Saturday, February 05, 2005

Levich dares to challenge Chomksy

In a recent CounterPunch article, Chomsky is quoted as saying:

    "The Vietnam experience, I think, is the first time in the history of European imperialism that an imperial power tried to fight a colonial war with a citizen's army."

In a later CounterPunch article, Jacob Levich wrote:

    "To begin with, it's mysterious why Chomsky limits himself to European powers. Surely his argument should apply equally to imperialists on other continents, unless he thinks Europeans are especially sensitive about colonial slaughter -- and he can't possibly think that. "

Then he wrote:

    "And once you let Asia into the equation, Chomsky's argument truly collapses."

The history of European imperialism Levich recounted aside, isn't that the whole reason why Chomsky limited himself to European imperialism? Levich can't generalize Chomsky's argument for him and then claim that his argument doesn't survive the generalization. If you change Chomsky's argument it is, ipso facto, no longer Chomsky's argument!

It would seem that Levich had enough facts to prove Chomksy's assertion incorrect - why resort to dirty pool of this kind?

[ update: retracted discussion regarding Chomsky's use of the term "European imperialism" to include American actions. I thought I could recall instances where Chomksy had previously used this rhetorical device, but wasn't able to find a quote to substantiate this assertion. Mind you there is an almost identical quote imbedded here. ]


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