Chomsky v. Silber, a Classic Exchange
Both the living Dr. Noam Chomsky and the late Dr. John Silber are (were) if anything brilliant. (I think the folks on this site would concede Chomsky’s brilliance; Silber was a respected Kant scholar in the academy and I hope that speaks for itself.)
Personally, I don’t like Silber’s tone. But I think it relates to his leadership position. Being a leader of a large bureaucratic organization is no easy task (indeed, some studies show that smart “psychopaths,” which Silber most certainly was not as he had a big heart, tend to flourish in such positions).
But still, being a leader of such an organization is a frustrating job. I think that might explain Silber’s tone. (He probably had a frustrating day at work that day.) (And by the way, Silber was outstandingly effective in that day job.)
I got myself involved in the comments of that YouTube clip (scroll down and look for them if interested). As a libertarian I 1. think with good reason that communism was evil; but 2. think the US over involves itself in foreign affairs.
The issue involved the United States’ involvement in Nicaragua during the tail end of the Cold War. Both Silber and Chomsky pretend to be on the side of the Angels (the liberal democrats) whilst the other side on the part of the Devils (totalitarians). The way I see it BOTH sides were authoritarians (Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s middle ground term between democracy and totalitarianism), one Left leaning (what Chomsky supports), the other Right leaning (what Silber supports).
I don’t think the US should have been involved for the reason Chomsky makes on Luxembourg (you’ll have to watch the video to observe and understand it).
Still, I don’t like way the Chomsky types seek to either 1. whitewash the evil of what the Communists did; and/or 2. draw an equivalence between the bad committed by the forces of modern liberal democracy (led by the US) and communism. Sometimes I get the sense that Chomsky and his ilk were on the side of the Communists against the US, leader of the modern liberal democrats. But as a modest fellow, I think claiming that would be a bridge too far.