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George F. Kennan, 1904-2005    

BAD ATTITUDES From Chomsky’s “Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship” (1968): If it is plausible that ideology will in general serve as a

From Chomsky’s “Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship” (1968):

If it is plausible that ideology will in general serve as a mask for self-interest, then it is a natural presumption that intellectuals, in interpreting history or formulating policy, will tend to adopt an elitist position, condemning popular movements and mass participation in decision-making, and emphasizing rather the necessity for supervision by those who possess the knowledge and understanding that is required (so they claim) to manage society and control social change.

I’m belatedly drawn to add my voice to that of the Maestro, as well as some of the most intelligent observers of politics and diplomacy, in recognizing the passing of an American of great stature, George Kennan, who died on March 17.

“He was a giant. Many people have called him the most important foreign service officer of the past half-century,” said his son-in-law, Kevin Delany of Washington. “He was a very thoughtful man with an elegant writing style.”

His thoughtful character and many accomplishments interest me because they seem to embody some of the things Chomsky talks about, while contradicting others ...Read on

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