The MIT Interviews
In Part One, Chomsky discusses the real reasons for the U.S. invasion of Panama, the process of how and why Noriega went from being a “good guy” to a “bad guy” who had to be deposed, the media support and cooperation with the Bush Administration and, most riveting of all, the grotesque hypocrisy of the “war on drugs.” He presents his views clearly and in a straightforward manner, illustrating his points with many examples.
In Part Two, he discusses the driving need of American policymakers to find an enemy in order to propel the Pentagon. Since the demise of the Soviet threat, there has been a scramble to develop credible and truly scary alternatives. So we careen from Libyan hit squads to the Sandinistas to Medellín drug lords to Noriega to Saddam. Nothing has quite the staying power of the “Evil Empire.” This segment contains fascinating personal information about Chomsky’s roots and early influences and provides insight into Chomsky, the man and his thought. February 1-2, 1990.
Interviewed by David Barsamian.
Recorded at MIT.
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. His contributions to modern linguistics are legendary. 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.” The New Statesman calls him “the conscience of the American people.” He is 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 95, he continues to inform and inspire people all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, his latest are Consequences of Capitalism, Chronicles of Dissent and Notes on Resistance.