Noam Chomsky 3-Pack

Program #CHON217-CHON212.

First program: Masters of Mankind

Adam Smith is routinely trotted out by pundits to justify the current economic system. Yet the Smith that is represented bares little resemblance to reality. If he were around today he probably would be appalled at the way his name and ideas are being bandied about. All that stuff about the free market and entrepreneurial spirit are slogans to prevent people from understanding how the economy really works. Actual capitalism relies on significant government intervention and taxpayer subsidies. Who after all bailed out Wall Street banks and financial institutions? In sector after sector it is public money that paves the way for private profit. Take computers and the Internet. Where did they come from? Bill Gates working in a garage in Palo Alto? Hardly. They were products of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

Second program: Unconventional Wisdom 

Conventional wisdom is a term one often hears. It is the generally accepted belief, opinion, or judgment, about a particular matter. In the U.S., the ruling political class and the media are major propagators of conventional wisdom. For example, when it comes to international law the U.S. exempts itself while holding its enemies to account. Or bombing and invading another country. Washington reserves that right for itself and its allies. It's just a given. There is one set of rules for the master and his close friends and another for everybody else. All of these notions are presupposed and embedded. They are so deeply rooted that they don't even come up for discussion. Whoever breaks from the norm risks ostracism and ridicule. But often it is thinkers outside the box who rock the casbah and make a positive difference.

Speaker(s):

Noam Chomsky (click to view archive)

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. The New Statesman calls him, “The conscience of the American people.” Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” He is the author of scores of books, including Hopes & Prospects, Occupy, How the World Works, and Power Systems with David Barsamian.

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