T Nation

Noam Chomsky Group of Companies


Do pretty well on Wall Street, our Noam...


...One of the most persistent themes in 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 one percent. The American tax code is rigged with "complicated devices for ensuring that the poor -- like eighty 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.

When I challenged Chomsky about his trust, he suddenly started to sound very bourgeois: "I don't apologize for putting aside money for my children and grandchildren," he wrote in one email. Chomsky offered no explanation for why he condemns others who are equally proud of their provision for their children and who try to protect their assets from Uncle Sam. Although he did say that the tax shelter is okay because he and his family are "trying to help suffering people." ...


that's just unfair...

If someone plays be the rules of a system and wants to take care for his familiy let him do so.

That shouldn't stop him from pointing out were he thinks the problems are.

Or, to quote a russian oligarch " there is a difference between a dirty player and someone who gets dirty because the playing field was dirty in the first place".

Meaning, he may not like what he has to do to provide for his family, but he does it anyway, even though he thinks it stinks.

Companies however that pay politicians to change the rules to benefit from it, now those are "dirty players".


hyp?o?crite [ h?pp? kr?t ] (plural hyp?o?crites)



somebody feigning high principles: somebody who pretends to have admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings but behaves otherwise


I am going with Clifford the big red dog over the telletubby on this one.


I just spit coffee all over the keyboard after that one!


Christ, the guy has to do what he can. He is human you know. He may be great, but he ain't Jesus.


Hmm, I was going to say the difference is that he is criticizing those mafioso-type scum who siphon US taxpayer money for their immoral activities (weapons/war, toxins, prison industry, etc.) But then I realized he's just another one who has gotten rich off of the immorality, by having a target to spout off against!

There are others that have done more (for justice) than Chomsky and lived comfortably on much less; let alone not squirreled away what excess came to them from supporters of the humane cause.

Chomsky the Hoarder has disrupted the vital flow...


Good call. Chomsky's the worst anyway. Anti-American as they come, and a holocaust denier (just a different holocaust, the Cambodian genocide).


One more rabid 'intellectual' preaching "Capitalism for me, but not for thee".


I wonder if he ever read, "Animal Farm"?


Has anyone else read any of Chomsky's work? Since you haven't and don't grasp what Chomsky is doing, let me explain.

First, Chomsky's work centers on American Foreign policy and American Domestic policy. He is an analyst and critic of the way in which America conducts itself around the world. When pushed to postulate a utopian goal, he usually describes himself as an anarcho-syndicalist (look it up), but then qualifies it with pessimism about the current system and the effects that the system has had on people's perceptions of possibilities (see "Manufacturing Consent").

AT NO POINT has Chomsky ever advocated poverty. This guy is an MIT linguist, why would he want to be poor? This, in fact, is a common misperception of leftist and anarchist values. The reality is that leftists and anarchists advocate an END to poverty, not shared poverty. It is easily possible for us to raise the entire world to a middle-class level of existence, however, the middle-class in the US wrongly identifies with the 1% of the population who are incredibly rich and profit from the continuing poverty and war throughout the world. Trying to "make it" is NOT synonomous with being a "capitalist" (which describes how you relate to the means of production, nothing more) anymore than being anti-Imperialism is synonomous with being pro-poverty.

To this end, it is possible and likely to create an investment strategy that A)takes care of one's family (that bastard!) and B) doesn't invest in the industries responsible for the wholesale slaughter of people around the world. Does my Whole Foods stock make me a party to the invasions of Indian land in South Dakota, or the apartheid system in Israel? I really don't think so.

I've seen Chomsky speak and one of the themes that he spoke on was RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT. That is, investing in companies with good environmental and labor records who aren't trying to pave the rainforest to put in a US airbase. Oh my god! He's a hypocrite! He doesn't want to be poor! He got paid for the books he writes! He must be the primary shareholder in Lockheed-Martin!


That's all very interesting, but what does it have to do with Chomsky railing against rich people who shield money from inheritance and other taxes via trusts, and then going and forming such a trust for himself?


You're right. My response did little, if anything, to answer the original question of Chomsky's hypocrisy.

I tend to agree with many of Chomsky's analysis and yet, his actions make a whole lot of sense to me. Thus, in normal internet forum style, I launched a rant only tangentially connected to the original attack on Chomsky and more related to my own views on survival in the current economic order. One doesn't have to like the current sort of "capitalism" to recognize that survival and well-being in said order require the individual to play by certain game rules. Compromise is picking the least of infinite evils. So, that all said, I can only assume that Chomsky (gasp!) changed his mind about something...which people do sometimes. Another possible rationalization of Chomsky's evil hypocrisy: he doesn't want his tax dollars going to support the foreign policy initiatives of the US. government. When all is said and done, the hypocrisy of providing for your family seems rather insignificant in the current political climate.


Yeah, so chomsky abandons his far left principles in order to get ahead and provide for his family; ie; by embracing capitalism, his life and the lives of his family are improved. His ideals are so poor that he himself has made a conscious decision to not live by them; to not live by the very ideals he trumpets as being for the the betterment of society and for the common good. You can plausibly argue that his actions show that his ideas are bad ideas.


I never liked Chomsky--a bit of a nut whose foreign policy analysis is totally unsophisticated. His cult of followers are extremely annoying too--almost as annoying as the Ayn Rand "randroids."


I wasn't aware of that. One more reason to dislike him.


Most of the people who lean too far left or right usually ignore the rules when it comes to them. This is not unusual nor uncommon. They simply don't believe that the rules for the masses apply to them. They are above the rules.

This reminds me of the television preachers that rally against indecency, greed, lust and then get caught in with their pants down in a hotel room with a woman who is not their spouse, surrounded by stacks of money donated to them by church members for charities and watching a porno. "Just listen to my message, don't pay attention to what I am doing."


As far as I understand that is not what he did.

He said that it is wrong for the system to give rich people such opportunities, he did not say that it was wrong of them to cease the opportunity.


Maybe that is because he is more interested in solving structural problems than in finger-pointing but I could be wrong.


Chomsky is a hypocrite.

This reminds me of the 2004 election when right wingnuts were accusing Theresa Heinz of cheating on her taxes.

A friend of mine jumped on that bandwagon and stated that Theresa had only paid approximately 18% income tax.

At which point I reminded my friend that Theresa's income was capital gains not personal income. That lady does not work. Capital gains was 15% the last time I checked.

My friend said...'oh'. I guess thinking for yourself and logic serve no purpose?

It was classic.

That attack is something I would expect from the rich hating left wingnut crowd and not from the right wingnut crowd.

It has been said that if you go too far to the right or the left you end up full circle.