Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Noam Chomsky, Limousine Liberal

The expression "limousine liberal" refers to someone who professes to love the downtrodden and despise capitalism. Nicolai Ceausescu, the former dictator of Romania was notorious for thundering about socialism and keeping very quiet about his luxurious mansions and Swiss bank accounts.

The latest "limousine liberal" to come to the public eye is Noam Chomsky, renowned as a friend in good standing of all radical causes and an abiding enemy of the capitalist system. Following is a sample of some of his notable quotes.

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.

I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system.

The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.

As can be seen on his web site, Noam Chomsky has made his name opposing the capitalist system. He has voiced bitter opposition to tax shelters and trusts established by the rich to guard their wealth. But as a respected linguistic theorist and published authour, Chomsky has accumulated some wealth. He has in fact, a net worth of 2 million dollars, no longer the princely sum it once was, but certainly not to shabby. So what better a chance to test his ideas about inherited wealth? Now that he's 80 years old, he can donate all his money to some radical cause, just to prove his sincerity.

According to the Hoover Digest, Chomsky is not walking the walk. They report as follows about his turning to the tools of capitalism in his old age.

"One of the most persistent themes in Noam Chomsky’s work has been class warfare. He has frequently lashed out against the “massive use of tax havens to shift the burden to the general population and away from the rich” and criticized the concentration of wealth in “trusts” by the wealthiest 1 percent. The American tax code is rigged with “complicated devices for ensuring that the poor—like 80 percent of the population—pay off the rich.”

But trusts can’t be all bad. After all, Chomsky, with a net worth north of $2,000,000, decided to create one for himself. A few years back he went to Boston’s venerable white-shoe law firm, Palmer and Dodge, and, with the help of a tax attorney specializing in “income-tax planning,” set up an irrevocable trust to protect his assets from Uncle Sam. He named his tax attorney (every socialist radical needs one!) and a daughter as trustees. To the Diane Chomsky Irrevocable Trust (named for another daughter) he has assigned the copyright of several of his books, including multiple international editions.

Chomsky favors the estate tax and massive income redistribution—just not the redistribution of his income. No reason to let radical politics get in the way of sound estate planning."

Chomsky has defended his desire to provide for his children and grandchildren, noting that he and his family are “trying to help suffering people.” I guess when you are a member of the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat, you can cut yourself some slack.

If you are a Chomsky admirer,perhaps you are hoping to hear that Chomsky invests in progressive causes and green technology. Sorry to disappoint you. According to Peter Schweitzer, "Chomsky, for all of his moral dudgeon against American corporations, finds that they make a pretty good investment. When he made investment decisions for his retirement plan at MIT, he chose not to go with a money market fund or even a government bond fund. Instead, he threw the money into blue chips and invested in the TIAA-CREF stock fund. A look at the stock fund portfolio quickly reveals that it invests in all sorts of businesses that Chomsky says he finds abhorrent: oil companies, military contractors, pharmaceuticals, you name it. "

Chomsky is reportedly quite sheepish about his odd (for him) investments. He simply replies that he has no choice but to get involved in the capitalist system.

How does he get enough money to invest? At $12,000.00 a speech, he does fairly well. He is also very tight with permission to copy or quote his works, although he does invite inquiries about licensing fees. Chomsky the radical is quite a good capitalist.

Chomsky could have earned my grudging respect by running his life and managing his finances according to his revolutionary beliefs. Instead, he has provided me with some needed chuckles. Because if his revolutionary socialism is not good enough for him and his family, what business does he have trying to inflict it on us?


Here is a video of Noam Chomsky talking about capitalism. Watch it before Chomsky's lawyers make me take it down.

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