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Noam Chomsky, professor of Linguistics at MIT, said last night that the role of academic scholarship in the U.S. is "to legitimize the interests of the ruling class."

Speaking to about 200 people at the Cambridge Unitarian Universalist Church on 'Intellectuals and Ideology,' Chomsky also attacked the mass media. He said that "even the liberal press is helping to create a basis in U.S. public opinion in favor of the resumption of bombing in Vietnam."

Chomsky called the U.S. "a highly indoctrinated and highly ideological society." He said however, that Americans are often not conscious of this influence and think of themselves as pragmatic.

Chomsky said that Henry Kissinger '50 distorted the January Paris agreement on Vietnam and that even the sophisticated press like Newsweek "bought Kissinger's fabrications hook, line and sinker."

Chomsky said that when the U.S. publicly announced its interpretation of the Paris agreements in January, "an honest press would have said 'U.S. announces intention to disregard Paris agreement."

Chomsky said that even those scholars who are critics of U.S. foreign policy may be "proponents of the state religion."

As an example, Chomsky quoted one critic of the U.S. cold war policy who said, "The U.S. saw itself as a guardian of western civilization."

According to Chomsky, the critic should have asked, "Of what elements of western civilization did the U.S. see itself as guardian?" In this case, Chomsky said that the U.S. government saw itself as guardian of only one aspect of western civilization--western capitalism.

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