Sheri Herndon on 19 Oct 2000 23:02:23 -0000

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<nettime> Re: 'Do not forget ideas are also weapons'

thanks manse.  

i'm still reading it but wanted to share this from a review of chomsky's
rogue states and eqbal ahmad's confronting empire by zia mian, friend of
eqbal ahmad's and a physicist, peace activist.

ties in with the role of the intellectual section.

in february 67, noam chomsky, then a young professor at mit, published an
essay in the new york review of books called "the responsibility of
intellectuals".  in a stunning display of political critique, polemic, and
theory, he challenged a generation of american scholars on their
relationship to truth, to their government, to their society, and to the
us war against vietnam.

consider, he asked, the fact that "intellectuals are in a position to
expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their
causes and motives and often hidden intentions.  in the western world, at
least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access
to information, and freedom of express."

"for a privileged minority, western democracy provides the leisure, the
facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the
veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest,
through which the events of current history are presented to us."  why
then, he posed the question, have american intellectuals, and so many
others, stood by in silence and apathy as this catastrophe slowly took
shape over the past dozen years; on what page of history do we find our
proper place?

in a key passage in the essay, chomsky warned that theh problem went far
beyond vietnam and darkened the future.  he argued "it is an article of
faith that american motives are pure, and not subject to analysis.  
although it is nothing new in american intellectual history -- or, for
that matter, in the general history of imperialist apologia -- this
innocence becomes increasingly distasteful as the power it serves grows
more dominant in world affairs, and more capable, therefore, of the
unconstrained viciousness that the mass media present to us each day.

We are hardly the first power in history to combine material interests,
great technological capacity, and an utter disregard for the suffering and
misery of the lower orders.  the long tradition of naivete and
self-righteousness that disfigures our intellectual history, however, must
serve as a warning to the third world, if such a warning is needed, as to
how our protestations of sincerity and benign intent are to be

> From: "manse jacobi" <>
> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 21:09:42 -0600
> To: "Nettime" <>
> Subject: 'Do not forget ideas are also weapons'

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