In recent years, I’ve known many people who ask themselves, “What can I do, given the state of the world?” In the past year, this question has been especially urgent, given the toxicity of the US political scene. It’s easy to be continually distracted by the latest outrage; yet, it’s imperative that we understand more of the big picture involving the institutions that have long had significant impact on both U.S. citizens and the rest of the word.
I invite you to spend several weeks with me reading, thinking about, and discussing a few essays by Noam Chomsky, long-time MIT professor and prolific political writer. In so doing, we may encounter fresh critical perspectives, analyses, and questions, which we can bring to our own civic priorities.
Back in 1979, a New York Times reviewer said of Chomsky, “Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” Some important themes of Chomsky’s work include liberal criticism and the limits of thinkable thought; the how and why of propaganda; the responsibility of the writer and intellectual; ; the political economy of human rights; the power of activism; and the elite fear of democratic participation. He became known to the American public in the later 1960s because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. He has since been involved in issues of justice and peace regarding Israel/Palestine, East Timor, Central America, Afghanistan, Iraq, among many others. Read the rest of this entry »