In this interview David Barsamian and Noam Chomsky discuss the rise of ISIS, how U.S. policies are “creating jihadis,” the film American Sniper, the Charlie Hebdo attack, free speech, and how memory is filtered to allow certain facts to be foreground while obscuring other vital information. “Living memory,” Chomsky says, “is the terrorism done against us, not what we do to others.”
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 90, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World Works, Power Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.