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“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”

-Somerset Maugham

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Chomsky and Foucault, 1971

Two kinds of thinkers here. With all due respect for Foucault’s brilliant insights over the course of his career, I can’t help but perceive a cynicism in him that really comes out here in contrast to Chomsky. His disinterest in envisioning the proper future society and his insistence on throwing out all current ideals in the name of a proletarian revolution (a class he doesn’t belong to) just don’t ring true to me the way Chomsky’s argument that we should “make the system more just, not do away with justice.” It reminds me of the self-aggrandizing tendencies of Zizek, whose recalcitrant, dogmatic calls for overturning the current order are completely out of sync with his own lifestyle and also seem unrealizable. Chomsky’s attempts to formulate clear, concrete measures to change society seem like an earnest attempt to address the problems they are debating. Maybe it’s an oversimplification, but isn’t this ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’ the fundamental problem with much of deconstruction?