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Anti-US writer voted top thinker

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Professor Noam Chomsky, a leading critic of United States foreign policy since before the Vietnam War, has been voted the world's top public intellectual in a poll run by two international magazines.

The magazines, Britain's 'Prospect' monthly and the Washington-based 'Foreign Policy' monthly, ran the poll, in which more than 20,000 readers voted. Chomsky was chosen from a list of 100 nominees, who had to be active in their respective fields while also able to communicate ideas to a general audience and influence public debate.

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Chomsky, author of "Hegemony or Survival; America's quest for global dominance," was the overwhelming choice for the top spot. He won almost twice as many votes (4,824) as Italian novelist Umberto Eco, who finished second with 2,464 votes. British biologist Richard Dawkins, former Czech Republic President Václav Havel, and U.S.-based British writer Christopher Hitchens round out the top five.

While hailing one of the most prominent critics of America in international debate, observers noted that the vote was not rigged by anti-Americans. Voters were also given the option of a write-in vote for one other name they felt should be included, and Nobel Prize-winning American economist Milton Friedman, the intellectual father of modern monetarism and a prominent conservative, received the most write-in votes.

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Friedman was followed by British scientist Stephen Hawking, Indian writer Arundhati Roy, left-wing American historian Howard Zinn, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

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