Wednesday, July 29, 2009

going along

"If you quietly accept and go along no matter what your feelings are, ultimately you internalize what you’re saying, because it’s too hard to believe one thing and say another. I can see it very strikingly in my own background. Go to any elite university and you are usually speaking to very disciplined people, people who have been selected for obedience. And that makes sense. If you’ve resisted the temptation to tell the teacher, "You’re an asshole," which maybe he or she is, and if you don’t say, "That’s idiotic," when you get a stupid assignment, you will gradually pass through the required filters. You will end up at a good college and eventually with a good job." —Chomsky

"People who blame George Bush for "going along with the CIA" are themselves going along with their bosses, or their jobs, or their handbooks for living. People who blame the defense department for spending a thousand dollars on a toilet seat are themselves spending tens of thousands of dollars on equally stupid things to keep up with the style system. George Bush is no different from anyone I know in my university. He is a follower; they are followers. He is confused and doing his best; they are confused and doing their best. All are afraid. All are limited. Where do we get off feeling superior? Where do we get off feeling more courageous? Oh, he ends up doing worse things than the professors and administrators I've met, but only because he has more power to wield, more weapons at his disposal. Not because he is weaker, less principled, or less moral than they are. They're all equally flawed, equally afraid of being criticized, equally willing to think with someone else's brain, equally inclined to pass the buck and not take responsibility for the consequences of their actions."


the curator said...

Where does the Chomsky quote come from? I can find it online, but only as an unsourced quote in other places.

Hectocotylus said...

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Charles M. Young - Rolling Stone, May 28, 1992