Via Reason, I discovered this old video of Chomsky pontificating about pornography and expressing his view that the government should ‘eliminate the conditions in which women can get these jobs’ ‘eliminate the degradation of women’, which is, of course, a long-winded way of saying ‘ban pornography’.
Chomsky’s argument is wrong on so many levels that it is impossible to salvage anything useful out of it. The sad thing is that so many people consider him an intellectual giant.
Here’s another video of Chomsky, one in which he explains why he calls himself a ‘libertarian socialist’. During much of it, Chomsky is nitpicking about etymology (and commiting some serious historical errors); however for me the interesting bit comes at the end, when Chomsky says he is a ‘conservative’ in the true meaning of the term. To understand the relevance of this description, recall that the great Milton Friedman liked to describe himself as really a ‘liberal’. In the US of course, Chomsky is viewed as a liberal and Friedman a conservative.
Chomsky and Friedman are right — the words conservative and liberal aren’t so much about ideology as they are about a mindset. Friedman was a dynamist who wanted things to change. Chomsky, despite his anarchist claims, is an old-fashioned statist who really wishes to maintain and conserve the collectivist society that has been in force for much of human history. Thus, when Chomsky says he is a conservative, he is being surprisingly accurate; the word explains a lot of his regressive and self-contradictory views.