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Talk:Noam Chomsky

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Is Chomsky a supporter of ISIS and Bin Laden?[edit]

Should it be mentioned that Chomsky (what kind of name is that, even?) never said he isn't a supporter of Osama bin Isis? (talk) 23:37, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

When did he stop beating his wife? Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 18:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

OBL assassination raid[edit]

The NYT:

Then there was the sheer improbability of the story, which asked us to believe that Obama sent 23 SEALs on a seemingly suicidal mission, invading Pakistani air space without air or ground cover, fast-roping into a compound that, if it even contained bin Laden, by all rights should have been heavily guarded. And according to the official line, all of this was done without any sort of cooperation or even assurances from the Pakistani military or intelligence service. How likely was that? Abbottabad is basically a garrison town; the conspicuously large bin Laden compound — three stories, encircled by an 18-foot-high concrete wall topped with barbed wire — was less than two miles from Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point. And what about the local police? Were they really unaware that an enormous American helicopter had crash-landed in their neighborhood? And why were we learning so much about a covert raid by a secret special-operations unit in the first place?

The article is replete with reporters and former CIA who are deeply skeptical authorities in Pakistan didn't know and didn't let the U.S. in -- hence my edit that the official story is "questionable." If we could do that to kill him, we could do that to capture him.---Mona- (talk) 05:13, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Yeah I read that. I kept that in. Read the REST of the story. Here's a part for you:
Gall’s best guess (and she emphasizes that it is just a guess) is that the United States alerted Pakistan to the bin Laden operation at the 11th hour. ‘‘I have no proof, but the more I think about it and the more I talk to Pakistani friends, the more I think it’s probably true that Kayani and Pasha were in on it,’’ Gall told me, referring to Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who was then the chief of the army staff, and Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, then the director general of the I.S.I. As for killing bin Laden, she said: ‘‘The scenario I imagine is that the Americans watched him and tracked him and never told the Pakistanis because they didn’t trust them, but when they decided to go ahead with the raid, I think they might have gone to Kayani and Pasha and said, ‘We’re going in, and don’t you dare shoot down our helicopters or else.’ ’’ (I should note that not every national-­security reporter, including some at The Times, agrees with Gall about the likelihood of high-level Pakistani complicity in either harboring bin Laden or helping kill him.) Following Gall’s scenario to its logical conclusion, Pakistan would have faced an unappealing choice after the raid: acknowledge that it had cooperated and risk angering hard-liners for betraying bin Laden and abetting a U.S. military operation on Pakistani soil, or plead ignorance and incompetence.
And even then, the WHOLE THING is conjectures, not actual evidence of anything.CorruptUser (talk) 05:15, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
(ec)Yes, I read the whole thing. They equally could have said: ‘We’re going in, and don’t you dare shoot down our helicopters or else.’ about abducting/capturing him. Also, it's evidence; just conflicting evidence. Reasoning from knowledgeable experts is evidence.---Mona- (talk) 05:20, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
You do realize that I agree with you on that quote you just said just now, right? CorruptUser (talk) 05:23, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
The whole thing is getting too long, tho. This often happens when people are negotiating edits but it leads to bad text. The article after all isn't about the OBL raid.---Mona- (talk) 05:25, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Nirvana fallacy[edit]

Alright, to avoid a edit war, let's put this to a vote.

Is Chomsky ever guilty of Nirvana fallacies?


  1. Yes. The bin laden case is a textbook example. Would it be more moral to have a trial? Sure. Would it be much more difficult to capture bin Laden as opposed to simply killing, especially when the whole operation was incredibly risky to begin with? Yes. Cost vs benefits and all. CorruptUser (talk) 17:46, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  2. Yes. I agree that Bin Laden is a textbook example. It should also be noted that we (the USA) have very, very rarely gone for capture of terrorists in military operations, and that the majority of the few times we have tried have ended in death of the subject or the capturing team. (In fact, I don't think we've ever successfully brought anyone to trial excepting Noriega, and this took an invasion of the entire country.) --Castaigne2 (talk) 17:52, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
    You are missing a whole bunch of citations in those claims, Castaigne. You are also answering the wrong question.---Mona- (talk) 17:55, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
    It's a vote and I'll vote how I please, thank you. And just so it's clear and specific, my answer to "Is Chomsky ever guilty of Nirvana fallacies?" is "Yes, he is. The Bin Laden issue is a perfect example of his nirvana fallacy." --Castaigne2 (talk) 17:58, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  3. First of all, the situation with respect to OBL was a war. Declared by both sides. And in war the enemy commander(s) are fair game. No major war operation has the goal of "capture and if impossible retreat" - the usual purpose of military operations is "capture destroy or kill". In an ideal world we would of course have concerted OBL to Atheism and we would all shit shiny rainbows and ride on unicorns, but that's not our world. In our very real and very dirty world some suckas just need killing. End of story, unfortunately. (talk) 18:05, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  4. Yep. Fuzzy. Cat. Potato! (talk/stalk) 18:34, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  5. It's too bad they didn't Taze him. But the perfect and all. Don't Dox Me Bro (talk) 21:13, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
    Hello Arisboch, or one of his pals at KF. Of all people, FCP told me they are watching all of this and having a chat about me. Still. Or again. Arisboch told Carpetsmoker he'd be making socks. But, my goodness, it's just crazy for me to think Avenger/Arisboch socks, or accounts, including BoNs, are flocking here to vote on matters in which I am heavily involved. Let all the BoNs vote. Let all the new accounts vote. Why, you will end up with 15 votes "aye!" Because I'm just being paranoid. Yeah, that's the ticket.---Mona- (talk) 21:52, 26 January 2016 (UTC)


  1. Nirvana fallacy implies an unrealistic expectation of perfection; there's nothing about seeing OBL's assassination as less desirable than his capture that fits that bill. Queexchthonic murmurings 18:55, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
    Oh I agree that capture is much better than killing, especially for "reasons" involving "persuading" a major figure in jihad into "recanting" their position and "condemning" terrorism (and if I thought of that, so did the military), just that it's so much more difficult on a mission that's already so risky, condemning the killing is a nirvana fallacy. CorruptUser (talk) 19:13, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
    You merely assert this greater difficulty that you have not demonstrated goes to the level of any fallacy. Many reasonable people disagree. Assertions about difficulty do not make it rise to the level of a fallacy. Nor does it answer how much difficulty is justified to adhere to international human rights norms.---Mona- (talk) 19:21, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
    I did have a citation. YOUR citation actually. The one you had removed from the page for "going off topic" when you realized that you were wrong, but rather than admit defeat you just deleted it? That can be found in the fossil record? CorruptUser (talk) 19:26, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
    I don't delete things if I'm shown to be wrong, and neither happened in this case. You said that article wasn't evidence!? But it is, in that it is a collection of judgment calls by many knowledgeable people. But as I told you, the article is getting waaaay to long on this tangential point. And now, with people demanding citation on the matter of international law, I just provided that in the article, which is now again going to be way too long on this point. ---Mona- (talk) 19:46, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  2. ---Mona- (talk) 18:59, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  3. The only suggestion made above that he is guilty of the Nirvana fallacy was the killing of OBL. I don't see the Nirvana fallacy here. My understanding is that the US administration preferred to kill him then catch him alive, and so unless he gave absolutely zero resistance (which was unlikely, since he didn't want to be caught alive either), the instructions were to kill him. But, if the US administration had a different policy preference (we really want him alive not dead), they would have given the troops different instructions, and then the probability he would have been caught alive instead would have been higher. (((Zack Martin))) 20:28, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  4. I don't understand why this is considered 'utopian'. We would've gotten more intelligence if we had captured him and AFAIK he was shot on sight. I mean at best he was killed "in the moment", but that still doesn't make it 'just' or free of criticism.--Owlman (talk) 01:07, 27 January 2016 (UTC)


You are entirely ignoring the role of international human rights laws and norms. I categorically reject the framing of your question. In the United States, more crime would be solved if cops could just waltz in to your home and ransack ant will, instead of being burdened with the time and trouble of having to secure a judicial warrant after showing probable cause. Our Founders did not commit a fallacy in making that requirement a matter of our supreme law, nor does Chomsky. Any added risk -- if any at all - is the price paid for upholding international human rights laws and norms.---Mona- (talk) 17:54, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

I would really like to know what these specific international human rights laws and norms that everyone agrees with are. Because as far as I'm aware, promulgated international human rights issues are either given lip service or roundly ignored, depending on which action provides what benefit to the nation in question. --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:00, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, yes. Imagine if Pakistan decided to send in an assassination squad to take out, say, Dick Cheney or anyone advising officials how to drone Muslims to death. Violating our sovereign territory to do as they please? But, the U.S. arrogates itself to also violate those laws.---Mona- (talk) 18:04, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Tough shit. Nicaragua did the same in 1980 with Anastasio Somoza DebayleWikipedia's W.svg to get the sucka killed. He was in Paraguay at the time and the Paraguayan government was most likely mighty pissed. Know what? It doesn't matter. That asshole needed killing and it was a sad thing they only got him so late... - SOMEONE WHO IS NOT ARISBOCH OR AVENGER
I agree. Personally, I think we need to revisit our policy on assassination. You can get a lot more done with taking one guy out than invading a country. --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:10, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, Pakistan has the ability to do that sort of thing. If they can get away with it, well, good on them.
By the by, I'm a fan of realpolitik. Just so you know where I stand. I wish Kissinger were in office these days. --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:09, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Did the US declare Cheney an enemy of the state, accept billions in aide to help hunt that monster down, all while giving him shelter? CorruptUser (talk) 18:12, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Those are distinctions, but not ones relvant to international law in this instance.---Mona- (talk) 18:21, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Which international law the US recognizes, exactly? --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:23, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Charter of the United Nations, Article 2, "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state". The US accepts it because they signed it and ratified it (including ratification by the US Senate, so this treaty has a higher status than some others under US domestic law). I'm pretty sure sending armed forces on an operation into Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani government (nor overriding approval of the UN Security Council) is "use of force against the territorial integrity... of any state". (((Zack Martin))) 20:34, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Fucking stop it Castaigne. That man supported people who targeted my family for harassment. I'm fucking not engaging in a disucssion with that cretin.---Mona- (talk) 18:20, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

You're not. I am. And it's not Arisboch or Avenger; it's just someone who disagrees with you. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a sock of Avenger or Arisboch.
Next you'll be claiming I'm a fucking sock, for Christ's sake. --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:23, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
You don't have consensus, Mona. Stop. --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:28, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I will have it. Later. I won't argue this further until the sane people show up. Moreover, I will never, ever engage assholes BoNs who are either Arisboch or Avenger, or assholes from KF doing it for them. No sane person thinks it an accident all these BoNs go to where I edit.---Mona- (talk) 18:31, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
First, no, I don't believe you'll reach a "No" consensus on a clear use of Nirvana fallacy by Chomsky. Second, it's not an accident, but it's not following you either. I imagine they respond to you the same as I do - they go to Recent Changes, read the recent edits, and respond to them. Since you tend to be all over Recent Changes like white on rice, it is both logical and probabilistic you will receive the majority of the responses from BoNs. Third, I'd really appreciate some clarification on WHICH international law was violated, as I asked above. I'd like to see the law and who has ratified. --Castaigne2 (talk) 18:37, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Stap. 32℉uzzy; 0℃atPotato (talk/stalk) 18:34, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

I vote goat. Stop this madness. Pbfreespace3 (talk) 01:05, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Clean-up + article quality[edit]

I've cleaned up the article to some extent, fixing problems with formatting, punctuation, templates, misplaced footnotes, sloppy sentences, etc. As someone with virtually zero knowledge of the subject, I haven't interfered with the text much, but have taken out a few dubious or irrelevant asides and some red herrings like quotes from book reviews which were presented as if they were quotes from the books themselves & quotes from other people writing about Osama Bin Laden which have no apparent connection with Chomsky. There are still things the article suffers from, like being rather dry & boring + seeming rather pointless in places. I think it could do with attention from more editors who are familiar with Chomsky. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:27, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

I would like to, but can't without it turning into an edit war. CorruptUser (talk) 20:32, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm very familiar with Chomsky and his political works, and that includes what he's up to lately. But I'm useless on his linguistics except for checking the quality of sourcing and claims. Your editing is sound. The quotes about int'l human rights law I added do not belong thee, and I put them in only because I was challenged on the matter. They matter only if someone wants to insist Chomsky's position on the OBL assassination is "fallacious." Negotiating edits on controversial topics virtually always ends up with unwieldy, weird text. Your overhaul was necessary. BTW, I'd had a lot more snark in, but Aneris thought it a bit unseemly and took it out. So yes, it does seem drier now. I'll talk to him abut restoring some of that.---Mona- (talk) 20:42, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
That's why I put it up to a vote. You probably know my feelings about you in particular, but rather than waste pointless time on a goddamn edit war, I put it up to a vote. If the community agreed that demanding extra risks and resources on an already risky mission was a nirvana fallacy, then it would go in, but if capture and trial and so forth was worth the risk and cost (remember how that 20th hijacker cost $200m to put on trial?) then it would not. And really, what happened to my snark about Chomsky losing a customer? CorruptUser (talk) 20:50, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
For one thing, one of the votes in favor is from an Arisboch or Avenger troll. Anyway, unless that goes in, we don't need all the int'l law quotes to contrast with those who insist it's a fallacy.---Mona- (talk) 20:58, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
ADDING: AS far as I am concerned CU, the snark could go back in. I'm annoyed with you for what you pulled in the coop, but I said before I should have let your snark stand, and I meant it.---Mona- (talk) 21:07, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

He's a linguist, right?[edit]

So this annoying article has been popping up in recent changes a lot lately, and while I frankly don't give a crap, I think someone with the needed expertise in linguistics should give a brief overview over that guy's main theories and whether any of them hold water... That would really be of service to our readers, instead of this wrangling over politics... Pizzameister (talk) 21:25, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

You are a sock: You couldn't keep straight which of your accounts was supposed to ask the question, and had the wrong one do it until "you" changed it to "you" asking it. You are either Arisboch, Avenger or one of their KWF pals whom you agitated to convince I am an "antisemite."---Mona- (talk) 21:36, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I had forgotten to log in. Which I spelled out in the subsequent edit summary. If I had a sock, I wouldn't be so clumsy about it. And I have literally no idea what KWF is supposed to be... Pizzameister (talk) 22:30, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I shall name thee, "StickySock". CorruptUser (talk) 23:15, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Just to say, why I broke my word[edit]

I did restore a neutral footnote to its original form. I didn't do anything about the snark that was deleted at the same time and was probably the intended target of the undo. But the footnote was just plain silly as it was. So if I'm to be punished for this, let the judges assemble, but I want to say it straight out, that my intentions were as honorable as possible. Otherwise I haven't edited much on anything, mostly fiddled with a hobby. But this footnote irritated me, since I was the one who wrote it in the first place. Instead of undoing this change I suggest deleting it altogether. And now I have taken enough of your time, thanks for reading. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 17:55, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

Non-wingnuts who dislike Chomsky + antisemitism controversies[edit]

The article mentions that there are non-wingnuts who dislike Chomsky, but doesn’t list any of them. It reads like it’s been edited several times over by a diehard Chomsky fan. I’m not an expert, but here are some common criticisms against him I’ve gathered that are only fleetingly referenced in the current article: cherrypicked or distorted citations of history; genocide denial; apologism for dictators and extremists; dubious insinuations of moral equivalency; and broad minimization of antisemitism as a topic of valid concern.

Here’s just a couple of sources offering strong criticisms of Chomsky which, at the very least, appear to be non-cranky:

Considering that the subject is such a controversial figure, I would be interested in seeing a more diverse range of viewpoints including balanced criticisms represented in this article. (talk) 07:52, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

I would hardly consider the late Werner Cohn a "non-cranky" source; after all, this is a man who wrote an entire book accusing Chomsky of being in league with Holocaust deniers primarily on the basis of his barely even tenuous association with noted French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. Cohn also zealously propagated the "anyone who criticizes the state of Israel in any way hates Israel/is anti-Semitic" trope. On his old homepage, there is even a section entitled "Jews Who Hate Israel". I smell a balance fallacy here. — Unsigned, by: WtJ85 / talk / contribs
Also quillette as "non-wingnut" is pure insanity. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 14:52, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Chomsky is a fascinating person and scholar. Anyone who has written and talked as much as he has would seem to have lived many life times. I am somewhat in awe of Chomsky. On the other hand, his past unwillingness to condemn, in a timely fashion, mass murder by the Khmer Rouge troubles me to this day. Ariel31459 (talk) 15:59, 29 July 2019 (UTC)