Monday, March 29, 2004

Did you know...

...that Noam Chomsky has a blog? I didn't, but I was glad to find a pointer to it.

I have to admit that I respect Chomsky a lot more than I agree with him. I know it's popular in some circles to grouse about relatively weak kneed liberals being presented as 'the left' in the media while genuine left intellectuals like Chomsky are generally left out of public debate except in small press magazines and other 'alternative' media outlets. I'm sympathetic to that view, but in fact, most of what Chomsky has to say is simply beyond the acceptable range of the general American body politic, even when he's absolutely right.

He's not unconscious of that fact, either. One of the best things about the Professor is his self awareness and his acknowledgement that sometimes it's more important to do what you can do than to stridently demand that which can't be done, no matter how preferable.

He makes that point well in a recent posting.

"We have several choices to make. The first is whether we want to pay attention to the real world, or prefer to keep to abstract discussions suitable to some seminar. Suppose we adopt the first alternative. Then there is another choice: electing Bush or seeking to prevent his election."

Happily, he comes down on the practical side of the question, choosing to prevent Bush's election, and recognizing that that will only be accomplished by avoiding clashes on the basis of ideological purity. Perhaps his advocacy is against Bush rather than for Kerry, but he grasps that the only practical channel for that advocacy is supporting the Democratic nominee, regardless of the compromises that support entails for folks of Chomsky's ideological stripes.

As he points out, "Activist movements, if at all serious, pay virtually no attention to which faction of the business party is in office, but continue with their daily work, from which elections are a diversion -- which we cannot ignore, any more than we can ignore the sun rising; they exist."

The outcome of the election does matter, and the daily work of those activist movements will be enhanced by the election of John Kerry. Not advanced, necessarily, but enhanced.

I've generally ignored Nader, and tried my best to be respectful toward Dennis Kucinich, but it's time for them to take a lesson from Noam Chomsky and join the unity ticket to defeat Bush.

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