The Responsibility of Intellectuals
Reflections by Noam Chomsky and Others after 50 years
Edited by Nicholas Allott, Chris Knight, and Neil Smith and commentaries by Noam Chomsky
With the publication of ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’ half a century ago, Noam Chomsky burst onto the US political scene as a leading critic of the war in Vietnam. Privilege, he argues, brings with it the responsibility to tell the truth and expose lies, but our intellectual culture only pays lip-service to this ideal. The essay has been described as ‘the single most influential piece of anti-war literature’ of the Vietnam war period.
Since then, Chomsky has continued to equip a growing international audience with the facts and arguments needed to understand – and change – our world. According to The New York Times, Chomsky ‘may be the most widely read American voice on foreign policy on the planet today.’
This book revisits ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’ half a century on. It includes six new essays written to celebrate Chomsky’s famous intervention and explore its relevance in today’s world. Nicholas Allott, Chris Knight, Milan Rai and Neil Smith have studied and written about Chomsky’s thought for many years, while Craig Murray and Jackie Walker describe the personal price they have paid for speaking out. The book finishes with Chomsky’s recollections of the background to the original publication of his essay, followed by extensive commentary from him on its 50th anniversary.
Chris Knight is a research fellow at UCL and author of Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics.
Neil Smith is emeritus professor of linguistics at UCL and co-author of Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals among many other books.
Nicholas Allott is senior lecturer in English language at the University of Oslo and co-author of Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals.
Introduction: ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’: What it does and does not say
Remarks on the historical context of the essay ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’
1 Reflections on Chomsky’s ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’
Neil Smith and Amahl Smith
2 ‘I Don’t Want No Peace’– a Black, Jewish activist’s take on the responsibility of intellectuals
3 The responsibility of intellectuals in the era of bounded rationality and Democracy for Realists
4 The propaganda model and the British nuclear weapons debate
5 Speaking truth to power – from within the heart of the empire
6 The abdication of responsibility
7 Replies and commentary
8 Conference Q&A
Format: Open Access PDF
6 B&W illustrations Illustrations
6 B&W illustrations
Publication: September 3, 2019