Chomsky repeals the laws of biology in harangue against pro-lifers

By Dave Andrusko

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

A late friend of mine—arguably the most brilliant man I’ve ever personally known—had a blind spot for Noam Chomsky. As insightful and knowledgeable as my friend was, the fact that Chomsky was a pioneer in a host of fields, most especially linguists, did not mean Chomsky’s expertise was universal. In a word, Chomsky (like all of us) could make jaw-dropping stupid remarks when he ventured outside his (admittedly many) areas of competence.

I thought of this, of course, when I read a story from the Irish Times newspaper that has winged its way around the Internet. Get the setting. Chomsky was speaking at a reception where he received University College Dublin’s highest award—the Ulysses Medal.

So what exactly did he say? As the story unfolded, he began with the usual pro-abortion bromide: protective laws are “attacks on women’s rights.” Well, okay, one man’s opinion. But Chomsky was just warming up.

He said there had been improvements in women’s rights, “Although they are nowhere near where they ought to be and it’s going to be a long struggle.” And then

“There is a strong debate at the moment with regards to a woman’s right to control an organ of her own body – namely the foetus. …Pretty soon you can imagine legislation prohibiting the washing of hands because thousands of cells are flaked off that could be turned into a stem cell and you can grow a foetus– so you’re killing a person. It’s attacks on women’s rights.”

Maybe it was a long evening and he was tired. Maybe (after all, he is a linguistic) it’s women’s rights=right to her own body=everything in her body is hers=ergo she can designate what is in her body in any language she chooses.

Or maybe it was just a stupid comment.

What about the washing hands gibberish? Just as a baby is not an “organ,” a skin cell is a skin cell, not an embryo, and not a “potential” embryo.

How can smart people be so dumb?