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February 4, 1974

Linguist, cognitive scientist and social activist Noam Chomsky, Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spoke to a near-capacity audience in the Chapel on “The Secular Priesthood”—the burgeoning “technocracy” of post-industrial society. Sponsored by the multidisciplinary program in Science, Technology and Society, Chomsky, reported The Miscellany News, disparaged three common beliefs enforced for political ends by “the power elite”: that “the technological imperative leads necessarily to a concentration of power; that stratification of society [based on meritocratic princlples] is inevitable in a technocratic world…and that behavioral science has become so advanced that it should be used to condition and order our current world.”

Chomsky’s widely discussed book, American Power and the New Mandarins appeared in 1969, and his book, with economist and media analyst Edward S. Herman, Counter-Revolutionary Violence—Bloodbaths in Fact & Propaganda (1973) was suppressed at the last moment by its publisher, Warner Modular Publications.

The Years