Friday, November 22, 2013

Chomsky animated

Chomsky on genetics and brainpower.

Chomsky on the po mo hustle.

My lunch with Chomsky:
I accidentally came across a copy of At War with Asia in the Page House library (Caltech) when I was a student. I had no idea who Chomsky was, I knew nothing yet of linguistics, but the book was powerful and affecting. Years later as a Junior Fellow I emailed Chomsky (a former Junior Fellow) at MIT and invited him to one of our formal Monday dinners. He declined to come to dinner, as his relationship with some of the senior fellows was contentious, but wanted to come to lunch and meet some of the younger people. We had a wonderful time, and I discovered he has a pretty good sense of humor :-)


Diogenes said...

but steve disagrees with chomsky here:

"...they're likely to be kicked out. The standard thing, though, is that they won't make it within the institutions in the first place, particularly if they were that way when they were young—they'll simply be weeded out somewhere along the line. So in most cases, the people who make it through the institutions and are able to remain in them have already internalized the right kinds of beliefs: it's not a problem for them to be obedient, they already are obedient, that's how they got there. And that's pretty much how the ideological control system perpetuates itself in the schools—that's the basic story of how it operates, I think."

superficially this sounds paranoid, but i don't think chomsky means the weeding out is deliberate or that people don't weed out themselves. there is a naive and rarely examined belief that the way things are is as good as it can be and has been determined by people smarter than oneself. otherwise, one might ask, "how can patent nonsense persist?" the answer is that in order to overcome some nascent cognitive dissonance people change the way they think.

and, obviously, what chomsky really found with finkelstein in america vs britain was the power of finkelstein's own ethnic group in america vs britain.

oregonlocal said...

Finklestein still gets into editorial pages and onto TV occasionally. The only reason Finklestein and Chomsky get any press at all is because they are Jewish. If you are White and objectively analyze or criticize Jews or Zionism in any way then you get completely ignored by both the media and academia like Professor Kevin MacDonald.

No sane person takes po mo seriously once they are no longer in the clutches of humanity professors since it denies the existence of objective reality.

Diogenes said...

you and i, oregonlocal, are much closer on the political spectrum than you might imagine. i've voted gop as often as dem.

a few years ago cnn fired one of its on air "journalists" merely for suggesting the preponderance of ashkenazim in elite journalism.

BobSykes said...

At one point in his career, Chomsky denied that language evolved. He has since backed down from that idiocy. He is a marxist, and since marxism is incompatible with Darwinism and evolution, he is conflicted.

steve hsu said...

I don't disagree with Chomsky's statement -- the effect is there, it's a question of magnitude.

Hacienda said...

Chomsky. Greatest American academic of the late 20th Century. Sorry, guys he won. The anti-Chomskites all lost. Look around you. Sourgrapes.

As far as breaking up Jew media/business/academic power. I'm all for that. I'd like to see the establishment independent media centers around the world. But I don't see the Jews actively preventing this from arising. It's not their fault that China can't create an entertainment culture. Or that Bollywood is fundamentally racist against Indians. The Levant? SE Asia?

LondonYoung said...

An obvious measure of the magnitude of selection via political view is the fraction of Obama voters vs. Romney voters among tenured faculty at selective institutions. The parent populations are evenly divided, and the result of the selection process can be unambiguously measured. One group is simply weeded out somewhere along the line.

steve hsu said...

Is it really weeding out or are there hidden correlations somewhere? For example, I don't think there is much pressure for political conformism among science faculty. At least, I know conservative physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, etc. who don't seem to suffer professionally for their political beliefs. Yet, the O v. R imbalance you speak of is pretty high even in this population.

Most faculty have no experience with business -- they've never had to make payroll, fire lazy workers, struggle against inept government bureaucracy. It's not surprising that they are more likely to vote left than equally smart people who went into private enterprise.

As you know I've never been a big Ayn Rand fan. However, time as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley has me almost embracing some of her viewpoints (most progress is due to the intense efforts of a small number of people, etc.) ... very few professors have had this kind of experience.

David Coughlin said...

I view this: most progress is due to the intense efforts of a small number of people, etc. as a defect, not a feature. When people attack problems that require a group to solve, they identify how they are going to proceed, and when the solving ceases to proceed it falls apart. Team leadership, practically speaking, is not robust. Knowing how you are going to recover your team and keep them going forward, or alternately when you are going to shed loads is the real challenge to execution. Whether you personify it or systematize it, you have to know what you are going to do when you encounter failure.

On a tangent, I didn't weigh in on the leadership discussion in the other thread because it seemed shallow. Leadership is a control mechanism, and so it functions in both the spaces of causes and effects. Just because you occupy an office doesn't make you a leader, and it is likewise hard to bring about effects without the causal mechanisms of office [or, in the case of university presidents, eg, to bring about effects with offices of limited causal means]. To me, any discussion of leadership that doesn't take is measure of both of those things is vulnerable to projective distortions.

Diogenes said...

marx wasn't the blank slater you might think he was. marx's metaphysics wasn't vulgar materialism either. it was much more akin to that of the irreligious rich. for marx, economics was ultimate reality.

Diogenes said...

but chomsky's not really talking about politics at all. he's talking about a selection for obedience generally, a selection for going along. and his observation is true of all institutions academia, business, govt, church, whatever. it might be expressed with "is the pope catholic?" that is, if one thinks the roman church is all rot, he's unlikely to ever become a priest, and if he does he'll never take his job very seriously and thus will never be preferred. those who are preferred will be the true believers and the yes men.

Diogenes said...

if you're running a group with as many as 40 people in it, and you need results to keep your funding, you should have an inkling. and only a small minority of the loyal gop has ever run a business.

"most progress is due to the intense efforts of a small number of people" but how many try and fail? it's just as true for science. perhaps not theoretical physics, but for laboratory science only if a lot of people try will a few people succeed.

oregonlocal said...

"there are respectable physicists who think string theory is rot."

And why not? Any hypothesis that can not be verified through experimentation is only abstract and not real.

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