“Grim thoughts, and not easy to refute.” (Noam Chomsky on The Corporate Cockroach Conspiracy)
“You should think about publishing the book. Today the fundamentalists are really a dangerous force.” (Noam Chomsky on my book; “Truth Against the World: The Humanists’ Fight for Our Freedom”)
A great book. Read it long ago and have always intended to go back to it. And a telling passage.
Noam (re: Doris Lessing quote on Education that I sent him)
Painful to believe, but there’s more than a little chance that we’ll all go into that dark night with this buffoon in the lead. Hard not to look with foreboding at the year ahead.
(response from Noam re: my essay; “Barbarians at the Gate”
Thanks for sharing the thoughts. And the song. One way or another, life goes on for whatever time is allotted to us.
(reply to my e-mail re: our wives who have passed away & You Tube video I sent him of Van Morrison’s “Hymns to the Silence”
Good questions. The only answer anyone knows is to try harder. (re: my questions as to how can we stop the corporate cockroaches when they are above the law & so powerful)
It’s a plague. (re: my comments about the perniciousness of Facebook)
Sorry if I’ve missed some letters. Inadvertently. The flood is becoming a deluge, and commitments mount just as fast. Things sometimes fall through the cracks.
Now in Boston for a week of talks. And so it continues. (re: not replying to an e-mail I sent him)
Thanks. Rarely watch anything, but BR is special. Might break the rule. (re: a You Tube video I sent him about Bertrand Russell, one of his intellectual heroes)
Just stopped by the office and found the book. Many thanks. (re: he bought copy of my book but formatting was awful, I felt ashamed so I printed 8.5 x 11 spiral copy & sent to him)
U of A is the address. It’s the content that matters, not the form. (U of A refers to University of Arizona & he assures me to not worry about the horrible formatting of hard copy of my book)
Glad to know that you took the plunge. Look forward to the pb edition. (re: my finally “publishing” my book on Amazon)
When Carol died I decided that the game was basically over, put everything aside, and devoted myself to work waiting for the end.
Then, by some kind of miracle, met a wonderful woman, Valeria. We fell in love, married, and are living happily together, and want life to go on forever.
That’s impressive. Took a lot of guts. No reason to keep it secret. Can’t think of much like it. (re: my telling him of an incident when I was in Santa Rita jail/prison)
Don’t know him. I’ve been on Pacifica now and then – mostly for fund-raisers – but almost never listen to radio or watch TV. (re: my asking him if he knew of Iam Masters of KPFK radio in L.A.)
Too rich a topic to even try to list sources. Perhaps the most consequential case was when Emperor Constantine, in the 4th century, adopted Christianity, unleashing a vicious attack that destroyed the rich and vibrant and tolerant culture of Greece and Rome in a manner that makes ISIS look like amateurs and set off a millennium of destruction of culture and submission to the totalitarian regime of an all-knowing God and his minions. There’s a fine recent book on it by Catherine Nixey, The Darkening Age, summarizing recent scholarship that undermines centuries of falsification.
But it’s endless. (response to my question re: first time church & state united to oppress the public)
Mixed. A lot of his analytic work is quite good. Have disagreed with much of it. (response to my asking if he knew of Michael Parenti)
I think Bertie would have appreciated this. (re: a rather lengthy attempt on my part to interpret Bertrand Russell’s views on Power which I used in my fantasy novel; “The Return of the Flower Children.” Noam is a huge fan of Bertrand Russell)
Maybe, but those frustrations have been constant for a long time, and the bitter resentment today traces to straightforward economic facts: the (neoliberal) policies since Reagan have sharply concentrate wealth while for most people they’ve led to stagnation or decline. That’s led to anger, frustration, contempt for institutions, and lots of anti-social behavior, here and in Europe. (re:
This may be obvious to you but I’m curious as to your take on it i.e. Could a major factor regarding Trump’s appeal—his feigned anti-elitism—be traced back to so many Americans’ bitter resentments from their public education experiences? In other words, our competitive public schooling model that leaves so many students feeling stupid or like losers. Therefore growing up resentment of those who did better in school & fertile ground for the anti-intellectualism Richard Hofstadter described in detail?)
Since I never had a clue what existentialism was about – beyond some truisms – I’ll have to take a pass (
Question for you, couldn’t you say that Bertrand Russell was an existentialist given this quote by him;
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death…. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
In other words, our essence is our thoughts & actions and we alone define them and are responsible for our successes & failures.
Stone was a friend, a very smart guy, and had interesting and quite unconventional things to say about Socrates. I wasn’t convinced, but that doesn’t mean much. Read Hofstadter a long time ago. My recollection is favorable, but thin. (
Was just wondering about your perspective on two books; 1) Anti-intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter; 2) The Trial of Socrates by I.F. Stone?
I wouldn’t know how to answer: all the components of government, major corporations, professional associations, educational institutions,….(Perhaps I was vague in my question? I’m looking for/hoping to find as thorough a list as possible of all the “institutions” that make up a society, especially ours.) Note: I was looking for such a list to use as a guide in my book: “The Return of the Flower Children”
Difficult question. Most serious political science, sociology, political economy. (
Speaking of institutions that are self-destructive to society, I tried doing some research some time back but didn’t have much luck. Can you point me in the direction of an author or a book that delves into the subject of America’s institutions? It would be very helpful in the layout of the novel I’m working on.
Quite a story. The best part is that “the bastards haven’t stopped me yet! I’m going to keep on fighting them until my dying days.” That’s the right attitude, and over time, it does make a difference.
—– Original Message —–
To: Noam Chomsky
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: submission of an essay
Hello Mr. Chomsky,
I feel guilty for adding to your already overwhelming schedule & work load so I’ll make this my last e-mail to you. I just want to say that I am really impressed that you make such an effort to respond to the unknowns such as me. I have written to several other political analysts & they can’t be bothered to respond. This tells me that you have truly never forgotten your working class background. My hat is off to you sir!
*** This was my first e-mail to Noam, I believe? And his prompt reply & the simple fact that he replied to me, a “nobody” living out of my Ford Econoline van on the Oregon coast looking for work, quite simply rocked my world & my self-confidence in my intellect grew by leaps & bounds! I have many other e-mails from Noam over the intervening years as well as some snail-mail letters he sent in response to my snail-mail letters to him. I can’t sing his praises high enough my friends.
On Dec 18, 2011, at 12:26 AM, Rob DeLoss wrote:
Hello Dr. Derber,Hope this doesn’t come across as too presumptuous of me but I really liked what I heard you say today on Portland, Oregon’s radio station KPOJ and was wondering if you might care to read an essay I wrote? I wrote this several years ago hoping to persuade my son not to join the military. I send it out to everyone I think might appreciate it. I was going to send it in the body of this e-mail but thought you might appreciate the pictures & etc. that I have added to it for the blog site I started a couple of months ago. It’s on the main page of my site at www.corporatecockroaches.com and the title is “The Politics of Patriotism.” If you’re too busy I can understand that. By the way, I’m not a professor. That’s just a nickname some friends gave me because I usually have a backpack full of books and try to get them to read a paragraph or two while we’re at the local pub.Persevere!—Rob DeLoss
Hi Rob – Thanks for getting in touch and sending me your letter to your son. What a creative form of communication! It’s a moving testament to a son about the military from a father, and your words (and great photos) are heartfelt and on point. Your son is a fortunate person! In fact, I think I’ll give the link, if it’s ok, to some of students in my BC course called Peace or War. I think it will interest them!And thanks for listening to my talk with Adam. Portland is fortunate to have such a courageous program and great host!best,Charlie Derber
Rob DeLoss wrote:
Hello Mr. Parenti,
Hope this isn’t a bother? I just thought you might enjoy this paper I wrote to my son almost two years ago re: the military. I’m scared to death they might try to reinstitute the Draft?
your essay pretty much says it all. maybe you can get it published somewhere, tho you might have to shorten it a bit.
all the best, MP (Michael Parenti)
thank you for your note, and thank you for sending your excellent essay.
i agree with chomsky: that’s the spirit!
“Well professor you are right on and said eloquently with a lot of needed passion…” (re: Reality T.V. and Reason)
“Reason says it’s hard to disagree, but as long as there are opportunities—and there are—there’s hope” (re: Making America Great Again)