Chomsky and the New Mandarins?
September 26, 2012 9:13 AM Subscribe
Noam Chomsky wrote a book decades ago called American Power and the New Mandarins
and I was wondering why he chose the word "Mandarin."
posted by ReWayne to writing & language (15 answers total)
Chomsky says "Quite generally, what grounds are there for supposing that those whose claim to power is based on knowledge and technique will be more benign in their exercise of power than those whose claim is based on wealth or aristocratic origin? On the contrary, one might expect the new mandarin to be dangerously arrogant, aggressive and incapable of adjusting to failure, as compared with his predecessor, whose claim to power was not diminished by honesty as to the limitations of his knowledge, lack of work to do or demonstrable mistakes."
Aside from being a dialect, Mandarin is also (in the Chinese Empire) a member of any of the nine senior grades of the bureaucracy, entered by examinations, according to dictionary.com. I just want to know why, when referring to American intelligentsia, technocrats, etc., Chomsky chose to refer to them as Mandarins.