1 Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 School of Culture and Society - Philosophy, subject, School of Culture and Society, Arts, Aarhus University3 School of Culture and Society - Philosophy, subject, School of Culture and Society, Arts, Aarhus University
In his bizarre 2002/3 documentary tribute to Noam Chomsky, John Junkerman endeavours to draw a picture of a courageous and independent thinker, uncorrupted by petty personal - or indeed "political" - concerns. Even though he tirelessly talks on some of the most furiously debated contemporary political issues, the renowned linguist seems to be "above" real political discourse. As one of Junkerman's witnesses declares: "Everything politics is, Chomsky is not." And indeed, just as Chomsky himself considers his talks to be separated entirely from his theoretical work, he also seems to think of them as perfectly unprejudiced: he merely presents us with raw facts about US complicity in state terrorism, illegal warfare, imperialist ambitions, etc., and implicitly expects everyone in her right mind to want these atrocities to end.The problem, however, seems to be that we are not in our right minds. And in this respect, Chomsky is not of much help. What if we are held captive by an image in which all of Chomsky's efforts are relatively easily accommodated? Drawing on Lacan and Wittgenstein, I attempt in this paper to develop a concept of "ideological rule following", which aims at understanding why "neutral" information is not enough to change people's minds. The basic claim being that, while Chomsky's struggle takes place on the level of the enunciated, a more important struggle is going on, on the level of the enunciation. Along the way I point to an apparent symmetry between Wittgenstein's "metaphysical" or "philosophical" self in the Tractatus and Lacan's concept of the subject of the unconscious.