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An evening with Noam Chomsky: Contours of Global Order

By Lara J Carim, on 14 March 2011

This year the Rickman Godlee lecture hosted Noam Chomsky, writes Jay Stone, UCL PhD student. He is inspirational to many and the event on 9 March had sold out quickly… I was running late and acutely aware that I needed to get there sharpish to get a seat!

With masses of people still piling in behind me I quickly made my way up into the rafters and settled in. A few moments later the audience erupted into deafening applause, everyone on their feet, with smiles on their faces and awe in their eyes. Noam Chomsky had made his way onto the stage.

The topic up for discussion was the ‘Contours of Global Order: Domination, Stability, Security in a Changing World’. As you can imagine this is a vast area. We began by looking back to 1939 during World War II when the United States had devised the ‘Grand Area’ for post-war dominance. Chomsky talked about how the US wanted to gain unquestionable power and maintain fierce loyalty from their allies. He remarked that this was still true of today, saying ‘The US presidents may have changed name or “style” but their substance is still very much the same’.

He suggested America sympathized with Stalinist principles, their public support for democracy hiding the fact that they would not want certain countries to gain independence if it threatened America’s international dominance. He gave the ‘disobedience’ shown by Turkey as an example of this, saying that when they supported 95% of their population’s opinion and refused to accompany Britain and America into the Iraq war, the US had advised them it would be best to show their loyalty to the west.

Chomsky discussed global warming, the reality of its seriousness and his dismay at the people denying its existence. He raised his concern over the efforts to destroy the public educational system and the results it would produce to keep us all ill informed, compliant and distracted from the problems surrounding us.

This lecture was not a light-hearted one. There were times when you could feel the audience squirm in their seats, as if Chomsky had lifted the veil and shown them the way the world really works. Despite all the worries and power struggles Chomsky discussed he also reminded us all that we have been through it all before and we were still here; that it is that time again when we need to fight but will emerge stronger for it.

10 Responses to “An evening with Noam Chomsky: Contours of Global Order”

  • 1
    Hich wrote on 15 March 2011:

    An excellent talk. Thanks to the organisers for a splendid event and reception. Looking forward to future talks.


  • 2
    Mark wrote on 15 March 2011:

    Nice post Jay. It’s amazing how much Chomsky was able to cover in his lecture and yet it all felt joined up and relevant to our lives today. I also enjoyed the way he discussed subjects which have been analysed by experts for decades, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, and yet managed to convey the gravity of the situation as if it were being heard for the first time.

  • 3
    Nicolas Luco wrote on 16 March 2011:

    So good coverage, it is the way to present events, not from the podium, but from the audience’s seat. Thank you for the the video that allows me to be there from afar, from Chile.

  • 4
    تشومسكي: الثورة المصرية تتعارض مع المصالح الأمريكية « alBostoni wrote on 16 March 2011:

    […] نعوم تشومسكي محاضرة بكلية لندن الجامعة عنوانها ” ملامح النظام العالمي: الهيمنة والاستقرار والأمن في عالم متغير” تطرق فيها […]

  • 5
    David Colquhoun wrote on 18 March 2011:

    What a wonderful man. If only he were president of the USA. This is exactly the sort of thing that UCL should be doing.

  • 6
    Noam Chomsky « Bloomsbury Bytes wrote on 20 March 2011:

    […] To watch the lecture, click here. […]

  • 7
    Abdul Basset wrote on 22 March 2011:

    Chomsky speaking = an intellectual orgasm for listeners.

  • 8
    Richard wrote on 12 July 2011:

    Thanks for the post and the video. I agree with the fact that America threats about loosing its international dominance to more independent nations. I have shared this video with my friends. All the Best

  • 9
    Product wrote on 1 March 2012:

    thanks for the video, always great to hear noam chomsky speaking.
    Great individuals like him definetly need more coverage even though I’m not sure chomsky himself would appreciate being in mass medias…

  • 10
    Plombier Eguilles wrote on 1 May 2012:

    First time I hear about Noam Chomsky was in one of the punk band NOFX song around 20 years ago… I have been reading about him since then and I am glad to hear more about him on a very interesting subject, thanks

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