2011-05-10 From Chomsky to bin Laden/woozle
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Written in some haste, so not very polished.
...whose complicity in 9/11 remains, in the professor's mind, very much in doubt.
It's officially in doubt, not just in Chomsky's mind.
Bin Laden's listing on the FBI's Wanted list does not mention 9/11. Osama himself always denied any connection with 9/11, though he reportedly praised its perpetrators. No connection has ever been shown or formally alleged.
Does anyone today doubt that the teaching ban was justified?
Phrased like that, yes, I should think (and hope) most people would be strongly against such a thing. What possible justification can there be? It would have been much better to let Heidegger make his arguments, then address them head-on -- rather than giving them the dignity of being "suppressed speech". How can a bad argument be refuted if it is suppressed, and only circulated amongst those likely to be sympathetic?
However, Heidegger was not the subject of a "teaching ban". He was dismissed from university on four charges: (1) suppression of dissent (2) incitement against dissenting professors, (3) promoting Nazi propaganda and (4) his prominent position in the Nazi party.
Stephens's argument seems to be basically guilt-by-association: Chomsky did a thing kind of like what Heidegger did if you squint just right, therefore he's as bad as Heidegger, therefore he should receive the same treatment.
Heidegger worked to suppress opposing points of view. If there's a real crime in all this, that was it. Chomsky has advocated no such thing; on the face of it, Heidegger has far more in common with Stephens (who advocates suppressing Chomsky's speech) than with Chomsky.
"Ho-hum: Can anyone be surprised anymore by what Mr. Chomsky thinks and says?" No, why should we? He absolutely hits the nail on the head when talking about our treatment of Osama versus hypothetical foreign countries taking the same tack toward our domestic terrorism ringleaders. Our military leaders seem to feel they have the right to step on anyone they decide (without any form of due process whatsoever); Chomsky disagrees -- and he's being compared to a Nazi sympathizer for this?
What's surprising is that someone can make an argument for suppression of scholarly speech, and nobody seems to find this worrisome.
This article is a piece of propaganda arguing that we should suppress the speech of someone (Chomsky) who argues against speech suppression because he superficially resembles someone else (Heidegger) who suppressed other people's speech while promoting propaganda.
(That said, there are some issues with the substance of Chomsky's piece.)