Help Noam Chomsky Find His Inner Anarchist

Noam Chomsky

A reader tipped me off that Noam Chomsky has agreed to answer the top-rated questions submitted via this reddit page; the reader suggested that I condense my “Chomsky’s Augustinian Anarchism” gripes into a question.

So I did. Here’s my question for Chomsky:

Although as an anarchist you favour a stateless society in the long run, you’ve argued that it would be a mistake to work for the elimination of the state in the short run, and that indeed we should be trying to strengthen the state right now, because it’s needed as a check on the power of large corporations.

Yet the tendency of a lot of anarchist research – your own research most definitely included, though I would also mention in particular Kevin Carson’s – has been to show that the power of large corporations derives primarily from state privilege (which, together with the fact that powerful governments tend to get captured by concentrated private interests at the expense of the dispersed public, would seem to imply that the most likely beneficiary of a more powerful state is going to be the same corporate elite we’re trying to oppose).

If business power both derives from the state and is so good at capturing the state, why isn’t abolishing the state a better strategy for defeating business power than enhancing the state’s power would be?

Users can vote comments upward or downward on the list; so if you’d like to see Chomsky answer the above question, go here and try to boost it up the list. (Or ask one of your own, of course!)

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54 Responses to Help Noam Chomsky Find His Inner Anarchist

  1. Sag April 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm #


    Chomsky seems to think that immediate liberty would somehow be worse than the current system of complete control by government and politically connected corporations. This is an interesting argument. It’s unproven.

    Chomsky notes that the government is controlled by corporate elites who use it to benefit themselves. If they have more to gain, why wouldn’t they be lobbying for the total abolition of all govermment? Etc.

    Chomsky is just dead wrong. Great on foreign policy, the media, the US power structure etc. But completely wrong on economics.


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