For those who don’t know who Noam Chomsky is, here’s a little history. He’s one of the ten most quoted people on the planet (and I think the only one who is still alive); he’s one of the world’s top intellectuals; he’s the father of modern linguistics; and he’s an activist, often targeting domestic and foreign policy. On “Imperial Grand Strategy” you get two lectures (“Imperial Grand Strategy” and “The Assault on Freedom and Democracy”) and an interview titled “Questions About Anarchism,” where Barry Pateman talks to Chomsky about the anarchist philosophy that has shaped his life. Quite frankly, there’s not a single minute on this DVD that is wasted.
Chomsky has a lot to say about America, and it’s nothing you’ll hear on the evening news. There’s two reasons for that. One is the fact that Chomsky is a harsh critic of the government and the corporate policies that rule it (something which also clouds how the media covers issues). The other is that what Chomsky says can’t be turned into sound bites (where opinion is often disguised as fact) because his ideas are so far outside the normal discourse that they can’t be dissected into two or three sentence bits. Chomsky backs up his words with real facts, and that is necessary since the things he brings forth aren’t discussed in the same way on NBC or CNN. That’s why these lectures are important. They need to be seen in their entirety to get a full grasp of the concepts he is putting forth. When he dispels the myths of democracy and President Bush’s reasons for going to war, he does it in a very methodical and meaningful way. He shows where the media is complicit in helping the administration’s strategy along, too. It’s a wonderful thing to watch, and if you’ve never been exposed to Chomsky before it’s quite an eye opener.
If you care anything at all about things like freedom and democracy, you need to watch this DVD (and read his books). It doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you are on. You need to hear what he has to say, and you then need to decide for yourself whether or not you agree. It’s far too easy to deal with sound bites that say nothing at all but do it loudly; this takes some brain work, but it is well worth it.