Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a writer and a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of many books, including Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy and Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance.

Recent Articles

National Missile Defense System

Following the dramatic failure of the proposed national missile defense system's recent test, the Senate rejected a proposal that would prohibit the Pentagon from deploying the system until it could prove it would work. Now that the Clinton Administration has the go-ahead, an impassioned debate has erupted over whether it should build the defense system or scrap the whole thing. The American Prospect asks the experts: Taking into account the results of the recent test, should President Clinton ask the Pentagon to go ahead with the national missile defense system? Noam Chomsky | Baker Spring | Lisbeth Gronlund Stephen Young | Jack Spencer | David Nyhan Noam Chomsky: I would prefer to respond to a slight reformulation of the question. The most hopeful prospect for the NMD [National Missile Defense], I think, is that the tests fail; and very clearly, because in the domain of nuclear strategy, appearance is likely to be interpreted as reality, for familiar reasons. If a system is...

A Response

See " Thus Spake Noam " by Jeffrey C. Isaac and his counter-response I was intrigued by Jeffrey Isaac's article , which quotes my demonstration of the moral bankruptcy of an argument that had been proposed (not by governments) for the NATO bombing of 1999. The demonstration proceeds by adopting the principle on which the argument rests, and constructing a point-by-point analogue that leads directly to a conclusion so transparently absurd that any sane person must instantly reject it. The relevant difference between the original argument and the analogue is that the former deals with the crimes of an official enemy, the latter with our own. As the book to which he refers discusses in detail, the analogue is actually considerably stronger than the original, but we can put that aside. Isaac makes no effort to challenge the argument, because he knows that it is valid. Isaac understands that a reductio ad absurdum argument does not lead to acceptance of the absurd conclusion, but he is...