Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ The Attack On Chomsky

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jun 19, 2006

Responding to Jeff Jarvis:

I don't see why you're so impressed by this article; it consists almost entirely of personal attack and innuendo. Perhaps that sort of "barbed review" is what passes for journalism these days, and what explains why fewer people every day are able to distinguish between the professional press and the excesses of the blogosphere.

As for the "preemptive interactivity" - it is very common in academic and critical writing to anticipate and respond to expected criticisms. So there is nothing unusual about that here. Perhaps it might have been better to focus on the nature of the response - consisting first of a straw man attack and then of a questioning of the motives of the purported attacker. Hardly a response to any anticipated criticism!

There may be reasons to disagree with Chomsky, but the sound of his voice and the location of his office are surely not among them. And this review obscures the main intent of Chomsky's book: to sound a warning that we have seen the same patterns before, and that they do not bode well for the future of the U.S. government.

Governments that routinely lie to the people, that imprison people arbitrarily, that torture people locked in internment camps, that launch wars on false pretexts - such governments do not surrender lightly to "democracy going to the polls".

That the only response from the right is a column filled with hate and vitriol such as we see here is evidence not only of the paucity of the position but of a movement that believes its faith and values justify anything in the pursuit of its ends.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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