On Tuesday night at Central Connecticut State University, a capacity crowd filled Welte Auditorium to honor Noam Chomsky, touted as "one of the world's most distinguished scholars" and a "noted foreign policy critic." A standing ovation and resounding applause greeted Chomsky as CCSU President Richard Judd deemed his appearance a "special night" for venerating "one of the greatest intellectuals" of the last two centuries. Many of the faculty formed the pit orchestra for Chomsky's anti-American crooning and left the hall eager to return to the classroom and play Pin the Evil Talons on the American Eagle.
I attended wondering why taxpayers should subsidize reverential treatment for a man who has provided sustenance for Holocaust deniers and who blames America for virtually every international calamity of the past 100 years. Moreover, why pay homage to an anti-American viper who has characterized the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as less vile than American air strikes?
However, I left thinking that maybe Chomsky should have his own television show. The exposure would destroy his credibility, and we could bury his reputation right along with the other enemies of civilization like Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Fidel Castro, whom he has endorsed.
Chomsky watchers like Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz and author-activist David Horowitz have occasionally knocked some of the swagger out of Chomsky's strut by effectively challenging his support of French neo-Nazis and thwarting his sleazy call for universities to divest all stock linked to Israel. Nonetheless, these revelations and counterpunches have had little impact on his legion of brainwashed followers, including, apparently, a lot of the CCSU faculty and administration. This should shock no one. American universities have constructed islands of repression amid a sea of freedom. This archipelago of political correctness, speech codes, tribal revivalism and anti-American bromides remains as out of touch with the truth as it is with most Americans.
Chomsky's indictment of America's business community reveals the master at his hypocritical worst. Many so-called "scholars," freed from competition in the marketplace of ideas by tenure, parrot Chomsky's ruinous anti-business rhetoric while foisting on their students an academic foundation built on the toxic intellectual landfill of the '60s. They remain oblivious to the risks and responsibilities that business leaders face in meeting a weekly payroll or the creative intelligence it takes to manage personnel, resources and products through the rapid waters of the marketplace. Instead, they mimic Chomsky's conspiratorial dogma (as reported in the New Yorker magazine) that "politics is driven by the economic interests of elite institutions." Unable to detach themselves from this discredited socialist maxim, they imagine that the conspiracy circle also includes America's news outlets. For, as Chomsky opines in a well-known quote, "any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media."
Given the stunning diversity of opinion available everywhere in America, except at its politically correct universities, one must conclude that the professorial elite suffers from acute myopia and anxiety.
Chomsky's epistles of paranoia were prominent at CCSU. His theme of America's "imperial grand strategy" obliterated history and belongs in a Hollywood script for its imaginative qualities. Chomsky traced America's attempts to "dominate the world" to an obscure document that circulated around the Council on Foreign Relations in 1941. Crackpots on the political right brandishing such drivel would have been laughed out of the auditorium, but Chomsky remains an intellectual emperor too naked to expose.
Chomsky exploits the historical amnesia and moral relativism of the media elite. When asked at CCSU about his prognosis for Iraq, he compared the U.S. presence to the Nazi occupation of France in World War II and the Soviet enslavement of 100 million Eastern Europeans during the Cold War. He stated that "American incompetence" stands in contrast to the "very successful" Nazi and Soviet occupations. Chomsky's comparison of the role of the American soldier to fascist and communist death squads should come as no surprise. He once commented that the Cold War represented "The United States picking up where the Nazis left off." These observations square with Chomsky's mastery of disinformation and his view of America as a leading terrorist state.
Chomsky remains the principal icon of a fading movement hunkered down in the citadels of academia. Melancholia stalks the left. Their battlements, like Chomsky's ideas, crumbled decades ago, and no new champion waits in the wings. Still, they cling to their outmoded defenses, blind to the economic miracles of capitalism and refusing to acknowledge America's vital role in vanquishing the greatest tyrannies in history while liberating millions.
Americans respect reasoned dissent and chastise their leaders with regularity and gusto, but few Americans will ever despise their country as Chomsky does. Chomsky has every right to spew his venomous message of alienation. Chomsky might actually believe America and Israel form a terrorist cabal whose leaders over the past 50 years should be hanged as war criminals. Nevertheless, there is no compelling reason why America's public universities and private sector should underwrite Chomsky's dementia, distortions and lies.
Richard P. Bruneau has taught history at Rocky Hill High School for more than two decades.