Yes, some elements of this thinking have influenced it and flowed into it (e.g., an often unbalanced and one-sided critique of US foreign policy). And, yes, you can make serious and sometimes very serious criticisms of Chomsky too.
But I also tire of regressive leftists trying to invoke Chomsky as if he is one of their own. This is blatantly untrue.
If you look seriously at Chomsky’s thought and beliefs, there is a vast amount there that is vehemently opposed to the regressive, Postmodernist left.
Let us run through a list:
(1) Chomsky is strongly in favour of free speech and he once went so far as to defend the right of a French holocaust denier to free speech.In particular, point (6) by implication constitutes a brutal rejection of the extreme social constructivism of Postmodernism and Third Wave Feminism: e.g., it seems likely that, if Chomsky were honest, he presumably thinks that sex differences and even some gender differences (note the word “some”) are real and rooted in biology and Darwinian evolution. This doesn’t deny important environmental influences, of course, but it requires that genes and biology are important, and entails the rejection of extreme social constructivism.
Furthermore, Chomsky praises America’s free speech and its constitutional protection of free speech, and even goes so far as to say that America’s protection of free speech is the “best in the world” (and that is his words as quoted in Mitchell and Schoeffel 2002: 268). Do regressive leftists agree with Chomsky here and defend people’s right to free speech, even racists and holocaust deniers?
(2) Chomsky rejects French Poststructuralism and Postmodernism, and all its related ideas, and he has called leading Postmodernist thinkers “charlatans.” Chomsky has also been scathing in his assessment of Michel Foucault and cult of Foucault.
(3) Chomsky thinks that Freudianism and Marxism are irrational cults like organised religion, and has been brutal in his criticism of them (Mitchell and Schoeffel 2002: 227).
(4) Chomsky wrote a scathing attack on leftists who talk about “white male science,” saying that the concept sounds as stupid as the Nazi idea of “Jewish physics.”
(5) Chomsky is a defender of the best values of the Enlightenment from hostile anti-rationalist leftists. Chomsky is also committed to the defence of the real existence of objective truth, as part of his defence of the Enlightenment.
(6) Chomsky also rejects the extreme social constructivism and “blank slate” view of human beings that characterise some parts of the modern left, and he thinks that human beings have a real human nature caused by biology and evolution.
I wonder how long it will be before Chomsky is slandered as a racist, sexist, homophobic, white male oppressor and member of the patriarchy?
Time to add his name to the long list below!
Mitchell, Peter R. and John Schoeffel (eds.). 2002. Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky. Scribe Publications, New York.