The PJ Tatler

Noam Chomsky Gets 'Invisible Hand' Concept Completely Backwards

chomsky-by-shepard-fairey

One of the running gags in Canadian playwright Jason Sherman’s controversial 1995 work Reading Hebron sees its overwhelmingly liberal Jewish characters regularly sighing, “Ah… Chomsky…” with the kind of ecstatic reverence you’d expect from Catholic saints in the midst of a mystical trance.

The play is still semi-regularly revived, and I doubt any dramaturge has felt it necessary to single out that line as anachronistic.

“Progressive” Jews (and gentiles, and atheists) still think o Noam Chomsky as a secular prophet, despite (or because of) the Right’s thorough debunking of many of his predictions and prescriptions.

Unpopular opinion alert: Chomsky’s not all bad.

He was on the right side of the Great Canadian Hate Speech Wars.

And asking why it takes 90 minutes longer to get from Boston to New York than it did in 1970 is more than reasonable.

(Although I suspect his solution might not be…)

However, one of Chomsky’s recent speeches has just been uploaded to YouTube, and one of my fellow Canadian bloggers, Richard Klagsbrun, is tearing into it with relish, as you’ll see on the next page. (Language warning.)

In particular, Klagsbrun notices that Chomsky — thought to be a genius in some quarters — somehow manages to get Adam Smith’s concept of the “invisible hand” completely inside out, backwards and just plain wrong.

Chomsky, you see, told his audience that Smith was in favor of government intervention in the economy.

Klagsbrun counters by quoting Smith at great length to prove otherwise (obviously).

“If there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this,” Klagsbrun sums up, “it’s that radicals and anti-capitalists are not only dishonest, but they rely on the fact that the people who admire them are too stupid to be able to verify what they hear from the Chomskys, [Naomi] Kleins, and [Chris] Hedges of this world and correctly process information. Unfortunately, in that final regard, Chomsky and his ilk may not be wrong.”