“Our fingers will be in every pie,” declared Sen. Robert Taft. “Our frontiers today are on every continent,” announced JFK. And indeed it has come to pass. In mainstream media and scholarship it has been rare to find the noun imperialism preceded by the adjective American. The cover for aggression is cloaked in the lofty rhetoric of democracy, nation building and humanitarian intervention. Alan Murray, CNBC Washington Bureau Chief wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “We are all, it seems, imperialists now.” He might be speaking for the elites that run America not for voices of conscience like Noam Chomsky. Interview by David Barsamian.
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 93, he is still active; writing and giving interviews to the media 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.