Qualifications to Speak on World Affairs: A Presidential Campaign
Man: Mr. Chomsky, I’m wondering what specific qualifications you have to be able to speak all around the country about world affairs?
Chomsky: None whatsoever. The qualifications that I have to speak on world affairs are exactly the same ones Henry Kissinger has, and Walt Rostow has, or anybody in the Political Science Department, professional historians—none. None that you don’t have. The difference is, I don’t pretend to have qualifications, nor do I pretend that qualifications are needed. If somebody were to ask me to give a talk on quantum physics I’d refuse, because I don’t understand enough. But world affairs are trivial; there’s nothing in the social sciences or history or whatever that is beyond the intellectual capacities of an ordinary fifteen-year-old.