bostonreview on Sep 27, 2011
September 22, 2011 – Wong Auditorium, MIT – In 1967, as the Vietnam War escalated, Noam Chomsky penned The Responsibility of Intellectuals, a stunning rebuke to scientists and scholars for their subservience to political power. Today we face a similar array of crises, from wars to escalating debt. What are the obligations of intellectuals in this day and age? Introduction by Joshua Cohen.
Ideas Matter, a joint project of Boston Review and MIT’s Political Science Department, is a lecture series that brings our writers together with other experts and practitioners for substantive debate on the challenges of our times. The series, free and open to the public, will offer four events in the 2011–12 academic year.
Noam Chomsky: The Responsibility of Intellectuals, Redux
Since we often cannot see what is happening before our eyes, it is perhaps not too surprising that what is at a slight distance removed is utterly invisible. We have just witnessed an instructive example: President Obama’s dispatch of 79 commandos into Pakistan on May 1 to carry out what was evidently a planned assassination of the prime suspect in the terrorist atrocities of 9/11, Osama bin Laden. Though the target of the operation, unarmed and with no protection, could easily have been apprehended, he was simply murdered, his body dumped at sea without autopsy. The action was deemed “just and necessary” in the liberal press. There will be no trial, as there was in the case of Nazi criminals—a fact not overlooked by legal authorities abroad who approve of the operation but object to the procedure. As Elaine Scarry reminds us, the prohibition of assassination in international law traces back to a forceful denunciation of the practice by Abraham Lincoln, who condemned the call for assassination as “international outlawry” in 1863, an “outrage,” which “civilized nations” view with “horror” and merits the “sternest retaliation.”
- Noam Chomsky defends Ron Paul – Same position as the Pentagon (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- After 9/11, Was War the Only Option? by Noam Chomsky (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Noam Chomsky: U.S. has ‘extreme contempt for democracy’ + Chomsky’s core message to humanity (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Noam Chomsky: Two Major Crises Looming: Nuclear War and Global Warming (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)