The Anti-Chomsky Reader

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The Anti-Chomsky Reader
File:The Anti-Chomsky Reader.jpg
EditorsPeter Collier and David Horowitz
CountryUnited States
SubjectNoam Chomsky
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PublisherEncounter Books
Publication date
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Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
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The Anti-Chomsky Reader is a 2004 book about the linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky edited by Peter Collier and David Horowitz. Its contributors criticize Chomsky's political and linguistic writings, claiming that he cherry-picks facts to fit his theories.[1]

Contents[edit | edit source]

The Anti-Chomsky Reader contains the following articles:

  • An introduction by Peter Collier
  • "Whitewashing Dictatorship in Vietnam and Cambodia" by Steven J. Morris, Senior Fellow at The Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins University, accuses Chomsky of denying repression and mass murder under the communist regimes of Vietnam and Cambodia. Morris claims that Chomsky adheres to a Marxist-derived view of the Indochina wars which refuses to acknowledge the totalitarian nature of the regimes in question. (pages 1–34)
  • "Chomsky and the Cold War" by Thomas M. Nichols, chairman of the Department of Strategy and Policy, U.S. Naval War College, claims that Chomsky has distorted the history of the Cold War in order to minimize the role of Communist ideology and blame the conflict on the United States. He accuses Chomsky of misusing sources and footnoting his books in manipulative and dishonest ways "to create a kind of pseudo-academic smog" often leading back to Chomsky's own work. He discusses a 1990 letter from Chomsky to Alexander Cockburn which Nichols claims laments the defeat of the Soviet Union and other Communist states and movements at the end of the Cold War, particularly singling out Czech dissident Václav Havel for vituperation. (pages 35–65)
  • "Chomsky and the Media: A Kept Press and a Manipulated People" by Eli Lehrer, former editor of American Enterprise, is a critique of Chomsky's "propaganda model" of the American media as stated in Chomsky's book, Manufacturing Consent. Lehrer accuses Chomsky of being "an outsider who knows relatively little about the media... except to the degree that 'media subservience' serves to explain why there is no outcry against the evil he sees everywhere in the American enterprise." (pages 67–84)
  • "Chomsky's War Against Israel" by Paul Bogdanor criticizes Chomsky's stance on Israel. Bogdanor charges that Chomsky distorts historical fact and falsely accuses Israel of atrocities and rejectionism while downplaying Arab aggression and violence against the Jewish State. (pages 87–116)
  • "Chomsky and Holocaust Denial", by Werner Cohn of Brooklyn, New York and professor emeritus of sociology at the University of British Columbia, analyzes Chomsky's role in the Faurisson affair through his connections to Faurisson's publisher La Vieille Taupe. Cohn accuses Chomsky of close connections to French anti-semites and Holocaust Deniers through this organization (pages 117–58). Chomsky replied in Outlook.[2]
  • "Chomsky and 9/11" by David Horowitz and Ronald Radosh analyzes a speech given by Chomsky at MIT immediately after 9/11. Horowitz and Radosh allege that "Chomsky detected [a] plot by Washington to deliberately starve 3 to 4 million innocent Afghan civilians". They also claim that Chomsky justifies the 9/11 attacks in his speech and distorts American history to make the United States appear to be a terrorist nation. (pages 161–80)
  • "Noam Chomsky's Anti-American Obsession", by David Horowitz, accuses Chomsky of being an anti-American ideologue who sees the United States as evil and rewrites American history accordingly. Horowitz claims that Chomsky is the intellectual source of left-wing anti-Americanism today. (pages 181–200)
  • "A Corrupted Linguistics" by Robert D. Levine and Paul M. Postal, both professors of linguistics, claims that Chomsky's linguistic work has been largely superseded or abandoned. They also accuse Chomsky of intellectual misconduct in his linguistic writings. (pages 203–31)
  • "Chomsky, Language, World War II and Me" by John Williamson criticizes Chomsky's linguistic work and recounts a long email debate between Chomsky and the author in which Williamson claims Chomsky repeatedly lied about his own statements and about historical facts and sources. (pages 233–48)

Reception[edit | edit source]

The conservative historian Keith Windschuttle, in a review in the conservative magazine New Criterion, states that "Collier, Horowitz, and their six other authors have produced a book that has long been needed. It provides a penetrating coverage of the disgraceful career of a disgraceful but very influential man, who has so far avoided a criticism as thoroughgoing as this."[3]

The English professor Mark Bauerlein, in a generally positive review in the libertarian magazine Reason, claims that "Collier and Horowitz understand well the manufactured reality of political fame, and to dismantle it requires not contrary vitriol or clever rejoinders but direct, fact-based assertions that undermine the authenticity of the image. To that end, the contributors follow a simple procedure: Quote actual statements by Chomsky and test them for evidence and logic. The best contributions to the volume add the effective and timely tactic of citing Chomsky's progressive virtues and revealing how smoothly he abandons them."[4]

In Commmentary Magazine, Arch Puddington called the Anti-Chomsky Reader “The most comprehensive critique of Chomsky that has yet appeared,” and that it “benefits from the political sophistication of its contributors, most of whom are familiar with the dynamics of radical politics and are not distracted by Chomsky's pretense to scholarly rigor and truth-seeking.”[5]

Michael Leon, in a review in the now defunct ‘'CoreWeekly, wrote a scathing critique claiming that "The Anti-Chomsky Reader is mired in a thick haze of loathing and hard-right ideology, short on verifiable facts and long on ideologically-steeped assertions" and that the book is full of baseless claims that are intended for character assassination.[6]

The author Anthony F. Greco criticized Collier and Horowitz for being biased and selective and not acknowledging any merit in Chomsky's writings.[7]

John Feffer accused Collier and Horowitz of blatant dishonesty and has stated that they wrote the book to attack Chomsky because their careers were failing after their popularity died out during the Clinton administration years. Feffer also added that they had to make a dishonest living creating fictitious allegations of liberal bias in academia.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cook, Christopher R. (2009). Chomsky, Noam; Achar, Gilbert; Shalom, Stephen R.; Crandall, Russell C.; Fabbrini, Sergio; Ole R., Holsti; Arbor, Ann (eds.). "A Cold Eye Assessment of US Foreign Policy: It's the Policies, Stupid". International Studies Review. 11 (3): 601–608. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2486.2009.00877.x. JSTOR 40389146.
  2. Reply to Werner Cohn by Noam Chomsky. Outlook, June 1, 1989
  3. Windschuttle, Keith (September 2004). "A disgraceful career". The New Criterion. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  4. Bauerlein, Mark (April 2005). "Deconstructing Chomsky". Reason. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  5. Puddington, Arch (October 2004). "Chomsky's Universe". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  6. Leon, Michael (2005-01-13). "The Anti-Chomsky Reader Continues a Soviet-Style Assault". CoreWeekly. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  7. Greco, Anthony F. Chomskys Challenge to American Power a Guide for the Critical Reader. Vanderbilt University Press, 2013.
  8. Feffer, John. “Second Thoughts.” Institute for Policy Studies, 9 May 2014.