I’m still pondering why Noam Chomsky’s recent article, “Imminent Crises: Threats and Opportunities,” was listed on the rightwing cultural site Arts & Letters Daily.
At first I thought it was because the site’s founding editor Denis Dutton and managing editor Tran Huu Dung sometimes include maverick pieces from the left that have intellectual heft. Besides, I figured they have a grudging respect for Chomsky’s take on the world even if they disagree with it.
But the thinking part of my brain — actually, my friend Bill Osborne — disputes that. He believes the A&L editors occasionally aggregate far left articles they deem “so extreme that they pillory themselves,” especially feminist articles they regard as nonsense. The Chomsky article is different however. It makes enormous sense.
“So something else seems to be at work,” Osborne says.
Here’s what the thinking part of my brain came up with: “The right has to find a new narrative, and there is something in the article they think they can work with.” It hints at the new story the right is going to tell us:
1. The Middle East has always been a cauldron and so we are not to blame for the mess in Iraq.
2. The Middle East is of such historical strategic importance that even our “failed” attempt was justified. We must, for example, not let China control Middle Eastern oil — to say nothing of the Europeans.
3. Freedom is the essence of good government and economies, so the Iraqis (not America) are to blame for the chaos, killing, and poverty because they would not accept the “freedom” we offered.
“One could twist Chomsky’s logic to that narrative,” Osborne says. “I am pretty sure this is going to be the new empty oil barrel they drum on.” And he adds:
The right is now also openly admitting that genocide is evolving, so they need a narrative to explain it. They must hide that we planned on the genocidal civil war from the outset, and that the war has not been a failure at all. Let them bleed each other white, then go in for the kill. (That same strategy was used for Germany and the Soviet Union before and during the Second World War.)
These high level government people are ingenious, the cream of our elite schools. They always amaze me. And of course, actions speak for themselves. We see that in the end those schools, and the entire governmental and economic system they support, ring as morally hollow as someone kicking an empty oil barrel.
Which bolsters what Arianne Huffington wrote last week, “Bill Kristol: On the Train to Delusionville,” about his article in the Washington Post, “Why Bush Will Be A Winner,” and what she calls this morning “The Long Tail of Bill Kristol’s Delusions.”
(Crossposted at HuffPo)