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On Intellectualism (1 Viewer)

“It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.”
~Noam Chomsky [1]




Intellectuals have always played a major role in society, from the philosophers of old such Plato and Aristotle who articulated thoughts about government, science, and biology to modern intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Cornel West who go about speaking truth to power and working toward informing and empowering average people. Yet, the role of the intellectual has changed over time and thus the time has arisen to reexamine and redefine the duties and responsibilities of the intellectual for this new century.


Before going into what the duties of intellectuals are, one must first define what an intellectual is. The tem intellectual can be defined as “a person who primarily uses intelligence in either a professional or an individual capacity.” [2] This application of intelligence can be for almost anything, but it is more popularly viewed as applying intelligence to social, economic, and political issues. Furthermore, the intellectual goes beyond focusing on newsworthy items and goes into the realm of theory, from thinking and formulating theory to articulating as to how that theory would potentially work in reality.


Currently, it seems that intellectuals are split into three camps: public, private, and dual intellectuals.


The public intellectual is usually a university professor who goes about researching, writing, and sharing their ideas in the public sphere via books, conferences, and being guests on radio and television shows. While this may seem to be a positive occurrence, much of this information remains in the realm of academia or academia-related areas with little of it becoming truly disseminated to the mainstream public. The books may be published and the conferences occur, but the only people who know about them are mainly people who are either in that field professionally or already have an interest in that area of study. Of the little information that does get disseminated on a mass scale, it is mainly done by well-known intellectuals such as Chris Hedges. Thus, there is currently a problem concerning public intellectuals where the information isn’t truly getting out to the people at large and because of this the majority of people are unaware of what new theories or discoveries are occurring and thus more vulnerable to misinformation and less likely to become active and involved in the current economic, social, or political situation.


The private intellectual is one who uses their intellect for the benefit of private groups, foundations, or individuals. One such example is Martin L. Leibowitz, the managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation. Leibowitz uses his intellect for the betterment of the Foundation by managing its assets and investments in order to make the most profit, thus allowing the Foundation to continue its work.


Dual intellectuals are members of the intelligentsia that have one foot in both worlds, occupying the space of a public intellectual and also being or having been a private intellectual. Arguably the most prominent dual intellectual in American politics today is Zbigniew Brzezinski. While he has been a professor at Harvard and Columbia and is currently employed by John H. Hopkins University, Brzezinski was also the co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, which concerns itself with increased cooperation among the United States, Europe, and Japan. Intellectuals such as these are arguably the most powerful as not only do they have the connections and power that comes from being in the private sector, but they also have major sway over the collective consciousness of a society. Dual intellectuals can make their ideas public, put them out into the mainstream society, and because they also have a background as a public intellectual, the public is much more willing to trust them as they see such people as experts.

More can be read here: http://whataboutpeace.blogspot.com/2012/09/on-intellectualism.html
 
Dividing intellectuals into private and public orcs is rather mundane. Chomsky is probably the most over-rated intellectual of our time, being simple enough for commoners and unobtrusive enough for old school commies.
 
ecofarm;bt1799 said:
Dividing intellectuals into private and public orcs is rather mundane. Chomsky is probably the most over-rated intellectual of our time, being simple enough for commoners and unobtrusive enough for old school commies.

Don't be bad mouthing one of the greatest minds of our time. Chomsky knows what's really going on but is stifled and blackballed by the corporate media monopolies.

Have you ever read any of Chomsky's writings, ecofarm?
 
ecofarm;bt1799 said:
Dividing intellectuals into private and public orcs is rather mundane. Chomsky is probably the most over-rated intellectual of our time, being simple enough for commoners and unobtrusive enough for old school commies.

I'd have to somewhat disagree with that as I've heard that in his books, Chomsky is actually quite complex and somewhat difficult to understand while his speeches and interviews are much easier to understand and comprehend.
 
If people are going to tout intellectualism, shouldn't they be capable of original thought instead of treating an influential figure with fanboy fervor?

As fas as linguistics is concerned, Chomsky has merit. In the field of politics, his observations are hackneyed, predictable and very derivative.
 
Gardener;bt1804 said:
If people are going to tout intellectualism, shouldn't they be capable of original thought instead of treating an influential figure with fanboy fervor?

As fas as linguistics is concerned, Chomsky has merit. In the field of politics, his observations are hackneyed, predictable and very derivative.

I'm not treating anyone with fanboy fervor.
 
LiberalAvenger;bt1800 said:
Don't be bad mouthing one of the greatest minds of our time. Chomsky knows what's really going on but is stifled and blackballed by the corporate media monopolies.

Have you ever read any of Chomsky's writings, ecofarm?

Chomsky's approach is to tell only one side of a story and leave out any facts that interfere with his theory. He relies a great deal on the ignorance of his customary audience when it comes to his political advocacy. In his recounting of bad deeds of the American government abroad, for example, it is as if the Soviet Union never existed and there was no threat during the Cold War that the US was responding to. No, America just did all that stuff because Americans are mean or greedy.

But the most damnable thing he did was to provide liberals with intellectual cover for abandoning Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge. Chomsky argued that there was no danger to the Cambodian people if the US pulled out. He argued that the people there were worse off if the US stayed. The result of American suspension of aid, voted on by the Democratic Congress, was the deaths of millions of ordinary Cambodians in the infamous killing fields. Chomsky has the blood of millions on his hands.
 

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