Friday, October 21, 2005

Congrats to Noam

Well put:

Noam Chomsky has been chosen the greatest intellectual of our time. In a poll conducted by Prospect magazine and Foreign Policy journal, Chomsky has been declared No 1 Global Public Intellectual. The eminent linguist and easily the most celebrated voice of dissent of our age was pitted against 99 prominent names drawn from fields as diverse as philosophy and politics to literature and journalism.

While questions may be raised about the poll criteria, there is little doubt that Chomsky indeed deserves the honour. The MIT-based theorist, intellectual and author first came to the world attention as a linguist with his path-breaking theory of grammar. His Syntactic Structures revolutionised the study of language.

But it is his political views and writings that really established Chomsky as the voice of the world’s conscience and added to his international standing as the champion of freedom and justice for those who cannot fight for themselves. From Vietnam to Iraq, Chomsky has been fighting his war against imperialism and global hegemony for the past four decades.

...The overwhelming support for Chomsky in the Prospect poll gives you reasons for hope. The world has still not completely lost its faith in humanity and the basic sense of what is right and wrong, just and unjust and good and evil. Wish there were more courageous and committed souls like Noam Chomsky around.
Chomsky also recently finished fourth in a BBC poll that sought to identify 11 individuals "to run the world."

Old Noam no doubt squirms at this sort of adulation, but he deserves his props. It's remarkable the degree to which dominant institutions in this country marginalize him, as well as the general animosity he elicits from liberals and conservatives alike. At least the rest of the world (at least those who participated in the poll) can still recognize a major intellectual and moral force for good.