Garden Noam: Tranquil Space, Turbulent Topic

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International politics, U.S. imperialism, journalistic corruption, and infringement of democratic rights: what better place to digest these heady and complex concepts than in the garden, while surrounding yourself with peace and nature?

While I was traveling across Europe in 2017, I spent a month in France designing and planting a classical French garden, a month in England helping create an organic permaculture garden, and a month in Italy, mostly pulling up overgrown fields of grass for goat food. During all of this, I passed the slow, methodical time by listening to Noam Chomsky lectures to balance out the restfulness of my task with a mental challenge. I’d been interested in his political philosophy for a long time, but never set the time aside to tackle the material. The time had finally come.

Noam Chomsky covers a wide range of topics. The first subject that he wrote extensively about was linguistics, and his vast contributions to the field have earned him the title “the father of modern linguistics”. He is also a vocal social and political critic, and through his lecture series he provides detailed accounts of the way that imperialistic nations have interfered in governments around the globe. He shares his philosophical perspective on how citizens should engage with leadership, and his concept of a different style of societal structure.

From our Talking Book collection, if you’re interested in linguistics, try:

DB 29565: Knowledge of Language: It’s Nature; Origin; and Use

In this study, Chomsky addresses the questions of what constitutes the knowledge of language, how this knowledge is acquired, and how it is put to use. 1986.

If you want to hear Chomsky’s take on U.S. foreign policies:

DB 34598 Deterring Democracy

This collection of essays traces changes in the world order from World War II through the Cold War era, emphasizing U.S. foreign policies and their enforcement with military power. Chomsky portrays an economically impotent United States bent on maintaining favorable conditions for “business rule,” generally tempted to ignore diplomacy and international law, and not above creating a sham, especially in the Third World, in the name of democratic freedom.

And his analysis of the origins of income inequality:

DB 34598 Requiem for the American dream: the 10 Principles of Concentrated Wealth and Power

Author of Hegemony or Survival (DB 57354) and Who Rules the World? (DB 86717) presents ten principles defining the ways plutocratic interests operate, resulting in income inequality. Principles include reducing democracy, shaping ideology, redesigning the economy, shifting the burden, attacking solidarity, and more. Produced in conjunction with film of the same name. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

Happy listening, dig in!