Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Noam Chomsky quote of the day

Since we're discussing the freedoms of being graduate students and the responsibilities of "speaking truth" as intellectuals (if you want proof of that check out how Kamel's wit triumphs over ignorance in the 100 or so crazy comments of this post), I thought I would bring up this quote from Chomsky, one of the leading intellectuals of this era:

"Students are at a stage of their lives where these choices are most urgent and compelling, and when they also enjoy unusual, if not unique, freedom and opportunity to explore the choices available, to evaluate them, and to pursue them. [...] Well, there are really some moral truisms. One of them is that opportunity confers responsibility. If you have very limited opportunities, then you have limited responsibility for what you do. If you have substantial opportunity you have greater responsibility for what you do. I mean, that's kind of elementary, I don't know how it can be discussed. And the people who we call 'intellectuals' are just those who happen to have substantial opportunity. They have privilege, they have resources, they have training. In our society, they have a high degree of freedom-not a hundred percent, but quite a lot-and that gives them a range of choices that they can pursue with a fair degree of freedom, and that hence simply confers responsibility for the predictable consequences of the choices they make. "