For the past twenty years, Noam Chomsky has had a close working relationship with the French neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and with Faurisson's organization, La Vielle Taupe ("The Old Mole"). Chomsky has actively promoted Faurisson and La Vielle Taupe in France; he has publically defended Faurisson; in the famous preface to Faurisson's book (to which mat catastrophe alludes) he referred to Faurisson as "a liberal", and he has called the professional Holocaust denier Serge Thion a "libertarian socialist scholar". These statements are not even remotely accurate within the accepted meanings of "libertarian", "liberal", "socialist", and "scholar".

He has enthusiastically thrown the weight of his formidable academic reputation behind their "cause". It's one thing to tolerate such people and support their right to speak, but it's another thing entirely to endorse, advocate, and assist them.

Furthermore, Chomsky once used his influence to supress the publication in the US of an essay by the British linguist Geoffrey Sampson. The essay was about Chomsky; it spoke admiringly of much of Chomsky's work, but there was one sentence which was critical of Chomsky's support for the Khmer Rouge and his involvement with Faurisson et al. Apparently that doesn't count as "free speech".

Chomsky has some valuable insights in Manufacturing Consent and elsewhere, but when he gets down to specifics he writes not as an academic or an historian, but as a propagandist. He tells the side of the story that suits him. He's brilliant and entertaining, but nobody should ever use him as a sole source on anything in the political arena. Manichean reductionism is invariably disinformative and destructive. That's what makes it so entertaining. The truth is complex and nuanced, and when you've got an agenda to promote, nuance and complexity just get in the way. Think of Chomsky as a left-wing equivalent of right-wing "think tanks" like the Heritage Foundation: A generator of pre-packaged debating positions for people who are more interested in winning arguments on points than they are in the truth. He's a spin machine.

It's been pointed out that this really belongs in Noam Chomsky, not here. I agree, but that'll require some rewriting so it'll have to wait for a bit . . .

Source, as per request: Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers by Werner Cohn, Avukah Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995.