Chomsky delves into the historical concept of intellectuals in reference to several scholars including Dreyfusards’, whose stance depicted they were defenders of justice and integrity although by then they were not seen as such and Zola who was Jailed for his liberal views. These leads to the timeless question; what is the responsibility of intellectuals? He proposes a solution for that in that the intellectuals in their individual stood behind their respective armies in world war one. According to Chomsky, they were not actually representing any valid intellectual positions, but they were victims of misinformation, and war propaganda. However, the results were seen as evidence of the fact that intellectuals can handle and control human affairs effectively. Nonetheless, it was evident that those who did not support the government’s actions such as Bertrand Russell, Eugene Debs, and others were punished showing that it was not about the intellectuals proposing what needed to be done, but the government using them for support and opposition led to suffering.
The article goes ahead to illustrate a connection between intellectuals and governing power, according to Chomsky, since power often prevails; intellectuals who support governments appear responsible since the government’s success is often attributed to them.