The Responsibility of Intellectuals, Redux In modern times, intellectuals are viewed as defenders of justice and the elite who questions people in authority, fighting for moral values, integrity in public office and respect for human rights. In the past, intellectuals like the Dreyfusards have been condemned and sidelined by the authorities simply because the values and principles they upheld was going against the ruling political class, and the ideas they advocated for inflicted with the interests of the prominent individuals (Chomsky)…
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Historically, intellectuals who disagreed with the authorities suffered severe consequences as illustrated by, Eugene Debs, Rosa Luxemburg, Bertrand Russell, and Karl Liebknecht and Zola. This shows that intellectuals who pose a challenge to governments are usually painted as public enemies, while those who help the government to carry out their policies were regarded responsible. The trend has not changed much up to now, as illustrated with the intellectuals in Latin American, who despite their call for justice over the years, they have not received due honor compared to their counterparts who support the authorities. The author also condemns various injustices practiced by the U.S government, among them the support of the military junta in Haiti, planning and implementation of military coup in Brazil, and the brutal murder of Osama Bin Laden, as opposed to apprehension and prosecution, a clear illustration of governments’ act in overriding the process of justice. ...
He calls upon intellectuals to take up the role of protecting various principles they uphold, which are mainly the principles of peace (Chomsky). Response I am in agreement with Chomsky’s observation, that Governments have not been fair in recognizing the achievements of these intellectuals, as they have always privileged those who help them pursue their policies and interests, and condemn those who stands for their principles, even if it is against the interest of the government. The example Chomsky gives, of John Dewey, who was a well-respected policy maker until his ideas of freedom of press conflicted with the government is a perfect prove that Chomsky is not just making claims, but he is supporting them with real life examples. Another example is Nelson Mandela, who fought tirelessly for end of apartheid and racial discrimination, only to be viewed as a criminal with no rights to visit United States until 2008. The same principles advocated by Mandela, are the same ones that Martin Luther King Junior advocated for in America but the later was highly valued in Kennedy Administration, unlike Mandela. It seems therefore that some intellectuals are privileged not by the values they stand for, but by the aspect of how well they relate with the government of the day. Chomsky calls upon Intellectuals to play a major role in upholding values of the society, despite what status the authorities may put to them. He insists that social evils that our governments promote should be openly rebuked by intellectual, which in my view is a very good advice that intellectuals should adopt. Chomsky also makes a very important and genuine plea to intellectuals, when he says that they should not be used by government to scheme injustices like manipulation of democracy to reserve
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cribing him as the greatest theorist of socialism since Marx and comparing his genius with that of Peter the Great (Talmon, J. L. 451). At the light of these evaluations, somehow solitary stands Talmon’s description of George Sorel like a restless and easily discouraged seeker, whose tentative enthusiasms and bitter disillusionments not only epitomised the development and transformation of his views, but also placed him among the nineteenth century’s great prophets of wrath, along with Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Ibsen, and etc.(453).
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