Chomsky at KUTZTOWN University
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Chomsky blasts American stance on U.N.
One of the nation's foremost political thinkers raised concerns about the state of American politics during an informal round-table discussion with the media Monday at Kutztown University.
Noam Chomsky, a critical observer of politics for more than 50 years, pointed to the apparent inability of Congress to deal with the nation's most pressing problems.
"There's been a breakdown in democracy," Chomsky declared.
His indictment came hours after Democrats and Republicans announced they were unable to reach agreement on a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years.
Following his meeting with the media, Chomsky delivered the inaugural United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Philosophy Day lecture to a packed house in Kutztown's Schaeffer Auditorium.
Sean Dallas, university spokesman, estimated the audience at 800 in the auditorium. An overflow crowd, he said, viewed the lecture on closed circuit in Boehm Science Building.
Dr. Asharaf Adeel, a Kutztown philosophy professor who introduced Chomsky, said the lecture was intended to promote peace and understanding among nations.
"Noam Chomsky is a truly global figure who, for decades, has promoted peace and justice for all peoples of the world," Adeel said. "He is the intellectual of our age and the conscience of our time."
Chomsky, 83, widely considered the father of modern linguistics, is a distinguished professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Better known publicly for his anti-Vietnam War activism in the 1960s, Chomsky has written more than 100 books and 200 articles on politics, philosophy and international affairs.
A staunch critic of American foreign policy, his lecture was titled, "The U.S. and the U.N."
Chomsky chastised the U.S. for withholding funding to the United Nations because of its recent acceptance of Palestine as a member.
He portrayed the U.S., which he claimed exercises its veto on the U.N. Security Council too frequently, as isolated from the world community.
"The real issue is not whether the U.S. funds the U.N., but whether the U.S. has the right to run the world," Chomsky said.
During his meeting with the media, Chomsky fielded questions on a wide range of political and economic issues facing the country.
The focus on cutting the federal budget, Chomsky argued, is misplaced.
"There ought to be a joblessness commission," he said, "not a deficit commission."
Chomsky had harsh criticism for the Republicans, who he charged have ceased to be a political party.
"The Republicans are so far in the pockets of the corporations, you couldn't find them with a microscope," he said. "Their only program is to serve the very rich."
Asked if the Occupy Wall Street movement would ever reach the scope of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, Chomsky said it's an open question.
In 1965 and 1966, when he was a leader in the anti-war movement, protesters were attacked during demonstrations in Boston. By 1967, the movement had gained widespread acceptance.
Chomsky agrees with the goals of Occupy Wall Street.
"We should break up the banks that are too big to fail," he said. "And, get big money out of politics."
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