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Why Noam Chomsky Is Wrong About Libertarianism

"For a man so renowned for his work in linguistics, Noam Chomsky certainly seems confused about the definitions of 'libertarianism' and 'anarchy.' And despite his accuracy on foreign policy, he's completely lost on economics and social policy. It's actually incredibly disappointing to see someone who so correctly recognizes so many problems in the world but consistently comes up with awful solutions.

In an interview with Michael S. Wilson, Chomsky comments:

Well what’s called libertarian in the United States, which is a special U. S. phenomenon, it doesn’t really exist anywhere else — a little bit in England — permits a very high level of authority and domination but in the hands of private power: so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes. The assumption is that by some kind of magic, concentrated private power will lead to a more free and just society . . . and so well that kind of libertarianism, in my view, in the current world, is just a call for some of the worst kinds of tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny.

As I've explained in a previous article, libertarianism is about the Non-Aggression Principle: No one can initiate force against another person or their property except in self-defense. It's the maximum amount of personal (and economic, if you insist on that false dichotomy) freedom for you and I to achieve our own purposes any way we see fit as long as we don't interfere with each others ability to do the same. Everyone owns themselves and the fruit of their labor. There are very clear boundaries: for example, my freedom to move my fist through the air ends where your face ends. In a libertarian society, people can choose not to associate with whomever they please for whatever reason, instead of being forced to pay taxes that pay for things they don't support or follow laws passed by politicians they didn't vote for. How a society based on every interaction being completely voluntary could possibly be bastardized into 'a very high level of authority and domination,' or 'unaccountable private tyranny,' is beyond me. The state is authority. Period."

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This is the same type of preconceived conviction that inhibits the discussion from moving forward.

You do not know what you are talking about!!!

Why the hell would a man with such an enormous intellect subscribe to a belief in a system of ethics completely void of any rational sense? Why assume that because his beliefs do not coincide with yours that he must be wrong an ignorant?

No, Chomsky is right and you are lacking. Do a little research on anarchy, maybe learn some history, or(god forbid) listen to the man explain and elaborate on his understanding of government capitalism, government socialism and their counterparts sans government before you go insulting him for being ignorant.


I'll be honest: I can't tell

I'll be honest: I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. You definitely didn't contribute anything to the discussion or tackle any point I made, and your only real argument is "Chomsky is so smart so he can't be wrong," so I'm leaning toward sarcasm.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.

Nope, not sarcasm.

Let me put it this way. Chumpskey is right and you are wrong. Modern libertarianism is a relatively young phenomenon literally created by Murray Rothbard. The difference between historical and modern libertarianism(otherwise known as left and right libertarianism) is the belief of what property rights are and whether or not they should be respected.

The first Anarchist Pierre Proudhon was a socialist anarchists, his first major contribution was the concept that property is theft.

The left libertarian or left anarchist school has a view of property as an institution in which the concentration of wealth and thus power is unjust and inevitable. It was out of this school that Marx flavored his Das Capital etc...

This is all very much over your head. Please do the research and learn the material. Otherwise, you will not be able to refute it.


Good observation

It is indeed a notable misrepresentation of libertarianism. The libertarian situation in the U.S. is about restoring previous accomplishments in human freedom. It involves getting rid of federal laws and gov't departments. It involves making the federal gov't less powerful and focusing on state and local gov't. The framework is already there. It is not rocket science. Just getting back to the pre-911 days would be a relief. The police state tactics against non violent and innocent people and mass corporate propaganda inhibiting human progress are obvious. I don't understand how anybody could trust such a system.

Chomsky also appears to not entertain the idea that it is possible for nobody to have a monopoly on force. I have found college professors to be uncomfortable entertaining this idea as well. It was always a difficult conversation to have.

"A very high level of authority and domination but in the hands of private power: so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes."

Isn't this what we have now?

Agreed. He's contradicting

Agreed. He's contradicting himself by claiming to be an anarchist while also claiming that there needs to be some kind of monopoly of force to prevent the "concentration" of "private power."

The leftist idea that without capital we are somehow more free is another one that boggles my mind. What better way to free capital than allowing people to do with theirs as they please?

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.

Chomsky ...


lefties like Chomsky

see the market as a form of coercion. To them, prices should not be determined by supply and demand. They complain that, for instance, it is the markets fault that GMO vegetables are cheaper than organic vegetables. They view it as coercion when Walmart comes into town and squeezes out local mom and pop stores by offering lower prices for the same goods. They see capitalists like Sam Walton as having authority to control Markets.

There is some truth to what he says, but he minimizes the governments role in giving their crony capitalists this authority.



Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.