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Priorities: Indochina

Program #CHON015. Recorded in Northfield, MN on February 18, 1970.

A philosophical talk on freedom and responsibility given while Indochina was burning under a massive U.S. assault. He talks admiringly about Randolph Bourne and his essay "The Twilight of the Idols." It was Bourne, writing around WW1, who said "War is the health of the state." Chomsky observes that some intellectuals gravitate to power resulting in the "degrading of political thinking and loss of critical capacity." He says, "Those of us in academic communities have a remarkable opportunity to think through, not only the consequences of our actions but the kind of society we hope to bring into being." And he comments, "It's not enough to deplore" the system of militarism and imperialism "like Fulbright and Eisenhower or to get a new manager to do something about it, the only thing that can be done is to try to organize to stop it, to resist it." An outstanding program which resonates as much today as when it was first given. Highly recommended.


Noam Chomsky

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. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” He is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 89, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Global Discontents Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World WorksPower Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.

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