Noam on Dyson vs. West

Noam’s comments from 2011, perfectly applicable to the West/Dyson shitstorm now exploding on the internets.

The word “prophet” is a very bad translation of an obscure Hebrew word, navi. Nobody knows what it means. But today they’d be called dissident intellectuals. They were giving geopolitical analysis, arguing that the acts of the rulers were going to destroy society. And they condemned the acts of evil kings. They called for justice and mercy to orphans and widows and so on.

And the nivi’im were treated the way dissident intellectuals always are. They weren’t praised. They weren’t honored. They were imprisoned like Jeremiah. They were driven into the desert. They were hated. Now at the time, there were intellectuals, ‘prophets,’ who were very well treated. They were the flatterers of the court. Centuries later, they were called “false prophets.”

People who criticize power . . . are regarded the way Ahab treated Elijah: You’re a traitor. You’ve got to serve power. You can’t argue that the policies . . are going to lead to . . . destruction.

Is there any question who is the navi and who is the “false prophet”?

Original source here.

Update:  Also relevant to the charismatic, high volume, rhetorical style trafficked in by both parties:  “I’m always put off by people who are called good speakers, by those who can rouse and audience. That’s just what you do not want. If you have the capacity to do it, you should suppress it.”  Source here.

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