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Re: Nkrumahism, The Can Of Worms Of I Opened–Noam Chomsky 2

Mon, 6 Jul 2015 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

A closer look at the entire Truman speech does not contain Mr. Baidoo’s fraudulent quote, the exact wording we mean, which the latter attributed to Chomsky (and President Truman) as a verbatim quote. Evidently then, Mr. Baidoo had no case whatsoever making the quote itself part of Pres. Truman’s speech. It is so because the attribution lacks the internal logistics of “inner quote” as our prior discussion indicates. We may also want to stress that the word “dominated” in the quote Mr. Baidoo fraudulently attributed to Chomsky is extremely important. The word adds exegetical weight to Chomsky’s rendition and political weight to Pres. Truman’s formulation.

It is important because Pres. Truman made American values, “freedom of enterprise” for instance, the central focus of his foreign policy strategies as well as the standard of international relations. The phrases “DECISIVE FACTOR” and “THE TYPE OF LEADERSHIP THAT AMERICA GIVES THE WORLD” in the second paragraph of our partially quoted speech, “THEY ARE READY TO ASSUME THEIR ROLE OF LEADERSHIP…” in the last paragraph of our partially quoted speech, and the sentences “THERE MUST BE NO QUESTION AS TO OUR COURSE” and “WE CAN LEAD THE NATIONS TO ECONOMIC PEACE OR WE CAN PLUNGE THEM INTO ECONOMIC WAR” in the fifth and forth paragraphs of our partially speech, all probably lend credence and exegetical weight to Chomsky’s re-interpretation of the speech.

We should note that the two sentences from the preceding paragraph demonstrate an unquestionable character of authoritative stubbornness in terms of the strategic foreign policy vision Pres. Truman had for America. Also, the authoritative consistency of “WE” and “OUR” in the Truman speech peripheralizes the non-American universe. Thus America’s foreign policy became the metropolis of strategic centrality as far as international relations went, further driving a wedge between her and the muffled critique of otherism. Perhaps, one best way to interpret Pres. Truman’s speech is by understanding America’s desire to “work” with other nations from around the world towards global peace and international relations, subject to her [America’s] avaricious calculations to impose her unquestioned leadership, values, and standards on the rest of the world.

The fact that the UN is headquartered in the United States itself eloquently speaks to the latter’s uncompromising stance in exerting her economic, military, and political lordship over the rest of the world (America has since the establishment of the UN resisted all attempts to have the headquarters of the UN rotated around the globe).

Significantly, I have used the word “ONE” because another person(s) might take a long look at the Truman speech and come up with a different (if multiple) interpretation. This view is not out of the range of exegetical possibilities as far as we can tell. It is why we are currently engaging Mr. Baidoo in palpable instances of intellectual and exegetical spats. Let us also quickly add that beginning a sentence with the word “SUPPOSE,” as in the fraudulent quote Mr. Baidoo attributed to Chomsky, should have signaled to the former that Chomsky was engaging Pres. Truman in a manner characteristic of rhetorical hypothesis (linguistic probability).

The fact that Chomsky also said Pres. Truman “suggested in…” in Mr. Baidoo’s fraudulent quote somehow implies how much premium Chomsky placed on his analytic strategy which his cautious formula of exegetical latitude allowed in the case of intellectual expression. Chomsky has never been an absolutist for the most part.

This position takes into account the speech’s underlying presuppositions (assumptions), America’s immediate post-war behavior in international politics, public consensus on Americans’ avaricious intentions to see their country lead the world no matter what, and the special interest of American corporatism to break through the gridlock of externalized instances of protectionism. Yet Truman’s America remained strategically isolationist in terms of political ideology, even though she projected a façade of interventionism. Mr. Baidoo’s article woefully failed to affirmatively assert these facts. On the other hand as we said before, Mr. Baidoo should have at least taken it upon himself to read Pres. Truman’s original speech closely and given his readership his own rendition of it, measured against those of Alvin Toffler’s, Chomsky’s, and the critique of history. In fact Chomsky is precisely what Rabindranath Tagore, a 19th-century Bengali contextual modernist, called one of his poems “Where the Mind is Without Fear.”

Namely, Mr. Baidoo did not bother to read the speech let alone historicize it for his unsuspecting readership beyond the limiting claustrophobia of self-serving pontification. Failing to peruse the Truman speech gives Mr. Baidoo an opportunity to avoid confronting the harsh axiological actualities and historicized political ramifications of Chomsky’s construal of the Truman speech. This constitutes an emotional trademark of intellectual cowards. What is more, this uninformed and non-discursive approach to literary criticism, as exemplified by the likes of Mr. Baidoo, is antithetical to the rational and informed methodology so characteristic of the Chomskyan universe of rigorous scientific thinking. In sum, Mr. Baidoo is the very antithesis of analytic and holistic thinking. In other words his largely uninformed olios of narrative arguments, mostly anecdotal fallacies, defy the radical oversight of epistemic logic and of the creative process of discursive pyschologization, to wit, the political psychology driving the Truman foreign policy.

There is no doubt in our mind that Chomsky represents the negation of what the literary critic Harold Bloom describes as “Everyone wants a prodigy to fail; it makes our mediocrity bearable” (other literary critics such as the Nigerian-American Teju Cole ascribes the latter quote to Rita Dove, the United States Poet Laureate, author, and poet).

Thus Mr. Baidoo’s self-induced delusions and needless intellectual confusion are merely simple methodological inquests of interpretation, context, perspective, and literary criticism. Indeed, there is no quasiparticle of literature or rhetoric that has critical existence outside the parametric framology of context and perspective. Thus, attributions have exegetical and inferential legitimacy only within the circumscribed framology of contextual and perspectival references. We should also not ignore the fact that Mr. Baidoo’s fraudulent attribution contains the word “PRINCIPLES.” And if our interpretation of his fraudulent attribution is correct, then the pluralized word “PRINCIPLES” is also Chomsky’s, not Pres. Truman’s, having already acknowledged that the fraudulent quote is a summary. The word “PRINCIPLE” could mean many things including, but not limited to, “an assumption,” “a theory,” “a belief,” “a rule,” all of which add a measure of elasticity to Chomsky’s interpretive take on the speech.

After all, Pres. Truman did not use “principles” in his speech. Neither did he describe the point-by-point statements in his speech as “PRINCIPLES.” It is merely an external imposition from Chomsky. Assumptions, beliefs, theories, and rules are not set in stone. They are subject to revision and displacement in the wake of new discoveries, public dissatisfaction and agitation, time, and social realities.

As things stand today Chomsky has revised some of his political, philosophical, and linguistic theories in the presence of new discoveries and methodological opposition to some of his profound ideas. The other question is: Why did Pres. Truman, scholars, political scientists, and historians label the speech “Address on Foreign Economic Policy”? We place emphasis on the word “FOREIGN.” Why not “INTERNAL,” say? The point is that the first edition of Chomsky’s book “American Power and the New Mandarins” came out in 1969, some 22 years after Pres. Truman’s speech, giving Chomsky ample time to evaluate the foreign policy implications of the speech. Chomsky has had ample time to reflect on Pres. Truman’s overall legacy, that is! Likewise, he has successfully done the same with his profound theories on language and syntax category (see his Generative/Transformational Grammar), the basis of several essential aspects of artificial intelligence, computer programming, etc.

Thus Mr. Baidoo could not read time out of Chomsky’s exegetical take on the speech. We ask: Why did Mr. Baidoo not try to explore the reasons behind Chomsky’s intentions to stand by his interpretation of Pres. Truman’s speech in the second edition (2002) of “American Power and the New Mandarins,” some 33 years after the first edition and some 33 years of active engagement with his critics, local and international? This regrettably leaves a huge gaping hole in Mr. Baidoo’s analysis. Again the speech cannot be read in isolation.

As a result Pres. Truman’s other important speech “The Truman Doctrine,” presented to the US Congress six days after the “Address on Foreign Economic Policy,” cannot undergo exegetical extrapolation exclusive of each other. The so-called “Truman Doctrine” sets the tone for America’s strategic containment of the USSR, the Cold War. America thus put herself in a strategic position of exerting her hegemony and cultural-economic imperialism over the world by way of containing fascism and the USSR. The Marshall Plan for Europe (and Asia) idea originated during this same period, under Pres. Truman. The year 1947 was the same year scholars generally situate the inception of the Cold War. It was during this period that the ideas of George Kennan, Charles Bohlen, William Harriman, Dean Acheson, and John McCloy became so important (these men were the key strategic architects on the American side of the Cold War).

Therefore, it is within the immediate context of the Cold War that the practical ramifications of Pres. Truman’s speech gained traction.

As a matter of fact, Pres. Truman invoked the historical reasons that gave birth to the Second Imperial War (WW2) as justification for proposing American leadership and values as post-war solutions to a world caught up in seeming perpetual conflicts. That proposal turned into American exceptionalism and global hegemony.

Indeed, America under Pres. Truman’s had assumed global leadership by the time WW2 was over (Mr. Baidoo may do well to discuss Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Wallace (founder of the Department of Nuclear Studies (American University?), Thomas Pendergast, and Harry Truman; the latter’s story will never be complete without the others’ authoritative statements, particularly Pendergast. Mr. Baidoo should tell his readership more about the “Pendergast Machine,” “St. Louis Machine,” Robert Hannegan, why the Americans wanted to displace the British Empire and take over the world including Europe, why Wallace’s travels in Africa taught him how the British Empire/French Empire had set Africa back 100 years…Finally, Mr. Baidoo should also tell his readership why Roosevelt did not support Truman’s re-election (1940).

Mr. Baidoo may not have known that Chomsky’s “American Power and the New Mandarins” merely scratched the surface of American history leading up to, during, and after the Second Imperial War. There is much more he could have learnt from Daniel Ellsberg’s “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.” The release of the Pentagon Papers beginning in 1971, nearly three years after Chomsky’s “American Power and the New Mandarins,” offered the latter a stochastic model by which to qualitatively test his perceptual and empirical assumptions about Pres. Truman and his foreign policy prescriptions. The science of analytics, time series analysis as well as deterministic, stochastic and hybrid models provide useful insights into the fluid framology of the past and of the future in the manner we associate with the universe of Chomskyan scientific thinking.

This is not to say scientific thinking has all the answers to man’s existential conundrums. It is not. Oncology, dark matter, consciousness (the mind), some truths (ethical or moral, metaphysical, and aesthetic), and pain management are five notable examples. Science itself exists on the basis of “universally” agreed-upon assumptions in league with the inquests of observation, hypothesis formulation, prediction and experimental confirmation (repeatability or reproducibility), or otherwise, of the other three constructs. It is not clear yet if science can prove its existence to itself. Science is science insofar as mortal consciousness (immanence) says so. Namely, science assumes a state of immanence in the ontology of consciousness, to borrow Helmut Wautischer’s phraseology. It never gets further than this.

Technically, Pres. Truman’s speech does not require any expensive intellectual investment in the methodology of hermeneutics. It is a straightforward piece of literary genre that requires normative interpretation for the benefit of discursive clarification. A case can certainly be made that Mr. Baidoo could probably not have got the extrapolative denotation of the Truman speech right even if he had read it, given our present knowledge that he could not tell a summary from a verbatim quote, or vice versa. Yet interpretation is both an art and science. The point of it all is that other scholarly productions and revelations testify to the historicized factuality of the Chomskyan assumptions underlying the Truman speech. Also the above notwithstanding, there are probably more profound revelations about Pres. Truman in Dr. Kuznick’s work than in Chomsky’s (Dr. Kuznick, a historian, is Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University; Mr. Baidoo should take a look at Howard Zinn’s text “A People’s History of the United States”).

We should, however, have to state that John Maynard Keynes had predicted the factors that would eventually lead to the Second Imperial War (WW2), even warning the West against the terms that were struck at the Versailles Treaty/Paris Peace Conference (see his book “The Economic Consequences of the Peace”), yet the Western powers largely ignored him. The Second Imperial War came and Keynes’ predictions materialized. Regrettably Pres. Truman may not have paid heed to Keynes’ dire predictions, the potential causes of the Second Imperial War, thus precipitating an argument for methodological holisticization in translating the legacy of the Truman presidency rather than on relying on unmarriageable exegetical tranches in executing the same task.

This may be part of the reasons some leading personalities and thinkers rank Keynes among the world’s greatest and most influential economists of all time, alongside Adam Smith, Hyman Minsky, Karl Marx, Amartya Sen, Gunnar Myrdal, David Ricardo, Nicholas Kaldor, Daniel Kahneman, William Arthur Lewis, Fukuzawa Yukichi, Milton Friedman, Joseph Schumpeter among others. Interestingly, some of Keynes economic ideas would impact the Truman Government (Kaldor and Lewis would be associated with the Nkrumah Government and the Gold Coast’s/Ghana’s economic planning; Kaldor was a Keynesian economist and he together with Gunnar Myrdal worked for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)). This is just by the way.

Mr. Baidoo’s article did not take on this dimension of the Truman legacy.

But, there is so much the book “The Untold History of the United States” (Dr. Peter Kuznick & Oliver Stone) reveals about America’s foreign policy and clandestine arrangements with her supposed “enemies” that, Chomsky’s “American Power and the New Mandarins” does not cover.

Like Chomsky’s scholarly works, Dr. Kuznick’s is based on recently declassified documents and archival records. Mr. Baidoo seems to give the impression that America only bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima (declassified documents expose ideas that are still taught to American students of all ages and class about Pres. Truman, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, etc., which are blatant lies according to the same declassified records. Let us just mention two: One of these lies was that America had no choice but to bomb Japan. It turned out Pres. Truman had received a telegram from the Japanese Emperor asking for peace, yet he ignored the peace overture and went ahead to bomb the Japanese. Second, it is generally believed that only the two aforementioned Japanese cities were bombed by the Americans. It turned more than 100 Japanese cities were bombed (by the Americans)).

Namely, Mr. Baidoo may not have known that at least 100 Japanese cities were bombed (though he, like most people around the world, is wont to mention only two: Nagasaki and Hiroshima). In the end, President Truman conceptualized his post-war universe from the standpoint of America’s strategic and tactical interests, values, standards, and “forced” leadership imposition on that universe. But, then again, foreign aid was used to buy off sovereignties, to induce and bribe others in exchange for the consciences of leaderships sympathetic to American (or Western) hegemony, and to entrench America’s global leadership and political-economic expansionism.

In doing so, America had hoped to break the expanding monopoly of Marxist ideology across that universe. This is the larger context within which Chomsky’s hypothetical rendition of Pres. Truman’s speech must be understood. It is regrettably a given that Mr. Baidoo cannot be bothered with facts. For him, facts are synonymous with ideological absolutism so long as one can bend them to suit a particular tendency of one’s self-induced delusions.

The above notwithstanding, Mr. Baidoo did not tell his readership that the CIA got George Orwell to write “Animal Farm” (we have already provided a list of texts on this question for his edification and education) and that the British leadership that did not know what was going on between the CIA and Orwell did everything within its power to ensure “Animal Farm” (“1984”) did not find a publisher. Reason? The British and the Russians were on the same side of the war and therefore the former did not want to offend the latter (see Orwell’s working preface (“The Freedom of the Press”) for “Animal Farm.” Finally, let us remind Mr. Baidoo the assistance (financial, intelligence, and technological) which the West (America) offered the Nazis and the so-called “communists” (Chinese and Russians) helped the latter two improve their political machineries of despotism (Again we have given Mr. Baidoo a list of texts for his edification and education).

In conclusion, we shall ask readers to read about Noam Chomsky’s contributions to human knowledge and civilizations, science, linguists, mathematics, music theory, social and political activism, computer science, artificial intelligence, psychology, cultural criticism, political science, cognitive science, public intellectualism, logic, programming language theory, pedagogy and andragogy, journalism, and so on. The fact is also that we will not bore readers with the man’s influence on America and the world and with the chains of honors he has received from American and international institutions (readers can go to the link www.chomsky.info and read more).

Mr. Baidoo may have to convince us why his ideas have impacted America and the world more than Chomsky’s. More important, we also need to understand why Mr. Philip Kobina Baidoo, Jr. is more important than Noam Chomsky in yesterday’s and today’s world!

We shall return…

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis