E-mails with Chomsky

Chomsky in Paris during April of 2010 (Jean Baptiste/Flickr)

The Lariat reached out to Chomsky for his take on climate change, advice for students and Donald Trump’s presidency

Noam Chomsky is a world renowned intellectual known mostly for his important contributions in the field of linguistics and political commentary. In recent years, he has shifted his focus to criticisms of globalization, nuclear superpowers, American foreign policy and the climate crisis. He has published over 100 books and essays concerning these topics.

Today, the U.S. political arena is especially polarized. The issues of climate change, socialized medicine, and immigration are widely disagreed upon. Radically different opinions paired with a notably untruthful president has left the American public divided.

And who is left to deal with these issues most of all? The American youth.

I first became interested in Chomsky’s political commentary during my senior year of high school. Since then I’ve read a few of his books and watched countless videos of him on YouTube. I first reached out to after reading somewhere online that he responds to every email he receives. At this time, I was unsure about what I was going to study after I graduated high-school, and consequentially, what I was going to do for the rest of my life after college.

Since then I’ve exchanged emails with him a few times, asking for political guidance in such a confusing time. Who better to ask then arguably the most notable intellectual of our time?

Below I’ve included a few of my email exchanges to him.

JB: I’m still very unsure what I want to do with my life. Next year I will be headed into a community college, and two years from now I will have to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life when I transfer to a four year university. Did you ever experience these thoughts when you were young? What would your advice be to someone caught in this dilemma?

NC: Sure. I think every thoughtful person does. I’m often asked for advice, but can’t really give any – even to my own children. These are things we just have to work out for ourselves.

JB: I’m writing to you in regards to Donald Trump winning the general election. I’m sure that at this time you’re probably receiving many emails regarding this topic. My only question is: is there still hope for humanity with someone who denies climate change being the President of the United States?

NC: The game is far from over. There is plenty that we can do — and must, particularly on this issue, the most important and most neglected one.

JB: What do you feel is the most important thing that young people can do in such a confusing political climate?

NC: I don’t think there is a general answer, one size fits all, to the most important thing a person can do. Depends on lots of personal factors. There are some overwhelming problems: environmental crisis and nuclear war, and others of great significance too. But withdrawing is not a serious option.