Noam Chomsky and Robert Trivers Discuss Deceit

TriversChomsky_HS Trivers_salon Over at Seed:

Noam Chomsky: …Throughout history it’s been mostly the property holders or the educated classes who’ve tended to support power systems. And that’s a large part of what I think education is—it’s a form of indoctrination. You have to reconstruct a picture of the world in order to be conducive to the interests and concerns of the educated classes, and this involves a lot of self-deceit.

Robert Trivers: So you’re talking about self-deception in at least two contexts. One is intellectuals who, in a sense, go through a process of education which results in a self-deceived organism who is really working to serve the interests of the privileged few without necessarily being conscious of it at all. The other thing is these massive industries of persuasion and deception, which, one can conceptualize, are also inducing a form of either ignorance or self-deception in listeners, where they come to believe that they know the truth when in fact they’re just being manipulated.

So let me ask you, when you think about the leaders—let’s say the present set of organisms that launched this dreadful Iraq misadventure—how important is their level of self-deception?