In a British Columbia university radio show, Chomsky has now responded to Chris Knight’s new book, 'Decoding Chomsky, science and revolutionary politics'.
Knight makes an assumption common to those who [are] unfamiliar with government science-technology policy and know nothing about institutions like MIT.
At the time, MIT was almost entirely funded by the military, including the music department, etc. The modern advanced economy was created substantially by government funding in one or another way, often by Pentagon funding of research universities. There was zero military work on campus. You can find the facts from the Pound Commission report on the topic in 1969. Nor did the military involve themselves in any way in what was going on. That of course included my work. Or, for example, the work of colleagues studying American Indian languages, translating work of Wilhelm von Humboldt, etc. Knight is also deeply confused about the work on linguistics that I and others are doing. I explained it to him in response to an email request from him, but he plainly doesn’t understand. Thus he opens with a profound confusion about “universal grammar,” the technical term used for the genetic component of the human language faculty. He thinks this has something to do with some kind of “universal language” that he believes the military were interested in. There was no interest of the sort, and if there had been, it would have had nothing at all to do with our studies of universal grammar. It goes on like that. The whole story is a wreck.
In fact, the Pentagon had so little concern with what we and others were doing that they paid no attention to the fact that our lab also happened to be one of the major academic centers of resistance to the Vietnam war from the early ‘60s, or the fact that I was brought to trial for these activities.
In brief, complete nonsense throughout.
Noam Chomsky, September 2016
(From ’Chomsky’s Carburetor’ – an interview with Chris Knight.)