL? WHERE? I INSIST YOU REVEAL THEM BEFORE I BLOW A GASKET AND CHUCK A BOLUS!

I have known people like Dawson's posting personality (which could be different than his person) my whole life. There were plenty of them in college and in grad school, fecal paste on their nosetips, sycophantic groveling their mien, defense of chosen heroes their praxis. It's like they found their Jesus and wished to earn a right to claim Apostolic status. And they deserved that status because they had memorized essential facts facts facts facts facts facts facts facts.

They can't imagine they are obstacles rather than helpers. I think that's because there's always a black cloth hung over the mirror's glass when they gaze into it.



that last comment is excessively

it doesn't warrent a response

but a protest

"fecal paste on their nosetips, sycophantic groveling their mien, defense of chosen heroes their praxis."

come now
we all can draw a little closer
to reality when describing a regular here
then that

what possible advantage would md's views
give him in college ???

op --

I don't know what gives brown-nosers their jollies or advantages. Never been one myself. Can't give you the answer you're seeking on that Q.

Aside from that, I'd suggest looking at the post again. I drew comparisons to Dawson.

I've been completely civil to Dawson throughout this thread. I'd suggest reading my posts more narrowly, and not reading into the posts any words I have not used.

Dawson's saying I'm reading too much into Chomsky. Why isn't that a crime for you or Dawson to do that with my posts? Why are Chomsky's statements entitled to all sorts of deference, but mine must be distorted into something Dawson's weird paranoia makes them into?



drop the protest con
you come off like captain lou albano


u know my point
just try to lower the flame some

i suspect md will notice the change
and reduce his own

i know its fun for u
hey i'm tryin ... u can too

by the way
one minute i'm reading too much
into your comments
the next i'm reading too little

what are your comments
a slalom course ????


what you're missing is that MD is the fucking aggressor. conversation will be moving along nicely, if not with perfect agreement, and then MD will go into some sort of often unexpected flame out.

Hold him to the standard, for christ's sake.

You want the tone to change? Deal with the problem at it's source. And that problem is MD.


let he who is without sin
cast away the first stone

or something like that
be the bigger guy crow
you got the wing span for it ...right ??

md like yourself and oxbridge crossing
has put up many a thoughtful
and thought provoking post

we can reason together


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Sunday March 13, 2011 06:27 PM.

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