Noam Chomsky 2017 | Talks at Google


[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: We are thrilled
to welcome Noam Chomsky here today. Mr. Chomsky has taught at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for
the past 50 years, where he is Institute Professor
Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. His work is widely credited with
having revolutionized the field of modern linguistics. He’s the author of numerous best
selling political works which have been translated into
scores of languages worldwide. And we are thrilled to welcome
him today to Google Cambridge. Thank you. Thank you so much for
taking the time to be here. I’m just going to
jump right into this since we have just limited time. My name’s Husson. I’m a software engineer here. And I have nothing to
do with linguistics. NOAM CHOMSKY: OK. SPEAKER 1: Or politics. NOAM CHOMSKY: Good. SPEAKER 1: Or anything relevant. NOAM CHOMSKY: Perfect. We’re a perfect team. SPEAKER 1: But I have so
many questions for you. I wanted to ask you
about your academic focus having been linguistics. You obviously know a whole
lot about a whole lot of other things. And I wonder what makes
something interesting to you. NOAM CHOMSKY: Well,
several factors. First of all, it has to be
an intellectual challenge. Secondly, it has to be
of some significance, and there are many different
dimensions of significance. So for example, things that
have an impact on human life and in fact survival are
of course, significant, even if they don’t pose much
of an intellectual challenge. On the other hand,
things that pose a very serious intellectual
challenge like how is it possible that human beings
can do what you and I are now doing, which is beyond the
capacity of any other organism, that poses a very significant
intellectual challenge, it’s human significance
when you really look into the details of the debate. So there’s different
dimensions, different factors. That’s essentially the same
as what a four-year-old finds interesting. You want to understand
only about the world, you want to do
something important. SPEAKER 1: I think
that many of us lose their four-year-old
curiosity over the years. What has what has kept
you curious in that way? You’ve obviously branched out
so much throughout your life from your focus on linguistics. You’ve branched out
quite a lot from there. Is it is it simply
this is something interesting for
understanding humanity, or is there
something else in it? NOAM CHOMSKY: Not that it
matters much, but in fact, it’s the other way around. I was very much engaged in
political life, social issues, long before I ever
heard of linguistics. SPEAKER 1: So tell
us about that. You took part in a lot
of political activism earlier on over the
course of your life. How did you get
started with that? What was the drive for that? And what drew you to it? NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I grew
up in the 1930s, which was quite an interesting period. In some ways, a little bit
like today, and in other ways quite different. Objectively, it was
much harsher than today. So conditions during the
depression here in the United States were much worse
than they are today. Subjectively, it was a much
more optimistic period. Today, it’s kind of striking
to see the anger, hopelessness. I get a dozen
letters every night from mostly young people saying
the world’s awful, what can I do. It’s hopeless. Then it was pretty different. Not over the whole country. If you were an agricultural
worker fleeing the Dust Bowl, it was pretty awful. But in the circles that
were my own milieu, which was mostly first generation
immigrants, working class, at the time
mostly unemployed, part of the very lively,
activist, militant, working class culture of the time,
it was pretty hopeful. There was a sense somehow
we can get out of all this through solidarity,
through working together. There was an educated community
and people who had never gone– couple of years of
elementary school discussing the latest varieties
of Freudian psychoanalysis, the last concert of the Budapest
string quartet and so on. There was worker education
that took place, a lot of it through the unions. It was just a– there was a sense of
hopefulness, expectation, solidarity, we can do things. There was a moderately
sympathetic administration, very unlike today. And it was possible to have
some achievements, which didn’t end the depression,
but softened the edges, and made it look as if we
can create a better future. So objectively much worse,
but subjectively, much better. And then of course,
in the background was what was happening in
Europe, the spread of fascism, which was very frightening. I’m old enough to remember
listening on the radio to the Nuremberg rallies,
Hitler’s speeches. I didn’t understand
the words, but there was no mistaking what it meant. And of course. after the first–
it’s kind of ironic, I guess, but my
wife and I happened to be in Barcelona at the time
of the November 8 election. And the attitude in Europe
was the roof is falling in, it was this is the
end of the world. And it happens that the
first article that I wrote, that I remember at least, was
about the fall of Barcelona. So I can easily date
it February 1939. I hope the article
has disappeared. I’m sure it’s not
very memorable. I was the editor or the
fourth grade newspaper. And probably the only reader,
except maybe my mother. But the article, I
remember, was essentially about the rise of fascism,
Austria, Czechoslovakia, Toledo, Barcelona. It looked inexorable. This monstrous shadow
spreading all over the world. And this is long
before the Holocaust. So that’s the background. On the other hand,
there was what was happening more within reach. By the time I was
about 12 years old, we lived in Philadelphia,
100 miles from New York. When I was 11 or 12, my parents
would let me go to New York by myself on the train,
stay with relatives, hang around anarchist
bookstores and Union Square. SPEAKER 1: I wonder how
many parents in the audience are thinking about sending
their 12-year-old on a train from Philly to New York. NOAM CHOMSKY: It was a
much more peaceful time. It’s pretty dramatic. I mean, in those days,
you could, in New York, you can walk along the river,
Riverside Drive or Central Park, at night
without any concern. A lot of things changed
after the Second World War. I don’t know exactly why. But the cities became much
more dangerous, hostile places. There was plenty of conflict. If you were Irish, you didn’t go
into the Italian neighborhoods and that sort of thing. But you weren’t
going to get killed. You might get chased. I spent a lot of my
childhood running away from Irish Catholic kids
because they were too scary. But you weren’t going to get
shot, or knifed, or anything like that. That all changed for some reason
after the second World War. I don’t understand why. All over the world,
incidentally. Here, strikingly. SPEAKER 1: So you talk
about this general sentiment of people being,
the public being very hopeful, and around– NOAM CHOMSKY: Parts
of the public. SPEAKER 1: At least parts of it. NOAM CHOMSKY: Not the
people John Steinbeck was writing about. SPEAKER 1: And you talk
about an administration at that time that was maybe
more sympathetic than the one that we have now. Leaving aside the administration
part of that for the moment, do you feel that that
hope has evaporated? Do you feel that we have
been able to reharness that in times of need? You talk about it as though this
is very much in the past tense. Is that intentional? NOAM CHOMSKY: I think
it’s still there. In fact, take a look at the last
election, November election. There were two
striking aspects of it. One of them, not very startling. Namely, in the
Republican primary, a person who was hated
by the establishment, but who happens to be a
billionaire won the nomination. OK, kind of a surprise,
but not startling that a billionaire con man
should win the nomination. What happened on the Democratic
side is much more dramatic. Somebody arose who was unknown. Nobody ever heard him. He had no support from any
of the sources of wealth and power, no corporate support,
no funding from the wealthy. He even used the scare
word, socialist, which means mildly social democratic. In fact, his policies wouldn’t
surprise Eisenhower very much. That’s a sign of the
sharp shift to the right in the whole spectrum. But from the point of view
of the existing spectrum, he seemed way on the outside. He would have won the
Democratic Party nomination if it hadn’t been
for the machinations of the Obama-Clinton
party managers. That’s a break
from over 100 years of American political history. I mean American elections
are pretty much bought. You can literally pretty
well predict electability just on the basis of simple
variables like campaign spending. It’s remarkable. Not just president. There’s a recent
interesting study by Tom Ferguson, who’s
done the main work on this, over at the U-Mass political
science department. He and some colleagues
came out last year with a study of
congressional elections from about 1980 up
till the present. Simply asking what’s the
relation between campaign funding and electability,
which of course, means policy. It’s practically
a straight line. You just don’t get results like
that in the social sciences. It’s startling. And the same is true of
the presidential elections. And it’s been known
for a long time. You go back to the 1890s. There was a very famous
campaign manager, Mark Hannah, who was the star of
campaign management. He was asked once what does
it take to win an election. And he said it takes two things. The first one is money. I’ve forgotten what
the second one is. That was 1895, way
before Citizens United or any of this stuff. Here comes Sanders
and he just broke the pattern of over 100 years. It’s astonishing. And what’s more,
thanks to Fox News, we know that he’s the most
popular political figure in the country, a poll that
they ran, by a huge margin. And among young
people, enormous. Well, what does that mean? It means there’s
real signs of hope. It’s out of the these two
non-establishment figures that won the public– of course, the
establishment assures itself that it controls the political
system and the decisions. So Trump could rail against
Wall Street and Goldman Sachs on the campaign trail, but
take a look at his cabinet. So they make sure they
basically run the show, but they’re losing
the population. And the same is
happening in Europe. The French election
was a good example. Two candidates from outside
the two political parties, although the thrust
of policy will remain not all that different. But that’s a sign of
potential changes. If we can ever go back
to having functioning– go back to partially
create functioning democratic societies, that
could be quite different. SPEAKER 1: So
stepping back a moment to the political
activism in your life. What do you remember
out of your career, let’s say, in
political activism, as being some of the
these are the moments that were defining for me. NOAM CHOMSKY: What
was defining for me was things like–
for those of you who know New York City, in
those days Union Square used to be a kind of a center of
radical offices, Freie Arbeiter Stimme, for example, the
Yiddish anarchist movement had its offices there, and others. And if you went down Fourth
Avenue, which is now all gentrified, there were small
bookstores with a lot of them run by European emigres. And a number of the ones that
I kind of gravitated towards were refugees from
Spain, people who fled from after the crushing
of the anarchist revolution in 1937. And I picked up all kind of
pamphlets and understanding. I learned a lot of things,
which are just barely getting into the news now. For example, you
can read books now which point out, somewhat
misleadingly, that in the 1930s, theoretically
the United States, the Roosevelt
administration, was following a policy of neutrality, they
don’t support either side, the fascists or the republic. In fact, they were
supporting the fascists. I learned it in 1939
from reading pamphlets and left wing
literature, and others, which exposed the fact that
the Texaco Oil Company, which was run by an outright
Nazi, didn’t even hide it, had contracts with the
Republic to supply oil. In the middle of the
conflict, he shifted. He started supplying oil to
the fascist forces, Franco. There were questions asked. The State Department denied it. It turned out to be true. It was reported in
the left wing press. And oil was the one thing that
the Germans and the Italians, the fascist countries, couldn’t
supply to Franco’s forces. They didn’t have it. So they needed it. And Roosevelt and
the State Department pretended they didn’t see it. Only the small left
wing press saw it. It was later kind of conceded. It’s now kind of pretty much,
in scholarship at least, it’s sort of acknowledged
a few years later. But I knew that in
1939, just from hanging around the left wing offices. And you could see
what was going on. The administration, Roosevelt,
was very bitter and angry when they found a an
American businessman who had sold a couple of
pistols to the Republic, you know violating
the neutrality act, big condemnation. And meanwhile, the
major oil company was breaking its contracts
with the Republic and shifting them
to the fascists. That’s an educational
experience. I also learned things
about the war in Spain. It wasn’t just the Republicans
versus the fascists. There was a popular revolution
in 1936, a libertarian revolution, which was
pretty successful. And it was crushed. It was crushed by
the joint efforts of the fascists, the communists,
and the liberal democracies. They had a lot of differences. But there was one
thing they agreed on. You can’t have a free society. You can’t have a
libertarian society. So they cooperated on that. Actually the attack was
led by the communists, who were the party of
the police force, and the petty bourgeoisie,
and very opposed to any form of socialist
or left activism. And those are things you
learn if you pay attention. And it was reinforced by other
parts of my family environment. At the time in New York, it was
a very lively political scene. Every variety of left wing
politics you can imagine was debated hotly. In fact, a friend of mine,
who’s a philosopher at Columbia, told me recently
that he and his wife got a place up in the Catskills
to hang out in the summer. Turns out these retirement
communities there, he said the people in the
retirement communities are still debating which
brand of Trotskyism was right. The same arguments they
were having in the 1930s. It’s worth remembering that
working class education was a very serious phenomenon then. It goes way back. I mean, you go back to the
late 19th century here, the early Industrial Revolution,
if an Irish blacksmith could get enough money, he
hired a boy to read to him while he’s working. And reading meant what
we now call classics, modern contemporary literature. There were young
women from the farms, called factory girls,
who were compelled to get into the textile
factories in eastern New England. And they had their
own publications. You read them. They bitterly condemned the
fact that the industrial system was depriving them
of their culture, of their dignity,
their independence. You are selling yourself,
not what you produce. It’s quite different. And part of it was an
attack on the culture. Same in England. There’s a massive study,
an interesting study by a guy named Jonathan
Rose of the reading habits of the English working class. And it turns out
his own conclusion is that we’re better educated
than the aristocrats. And they may not
have gone to school. They certainly
didn’t go to Oxford, but the working class,
the rising working class, had its own institutions of
education and culture, which was significant. A lot of that has been
destroyed in all kinds of ways. Google doesn’t help. But that’s another story. SPEAKER 1: Happy to do our part. So I asked you about
political activism, and you talk about
learning a lot. What part of that is– what part of activism did you
take part in that was defining? NOAM CHOMSKY: I was 12 years
old, not a lot of activism. But actually, the
kind of activism I was involved in
mostly in those years was within what was– it’s now called anti-Zionist. At that time, it was Zionist. My parents and my
immediate milieu were deeply embedded
in the whole revival of Hebrew revival
of Jewish culture, connections to
Palestine, and so on. I kind of grew up with that. And my own actual,
most of the activism was internal to that system. It was what is now
called anti-Zionist. It was strongly opposed to
a Jewish state in support of Arab-Jewish working class
cooperation in Palestine with all kinds of
ideas about how to create a society based on
the cooperatives and so on. That kind of died in 1948. But at the time, it was alive,
something you could be part of. And it extended to other things. Like there wasn’t much
in the way of activism, but when the British
conquered Greece in 1944 and carried out
brutal repression of the anti-fascist
forces in Greece, there were a couple of
us who tried to protest, whatever it meant when
you’re 15 years old. SPEAKER 1: You got very
physically involved. NOAM CHOMSKY: There
wasn’t much you could do. It was right in the
middle of the war. And there was a
lot of patriotism, dedication to the war effort. Bringing up these things– by the time the war started,
the political ferment declined because of
commitment to the war effort. It was just– it
overwhelmed everything else. It was still around. Like I was in high
school in the early ’40s, and it happened that
the high school I was in was right next to a
prisoner of war camp where mostly German
prisoners, and in those days, security meant a wire fence. So no big deal. And a lot of the
students were kind of ridiculing, and mocking, and
screaming at the German POWs. And a couple of us were strongly
opposed to that, and tried to– tried to get them to
understand that they– that there could be sort of– like I said, it’s not
violent the way it is today. It’s the kind of thing that
young boys do, you know. It was boys of course,
it was segregated. And we tried, a couple of,
maybe two or three of us, to try to change the
mood of the students to understand that these guys
on the other side of the fence are not criminals. SPEAKER 1: So
that’s fascinating. What do you mean by we
tried to change the mood? Was that discourse? NOAM CHOMSKY: To talk
to people, education. SPEAKER 1: And these
are high school students having intellectual discourse
about a prisoner of war camp right next door to
the high school. NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s probably
easier for high school students than the Harvard faculty. SPEAKER 1: I imagine that. You’ll forgive me for being
a product of my own time, where I just can’t even
imagine a high school next to a prison of war camp. NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, and
separated by a wire fence. SPEAKER 1: Right. You became a little bit more
perhaps politically active later on in your life then. NOAM CHOMSKY:
Publicly articulate, but the political
activism never changed. It declined in the 50’s. The 50’s were a pretty
quiescent period. Political activism
was pretty individual. There was not a lot going on. It was– there were
things in the background, but it was a pretty
quiet, conformist period. SPEAKER 1: But then, the ’60’s. NOAM CHOMSKY: Early
’60’s, everything changed. SPEAKER 1: Everything changed. And you became then very active. NOAM CHOMSKY: Publicly active. It wasn’t that much
of a change for me, personally, just a
different sphere. SPEAKER 1: I see. So what drove you to become
more publicly active? NOAM CHOMSKY: John F. Kennedy. Though it’s still kind of like
off the agenda in 1961 and ’62, that Kennedy very sharply
escalated the Vietnam War. It was already pretty awful. The maybe 60 or 70,000
South Vietnamese had already been
killed by the regime that the US had imposed in
the 1950’s, but it was kind of under the radar, like
you were seeing– you can find out about it,
but you weren’t seen much. By ’61 and ’62, the repression
of the South Vietnamese regime we’d installed in violation
of the Geneva Accords had become so harsh that a
popular rebellion sprang up. The north actually opposed it. They wanted to
build the country, not get involved in a
conflict with the US. But the National
Liberation Front, what propaganda calls the Viet
Cong, were beginning to cause– beginning to develop and become
active in the late ’50’s. And that the regime
couldn’t contain them. So there was a crisis. Kennedy decided to
escalate the war. The US Air Force began to
bomb South Vietnamese targets under South Vietnamese markings. Like the planes had South
Vietnamese markings, but nobody’s fooled. I learned about it
myself in a small item, maybe 10 lines in a back
page of the New York Times, which just happened
to mention casually that the US Air Force is bombing
South Vietnamese targets. They authorized Napalm, they
started chemical warfare, serious chemical warfare to try
to destroy crops and livestock, to starve out the population. They began programs
to drive people into what amounted to
concentration camps. They were called
strategic hamlets where peasants were driven
off the land, driven into these places,
into urban slums. And the official rhetoric
was to protect them from the guerrillas, which in
fact, the government knew very well that they were supporting. It wasn’t widely reported,
but if you looked carefully. And from my own experience back
in the late ’30’s, early ’40’s, I knew that you really
had to look carefully, you know, take a look
at the headlines. Put together what’s lying behind
them, like the Texaco story. And it was pretty clear that
there was a sharp escalation of the war going on. So I did try to become active. Being active at that time
meant giving a talk to couple of people in somebody’s living
room, or maybe in a church where there were
four people, you know the minister, who
was mildly sympathetic, some drunk who walked in from
the street, another guy who wanted to kill you, and
maybe one person who was– SPEAKER 1: Sounds like a
great way to start a movement. NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah,
that’s what it was like. But later it changed,
but it took years. I mean, it wasn’t until– right here in
Boston, those of you are old enough may
remember, but in Boston, which is a pretty liberal city,
the first public demonstration against the war was
in October 1965. Internationally, an
international day of protest was called. So we decided we’ll
take part in it, and there was a march from
Harvard Square to the Boston Common. Supposed to be a
demonstration there. I was supposed to be
one of the speakers. It was violently broken up
by counter-demonstrators, a lot of them students. There were a lot
of state police, which is the only reason
we didn’t get killed. Nobody could hear the speakers. It was impossible. Take a look the Boston
Globe the next day. It praised the
counter-demonstrators, denounced the
demonstrators for daring to question our great country,
and what it’s doing, and so on. March 1966 was the next
international day of protest, and we realized we couldn’t
have a public demonstration. So we had a meeting at the
Arlington Street Church. The church was attacked. Again, tomatoes,
cans, and so on. At that time, there were
already a couple 100,000 American troops rampaging
in South Vietnam. It took a long time,
and the country was practically destroyed. But at that time, Bernard
Fall, who was actually a hawk, but was a highly respected
and serious military historian and Vietnam specialist,
and by the US government, he was the one
non-government specialist who was respected, rightly. He was a hawk, but he cared
about the Vietnamese people. And he was writing at the time,
’66, ’67, that he wasn’t sure that Vietnam could survive as
a cultural and historic entity under the most savage attack
that any region that size had ever suffered. At that point, you’re
just barely beginning to get some visible protest. It’s changed a lot. The country’s become much
more civilized since then. By now, the opposition to
aggression and violence is far more widespread. Governments just can’t do– like say the
invasion of Iraq, is the first time in the entire
history of imperialism that there was massive protest
before the invasion actually took place. And it was pretty horrible what
happened and not to go into it, but the Bush
administration could never contemplate what the
Kennedy administration just did without any second thought. The public has just
changed too much. SPEAKER 1: So over
your extensive career in being an activist in
many different veins, obviously you learned
a lot along the way. And it’s useful to share
information with the world as you do– NOAM CHOMSKY: I’ll
give you one example, which is kind of interesting. Maybe 30 years from now
it will enter awareness. But take the Texaco Oil Company
and the Spanish Civil War. That was repeated under
the Clinton administration. Virtually the same thing. Under the Clinton,
there was in Haiti, for the first time
in its history, there was a free
election in 1990. And it was won by a
priest, Aristide, who nobody paid any attention to. He was supported
by the people who were considered not
worth looking at, the urban slums, rural areas,
a lot of grassroots activism. And to everyone’s surprise,
he won the election. They expected the US candidate
would win, Marc Bazin, the World Bank guy. But Aristide won the
election and he instituted– the main question was when will
the military coup take place. It turned about
seven months later. It’s quite interesting
what happened. But the military
coup took place. A vicious brutal terror began. The US actually tacitly
supported it in many ways. In 1994, the Clinton
administration decided, OK, enough
terror had taken place so that the population subdued. We can now allow the
president to return. The eve– there was a
marine landing in 1994. Everyone paying attention to it. It was quite public. At the time, I happened to be– there was a guy at
MIT who was working on a project of experimenting
to allow people to have access to the AP wires, which
is pretty interesting. Because what you get
when you look at the AP wires is just raw news,
stuff pouring out constantly. The AP wires feature
a story every day, keeps repeating, to editors,
here’s the big story. The day before the
marine invasion of Haiti, the big story was the
Treasury Department concedes the Texaco Oil
Company has been providing oil to the military junta while
the CIA and the Clinton administration were denying
that any oil was going to them. Well, I was going to
write an article about it. But the article
that I would write would come out two months
later, so I figure it’s not even worth mentioning this. It’ll be public news. It’s still not been reported. Those are the things
that happen in the world if you pay attention. SPEAKER 1: So you’ve
obviously been very successful on reporting
on these types of things and raising awareness. And that has been one
avenue for your activism. I wonder, is this
intrinsic to who you are? Or how you approach knowledge? Why aren’t there more Noam
Chomsky’s in the world? NOAM CHOMSKY: I think
there are plenty of them. For example, why is Bernie
Sanders the most popular figure in the United States, political
figure in the United States by a huge margin? Where are those people who pick
him as the most popular person? I mean, they may not be well
known, but they’re there. SPEAKER 1: I should think
that as a percentage of the rest of the
people out there who are active in the
same way, very few of them are as educated as you
have made yourself. NOAM CHOMSKY:
You’d be surprised. I mean, people may not know
things about the whole world, but they know things about
their lives and the situation that they’re in. Take a look at polls. An issue that’s right in the
main headlines, health care. What do people think
about health care? Well, it turns out
that over a long period most of the population has
supported a national health care system, the kind
that other countries have. Which is pretty remarkable,
because nobody publicly advocates it. When Obama put through
the Affordable Care Act, at the time,
initially, there was what was called a
public option, which means you could choose
to have essentially Medicare, national health care. Almost two thirds
of the population favored it, even
though there was no public articulated
support for it. It was dropped, of
course, without comment. You go back a little farther,
say to the Reagan years, it turned out that about
70% of the population thought that guaranteed
health care should be in the Constitution,
because it’s an obvious right. And about 40% thought it
already was in the Constitution. The Constitution is just
some holy writ, which has everything good in it. So it must have had
guaranteed health care, because it’s so obvious. That’s the public. Of course, it’s not the elites. It’s not the media. It’s not the elite discourse. In fact, whenever the
possibility is mentioned, it’s called politically
impossible or lacking political support,
which is accurate if by political support
you mean the pharmaceutical corporations, and the
insurance companies, and so on. Yeah, they don’t support it. And the way our democracy
works, that’s political support. But the public is there. And is it educated? I mean, where do people
get these ideas from? Take say the Vietnam War. That’s a very, very
interesting, revealing situation at the end of the Vietnam War. When the Vietnam
War ended in 1975, every famous person had to
make a statement about it. There’s a ton of material
about looking back at the Vietnam War, what
did it mean, and so on. And there was a spectrum. I’ve written about it. Went through it. There’s a spectrum. At one end it said it was a
noble cause, if we’d fought harder, we could have won. We have to honor the effort. Obama agrees with this. That’s the hawkish end. Then you go over to what’s
called the left, you know, the critical end. And people, like
say, Anthony Lewis, who was one of the most
harshest critics of the war, way out on the left,
he wrote an article in which he said the
war, and I’m quoting, “The war began with blundering
efforts to do good.” Notice that that’s an axiom. You don’t have to give
evidence for that. If we did it, it was
efforts to do good by definition, on the left,
what’s called the left. Blundering, because
it didn’t work. So it began with blundering
efforts to do good. But by 1969, it had become
clear that it was a disaster. We couldn’t bring
democracy to Vietnam at a cost acceptable
to ourselves. That’s the critical end, OK? You don’t have to
give an argument to say we’re trying
to bring democracy. That’s also an axiom. That’s kind of a principle
you don’t question, it’s 2 plus 2 equals 4. Well, at the very
same time, there were polls taken
among the public. And what did they find? They found that around
70% of the public said the war was
not a mistake, it was fundamentally
and morally wrong. And that went on as
long as the polls were taken until the early ’80s. Now the people, who
were running the polls, liberal, academic,
political scientists, he did comment on these results. And he said, well, what it means
is that people were opposed to American soldiers dying. OK, maybe that’s what it meant. Maybe it meant they thought
it was fundamentally wrong and immoral as they said. But that concept is just
kind of inconceivable. But that’s the public. Were they educated? I’d say that we’re more
educated than the elites who were writing, the
educated elites who were writing the articles. SPEAKER 1: So switching
gears for a moment, it’s easy to find a lot of material
on you speaking either online, or articles that you’ve
written about egregious wrongs in the world, and the
historical background for these types of things. You have a lot of
context for that. I wonder how do you stay
sane knowing how much room for improvement there is? Where’s the levity in your life? And can you tell us a joke? NOAM CHOMSKY: I can tell
you a joke, Mark Hannah. SPEAKER 1: I’ve looked for quite
some time for a video of you telling a joke. It just doesn’t seem to exist. NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s the
people who make the videos, it’s their problem. SPEAKER 1: I was also curious
about you’re obviously very effective at
assimilating information. And digesting that in
a comprehensive way. I wonder about the tools,
technology, and routines that help make your
day productive. How do you work? NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s
pretty straightforward. How did 19th century
working class people gain an education that
was superior to that of the aristocrats in England? Did they use the internet? They read. You look at what’s
going on around you, you talk to the people,
you have interactions, you read, you
learn about things. It’s not quantum physics. It was understood
that all this is pretty much on the
surface in these domains. It’s just a matter of– it’s a little easier now. It used to be the
case that if you want to look into the background. And you wanted to see
what was the press saying about some topic in the 1970s. You had to go to the library,
look up the microfilm. A bit of a nuisance. Now you can get it
on the internet. Thanks to what we call
the free market, which means the taxpayer putting
huge amounts of subsidies into developing the high tech
system of the next generation, which is handed over to private
corporations for marketing and profit. So that’s the internet,
and computers, and so on and so forth. So now, it’s a lot easier
than going to the library and looking up the microfilms. But not that different. I mean, the change from
no libraries to libraries was a much bigger change than
from libraries to the internet. In fact, similarly, the change
from sailing ships to telegraph was a much bigger change than
speeding up the communication by a couple of milliseconds
with some new technique. So it’s a little easier now,
but not fundamentally different. SPEAKER 1: So the next question
came in from Rakesh [INAUDIBLE] I apologize about
pronunciation there– from India. In an interview on
2012, you mentioned that artificial intelligence
is going in the wrong direction by putting more emphasis
on statistical techniques to mine data. Where do you think
it’s heading now? And what steps should
we take to make it more meaningful to society? NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I
don’t know exactly what that quote is from. But artificial
intelligence, what’s called artificial
intelligence, which is just part of cognitive science, it
can, like any part of science, can go in to
different directions. It can direct itself towards
some engineering application, which may or may not be useful. Or it can go into trying
to understand something about the world. Those are the choices. So take, say, the work that
happens to interest me most, [INAUDIBLE] language. One thrust is
trying to understand how it is that we
can, for example, do what we’re now doing. What lies behind that? What are the mental operations? Or what are the principles? How’s it acquired, and so on? OK, that’s one domain. Another domain is how
can we get something that’s useful to give a
kind of a rough translation of an article in French into
English, the Google Translator. That’s OK, I mean,
I use it, fine. But it’s a brute force
engineering achievement. It doesn’t tell you anything
about how the world is working. It just says here’s something
useful, like a bulldozer. I don’t have anything
against bulldozers. I think they’re great. A lot easier than
digging with a shovel. But it’s not
intellectually, it’s not an intellectually
interesting achievement. It’s useful. SPEAKER 1: Have you
driven a bulldozer? I mean, I haven’t, but
I dream to someday. NOAM CHOMSKY: I’d be scared. But I have a shovel. SPEAKER 1: OK, we have
a base context then, and a shared
experience with that. That’s good. So, yeah, I think that this
is an interesting thing that you’ve talked
about in the past. The interview, by the way, was
in 2012, with “The Atlantic.” I’d love to unpack
that a little bit. Where would you like to see– how would you like to
see AI research tackle these types of deeper
understanding problems? NOAM CHOMSKY: Whenever you
learn something in the sciences, what immediately
happens is you discover there’s a mass of new
things, which I never noticed before that I don’t understand. Scientific research is kind
of like mountain climbing. You think that that peak
over there is the top, but when you get there,
you find, wait a minute, turns out there’s other peaks
that you didn’t notice before. Well, that’s where
scientific research has gone. I mean, take what interests
me, human cognitive capacity, which is an astonishing fact
that humans are absolutely unique in the organic world in
an enormous number of respects. Humans are not that old
in evolutionary terms, about 200,000 years. So something happened
around 200,000 years ago, plus or minus, which created
an entirely new organism, which has what we call
higher intelligence, which it is now
using incidentally to create something
that would be headlines in every newspaper. We’re using human intelligence
to create a perfect storm. Since the Second World
War, human intelligence has created means of
suicide, self destruction. The first is nuclear weapons. The Second World War ended
with the nuclear age. It was obvious
right at the time, I can tell you of
personal experiences, that we had now, human
intelligence had now devised the means to
destroy everything. That’s the nuclear age. We’ve barely survived it. It wasn’t known
then, but it’s now known that at the same time,
end of the Second World War, we had entered a new
geological epoch, what’s called the Anthropocene, where
human activities are having a severely destructive
impact in the environment. Geologists have kind of
debated its inception. But they have now
more or less agreed, and world geological
organizations have agreed on end of
the Second World War. So here, we created
two huge sledgehammers which are able to destroy us. In the 1970’s human
intelligence took the next step. Let’s destroy the means
to protect ourselves. That’s pretty much what
happened as the new, as the period of what was called
regimented capitalism shifted to the Neoliberal era. The Neoliberal era of
the last generation is dedicated in principle
to destroying the only means to defend ourselves
from destruction. It’s not called that. What it’s called is
shifting decision making from public institutions,
which at least in principle are under public influence,
to private institutions, which are immune from public
control in principle. That’s called shifting
to the market. It’s under the
rhetoric of freedom. But it just means servitude. It means servitude
to unaccountable private institutions. The rhetoric, those of you who
remember Margaret Thatcher, “There is no society,
just individuals.” An ideal, not a description. But she may not have
known it, but she was paraphrasing Karl
Marx, who at the period of the severe French repression
said the French repression is turning society into
a sack of potatoes, amorphous class of individuals,
who can’t work together, who are separated and atomized. That’s the ideal
of Neoliberalism. Let’s turn society into
a sack of potatoes. Let’s eliminate the
institutions that might– in which engage,
in that the people might get together to try
to deal constructively with their problems. Let’s transfer it into the
hands of unaccountable private institutions, which are
devoted in principle to profit maximization and
power maximization. Of course, that means
undermining democracy. That’s what’s happened. That’s why we see
what’s called– it’s a bad term, it’s called
the populist uprising. Nothing populist about it. It means an anger, fear,
hatred, discontent, contempt for institutions, the
collapse of institutions, a direct consequence of the
Neoliberal economic policies, which have also led to
stagnation or decline for the majority. Real wages have actually
declined since 1979 when the program began. All of this is together,
and put it together, what you have is
human intelligence has created two means
of destroying ourself, and it has also been
actively engaged in trying to eliminate
the only protection we have against them. So it’s a kind of perfect storm. That’s what humans have done. How did this happen? How did we get this way? How did we develop
creative capacities of a unique kind which have led
to extraordinary achievements? OK, these are things we have to
try to understand, all of them. And do something about,
not just understand. SPEAKER 1: Another question
from Oleg [INAUDIBLE] from Australia, asks how do
you think Google can and should handle the fake news problem. We have a big hammer. We’re looking for nails. NOAM CHOMSKY: Well by
not contributing to it. So for example, the
internet is actually slowing down in some respects. And one of the reasons
it’s slowing down is because if you
pick up, you say access, “The New York
Times,” the first thing that gets loaded is a ton of ads,
which slow everything down. All of this is going
on all the time. It’s contributing to the
narrowness of coverage, and even to the
kind of coverage, because it’s influenced
by, of course, the choice, the funding, the
institutions, of course, it’s influenced by its
funders, mostly advertisers. So all of that’s happening. And it’s not what
people call fake news. But it’s a distortion
of the world in ways that shouldn’t be happening. So the actual news, I
think, should be what we’ve just been talking about. Like why are we– why for the last
generation have we constructed socioeconomic
policies and political policies which are developing a perfect
storm which could destroy us. SPEAKER 1: So if we
can devise a way for– I mean obviously advertising
monetization is the way and a lot of publications exist. And perhaps without it,
many of those publications would be without the funding
required to continue. NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s not true. The period of the freest, most
lively press in the United States was probably
in the 19th century, when you had a proliferation
of all kinds of newspapers, ethnic, working class. I mentioned the factory girls. There were others. What happened in the
late 19th century is in England and
the United States, which also saw a similar shift
towards capital concentration and advertiser
reliance, and that has very sharply narrowed and
changed the nature of media. So say in England, as
late as the 1960’s, the most popular
widely read newspaper was “The Daily Herald,” which
was kind of social-democratic. The tabloids in England,
which are now monstrous, were labor based newspapers
and pretty interesting. They succumbed to
the consequences of capital concentration,
and advertiser reliance, and became quite different. Similar here. When I was a kid
growing up, there were several newspapers
delivered, local newspapers, delivered every day. They were not– there
was a certain variety. Now in Boston, now
there isn’t even one. “The Boston Globe” used to
be a pretty decent newspaper, problems, but a
lot of bureaus all over the world, good reporters. Take a look at it now. It basically doesn’t exist. It has some local news. And the rest, it picks
up “The New York Times,” “Washington Post,” the AP. That’s happened all
over the country. It has a lot of
reasons behind it. But the large part of
it– it’s been going on for over a century. It’s just continuing. The large part is the effect
of capital concentration and advertiser reliance. Which affects the content of
the media reporting as well. SPEAKER 1: In that case,
we’ll cancel our advertising programs. NOAM CHOMSKY: See, advertising
is a very interesting phenomenon. Any of you that have
taken an economics course know that the
beauty, the marvels of the market that we’re
supposed to admire and worship is because the market is based
on informed consumers making rational choices. And you prove all sorts of
theorems about how wonderful it is. Turn on your television set. Do you see efforts
by corporations to create informed consumers
making rational choices? Is that what you see when
you see an ad for cars? I mean, if we had a
market system, what you would see is when General
Motors is advertising a car, what you would see is a list of
the characteristics of the car, along with a report
by “Consumers Report” saying what’s wrong
with it and so on. That would create
informed consumers that could make rational choices. But you don’t see that. What you see is an
effort to delude, you know, a movie star,
a football player, a car shooting up
into the stratosphere, wherever it may be. Huge amounts of capital
are expended every year to try to undermine
markets, undermine markets by creating uninformed consumers
making irrational choices, and driving them to
consumerism, which atomizes rather than serious things. That’s what ought to be
taught in economics courses. Massive efforts by the business
community to undermine markets. It’s not deep. We all know it, you know. We just somehow
don’t think about it. And just as we don’t
think about the fact that the marvels
of free enterprise, like computers, the
internet, and so on, were created by the taxpayer
at public expense in places like MIT, right
across the street. SPEAKER 1: So I wish
we could go on forever. I’m riveted, but unfortunately,
we’re out of time. Thank you so much for coming. But one thing I
will say, though, is that it’s not every day
that a non-Googler gets to sit in a room full of
people who work in at Google, and are software engineers,
and are advertising experts, and are market experts
in different fields. Do you have anything that
you’d like to ask us? NOAM CHOMSKY: Why not do
some of the serious things? SPEAKER 1: Something
that we’ll [INAUDIBLE].

100 thoughts on “Noam Chomsky 2017 | Talks at Google”

  1. Is it that Chomsky is talking over the interviewers head or is it that the interviewer knows that actually engaging in these concepts and problems would require some acknowledgement of the immorality of and harm done by the business structure Google, his employer, exploits? Probably somewhere in between

  2. This talk should be held again so Noam Chomsky can weigh in on Google's new AI drone strike contract with the Department of Defense. I am sure he will have some choice word for Google's execs.

    Absolutely shameful.

  3. worst interviewer ever with worst start for the interview .. if you don't know politics nor linguistics why you are sitting there?

  4. Oh, the interviewer young guy must be so naive to say,"so we should cancel our advertising programme",lol, isn't Google just a advertising company? I mean, it makes money basically from online ads, not it's gourmet kitchens, wonderful Google talks, or whatever high tech and cool stuffs which are mainly expenditure centers instead of cash cows, guy, you make money on ads, remember that.

  5. SE NOTA COMO TRATA GOOGLE DE BASUREARNOS CON ENTREVISTAS PEDORRAS CON PREGUNTAS PEDORRAS, SE LLAMA BASURA, PARA ASI ENTERRAR LAS DEMAS. ASI TRABAJA EL IMPERIALISMO; INUNDA TODO DE MIERDA PARA QUE SEA DIFICIL O IMPOSIBLE LLEGAR A LA VERDAD.

  6. Oh the erroneous thinking of Chomsky. I can't believe I used to be such a huge fan boy of him once…then I grew up.

  7. 10:55 I worry when people like Google snip out pieces of an overly anti-establishment figure like Noam Chomsky. I particularly hope he said nothing important. Otherwise this says a lot about Google.

  8. Yeah, Google, do something serious. Pay attention to your world. Act in significant ways. Use your power for something besides your own enrichment.

  9. This is a pretty good representation of Google, we include everyone! And although their opinions might be pertinent and essential, we will pretend to listen and continue to go after collecting information and selling advertisements, but believe ourselves to be working towards the greater good, didn't you see us feign interest during that time the man came with the essential insight we completely ignored?

  10. I am in agreement with Noam Chomsky’s political and socio economic analyses and have been since I first was introduced to his work in these fields as a kid. I am opposed to the personal attacks against the interviewer in some of the comments however. I think it is unkind and unfair to post such attacks and I imagine some of them may have personally hurt the interviewer, who did make quite clear that he knew not that much about Noam Chomsky or his work, was cordial, and did nothing that was offensive or improper in any objective sense. It strikes me as bullying to cast aspersions on the interviewer as some of the comments do. It is also cowardly, as the interviewer put himself out there in public and conducted this interview whereas the comments are leveled anonymously. One doubts the commentators attacking the interviewer would say what they say in these comments directly to the interviewer’s face-particularly not if Chomsky was there also to hear them. It always shocks me that younger people – or anybody really – is unfamiliar with Noam Chomsky’s non-linguistics work. In a way, they are responsible for that ignorance. But, I hardly think it is appropriate to attack any such person in public in the way the interviewer is attacked in the comments section. I learned some things I did not know from the interview. The interviewer seems like a perfectly decent fellow who conducted an informative interview.

  11. Love the edit at 19:35 where Chomsky (surely) refers to the "factory girls'" judgement that wage labor was merely another form of slavery. They just flat cut it out. He probably also mentions how that position was the part of the Republican party platform at the time. Stay classy, Google.

  12. Aren't we so lucky to have Noam Chomsky to judge important topics such as: Government, Military, Law, Foreign Policy, International Affairs, or National Security?
    After all, who could possibly be better qualified in such important topics, than a Linguistics Professor, with ZERO Real World Experience in Government, Military, Law, Foreign Policy, International Affairs, or National Security? And whose criticisms all have the great luxury of exploiting 20/20 Hindsight after the fact! This make perfect sense-Right???
    UGH-It is a tragedy that anyone actually takes this ridiculous old man seriously! SMH

  13. It is not feasible for the short time we have left with Chomsky to discourse with these very smart and trained robots whose all intelligence and creativity are exploited for the profit of the monstrous minority..

  14. Disgusting old man, there is no hypocrite on this earth like him, he hates America and its history, but yet he chooses to reside there and sell books to its deluded leftist youth, lining his own pockets with capitalistic wealth, he also pretends that communists were disenfranchised out of their socialist utopia by the Western superpowers, yet he has the money to help the Cubans, the Nicaraguans, the Native American Indians and does nothing, but berate others, Osama Bin Laden's lair in Abbottabad was full of Noam's books, the guy is a charlatan and a liar, I will rejoice on the day this old fart dies, we will then see if after death he shares his wealth or estate with the so called disenfranchised

  15. If you're going to do an hour long interview with one of the smartest minds of our time, perhaps don't use a 5 dollar clip on mic? This audio should be HD quality and worth listening in audio format alone.

  16. What a sarcastic comment by the interviewer "Ok we will just stop our ad program"….stupid twit…instead of stopping your ad program you condescending ass….why dont you start by making it at least 75% less intrusive ie….when I open a webpage how come the ads take up way more room then the actual article.

  17. Hey google….you should fire this interviewer……he doesnt even know how to use a search engine…..he claims he has searched and searched for a video of Chomsky making a joke and couldn't find one…it only took me 2 mins
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKwJI9axblQ

  18. 6 figure paycheck? It is Google. Well suffice to say the hundred grand could buy a dozen loaves of bread in Caraccas, the success that "living (well fed) legend" could not say enough about.

  19. Chomsky's wrong about one thing: Kennedy did not ESCALATE the Vietnam war ffs. It was a problem he inherited and he wanted nothing to do with it.

    Chomsky said in another interview that Kennedy INVADED Vietnam which is pure nonsense. The first combat troops were sent by Lyndon Johnson and arrived in Da Nang in March 1965.

    Chomsky has some bee in his bonnet about Kennedy which is as disturbing as his refusal to support BDS against Israel.

    BIG question mark over Chomsky now.

  20. that's crazy, right after Chomsky finished talking about "critics" of the Vietnam war, the interviewer wanted to hear Chomsky tell a joke…

  21. Yes, we feel totally hopeless with this totally criminal element in DC, the climate change that means the end for all, the way the animals are tortured &murdered all over the world!! merci Noam …..for me you are love and light, ana maria

  22. 48:55 We have the capacity to destroy everything……He goes on to explain very dangerous human behavior, which has been going on against my will my entire life. Every human needs to hear this. I think about these issues every day.

  23. 59:00 he talks about advertisers approach to informing the consumer. He uses auto advertisers as an example….I feel insurance companies are a better example. Think about the ridiculous commercials created by the insurance industry. Not only do they not inform, but they distract people from the fact that consumers give them free money and get very little if anything in return. This regarding an issue were being well informed about the services or products being sold is crucial to figuring out what is best to suit your unique needs and concerns……it is all propaganda

  24. Smart Talks-manager who put an unthinking corporate droid in the place of the interviewer… slonganizing moron… "Happy to do our part" (in response to Chomsky saying Google is part of the problem…)

  25. 17:55 …. As a political guy. Man…. I wish was alive at that time to have political debates. Despite the fact that it was during the Great Depression. 😂

  26. I've seen some guests with a good Google interview like Colbert's, some with a really good and interesting ones and the ones that are amazing… But Noam's?… He is way over their league.

    I was able to distinguish the forced switch of topic bcs his view was becoming dangerous and or enlightening.

  27. It's sad and embarrassing that the interviewer tries to make what he thinks are intelligent points, and almost always gets shot down by Chomsky. To his credit, Chomsky is gracious about it, but read between the lines and you can see how he is intellectually slapping this kid upside the head.
    Google is such a BS, anti-intellectual, hypocritical organization.

  28. This is absolutely hilarious towards the end. Since google is a straight up advertising company lolololol. That's raw power, imagine being so confident in your power that you provide the outlet for your critic with no response. I don't agree or disagree with noam since I don't know enough, but damn it's funny.

  29. Noam doesn't just remember the past, he puts everything into context. I can't stress how important this is – we lose context from one day to another, but he remembers it throughout almost a century!

  30. You can still walk along Riverside Drive and such without fear. You can send your 12 year old on a train to NYC. My 12 year old has a computer in her pocket that she can immediately reach the police, hell she can make a music video of any attacker and post it on Tiktok. It is sick that we took away our children's freedom.

  31. Would you disrespect a sports icon by sending an interviewer ignorant if the sport & Icon's greatest achievements? An insult to the great Chomsky.

  32. 35:15–41:15 The interviewer asks: "Why aren't there more Noam Chomsky's in the world"… I like how Noam Chomsky answers that and the follow-up questions…

  33. Its pretty obvious to me the interviewer is full of himself and he's not too happy Noam is telling it like it is. Too bad, so sad. Chomsky tells it like it is (in his very sweet and humble way). He's my hero.

  34. Noam on Bernie Sanders: "His policies wouldn't surprise Eisenhower". Seismic drift of political parties in 5 words.

  35. Noam Chomsky hates the American experiment and yet enjoys the comforts of his position and the dollars he accumulates. He's repellent.

  36. the interviewer doesn't know that he is talking to one of the most brilliant people of the century.

  37. The interviewer kept his stupid cheery misdemeanour throughout the interview no matter the topic… like he didn't realise they were talking about war and killings and power and changing things, like an insipid valley girl, even the voice matches that. I guess he's been programming computers way too long.

    The interviewer is like stupid people who you tell incredible things or stories, and they say "ok sure" —people who have never done heavy lifting intellectually. 
    It is almost criminal to put someone this stupid to interview a Chomsky!!

  38. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt3Pke412qVfOT-lA1REwVaTXHyIlhZZX
    "When examining Comrade Chomsky, like other radicals, it is important to
    not only examine what he says (though what he says is often wrong), but
    what he is not saying. Utopian revolutionaries butchered millions of
    people in the 1900s, and the United States of America, a creature of the
    Enlightenment, did the heavy lifting to stop them before the socialist
    cancer killed human civilization in its entirety. Now that the evils of
    socialism have become manifest, all Chomsky can provide is nihilism. But
    the genius of Chomsky’s nihilism resides in this– his ability to
    combine cynicism and idealism to argue that everything that exists
    deserves to be destroyed. The idealism — Chomsky’s vague notion of
    anarchism — functions as an impossible standard to condemn the West– no
    matter how much good we do, since we can always to better, we’re bad.
    That’s all it is; it is not a program, and Chomsky has been more than
    willing to support dictatorships when they are against free enterprise
    and/or the United States. The cynicism steps in when Chomsky implies
    that everything is equally bad, as if the crimes of the United States
    are comparable, if not worse, than those of Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s
    Russia, and Mao’s China. The goal is not self-affirmation, but
    self-destruction, and Chomsky’s meeting with the Party of God (the
    Hezb’Allah) symbolizes everything this man is about. If no model of the
    revolutionary future exists, then revolution is destructive suicide
    and nothing else." – Jason H. Bowden
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt3Pke412qVfOT-lA1REwVaTXHyIlhZZX

  39. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt3Pke412qVfOT-lA1REwVaTXHyIlhZZX
    "When examining Comrade Chomsky, like other radicals, it is important to
    not only examine what he says (though what he says is often wrong), but
    what he is not saying. Utopian revolutionaries butchered millions of
    people in the 1900s, and the United States of America, a creature of the
    Enlightenment, did the heavy lifting to stop them before the socialist
    cancer killed human civilization in its entirety. Now that the evils of
    socialism have become manifest, all Chomsky can provide is nihilism. But
    the genius of Chomsky’s nihilism resides in this– his ability to
    combine cynicism and idealism to argue that everything that exists
    deserves to be destroyed. The idealism — Chomsky’s vague notion of
    anarchism — functions as an impossible standard to condemn the West– no
    matter how much good we do, since we can always to better, we’re bad.
    That’s all it is; it is not a program, and Chomsky has been more than
    willing to support dictatorships when they are against free enterprise
    and/or the United States. The cynicism steps in when Chomsky implies
    that everything is equally bad, as if the crimes of the United States
    are comparable, if not worse, than those of Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s
    Russia, and Mao’s China. The goal is not self-affirmation, but
    self-destruction, and Chomsky’s meeting with the Party of God (the
    Hezb’Allah) symbolizes everything this man is about. If no model of the
    revolutionary future exists, then revolution is destructive suicide
    and nothing else." – Jason H. Bowden
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt3Pke412qVfOT-lA1REwVaTXHyIlhZZX

  40. "Dont know why it changed after 1945, it was more violent" I wonder if it had something to do with teaching men how to kill each other?

  41. Near the end of the video when Noam illustrates the many ways we have fashioned our own demise, it reminded me of the Lorax. Noam Chomsky is the Lorax, and he'll be back one day.

  42. Kinda is a reminder of just how important public education is. If American voters were educated at a Noam Chomsky level we might have stood a chance against climate change.

  43. Who in the hell wrote off on choosing this software engineer to interview Noam Chomsky?! What a wasted opportunity! Please Google, don't ever trot this nimrod out for this task again.

  44. The interviewer has this my most dislike kind of nose voice. Can a man speak from his mouth for Christ sake. Only bare him at least smart enough no interruption to Noam

  45. Ya gotta love the way Chomsky lets the air out of puffed-up myths about the US Government, technology, advertising, etc. And what better place to make the puffed-up purveyors of those myths uncomfortable…

  46. What a contrast between the interviewer and interviewee. Painful to watch. Google should've let Noam Chomsky talk on a few major current affair topics.

  47. Surprised to see Noam in the lions den of neoliberalism. I'll bet he got a shite load of money… I've been watching Noam for years and it's clear he's lost a step or two, as evidenced about his meandering thought process. I've heard him relate the story about his childhood dozens of times…Not sure what it has to do with what he finds interesting…

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