And another one! Performative speech acts in linguistic theory: Performative speech acts in linguistic theory: The rationality of Noam Chomsky

This is getting ugly

excerpt: Performative speech acts in linguistic theory: Performative speech acts in linguistic theory: The rationality of Noam Chomsky

107. In the context of showing why ‘the United States is very lucky’, Chomsky amazingly declared himself ‘very much in favour of corruption’:

I think it’s one of the best things there is. You’ll notice that in my books I never criticise corruption. I think it’s a wonderful thing. I’d much rather have a corrupt leader than a power-hungry leader. A corrupt leader is going to rob people but not cause much trouble. The more corrupt these guys are, the better off we are. I think we all ought to applaud corruption. (1991a: 87).

This odious passage amply documents that his ‘applause of corruption’ was not an isolated slip of the tongue or a distortion I fabricated by pasting up his words out of context, but a determined stance he roundly asserted no less than nine times during the interview and saw no reason to soften or delete in the printed version. David Bleich (1991: 5) construed it as ‘Jewish wit, also known as gallows humour’; if so, the butt of the joke is millions of ‘robbed’ people languishing in poverty and misery. A political activist whose ‘Cartesian common sense’ cannot see that money is power and who says mass ‘robbery’ doesn’t ‘cause much trouble’ — trouble for wealthy and prominent academics like him, I assume — cannot be ‘taken seriously’ as an ‘intellectual’ who faults the ‘moral judgement’ of others and still less as a spokesperson for the Third World, where the ‘corruption’ among the rich and powerful and their hangers-on is a chief motive why the ‘peasants’ are getting ‘slaughtered’. And they will keep being ‘slaughtered’ whilst Chomsky revels in the limelight at ‘demonstrations’ in United States, where, by his very own account, ‘nobody pays any attention’ — ‘the only healthy reaction’ indeed to a man who ‘thinks we all ought to applaud corruption’!

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