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stanleybmanly's avatar

Does anyone have an idea as to why a professor of linguistics (Noam Chomsky) would evolve into the most recognized critic of our current economic system?

Asked by stanleybmanly (22385points) January 6th, 2017 from iPhone

Why would the economic situation interest a professor of linguistics?

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40 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

Chomsky has been at this for decades. He knows more than both of us combined.

janbb's avatar

@johnpowell He knows more than most of the whole world combined.

canidmajor's avatar

Why would it not? People can have more than one interest, and dramatically different ones at that. My uncle was a successful civil engineer for a decade, went back to school to become a lawyer, at which he was successful for two decades, then studied marine environmental issues and worked in that field (and kind of melded it with the other two professions) until he retired.

stanleybmanly's avatar

So the 2 fields have nothing in common, and Chomsky’s views on the economy are irrelevant to linguistics?

flutherother's avatar

According to his Wikipedia article he ‘believes that it is the moral responsibility of intellectuals to tell the truth about the world’.

janbb's avatar

Chomsky is one of the great thinkers of our time whether one agrees with him or not; it is not overly significant that his field is linguistics. Think of Stephen Hawking; yes, he’s a physicist but so much more.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Is anyone else seeing duplicate answers on their screens?

stanleybmanly's avatar

What would go through the mind of a linguist hearing the words “equal opportunity” as a description of the way things work in the United States?

canidmajor's avatar

On further reflection, economics is just another kind of language. Patterns, context, communication.

stanleybmanly's avatar

YES! words, their meaning and usage, “free market” for example. Or how about “affordable care act”?

Zaku's avatar

He’s (perhaps) “the most recognized critic of our current economic system” because he’s been doing it for so long, his language abilities help him express himself powerfully, and he isn’t afraid of saying unconventional things.

My question is why there aren’t more academics being equally critical and outspoken?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Okay, let me get this straight, he is probably one of the 25 smartest people on the planet and . . .

You assume he should not make comments about Economics.

What does, he is a linguist, have to do with him NOT making a comment about “economic situation” when he is one of the smartest people on the earth?

Cruiser's avatar

Who would make an any better critic of the super rich, super powerful who control the strings of our Government that a professor of linguistics. Just ranting and raving about the super rich, super powerful who control the strings of our Government gets one easily dismissed as a left-wing radical. But put some powerful eloquent words about the out of work poor and struggling middle class and you now have a pretty persuasive message to stimulate the minds of people who are struggling and then see the lopsided inequality we have today between the super rich and super poor.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I dunno. Why would a lawyer take an interest in mathematics, architecture, politics, statesmanship and horticulture?

Kropotkin's avatar

I’m not going to look for any direct quotes right now, but Chomsky has stated that he was brought up in a very politically and intellectually curious and vibrant environment.

He was writing political essays at the age of 12.

He’s a polymath, and he’s contributed to a number of differerent fields in the humanities, analytic philosophy, and computer science—to name but a few. He’s one of the most cited scholars in human history.

He is probably the greatest living intellectual and one of the greatest minds of the century.

This is a man with a vast thirst for knowledge and understanding. He also has the mental acuity, memory and logical precision to make sense of what he does know.

He’s not just any old professor of linguistics.

And that’s why he’s “interested in the economic situation”.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

He had “intellectual charisma” and a position of intellectual authority. He was sort of a discrete showboat. This is why.

I have followed Chomsky since I was like 19. While he is quite influential I do not particularly think he deserves the god-like credit he gets. He has mastered the art of speaking in such a way that touches peoples soft spots while not saying anything that isn’t already obvious. I still have a copy of manufacturing consent on my bookshelf but I have not paid the man any attention since I was in my mid 20’s. At the time he was quite influential on me and some of it sticks to this day.

Sneki95's avatar

Being a professional in one filed does not mean you are incapable of having knowledge and interests in anything else.

imrainmaker's avatar

I really liked these :-

Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

janbb's avatar

@imrainmaker I don’t understand the connection between your post and this question.

Sneki95's avatar

^ me neither.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@imrainmaker Good luck not participating when they are blowing up people in your neighborhood. It’s not something we can be passive about.

imrainmaker's avatar

Nothing..Having fluff time in @hc words..

Cruiser's avatar

@imrainmaker is merely sharing the linguistic “genius” of Chomsky that those in this thread are celebrating…or questioning.

Genuine or Tongue in Cheek….that is the question.

imrainmaker's avatar

^^You got it right..)

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

And why would they be blowing people up in our neighborhood?

(*Hint: it’s not because they hate our freedoms.)

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

They hate people who are not their flavor of muslim.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Right. And why do you suppose it is that most of their efforts are directed against us and our allies (who just happen to have been fucking around with their lands and their people for the past century) and not others?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Because we are an active threat and we are an entire continent of people that need to be converted or killed.

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar Partially agree with you. America is a relative newbie to the martyr dance. Muslims have been hacking at each other for thousands of years. If ISIS beheads a Syrian, Iraqi, or any other Muslim…today no one really gives a shit. They know if they sever the head of an American or blow away a club full of westerners they will make front page headlines that they crave. Pretty simple formula we best get used to.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Um, perhaps you should enlighten me then since you are apparently the authority on this matter. The only other reason is what @Cruiser mentioned, we give them a platform and media attention.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

Your name is apt. Are you kidding me? I explicitly stated it in my above post. Or do you seriously think the western powers’ screwing around in the Middle East for decades has nothing to do with the backlash we’re experiencing now?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Not so much from ISIS and islamic extremists. What I think you are saying we did was keep the region destabilized, inserted our puppets and more or less looted the place. Plenty are upset about that and I agree there but these Islamic fundamentalists are a different animal and their motivations are not exactly revenge/security based. I’ll give you the fact that it makes their recruiting and propaganda easier though.

janbb's avatar

Still wondering how we got to this argument from a question on noam Chomsky. Yes, I know it was in Social…...

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@janbb Not that surprising, this is exactly the sort of thing Chomsky would pontificate about and something anyone familiar with him would have strong opinions about.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me

Dude, ISIS is part of that backlash. They didn’t spring up from nowhere. They were only able to form and operate as they have because we’ve destabilized that region.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Their motives though…
They were always there, festering below the surface, long before we enabled them to fill the power vacuum. It is an integral part of extreme islam. We did not cause that. The reasons they are willing to wage terror are intrinsic to them and were not a result of anything we did except not believe as they do.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Terrorists do not simply spring up from nowhere, driven by no more than not liking everyone who isn’t like him. Poverty, lack of prospects, lack of stability, alienation… – these things all contribute to extreme states of mind, which tends to breed extreme ideologies (or attracts people to them). A contented man does not volunteer to blow himself up.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

This is not your garden variety lashing out against your oppressors. There is a complex chemistry of power structures, zealotry, coercion and history. It’s not simply because we destabilized the region. All that did was throw a little fuel on the fire.

janbb's avatar

It’s sort of like the Crusades in the Middle Ages; I’m sure people joined a Crusade for many of the same reason jihadists join ISIS.

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