Chomsky Challenged.

Many of Chomsky’s assertions are correct. But they are only half correct. That error is a characteristic of observers of human behaviour, who seek explanations which are unitary and simple. The reason for the error is that for every behavioural entity there is a contrary action. This is the “counter current”. It has a balancing and modulating the effect and these currents (and counter-currents) limit extremism and bring a homeostasis (of sorts).

One of Chomsky’s most assertive philosophies is the value of the trade union. He is, of course, correct. But only half correct. What he neglects to factor in is that when unfettered any grouping of humans will, if allowed to grow unrestricted, ultimately become self-serving and autonomous. Historically this has been been demonstrated by the trade unions, which, in many examples have demonstrated at which on many occasions exhibit power which are contrary to broader society as a whole. One only has to look at the longshoreman of New York.

To illustrate this further I commented to a young (expatriated) Zimbabwean, who called herself a “Shona”. That term which she used with such certainty had (unknown to her) been constructed by the European colonists. At the time of colonial arrival, there were a number of dialects which identified distinct social and cultural groups: Zezuru, Karanga, Manyika, Ndau and Korekore. (perhaps Karanga ). Many sub-dialects also occurred, each identifying groups with exactitude. For the purposes of encouraging literacy, the early columnists wrote a dictionary, which was designed to assist the education of the northern illiterate group.[The southern group were also invaders, like the “Shona”, the Ndebele] although the various dialects were mutually intelligible, there were a number of terms which were distinct and could lead to lead to confusion. Thus the “language” of Chi-Shona was created by amalgamating the dialects in order to have language, teaching and dictionary consistency, by the British colonists.

In discussing this with the young woman, I commented that if those distinct groups had been preserved, it might have been better for the ultimate outcome of Zimbabweans. She reacted promptly. “But those divisions would have brought conflict instead of integration and peacefulness”. Perhaps this was the natural and expected reaction of this young woman, who had been nurtured in a world in which “integration” has been preached as an anti-aggressive formula.

The concept of “integration as a means to peacefulness and harmony of living might well be incorrect. One can postulates that if the separate and self identifying groups of the “Shona” had been preserved, with each group patrolling its own autonomy in an equilibrium of (perhaps) benign antagonism, the dominance of the ultimate destructive dictatorship might have been averted.

Hence we get the corollary to “Divide and rule” which is “Unite and rule”. Yet another counter-current. The latter has been well demonstrated in the great wars of the 20th and 21st century. The greater the power block, so the greater the war and so the greater the destruction and mortality. Thus arises the concept of “transient power groups” [small assertive groups expressing discontent]. This, in turn, leads to the importance of “freedom of speech”.

Freedom of speech should serve one purpose, and one purpose only, which is to recruit assistance from the community, as a means of protection for an individual or that individual’s concept. It has no other role.

Freedom of speech has, of course, been highly perverted and miss-applied in recent centuries in an extraordinary variety of ways, many of which are counter societal, and socially disruptive.


About jp

Orthopaedic Surgeon
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