Open Letter to Noam Chomsky

This is a letter I wrote to express some strong feelings I have about Noam Chomsky. I am curious if and hopeful that my feelings will resonate or at least be food for thought, so I am putting it out as an open letter

Dear Noam Chomsky,

I want you to know you are my hero, well one of them, but you're at the top of the list. I've read enough to know that you are already thinking "but there are so many people more heroic than me." No doubt you are right about this, but bear with me as I am really writing to challenge/criticize you. I know this is more up your alley, I just hope I'm up to the task.

My message is simple: You seem to admit that yours is "not any kind of sane lifestyle." I am pretty sure you were referencing your tendency to work all the time, to do things you hate because they are necessary like giving talks, basically your ethic of self-sacrifice. Look, certainly I admire that, but my question at this point is are you really accomplishing your goals? I don't want to cause you pain by telling you this, but the truth is I worshipped you for many years. I don't think I'm the only one. As you know, that's no good for building solidarity or for inspiring people.

Look, I'm only thirty, I'm in no position to give you advice, but I think you could actually get more work done by giving yourself a break. Simply telling people you aren't super-human isn't going to convince them– you have to show it with your actions. Saying that organizers do the real work and you are just the guy who gives talks is an excuse. There is no reason you can't be both.

Ira Woodward

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