noam chomsky

Fingers In Ears

Jonathan Swift is often quoted as having said…

You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place.

This idea has been criticised as simply the waving of a white flag in the face of ignorance, and I think that is a fair criticism.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that it is nothing more than a “deepity“…

Deepity  refers to a statement that is apparently profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be “earth-shattering” if true.

E.G. “love is just a word.” On one level the statement is perfectly true (i.e., love is a word) but the deeper meaning of the phrase is false; love is many things — a feeling, an emotion, a condition — and not simply a word.

Although he is a frequent source of deepities, the name does not come from Deepak Chopra.

I think people can be reasoned out of positions they didn’t reason themselves out of, but only if they are willing to listen.

Take this for example, a right-winger starts on criticising Chomsky, has each of his points clearly and decisively taken apart, and then just starts off again.

If he had actually been willing to listen, he’d have changed his mind.

The Scottish Independence Podcast 35 – Humanitarian Intervention

CLEAR~10One of the major reasons the UK state does not want Scotland to leave, though it is not often spelled out in this way, is that the UK’s ability to project its power worldwide would diminish.

There are so many assumptions wrapped up in this idea that it is sometimes hard to know where to begin unpicking them.

In what way is this power projected, and to what end?

Why is it automatically considered by many, and usually by the media, that the UK is using this power for good?

Those are good questions. However, the discussion is usually limited to ideas surrounding “Humanitarian Intervention”, and whether it is the right thing to do this time around.

Recent examples of UK “Humanitarian Intervention” would be Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and many others.

FireShot Screen Capture #280 - 'Michael Greenwell (mgreenwell) on Twitter' - twitter_com_mgreenwellThe podcast you are about to listen to is a speech by Noam Chomsky from earlier this month in which he takes apart this doctrine of Humanitarian Intervention.

Though he speaks principally about the United States, what he says on the topic holds good for the UK which, for the most part, desperately tries to hang on to the coat tails of the US.

Are these the kind of interventions worth defending?

Have a listen…

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Film Guide (with free films) – Part 6 – Tear-jerkers

A few years ago I used to run a biweekly free film showing in the University for anyone who wanted to come along. The films were a mix of documentaries, fiction and  based on true story stuff. I would try to get a guest along to speak too.

I thought I would make the list of films available here with links to where you can see them free where possible.

I’ve divided them into rough groups and posted links to where you can find them online if you want to. The first week I had some films about the media and the second was economics, the third was biographies and the fourth was some great anti-war films. The fifth was documentaries about protests.
Here is the sixth (and penultimate) part and it is films that might make you cry…

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) is an amazing film based on a true story about the Stolen Generations in Australia.

The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken until the 1970s

It also all appears to be on youtube in more than one place. Take a little look and you’ll find it.

Machuca (2004) is a film set in Chile around the time of the Pinochet takeover. This is from one of the reviews on IMBD...

I watched the film with my mother, who lived through the coup d’etat in Chile. The events depicted in the movie were so realistic, they transported her back to that era. She cried as we watched and explained all of the small details I wouldn’t have gotten being someone who didn’t experience these events for myself. With this in mind, I have to think this movie was meant to be watched by a Chilean audience to be fully understood and “felt”. Someone like my mother, who has seen the atrocities that occurred in Chile in the mid-seventies, would be a more appropriate critic of this film.

Regardless, I think everyone should watch this movie. It is a touching story about friendship, growing up, social classes, and politics. The acting was exceptional. The plot was well- written. The sets, props, and costumes were accurate. It has a lot to offer as an enlightening and educational film since the story of Chile’s own 9/11 has not yet reached the general masses.

Machuca also appears to be on youtube if you do a little search.

Salt Of The Earth (1954) is apparently Noam Chomsky’s favourite film. It features on the events surrounding a strike and features some of the real miners involved. This film is much more than you think it will be. The entire film is available on open source as a free download at