Friday, January 1, 2010

Required Reading

Anyone who is a political junkie of the progressive variety has heard the name Noam Chomsky. The famous linguist, anarchist, speaker is one of the most quoted people on the planet (just not in America), and he has a virtual library of reading by and about him. He changed the way I watched and read the news, and if any one of his books don't have you heading for a dictionary you aren't reading closely enough.

AK Press,which is an essential publisher of political material, has plenty by Chomsky. (And if you're a Friend of AK Press you'd get all his AK Press books delivered to your door by a uniformed government agent as they are hot off the presses.) AK Press isn't the only publisher of his work, either, but it should be noted that due to what he writes, mainstream publishers are hesitant to publish him.

Chomsky doesn't write to tell you "how it is." He writes to tell you that you should look these things up for yourself to see if you agree that this is how the world works. American dominance, capitalistic greed, war, control -- these are all issues he covers. His thoughts are not just random bits, either. He backs up what he writes about with copious footnotes (hundreds a book usually) so that you can go to the source material and see for yourself. Try getting Rush Limbaugh to do that.

Someday Chomsky will no longer be with us. I'm sure many of his publishers will keep his work in circulation as long as possible. My main concern, though, is that no one will step up to the plate to carry on where he has left off. There are other writers attempting it, but none seem to put it together as well as Chomsky does. His knowledge is broad and amazing. His informational resources are vast. He makes the connections that should be obvious, but aren't. Once you see them, however, you can't turn away.

Chomsky is, quite simply, required reading for anyone into politics. Left or right. Agree with or not. You can't make any argument you want, but you can't say he doesn't get you to think, which may be the most important job of all.

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