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The Curious Curator's Book Blog

Contemporary art curator. Student. Book addict. Art lover. Geek. Dreamer. Curious about everything. Check out my website http://thecuriouscurator.com/

Currently reading

EarthBound (Boss Fight Books, #1)
Ken Baumann
How to Do Things with Videogames
Ian Bogost
Philosophie des jeux vidéo
Mathieu Triclot

Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky - Noam Chomsky, Peter R. Mitchell, John Schoeffel

"(...) this term "conspiracy theory" is kind of an interesting one. For example, if I was talking about Soviet planning and I said, "Look, here's what the Politburo decided, and then the Kremlin did this", nobody would call that a "conspiracy theory" - everyone would just assume that I was talking about planning. But as soon as you start talking about anything that's done by power in the West, then everybody calls it a "conspiracy theory". You're not allowed to talk about planning in the West, it's not allowed to exist. So if you're a political scientist, one of the things you learn - you don't even make it into graduate school unless you've already internalized it - is that nobody here ever plans anything: we just act out of a kind of general benevolence, stumbling from here to here, sometimes making mistakes and so on. The guys in power aren't idiots, after all. They do planning. In fact, they do very careful and sophisticated planning. But anybody who talks about it, and uses government records or anything else to back it up, is into "conspiracy theory"."

 

The tag for this book is "The Indispensable Chomsky", and that is pretty much the best way to describe it. Lots of people talk about Chomsky being a conspiracy theorist, and how his views are "dangerous" (which they are, since thinking for yourself is a dangerous thing to do in a society that rewards those who are obedient and compliant with the status quo), but what this book does is condense many of his ideas in a well-organized, well-researched text, with plenty of references for those who want to investigate these matters themselves. As evidenced from the quote above, dismissing someone as a conspiracy theorist is a very easy way to cut a discussion at its roots while ignoring all the facts.

 

I cannot recommend this author enough, and this is a very good place to start. Just keep this in mind (in the author's own words):

 

"(...) I don't think you should mislead people: you should get them to understand that if they're going to be independent thinkers, they are probably going to pay a cost. I mean, one has to begin with an understanding of the way the world works: the world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It's a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."