Hindsight makes us all (feel) more smart.

I’m fifteen pages into Noam Chomsky’s short 1968 book, Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship, and I found an interesting passage.  In his discussion of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article, “America in the Technetronic Age,” his criticism may seems silly to us now, especially considering how well-esteemed Chomsky is.

I haven’t read Brzezinski’s article yet, but apparently he did a fair amount of predicting how individuals, with access to the latest technological devices, will surpass universities in a drive for research.  (This seems consistent with some of his writing while a part of the Jimmy Carter administration.)  Chomsky just couldn’t imagine how this could be possible.

Thus we move towards a new world-wide “‘super-culture,’ strongly influenced by American life, with its own universal electronic-computeer language,” with an enormous and growing “psycho-cultural gap” separating America from the rest of the “developed world.”

It is impossible even to imagine what Brzezinski thinks a “universal electronic-co0mputer langage” may be, or what cultural values he thinks will be created by the new “technologically dominant and conditioned technetron” who, he apparently believes, may prove to be the true “repository of that indefinable quality we call human.”  It would hardly be rewarding to try to disentangle Brzezinski’s confusions and misunderstandings.

-Jonathon

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