Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Is Noam Chomsky just another liberal whom uncritically inherited the left-leanings of his academic colleagues? I doubt it as he has devoted his life to understanding the structure and origin of human language – in fact, he is the “father of linguistics” and founder of cognitive science – and is most likely well aware of his biases against power, authority and conformity.
Chomsky has a personality that emphasizes compassion, individuality and a resentment for control. The negative experiences he has had with others serve to validate these attitudes. His meekness – being easily pushed around – reinforces a need for subversion, and the fact that he often doesn’t meet our popular culture’s standards makes conformity unpleasant.
So knowing someone’s personality traits and past experiences will help us understand why they focus on things that others may find absurd. We can’t deny how he sees the world, as that is called invalidation, but we can see if what he feels and thinks conforms to a wider reality. And it turns out that it does because most liberals share the same attitudes.