The Chomsky Condition

The definition of the Chomsky Condition is the practice of persons with some knowledge or expertise in one area, to claim expertise and authority in every other area they choose to speak.  The Chomsky Condition is named for Noam Chomsky who is a linguist, philosopher and cognitive scientist.  According to Wikipedia, Chomsky is:

sometimes described as “the father of modern linguistics,” Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science.

Notwithstanding, Chomsky speaks with great authority, the authority of an expert, in matters far and wide including foreign policy, economics and the US healthcare system.

Sadly, the Chomsky condition is not confined to university academics in the North East of the United States*.  Australia its fair share, and too many sufferers of the Chomsky Condition in Australia claim authority and expertise in climate science and climate policy.

Who can forget Tim Flannery’s claim about rain fall and dams despite Flannery’s “expertise” being in mammalogy and paleontology.   How about The Guardian’s Katherine Murphy who espouses her climate expertise regularly in The Guardian and every 3-4 weeks or so on the Insiders couch.

But making his return to the stage today is Elmer Funke Kupper.  Mr Funke Kupper is

a private investor. He was previous chief executive of the ASX and a director of the Business Council of Australia.

Mr Funke Kupper’s expertise is as a former business CEO and McKinsey consultant.  His last executive role was that of CEO of ASX Limited, a $3.5 million per year position from which he resigned:

over allegations that he knew of a $200,000 payment to the family of Cambodian strongman prime minister Hun Sen.

The $200,000 payment was made when Mr Funke Kupper was chief executive of gaming giant Tabcorp and is now the focus of an international anti-bribery investigation led by the Australian Federal Police.

Writing for the AFR today, Mr Funke Kupper again presents his grand ideas to solve Australia’s ills.  Or at least his perceived ideas of what Australia’s ills are.

What are Mr Funke Kupper’s grand plans?  Abolish the senate and the states and go to 4 year electoral cycles.

This is perhaps Mr Funke Kupper’s 3rd or 4th attempt at presenting this argument in the AFR which makes one wonder who his publicist is given the only platform he can find is in the AFR.

Perhaps also Mr Funke Kupper does have a knack for politics given he constant repetition of the same theme suggesting both message discipline and the belief that it is the communication that is the problem and not the idea.

It is however Mr Funke Kupper’s idea to make it harder for independents to get elected that particularly caught Spartacus’ eye:

Third, we should implement a minimum threshold to win a seat in Parliament. It simply cannot be right that someone who gets voted in with barely 10,000 votes can stifle progress or dictate national policies. My suggestion would be a threshold of 5 per cent of the national vote.

Yep.  Mr Funke Kupper’s grand strategy is to diminish competition in the the already uncompetitive Australian market for politicians, political parties and political ideas.

Sadly, Mr Funke Kupper’s ideas are not a surprise.  Prior to ASX, Mr Funke Kupper worked for TabCorp and prior that for ANZ Bank.  Working for and leading regulated monopolies and oligopolies seems a pattern so one should not be surprised that Mr Funke Kupper is advocating for creating more regulated monopolies and oligopolies by increasing the barriers to entry for new politicians and political parties.  In turn this would further cementing the current political party oligopoly that exist and that has brought Australia the gridlock that he rails against.

The coup de grâce of Mr Funke Kupper’s proposal is his suggestion that the productivity of government and legislature would be improved:

The productivity improvements alone would be material. More importantly, much needed longterm reforms would have a better chance of being implemented.

Hell yeah the productivity would improve.  It would be easier for parliaments to legislate.  They would be very efficient and effective in passing laws and regulations.  Unfortunately, that is not really what Australia needs – more laws and regulations.

How about we keep the current gridlocked legislative chambers making legislation and regulation hard and create a House of Repeal where repealing legislation and regulation is easy.

William F. Buckley Jr said:

I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

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19 Responses to The Chomsky Condition

  1. Squirrel

    “What are Mr Funke Kupper’s grand plans? Abolish the senate and the states and go to 4 year electoral cycles.”

    Aside from anything else, this plan would, of course, require a generously funded career transition program for all the unemployed lobbyists.

  2. Tim Neilson

    It simply cannot be right that someone who gets voted in with barely 10,000 votes can stifle progress or dictate national policies.

    To be fair, think “Greens Senator from Tasmania” and you can understand why someone would think this way.

  3. miltonf

    I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University

    one of my favorite sayings.

    Abolishing the federal government would be a better idea. We would be seriously better off without Canberra. Maybe have a council of states to do customs, defence and immigration.

  4. Sparkle Motion

    The Chomsky Condition reminds me of Lomborgian reasoning in environmental debates. What makes these ivory tower types want to make grand, poorly evidence claims about things they know nothing about?

  5. Mother Lode

    I remember believing, once upon a time that, given the veneration lavished on Gnome Chumpski, I accepted he was as brilliant as people seemed to think.

    Until I read some of his intellectual offerings on far ranging topics that revealed a very much inflated ego. But I didn’t rule out that his imagined genius in areas such as yak mulesing and a new order of counting numbers might originate in a real genius in linguistics fanned by fame.

    Apparently I was only partly right there.

  6. Empire GTHO Phase III

    Chomsky has great form in asking the right questions. The problem is he rarely delivers the correct answer.

  7. DM of WA

    Not sure how the dig at Noam Chomsky is relevant or even helps your argument. Chomsky may be on the far left politically but he is an extremely intelligent and knowledgeable person.

  8. GerardO

    I credit Chomsky for getting me “woke” about how the world actually works, even though I see him with a more critical eye than I did as a teenager.

    When it comes to “authority and expertise” on climatology, I’m thankful that every contributor and commenter at this site has been trained in this rigorous science. Otherwise I’d think that you were recycling think tank agitprop.

  9. DM of WA

    By the way Chomsky invented that marvellous phrase “manufacturing consent” in his book of the same name.
    I actually agree with a lot of his arguments but disagree with his conclusions because basically his evil is my good and vice-versa!

  10. max

    There is no discussion in the Bible of the proper limits of taxation. Taxation should therefore be discussed in terms of achieving other biblical goals and enforcing other biblical principles.
    The supreme biblical goal of taxation is to finance a civil government that is incapable of doing more than the Bible says it should. If it is capable of doing more, it will. This is basic to fallen man: to be as God (Gen. 3:5). The state should be limited in a way analogous to the limits placed on the king in Deuteronomy 17. So, the biblical goal of modern politics is to shrink the state — all branches — to levels consistent with the biblical concept of civil government: negative sanctions only. The welfare state must be de-funded.
    Taxation therefore should be discussed, above all, in terms of limiting the expansion of the state, especially the central government.
    There is no other mention of the income tax in the Bible. Conclusion: tyrannical governments prefer to tax income.

    One supposed limitation on the central government is the structure of federalism: maintaining local political sovereignties. It has not worked, because federalism has been undermined.

    The Articles of Confederation (1781) had the correct approach: no taxation of individuals by the national government.

    So, a practical application of biblical civil government is this principle: no concurrent taxation. Each level of civil government above the local must tax only that level of government beneath it. Tax increases above the local level of civil government must come at the expense of intermediate civil governments — politicians and bureaucrats — and not at the expense of the people.

    The first and most important goal of taxation is to see to it that only a local government taxes people and businesses directly. This keeps higher levels of government out of the pocketbooks of residents. If a business does business inside a local jurisdiction, it pays a tax locally. This is why a sales tax is ideal. A business collects the sales tax from local residents and sends the money to that jurisdiction.
    Biblical principle of taxation: Every higher level of civil government must tax only the next lower level. No tax should be paid directly by residents to any level of civil government above the city or county, whichever local voters have chosen as the originating tax jurisdiction under which they live. All higher levels must tax only the next lower level. The Federal government taxes the states; the states tax the counties; the counties tax cities or county residents.
    Implementation: A flat rate income tax at this level is not prohibited biblically, just so long as it does not reach the 10% level (I Sam. 8:14, 17). However, it is unlikely politically to remain biblically restrained. Voters will seek to tax higher-income residents at a higher rate: a denial of the rule of law (Ex. 12:49). A sales tax is much better for both personal privacy and judicial equity: an inherently flat tax. Everyone pays the same. A sales tax also does not tax capital and profits, which in turn spurs investment and economic growth.
    https://www.garynorth.com/public/2315.cfm

  11. Whalehunt Fun

    Third, we should implement a minimum threshold to win a seat in Parliament. It simply cannot be right that someone who gets voted in with barely 10,000 votes can stifle progress or dictate national policies. My suggestion would be a threshold of 5 per cent of the national vote.

    And this drooling cretin was in charge of a bank? Seriously? With 38 senators in a helf senate election, how does this dribbling loon think that 38 of them can get elected with a minimum of 5 percent of the national vote. 38 x 5 is 190 percent in my maths, but then I am not a banking parasite with the intellect of a cancerous rabbit’s stool.

  12. Perfidious Albino

    Sure, everything else Elmer proposes is a crock, but I don’t mind the idea of a single house at both state and federal level… fewer wascally wabbitts for the taxpayer to fund.

  13. Ainsley

    I love it when someone says William F Buckley.

  14. Rococo Liberal

    My main problem with the Senate is that no-one really understands how it s elected. It therefore has no legitimacy in the eyes of many.
    Whalehunt Fun, is of course being disingenuous.
    Of course you can set a percentage limit on first preference votes as suggested by Funke Kupper. All you have to do is require any party or independent candidate has to get more than 5% of the total first preference votes cast to get through to the second round of counting. All the parties and independents who fail to get more than 5% of the first preference vote are then eliminated and their preferences are then distributed to the other parties. The counting then carries on as normal.

  15. Snoopy

    Damn! Monty’s going to love this. US Nazis in violent attack.

    Why can’t they just behave?

  16. Bruce

    I agree. Get rid of the Senate, reduce government to two levels – federal and municipal, and make elected terms 4 years. I’d also add – voting to be non-compulsory.

  17. MACK

    A fundamental flaw in democracy is that it encourages politicians to raise taxes to buy votes. One of the few antidotes to this is competition between governing states and countries. So the best plan is in fact to reduce the function of the Commonwealth to defence and immigration, and let the States compete on everything else. This sort of competition helped eliminate death duties and some bank account transaction taxes. So it does work.

  18. Louis Hissink

    I thought the Chomsky Condition was the ability to write meaningless essays and articles of the sort that after reading one is left with the question of what was his point? I speak from personal experience, of course.

  19. cynical1

    Chompsky is a hypocritical cocksmoker, who only mindless leftists adore.

    He should fuck off and live in Palestine.

    He can leave the swish palace and cars behind.

    I’ll throw in five bucks for his ticket if he promises to take David Suzuki with him

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