Noam Chomsky is one of the most hysterically abused figures in the world today. Even his critics have to concede that his work in the field of linguistics – beginning to decode the structure of how language is formed in the human brain – makes him one of the most important intellectuals alive. But when he applies the same rigorous method to figuring out how power – especially the American government's – works, he is pepper-sprayed with smears. He is a self-hating Holocaust denier, a jihad-loving traitor, a Pol Pot-licking communist, and on and on.
If all you know of his work is the smears, then Hopes and Prospects will be a revelation. In his dry, understated way, he excavates the reality behind the Babel of 24/7 corporate news, and places long-buried truths on the table to examine. Every one is sourced to the leading academic journals, the best experts, the sharpest medical advice – yet each one is a shock if you rely on news brought to you by corporations and corrupt right-wing billionaires.
For example, he uncovers the story of why Haiti is so poor, and could be shaken to pieces by an earthquake that would have killed only a handful in California. It's a story of man-made earthquakes, one after another. The country was the first to rebel against slavery and to cast off the whip-hand – and was brutally punished by the French Empire. Every time it has begun to rise to its feet, it has been kicked back down, with the American Empire taking over to topple its elected leaders (the last was put on a plane at gunpoint in 2008) and stifle any moves towards development.