Deconstructing Chomsky

Fascinating review of The Anti-Chomsky Reader:

Extracts of note:*

One of the peculiar phenomena of our time is the renegade Liberal,” wrote George Orwell in 1945. He meant not the classical liberal who believed in individual freedoms and small government but the leftist liberal who glorified communist experiments and disdained middle-class life. To Orwell, the existence of intellectuals who loved the Soviet Union despite the purges, mocked “bourgeois liberty” despite the pleasing bourgeois circumstances of their own lives, and identified with revolutionary movements that would speedily ship them off to camps—this was a fact in need of explanation…

…But his most damning discovery is broader: that Chomsky lacks a historian’s openness to fresh evidence. All historians know that understanding history is an unfolding enterprise, ever subject to revision. And yet not one revelation of the last 20 years has led to a moment’s reassessment by Chomsky. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the opening of KGB archives, testimony by dissidents and ex-Communists—nothing alters his outlook. When Vaclav Havel addressed Congress in 1990 and praised the U.S. for inspiring those under the totalitarian boot, Chomsky scorned this freedom fighter for uttering an “embarrassingly silly and morally repugnant Sunday School sermon in Congress.” The truth remained: “In comparison to the conditions imposed by U.S. tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian rule was practically a paradise.”

…media savvy is a valuable trait, and one would think that an anti-conglomeration media theorist would keep abreast of changes in media structures and deliveries.

And yet Eli Lehrer finds that, in the last 10 years, Chomsky has all but ignored the most striking new medium of our time: the Internet. He says little about the weblogs and other virtual newsroom start-ups that have done the very work he advocates, forcing into the public eye stories that traditional media outlets ignored. When he does heed the Internet, he makes the same charges he leveled against the networks, in the process misrepresenting basic aspects of online communication. The Internet is just the kind of populist medium that Chomsky supposedly reveres, but all he can do is squeeze it into a conspiracy theory.

…Chomsky is caught in a Vietnam-Watergate time zone, when the Pentagon and White House assumed the most fiendish place in democratic protest. It’s time to recognize that fiends may collect wherever power is concentrated.

*Definition of ‘of note:’ The Deputy Headmistress thought it was worth noting. No other criteria applied.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Property Rights

Did you know that the largest property owner in the Western States is the United States government?

More here.

The federal government owns about 98% of the land in Alaska, and about 86% of Nevada land. Overall, the feds own 65% of all the land West of the 100th meridian.

That’s “65% of all the land West of Denver, and less than 2% of the land East of Denver.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CDC obesity study flawed and politically motivated?

I don’t know, but this looks interesting.

(Update below!)

The CDC should get the weight of its blemished obesity study off its chest, and help prevent frivolous and unnecessary regulation and litigation…

Science magazine reports that obesity researchers, including some at the CDC, “argue that the paper’s compatibility with a new antiobesity theme in government public health pronouncements — rather than sound analysis — propelled it into print …”

The Wall Street Journal … notes the research “inflated the impact of obesity on the annual death toll by tens of thousands due to statistical errors …”

…A follow-up story in the Wall Street Journal reports that, due to additional problems based on the “authors’ scientific approach”: “The number of obesity-related deaths could be less than half of the 400,000 estimated in the flawed CDC study, according to some scientists familiar with the debate.”

More here.

Embarassing spelling error in the title now corrected.

UPDATE: See this link!!

Um, yeah, it’s a little less than half. The CDC now ranks it as number 7 instead of second on leading causes of death. Car crashes are going to kill far more Americans than those love handles.


estimated today that packing on too many pounds accounts for 25,814 deaths a year in the United States. As recently as January, the CDC came up with an estimate 14 times higher: 365,000 deaths.

Nonetheless, “CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said because of the uncertainty in calculating the health effects of being overweight, the CDC is not going to use the brand-new figure of 25,814 in its public awareness campaigns and is not going to scale back its fight against obesity.”

Of course, it’s just as dangerous (or not) as it always was. The only thing that has changed is what the Cult of the Expert has to say about it. So tell me again why they are the experts?

Bonnet Tip: Wizbang

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Texas Homeschooling Laws

A Mormon sect practicing polygamy has headed to the hills of Texas, and REpublican Representative Harvey Hilderbran wants to respond to that problem by changing the homeschooling laws. He has other things in mind, too, but that’s the area that caught my attention.

You can read more about it here. It sounds like a bad situation and one that could become as explosive as Waco (ouch), but I’m never impressed by efforts to restrict the reasonable freedoms of several thousand people in order to punish a few detestable specimans.

Update, April, 2008- that link is now dead, but you can find it searching the archives of the Washington Times- it was published in April, 2005.
It costs 3.00 for a peek, and I’m not paying.

Here’s a taste:

by Hugh Aynesworth

AUSTIN, Texas — A burgeoning, secretive sect of polygamists in a small, western Texas rural community has state legislators considering new bills to combat what many consider the group’s unacceptable lifestyle.
State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, a Republican, is pushing several changes to state law, particularly those concerning child-protective services, home schooling and marriage between stepchildren and stepparents.
At issue is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a rogue flank of the Mormon denomination that secretly purchased a 1,691-acre ranch outside Eldorado 14 months ago and moved several dozen followers from Utah to begin building a religious center. Warren Jeffs is the self-named prophet of the sect.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Mouse of Honor

“Reepicheep is so much the opposite of Eustace that he too can be annoying at times. What I mean to say is that he puts me to shame, which I always find annoying….”

Aslan’s Call: Finding our Way to Narnia by Mark Eddy Smith

(Our copy is autographed by the author. Not that we’re bragging.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon

    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends:

  • Search: