Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Review of Chomsky book: "The Anti-Chomsky Reader is a polemical broadside intended to slam Chomsky into oblivion.... Collier and Horowitz understand well the manufactured reality of political fame, and to dismantle it requires not contrary vitriol or clever rejoinders but direct, fact-based assertions that undermine the authenticity of the image. To that end, the contributors follow a simple procedure: Quote actual statements by Chomsky and test them for evidence and logic. The best contributions to the volume add the effective and timely tactic of citing Chomsky's progressive virtues and revealing how smoothly he abandons them..... Nichols points out that Chomsky's footnotes are red herrings, his numbers exaggerated, and his facts tendentious. For instance, a footnote in Chomsky's World Orders Old and New that purports to demonstrate a point in fact leads only to an earlier Chomsky title, and in that text the relevant passage footnotes still an earlier Chomsky title. 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."

Keith Windschuttle has a good review of Jim Bennett's book: The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century. Excerpt: "Whatever the outcome, The Anglosphere Challenge is one of the important books of our time. It establishes the centrality of British culture to the economic, technological, and political prospects of the world. The ancient traditions of the British - individual rights and responsibilities, minimal government, and a strong civil society - constitute the most reliable formula for a future that works. Even if that future turns out to be less confined to countries of British descent than Bennett predicts, it is highly likely still to be dominated by their cultural values and traditions."

There is a book review here showing that the envious French hatred of America goes back a long way. Excerpt: "During the German occupation, when French anti-Semitic collaborators had no reason to disguise the real roots of their hatred, it had seemed that a ne plus ultra of crazed invective had been reached: it was then that America's addiction to jazz was explained by "the Negro character inherent in the Jewish race". It would be funny, except that similar obscenities continue to our day. Some are casual, such as a recent film review in Le Monde that, commenting on the ambition of the American film industry to dominate the planet with its images, concluded: "Goebbels said the same thing about German images in his day." And some are sick, like the huge sales of the French book alleging that the Americans had blown up the Twin Towers themselves. Sicker still was the admission by the philosopher Jean Baudrillard after 9/11 of "the prodigious jubilation in seeing this global superpower destroyed... Ultimately they [Muslims] were the ones who did it, but we were the ones who wanted it.""

Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years tries to explain history in terms of environmentalism but it twists the facts: "Another instance of forcing the facts to fit the theory is Diamond's "law of history" asserting that agricultural societies will inevitably come to dominate their non-agricultural neighbors. He ignores the multitude of instances where settled farmers were conquered by nomadic horsemen: the Hittite conquest of the ancient Middle East, (possibly) the invasion of Greece by the Dorians, the successive movements of the Celtic and Germanic people across Europe, the Aryan migration into India, the Turkish conquest of much of the Moslem world that began in the 11th century, and the vast Mongolian conquests of the 13th and 14th centuries. In fact, such examples led both the political theorist Albert Jay Nock and the economist Murray Rothbard to suggest a typical pattern in history nearly the opposite of Diamond's. They hypothesized that states arise when some nomadic people, who have been repeatedly raiding a nearby society of relatively peaceful farmers over an extended period, come to realize that it is more profitable to settle right in the farming community as rulers"


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