Noam Chomsky

I think not
#1
One of the most persistent themes in Noam Chomsky's work has been class warfare. The iconic MIT linguist and left-wing activist frequently has lashed out against the "massive use of tax havens to shift the burden to the general population and away from the rich," and criticized the concentration of wealth in "trusts" by the wealthiest 1%. He says the U.S. tax code is rigged with "complicated devices for ensuring that the poor -- like 80% of the population -- pay off the rich."

But trusts can't be all bad. After all, Chomsky, with a net worth north of US$2-million, decided to create one for himself. A few years back he went to Boston's venerable white-shoe law firm, Palmer and Dodge, and, with the help of a tax attorney specializing in "income-tax planning," set up an irrevocable trust to protect his assets from Uncle Sam. He named his tax attorney (every socialist radical needs one!) and a daughter as trustees. To the Diane Chomsky Irrevocable Trust (named for another daughter) he has assigned the copyright of several of his books, including multiple international editions.

Chomsky favours massive income redistribution -- just not the redistribution of his income. No reason to let radical politics get in the way of sound estate planning.

When I challenged Chomsky about his trust, he suddenly started to sound very bourgeois: "I don't apologize for putting aside money for my children and grandchildren," he wrote in one e-mail. Chomsky offered no explanation for why he condemns others who are equally proud of their provision for their children and who try to protect their assets from Uncle Sam. (However, Chomsky did say that his tax shelter is OK because he and his family are "trying to help suffering people.")

Indeed, Chomsky is rich precisely because he has been such an enormously successful capitalist. Despite his anti-profit rhetoric, like any other corporate capitalist Chomsky has turned himself into a brand name. As John Lloyd recently put it in the lefty New Statesman, Chomsky is among those "open to being "commodified" -- that is, to being simply one of the many wares of a capitalist media market place, in a way that the badly paid and overworked writers and journalists for the revolutionary parties could rarely be."

Chomsky's business works something like this. He gives speeches on college campuses around the country at US$12,000 a pop, often dozens of times a year.

Can't go and hear him in person? No problem: You can go online and download clips from earlier speeches -- for a fee. You can hear Chomsky talk for one minute about "Property Rights"; it will cost you US79 cents. You can also buy a CD with clips from previous speeches for US$12.99.

But books are Chomsky's mainstay, and on the international market he has become a publishing phenomenon. The Chomsky brand means instant sales. As publicist Dana O'Hare of Pluto Press explains: "All we have to do is put Chomsky's name on a book and it sells out immediately!"

Putting his name on a book should not be confused with writing a book because his most recent volumes are mainly transcriptions of speeches, or interviews that he has conducted over the years, put between covers and sold to the general public. You might call it multi-level marketing for radicals. Chomsky has admitted as much: "If you look at the things I write -- articles for Z Magazine, or books for South End Press, or whatever -- they are mostly based on talks and meetings and that kind of thing. But I'm kind of a parasite. I mean, I'm living off the activism of others. I'm happy to do it."

Chomsky's marketing efforts shortly after Sept. 11 give new meaning to the term "war profiteer." In the days after the tragedy, he raised his speaking fee from US$9,000 to US$12,000 because he was suddenly in greater demand. He also cashed in by producing another instant book. Seven Stories Press, a small publisher, pulled together interviews conducted via e-mail that Chomsky gave in the three weeks following the attack on the Twin Towers and rushed the book to press. His controversial views were hot, particularly overseas. By early December 2001, the publisher had sold the foreign rights in 19 different languages. The book made the best-seller list in the United States, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. It is safe to assume that he netted hundreds of thousands of dollars from this book alone.

Over the years, Chomsky has been particularly critical of private property rights, which he considers simply a tool of the rich, of no benefit to ordinary people. "When property rights are granted to power and privilege, it can be expected to be harmful to most," Chomsky wrote on a discussion board for the Washington Post. Intellectual property rights are equally despicable, apparently. According to Chomsky, for example, drug companies who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing drugs shouldn't have ownership rights to patents. Intellectual property rights, he argues, "have to do with protectionism."

Protectionism is a bad thing -- especially when it relates to other people.

But when it comes to Chomsky's own published work, this advocate of open intellectual property suddenly becomes very selfish. It would not be advisable to download the audio from one of his speeches without paying the fee, warns his record company, Alternative Tentacles. (Did Andrei Sakharov have a licensing agreement with a record company?) And when it comes to his articles, you'd better keep your hands off. Go to the official Noam Chomsky Web site (www.chomsky.info (external - login to view)) and the warning is clear: "Material on this site is copyrighted by Noam Chomsky and/or Noam Chomsky and his collaborators. No material on this site may be reprinted or posted on other web sites without written permission." (However, the Web site does give you the opportunity to "sublicense" the material if you are interested.)

Radicals used to think of their ideas as weapons; Chomsky sees them as a licensing opportunity.

Chomsky has even gone the extra mile to protect the copyright to some of his material by transferring ownership to his children. Profits from those works will thus be taxed at his children's lower rate. He also thereby extends the length of time that the family is able to hold onto the copyright and protect his intellectual assets.

In October, 2002, radicals gathered in Philadelphia for a benefit entitled "Noam Chomsky: Media and Democracy." Sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Democratic Left, for a fee of US$15 you could attend the speech and hear the great man ruminate on the evils of capitalism. For another US$35, you could attend a post-talk reception and he would speak directly with you.

During the speech, Chomsky told the assembled crowd, "A democracy requires a free, independent, and inquiring media." After the speech, Deborah Bolling, a writer for the lefty Philadelphia City Paper, tried to get an interview with Chomsky. She was turned away. To talk to Chomsky, she was told, this "free, independent, and inquiring" reporter needed to pay US$35 to get into the private reception.

Corporate America is one of Chomsky's demons. It's hard to find anything positive he might say about American business. He paints an ominous vision of America suffering under the "unaccountable and deadly rule of corporations." He has called corporations "private tyrannies" and declared that they are "just as totalitarian as Bolshevism and fascism." Capitalism, in his words, is a "grotesque catastrophe."

But a funny thing happened on the way to the retirement portfolio.

Chomsky, for all of his moral dudgeon against American corporations, finds that they make a pretty good investment. When he made investment decisions for his retirement plan at MIT, he chose not to go with a money market fund or even a government bond fund. Instead, he threw the money into blue chips and invested in the TIAA-CREF stock fund. A look at the stock fund portfolio quickly reveals that it invests in all sorts of businesses that Chomsky says he finds abhorrent: oil companies, military contractors, pharmaceuticals, you name it.

When I asked Chomsky about his investment portfolio, he reverted to a "what else can I do?" defence: "Should I live in a cabin in Montana?" he asked. It was a clever rhetorical dodge. Chomsky was declaring that there is simply no way to avoid getting involved in the stock market short of complete withdrawal from the capitalist system. He certainly knows better. There are many alternative funds these days that allow you to invest your money in "green" or "socially responsible" enterprises.

They just don't yield the maximum available return.

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/s...2c4a44&k=53758
 
Jay
#2
If he wants to help people perhaps he should write a book on how to avoid paying taxes and where to invest your money.
 
cortez
#3
one couldnt pay this teacher of all teachers enough
thanks for the post ITN

im surprised such a best selling writer is worth a measly 2 million
 
I think not
#4
Yeah pretty amazing a world renowned "socialist" is right up there with the top rich folk he condemns, but then again that's how all the socialists are, ya? They're socialists in their ideologies and capitalists in their pockets.
 
Curiosity
#5
Redistributing our wealth is for non-linguists perhaps, for the "less than" little people, for the mundane millions, for the befuddled buffoons???

Another three dollar bill exposed. Nice try Gnome babe.
 
cortez
#6
it is interesting
i do like reading chomsky--- mostly because of the straight facts hell give you--and the extensive pages and pages of quotes from mostly mainstream media to support his contentions-- apart from his so called leftist leanings
his analysises are always incredibly thorough and based on verifiable facts
i am geniunely surprised his income is so pitifull --- for all the ground breaking research he done in liguistics let alone for his what --40 or so masterfull-- political works not the least of which is his insightfull analysis of the media -- in manufacturing consent--
i also enjoy he straight from the hip phrases-
like---- the terrorist commanders in washington and london--- which i think is actually is an understatement
clearly he must do this work for the love of it---
but lets not forget one thing
noam is .....an american...
regardless of anything else... and hence a victim too

his personal income however does not add or detract from the truth value of his writings
what he writes would not be any less true if his net worth was 2 million, 200 million or 2 bucks

but in all fairness-- noam is a right winger
that is.... compared to myself
so hes not as perfect as yours trully
though i do hope he will one day enjoy some financial reward for his endeavors

i LOVE chomsky though mostly because he makes his fellow right wingers- those to HIS right that is absolutely SQUIRM
 
Kreskin
#7
At least Chomsky makes people think. We're all better off when people challenge the world of politics and power.
 
Toro
#8
Well, that is absolutely fabulous.

Chomsky setting up a trust is like Rush Limbaugh illegally buying drugs, or Jimmy Swaggart having sex with prostitutes, or Bill Bennett running up gambling debts, or Newt Gingrich cheating on his wife, except, unlike those other guys, I Chomsky's blatant hypocrisy has a positive outcome.

Good to see him maximizing his own self-interest, and I applaud him for that.

Great stuff.
 
I think not
#9
All hail Cortez, the guy left of Karl Marx himself.
 
cortez
#10
yes left of him too itn
as im sure you might find out that marx had it pretty good economically as well-- especially since he basically lived in the london library -- for free

seriously there is a left of marx
hail to thee as well
 
Kreskin
#11
A legal trust isn't tax evasion. What do we expect the guy to do, mail more money to the feds just because he writes? If he didn't follow and maximize legal accounting principles he wouldn't be very smart.

Warren Buffet calls Bush's tax plan 'welfare for the rich'. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a right to get what's legally his. He has the right to be speak up and be honest.
 
#juan
#12
Chomsky has dozens of books in print,

But he should somehow be destitute like Mother Teresa. How much money does Rumsfeldt have? How about Cheney? how about Bush? Ten to one each of these Bu****es have a hundred times two million dollars>
 
sanch
#13
The fact is everything is a commodity including Chomsky. Whenever I go into Indigo on McGill Avenue in Montreal I am amazed at the stacks of conspiracy books of all stripes. Yes some of them are critical and a bit interesting. But you have to ask yourself who buys this stuff? And there are so many how does one decide? Some probably buy them all.

Chomsky is a tenured MIT professor who has found a very good way to supplement his income. But he is dated and no longer really relevant.

What is more relevant are the tech students and computer nerds from MIT now in Africa and Asia setting up wireless networks. All of those wires that were necessary for infrastructure in the 20th century are no longer needed. Africa and Asia can develop without them. With new technology, open source software and access to markets Africans and Asians will be able to particpate and compete. That is a revolution.
 
Hank C
#14
Chomsky is a genius, he sells thousands of books and makes millions of dollars off people like Cortez who drool over his every word and bring their "newfound knowledge" to forums like this where they make fools of themselves
 
jimmoyer
#15
Rightwingers know they can't condemn Chomsky
without a visceral reaction from the leftwing.

But here lies a little subtlety available to some of
us conservatives: We actually do read leftwing philosophy
and we give a real look to any solid argument.

But for all you leftwingers, let me give you a thought
about class warfare, about victim psychology, about
the downtrodden, about the down and out, about those
who could use a little mercy.

The thought is this:

None of us, no matter what race, no matter what color,
no matter what gender, no matter what level of wealth,
no matter what creed, no matter what backround, no
matter who we are, NONE OF US ARE ENTITLED TO
ANYTHING.

NONE OF US DESERVE IT.

If we were to affirm this idea that none of us deserve
anything, it would strenghten our ego, our humility,
our self value.

Think about it.
 
Finder
#16
I'm a reader of Chomsky and I enjoy his work. He was one of the living leading socialists who wrote about how bad the soviet system is and he is a realistic socialist thinker.

He won't be all that populer until he dies like any other political writer but he does have some decent success already even before his death and is well known, at least by university students.

Also when you live in a capitalist world, you can't really live a socialist life unless you wanna live on the street. I do not fault him buy investing at all. I may not agree with the current system but I also do things which I think should be changed because it's the only way to survive. If you believe in a 30 hour work week does that mean you only work 30 hours! Of course not, if you believe in Private health care, does that mean you won't use your heath card at your doc's office and force them to accept your money!

Chomsky is such a small fry and when you think about these mega corperations and how much they scam off the puplic purse, Chomsky racking back a couple thousand by investing in his kids or what not isn't really an issue!

This is a stupid and none issue
 
jimmoyer
#17
Actually, Finder, this talk about Noam Chomsky is but
a flash point, merely a beginning, merely just a start
of a conversation about economic and psychological
philosophy.


Chomsky himself is no better than Ann Coulter
as entertainers, except Ann's legs, oh bejeeeezus,
oh woe begone.

I would even hazard to favor Chomsky for more gravitas
than Ann Coulter, but when you get down to it, down
to the nub and depth of a philosophical outlook on
what drives us human beings, in the end, both of them
cancel out, and we without their guidance or even with
it, will do what we do anyway.
 
Kreskin
#18
Peter Schweizer
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/s...2c4a44&k=53758

Noam Chomsky
www.chomsky.info/articles/199112--02.htm (external - login to view)

If all we had to read were the shallow thoughts of sheep like Schweizer we would all be taken for dummies.
 
jimmoyer
#19
Kreskin, we're all dummies anyway.

Bottom line.

I'll be bold enough to speak for you and myself.

And for mankind.

LOL !!!
 
missile
#20
I would hate to live in amy world where we all got exactly what we deserved..most of us would be in deep fecal matter
 
Jay
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by cortez

i LOVE chomsky though mostly because he makes his fellow right wingers- those to HIS right that is absolutely SQUIRM

Ummm, I think he makes them roll their eyes, not squirm.


Chomsky would be happier living in France...he should go their and they would love him.
 
Jay
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by jimmoyer

Chomsky himself is no better than Ann Coulter
as entertainers, except Ann's legs, oh bejeeeezus,
oh woe begone.

Thats the last straw Jimmoyer.... I'm not going to let you get away with this one!

Chomsky has great legs and you know it!
 
I think not
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan

Chomsky has dozens of books in print,

But he should somehow be destitute like Mother Teresa. How much money does Rumsfeldt have? How about Cheney? how about Bush? Ten to one each of these Bu****es have a hundred times two million dollars>

There’s a famous definition in the Gospels of the hypocrite, and the hypocrite is the person who refuses to apply to himself the standards he applies to others. By that standard, the entire commentary and discussion of the so-called War on Terror is pure hypocrisy, virtually without exception. Can anybody understand that? No, they can’t understand it.
—Noam Chomsky, Power and Terror, 2003
 
#juan
#24
Quote:

Chomsky is a tenured MIT professor who has found a very good way to supplement his income. But he is dated and no longer really relevant.

He must be relevant. The American right are still shooting at him. Chomsky has at least three current bestsellers on the bookstore shelves right now.
 
Jay
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by jimmoyer


The thought is this:

None of us, no matter what race, no matter what color,
no matter what gender, no matter what level of wealth,
no matter what creed, no matter what backround, no
matter who we are, NONE OF US ARE ENTITLED TO
ANYTHING.

NONE OF US DESERVE IT.

If we were to affirm this idea that none of us deserve
anything, it would strenghten our ego, our humility,
our self value.

Think about it.

Isn't this an underlining principal in Christianity?
 
I think not
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Finder

I'm a reader of Chomsky and I enjoy his work. He was one of the living leading socialists who wrote about how bad the soviet system is and he is a realistic socialist thinker.

However he was a staunch supporter of Mao and his "Cultural Revolution". At the 1967 New York forum he acknowledged both “the mass slaughter of landlords in China” and “the slaughter of landlords in North Vietnam” that had taken place once the communists came to power. His main objective, however, was to provide a rationalization for this violence.

I don’t accept the view that we can just condemn the NLF terror, period, because it was so horrible. I think we really have to ask questions of comparative costs, ugly as that may sound. And if we are going to take a moral position on this—and I think we should—we have to ask both what the consequences were of using terror and not using terror. If it were true that the consequences of not using terror would be that the peasantry in Vietnam would continue to live in the state of the peasantry of the Philippines, then I think the use of terror would be justified.

Yeah I read Chomsky also, or at least I did, until I discovered his duplicitous nature.
 

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