The importance of thought control of the general population suggests precisely that the role of the critical intellectual is crucial for any movement aiming at liberating social change. [T]he writings of Noam Chomsky offer an outstanding example of what a critical intellectual can do. Political activities of (leftist) intellectuals often oscillate between two extremes: either they absorb themselves entirely into militant work (usually when they are young) and do not really use their specific abilities as intellectuals; or they retreat from that kind of involvement, but then limit themselves to expressing moral indignation disconnected from genuine political analysis.
Jean Bricmont, ‘The Responsibility of the Intellectual’, in James McGilvray (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky, Cambridge, 2005, pp. 280-281