For one, Chomsky is probably the most important linguist who has ever existed, primarily for proposing the existence of a "universal grammar." MMM, if I remember correctly, will likely come in here and school me on this, but the idea is that humans possess an innate language acquisition device (LAD), and that if we could understand the mechanism of the LAD, we'd eventually get some features that would make up a universal grammar.
(I'm no cognitive scientist, but, IMHO, the biological brain does not create abstract propositions as its most fundamental ability, and, rather, most of what we think are our abstract ideas are actually paradigms - a hub in the neural network with features that are less and less salient and more diverse as we track further away from the hub, so, IMO, the LAD is, if not identical, part of the same fundamental ability that allows us to have language. Because what is language is not the creation of abstract concepts? I know, to some of you I probably sound like an idiot because I've never really read my Wittgenstein, but anyway, that's what I've got. Also, paradoxically, if I remember correctly, it's only when AIs are programmed using a neural network model that they are seemingly able to acquire language in a way that looks anything like what humans do, which would seem to blow a pretty big whole in my theory there, also, but moving on.)
Anyway, thinking about this stuff is, yes, hard, especially when you're going to ask not only what sorts of grammar mistakes children often make in learning languages, cross-culturally, in order to figure out innate language ability, but also try to effectively brainstorm what sort of mistakes children aren't making. It's really pretty freaking difficult to get that far out of your own head. Or maybe I'm an idiot. But, I can say that it's certainly hard for me.
Lastly, speaking generally, this guy is one of the last people even arguing any kind of innate ideas theory anymore that's not doing so from a biological determinist standpoint - everyone else seems to have dropped it back during British Empiricism.
And so, on to the guy's politics. Hopefully we've established that the guy has an intellect that has to be taken seriously (although given past discussions on Paul Krugman, I doubt it).
So, Chomsky's far from an idiot. But so many people treat him as such when it comes to politics. Or dismiss him as a radical. But, so often, what's a radical besides someone who off the mainstream spectrum? Why is it the radical that should not be taken seriously, instead of the state of mainstream political discourse?
So, Chomsky is a self-described anarcho-syndicalist (custom title waiting to happen...), which, if you've ever read him, is what I would guess Kim Stanley Robinson is. Anti "wage slavery," seeks to have workers own the means of production, intended to replace capitalism within a democracy. Anarco-syndicalist are also against state ownership of the means of production, to distinguish from Marxism.
So, recently, he said this about the death of bin Laden:
Indeed, Noam, we might ask.
So, some have suggested that Chomsky is not worth taking seriously. Let's hear why. If anyone wants to discuss the LAD, etc., or anarcho-syndicalism generally, I'm down with that also.