Noam Chomsky

Born: December 7, 1928

Occupation: Linguist

Quotes of Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

The atrocities in Cambodia are a direct and understandable response to the violence of the imperial system.

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Noam Chomsky

Barron and Paul...rely on 'specialists' at the State and Defense Departments...Elsewhere in the media, similiar figures are bandied about, with equal credibility.

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Noam Chomsky

You might recall, perhaps, that we were probably the only commentators to rely on the most knowledgeable source, State Department intelligence.

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Noam Chomsky

What can one say about a country where a museum of science in a great city can feature an exhibit in which people fire machine guns from a helicopter at Vietnamese huts, with a light flashing when a hit...

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Noam Chomsky

Karl Marx said, “The task is not just to understand the world but to change it.” A variant to keep in mind is that if you want to change the world you’d better try to understand it. That doesn’t...

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Noam Chomsky

Anarchism, in my view, is an expression of the idea that the burden of proof is always on those who argue that authority and domination are necessary. They have to demonstrate, with powerful argument,...

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Noam Chomsky

The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships,...

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Noam Chomsky

People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.

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Noam Chomsky

It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.

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Noam Chomsky

If you want to scare people, you talk about evil.

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Noam Chomsky

The great soul of power extends far beyond states, to every domain of life, from families to international affairs. And throughout, every form of authority and domination bears a severe burden of proof....

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Noam Chomsky

...if you ask me whether or not I'm an atheist, I wouldn't even answer. I would first want an explanation of what it is that I'm supposed not to believe in, and I've never seen an explanation.

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Noam Chomsky

How it is we have so much information, but know so little?

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Noam Chomsky

Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are, in principle, under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist,...

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Noam Chomsky

Peace is preferable to war. But it’s not an absolute value, and so we always ask, “What kind of peace?

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Noam Chomsky

Amusing and perfectly self-conscious charlatans.

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Noam Chomsky

I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.

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Noam Chomsky

If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility...

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Noam Chomsky

That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.

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Noam Chomsky

The most striking aspect of linguistic competence is what we may call the 'creativity of language,' that is, the speaker's ability to produce new sentences, sentences that are immediately UNDERSTOOD by...

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Noam Chomsky

If you look at history, even recent history, you see that there is indeed progress. . . . Over time, the cycle is clearly, generally upwards. And it doesn't happen by laws of nature. And it doesn't happen...

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Noam Chomsky

Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt, they can't afford the time to think.

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Noam Chomsky

Education is a system of imposed ignorance.

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Noam Chomsky

If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope.

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Noam Chomsky

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies.

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Noam Chomsky

The fact that all normal children acquire essentially comparable grammars of great complexity with remarkable rapidity suggests that human beings are somehow specially designed to do this, with data-handling...

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Noam Chomsky

There’s no more morality in world affairs, fundamentally, than there was at the time of Genghis Khan.

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Noam Chomsky

The death penalty can be tolerated only by extreme statist reactionaries who demand a state that is so powerful that it has the right to kill.

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Noam Chomsky

So, at one extreme you have indigenous, tribal societies trying to stem the race to disaster. At the other extreme, the richest, most powerful societies in world history, like the United States and Canada,...

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Noam Chomsky

We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders.

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Noam Chomsky

Anything that you are achieving that undermines and threatens systems of power will meet with oppression. Systems of power don't say 'thank you.' What's important is not to focus all your efforts on the...

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Noam Chomsky

Growth is a funny sort of concept. For example, our GNP increases every time we build a prison. Well, okay, it’s growth in a sense...

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Noam Chomsky

In any institution-factory, university, health center, or whatever-there are a variety of interests that ought to be represented in decision-making: the work force itself, the community in which it is...

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Noam Chomsky

Sports plays a societal role in engendering jingoist and chauvinist attitudes. They're designed to organize a community to be committed to their gladiators.

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Noam Chomsky

Why should workers agree to be slaves in a basically authoritarian structure? They should have control over it themselves. Why shouldn't communities have a dominant voice in running the institutions that...

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Noam Chomsky

Extensive violations of human rights (torture, forced reduction of living standards for much of the population, police-sponsored death squads, destruction of representative institutions or of independent...

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Noam Chomsky

Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense,...

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Noam Chomsky

No honest journalist should be willing to describe himself or herseif as 'embedded.' To say, 'I'm an embedded journalist' is to say, 'I'm a government Propagandist.

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Noam Chomsky

You don't get to be a respected intellectual by uttering truisms in monosyllables.

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Noam Chomsky

The person who wins the Nobel Prize is not the person who read the most journal articles and took the most notes on them. It's the person who knew what to look for. And cultivating that capacity to seek...

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Noam Chomsky

Technology is usually fairly neutral. It’s like a hammer, which can be used to build a house or to destroy someone’s home. The hammer doesn’t care. It is almost always up to us to determine whether...

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Noam Chomsky

What is called 'capitalism'is basically a system of corporate mercantilism, with huge and largely unaccountable private tyrannies exercising vast control over the economy, political systems, and social...

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Noam Chomsky

The real world of American society is one which it is very misleading to call simply a democracy. Of course, it is in a sense a democracy, but it is one in which there are enormous inequities in the distribution...

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Noam Chomsky

The police can go to downtown Harlem and pick up a kid with a joint in the streets. But they can't go into the elegant apartments and get a stockbroker who's sniffing cocaine.

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Noam Chomsky

Nobody is going to pour truth into your brain. It's something you have to find out for yourself.

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Noam Chomsky

You don't have any other society where the educated classes are so effectively indoctrinated and controlled by a subtle propaganda system - a private system including media, intellectual opinion forming...

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Noam Chomsky

Science is a bit like the joke about the drunk who is looking under a lamppost for a key that he has lost on the other side of the street, because that's where the light is. It has no other choice.

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Noam Chomsky

There was no direct way to prevent the Boston murders. There are some easy ways to prevent likely future ones: by not inciting them. That's also true of another case of a suspect murdered, his body disposed...

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Noam Chomsky

The first modern propaganda agency was the British Ministry of Information a century ago, which secretly defined its task as to direct the thought of most of the world - primarily progressive American...

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Noam Chomsky

Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy.

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Noam Chomsky

Why does everyone take for granted that we don't learn to grow arms, but rather, are designed to grow arms? Similarly, we should conclude that in the case of the development of moral systems; there's a...

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Noam Chomsky

There is no reason to believe ... that the "essential purpose" of language is "communication". ... Language can be used to transmit information, but it also serves many other purposes: to establish relations...

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Noam Chomsky

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.

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Noam Chomsky

The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.

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Noam Chomsky

Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it.

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Noam Chomsky

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and...

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Noam Chomsky

In the US, there is basically one party - the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large,...

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Noam Chomsky

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.

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Noam Chomsky

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.

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Noam Chomsky

If you don't like what someone has to say, argue with them.

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Noam Chomsky

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.

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Noam Chomsky

The Bible is one of the most genocidal books in history.

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Noam Chomsky

If there was an observer on Mars, they would probably be amazed that we have survived this long.

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Noam Chomsky

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued - they may be essential to survival.

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Noam Chomsky

If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.

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Noam Chomsky

You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it.

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Noam Chomsky

Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.

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Noam Chomsky

The public is not to see where power lies, how it shapes policy, and for what ends. Rather, people are to hate and fear one another.

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Noam Chomsky

There is massive propaganda for everyone to consume. Consumption is good for profits and consumption is good for the political establishment.

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Noam Chomsky

To some degree it matters who's in office, but it matters more how much pressure they're under from the public.

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Noam Chomsky

States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions.

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Noam Chomsky

I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system.

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Noam Chomsky

You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.

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Noam Chomsky

The intellectual tradition is one of servility to power, and if I didn't betray it I'd be ashamed of myself.

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Noam Chomsky

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.

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Noam Chomsky

If you are working 50 hours a week in a factory, you don't have time to read 10 newspapers a day and go back to declassified government archives. But such people may have far-reaching insights into the...

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Noam Chomsky

Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of...

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Noam Chomsky

If you're teaching today what you were teaching five years ago, either the field is dead or you are.

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Noam Chomsky

Education must provide the opportunities for self-fulfillment; it can at best provide a rich and challenging environment for the individual to explore, in his own way.

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Noam Chomsky

Stability is when the U.K. and U.S. invade a country and impose the regime of their choice.

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Noam Chomsky

Growing up in the place I did I never was aware of any other option but to question everything.

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Noam Chomsky

There are two problems for our species' survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and we're hurtling towards them. Knowingly.

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Noam Chomsky

The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control - 'indoctrination,' we might say - exercised through the mass media.

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Noam Chomsky

The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society.

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Noam Chomsky

There are massive efforts on the part of the internet's corporate owners to try to direct it to become a technique of marginalisation and control.

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Noam Chomsky

Anti-Americanism is a pure totalitarian concept. The very notion is idiotic.

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Noam Chomsky

When Britain and the U.S. invaded Iraq, it was with the reasonable expectation that it was going to increase the threat of terror, as it has.

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Noam Chomsky

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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Noam Chomsky

I am opposed to the accumulation of executive power anywhere.

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Noam Chomsky

The people who were honored in the Bible were the false prophets. It was the ones we call the prophets who were jailed and driven into the desert.

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Noam Chomsky

Real popular culture is folk art - coalminers' songs and so forth.

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Noam Chomsky

Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world.

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Noam Chomsky

The principle that human nature, in its psychological aspects, is nothing more than a product of history and given social relations removes all barriers to coercion and manipulation by the powerful.

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Noam Chomsky

As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss.

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Noam Chomsky

It's like these people are programmed by Karl Rove. What he wants is to have liberal critics ridicule Bush because he says 'nucular' and 'misunderestimate' and talks with a probably fake Texas accent and...

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Noam Chomsky

I don't want followers.

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Noam Chomsky

How people themselves perceive what they are doing is not a question that interests me.

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Noam Chomsky

If you are giving a graduate course you don't try to impress the students with oratory, you try to challenge them, get them to question you.

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Noam Chomsky

States are not moral agents.

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Noam Chomsky

As a Zionist youth leader in the 1940s, I was among those who called for a binational state in Mandatory Palestine. When a Jewish state was declared, I felt that it should have the rights of other states...

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Noam Chomsky

We can, for example, be fairly confident that either there will be a world without war or there won't be a world - at least, a world inhabited by creatures other than bacteria and beetles, with some scattering...

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Noam Chomsky

I don't have any oratory skills. But I would not use them if I had.

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Noam Chomsky

Language is a weapon of politicians, but language is a weapon in much of human affairs.

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Noam Chomsky

Public opinion can be influential, the media can be influential.

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Noam Chomsky

Sooner or later, jihadist-style terror and WMD are going to come together and the consequences could be horrendous.

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Noam Chomsky

Anywhere in Latin America there is a potential threat of the pathology of caudillismo and it has to be guarded against.

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Noam Chomsky

As a research tool, the internet is invaluable.

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Noam Chomsky

Humans have certain properties and characteristics which are intrinsic to them, just as every other organism does. That's human nature.

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Noam Chomsky

I don't see any possibility of Britain and the U.S. allowing a sovereign independent Iraq; that's almost inconceivable.

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Noam Chomsky

In America, the professor talks to the mechanic. They are in the same category.

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Noam Chomsky

In the academic world, most of the work that is done is clerical. A lot of the work done by professors is routine.

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Noam Chomsky

My proposal happens to be very mainstream.

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Noam Chomsky

Now financial liberalization is just a catastrophe waiting to happen, and there are very well understood reasons for that.

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Noam Chomsky

The government of Israel doesn't like the kinds of things I say, which puts them into the same category as every other government in the world.

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Noam Chomsky

In many respects, the United States is a great country. Freedom of speech is protected more than in any other country. It is also a very free society.

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Noam Chomsky

Unlimited economic growth has the marvelous quality of stilling discontent while maintaining privilege, a fact that has not gone unnoticed among liberal economists.

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Noam Chomsky

Governments don't control people like they used to.

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Noam Chomsky

I don't like the intellectual label.

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Noam Chomsky

Markets have built in inefficiencies, serious inefficiencies which are well known.

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Noam Chomsky

State formation has been a brutal project, with many hideous consequences. But the results exist, and their pernicious aspects should be overcome.

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Noam Chomsky

In the late 1990s, some of the worst terrorist atrocities in the world were what the Turkish government itself called state terror, namely massive atrocities, 80 percent of the arms coming from the United...

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Noam Chomsky

I remember at the age of five travelling on a trolley car with my mother past a group of women on a picket line at a textile plant, seeing them being viciously beaten by security people. So that kind of...

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Noam Chomsky

The major advances in speed of communication and ability to interact took place more than a century ago. The shift from sailing ships to telegraph was far more radical than that from telephone to email!

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Noam Chomsky

In the literal sense, there has been no relevant evolution since the trek from Africa. But there has been substantial progress towards higher standards of rights, justice and freedom - along with all too...

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Noam Chomsky

Concentration of executive power, unless it's very temporary and for specific circumstances, let's say fighting world war two, it's an assault on democracy.

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Noam Chomsky

The only justification for repressive institutions is material and cultural deficit. But such institutions, at certain stages of history, perpetuate and produce such a deficit, and even threaten human...

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Noam Chomsky

It's perfectly obvious that there is some genetic factor that distinguishes humans from other animals and that it is language-specific. The theory of that genetic component, whatever it turns out to be,...

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Noam Chomsky

Resistance is feasible even for those who are not heroes by nature, and it is an obligation, I believe, for those who fear the consequences and detest the reality of the attempt to impose American hegemony.

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Noam Chomsky

For 500 years, since European explorers came, Latin American countries had been separated from one another. They had very limited relations. Integration is a prerequisite for independence.

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Noam Chomsky

The 'anti-globalisation movement' is the most significant proponent of globalisation - but in the interests of people, not concentrations of state-private power.

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Noam Chomsky

When I was a college student and I got interested in linguistics the concern among students was, this is a lot of fun, but after we have done a structural analysis of every language in the world what's...

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Noam Chomsky

Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.

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Noam Chomsky

Anarcho-syndic alism took for granted that working people ought to control their own work, its conditions, the enterprises in which they work, along with communities, so they should be associated with...

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Noam Chomsky

Governments are not representative.

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Noam Chomsky

The truth of the matter is that about 99 percent of teaching is making the students feel interestedin the material. Then the other 1 percent has to do with your methods. And that's not just true of languages....

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Noam Chomsky

It is quite possible--overwhelmingly probable, one might guess--that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology

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Noam Chomsky

Modern science and technology can relieve men of the necessity for specialized, imbecile labor. They may, in principle, provide the basis for a rational social order based on free association and democratic...

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Noam Chomsky

Technology is basically neutral. It's kind of like a hammer. The hammer doesn't care whether you use it to build a house, or whether a torturer uses it to crush somebody's skull.

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Noam Chomsky

I mean, what's the elections? You know, two guys, same background, wealth, political influence, went to the same elite university, joined the same secret society where you're trained to be a ruler - they...

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Noam Chomsky

The first step is to penetrate the clouds of deceit and distortion and learn the truth about the world, then to organize and act to change it. That's never been impossible and never been easy.

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Noam Chomsky

...jingoism, racism, fear, religious fundamentalism: these are the ways of appealing to people if you're trying to organize a mass base of support for policies that are really intended to crush them.

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Noam Chomsky

As any good teacher knows, the methods of instruction and the range of material covered are matters of small importance as compared with the success in arousing the natural curiosity of the students and...

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Noam Chomsky

We should not be speaking to, but with. That is second nature to any good teacher.

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Noam Chomsky

The number of people killed by the sanctions in Iraq is greater than the total number of people killed by all weapons of mass destruction in all of history.

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Noam Chomsky

Under capitalism, we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control.

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Noam Chomsky

The Bush Administration do have moral values. Their moral values are very explicit: shine the boots of the rich and the powerful, kick everybody else in the face, and let your grandchildren pay for it....

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Noam Chomsky

The dangers of unexamined and unregulated monopoly power, particularly in the state executive, are hardly news. The right reaction is not passive acquiescence.

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Noam Chomsky

It is not that I am not a fan of American exceptionalism. That is like saying I am not a fan of the moon being made out of green cheese-it does not exist. Powerful states have quite typically considered...

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Noam Chomsky

States are violent institutions. The government of any country, including ours, represents some sort of domestic power structure, and it's usually violent. States are violent to the extent that they're...

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Noam Chomsky

Remember, the U.S. is a powerful state, it's not like Libya. If Libya wants to carry out terrorist acts, they hire Carlos the Jackal or something. The United States hires terrorist states.

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Noam Chomsky

The dominant propaganda systems have appropriated the term "globalization" to refer to the specific version of international economic integration that they favor, which privileges the rights of investors...

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Noam Chomsky

Roughly speaking, I think it's accurate to say that a corporate elite of managers and owners governs the economy and the political system as well, at least in very large measure.

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Noam Chomsky

There is no western concern for issues of aggression, atrocities, human rights abuses and so on if there's a profit to be made from them

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Noam Chomsky

Democracy, in the United States rhetoric refers to a system of governance in which elite elements based in the business community control the state by virtue of their dominance of the private society,...

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Noam Chomsky

The general population doesn't know what's happening, and it doesn't even know that it doesn't know.

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Noam Chomsky

The key element of social control is the strategy of distraction that is to divert public attention from important issues and changes decided by political and economic elites, through the technique of...

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Noam Chomsky

Surely no rational or realistic person will discount the possibility that [during wartime] the United States might suddenly resort to nuclear weapons. Those who retain the instinct for survival, not to...

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Noam Chomsky

Our crimes, for which we are responsible: as taxpayers, for failing to provide massive reparations, for granting refuge and immunity to the perpetrators, and for allowing the terrible facts to be sunk...

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Noam Chomsky

One of the truths about the world is that there are two superpowers, one a huge power which happens to have its boot on your neck; another, a smaller power which happens to have its boot on other people's...

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Noam Chomsky

I try to encourage people to think for themselves, to question standard assumptions... Don't take assumptions for granted. Begin by taking a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom....

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Noam Chomsky

If you claim to have a theory that deduces unexpected consequences from nontrivial principles, let's see it.

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Noam Chomsky

Half the population hold that the government is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves, as polls regularly show.

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Noam Chomsky

Predatory capitalism created a complex industrial system and an advanced technology; it permitted a considerable extension of democratic practice and fostered certain liberal values, but within limits...

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Noam Chomsky

The only debatable issue, it seems to me, is whether it is more ridiculous to turn to experts in social theory for general well-confirmed propositions, or to the specialists in the great religions and...

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Noam Chomsky

You can’t have meaningful political democracy without functioning economic democracy.

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Noam Chomsky

It’s a shameful moment for U.S. media when it insists on being subservient to the grotesque propaganda agencies of a violent, aggressive state.

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Noam Chomsky

Plainly, such an approach does not exclude other ways of trying to comprehend the world. Someone committed to it (as I am) can consistently believe (as I do) that we learn much more of human interest about...

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Noam Chomsky

The media want to maintain their intimate relation to state power. They want to get leaks, they want to get invited to the press conferences. They want to rub shoulders with the Secretary of State, all...

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Noam Chomsky

The best defense against democracy is to distract people.

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Noam Chomsky

For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.

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Noam Chomsky

People tend to rally around power.

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Noam Chomsky

What the public wants is called 'politically unrealistic.' Translated into English, that means power and privilege are opposed to it.

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Noam Chomsky

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident...

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Noam Chomsky

The point of public relations slogans like 'Support our troops' is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against,...

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Noam Chomsky

State propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and many others, and it has been pursued to...

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Noam Chomsky

There are very deep and restrictive principles that determine the nature of human language and are rooted in the specific character of the human mind

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Noam Chomsky

By a generative grammar I mean simply a system of rules that in some explicit and well-defined way assigns structural descriptions to sentences. Obviously, every speaker of a language has mastered and...

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Noam Chomsky

Hence, a generative grammar must be a system of rules that can iterate to generate an indefinitely large number of structures. This system of rules can be analyzed into the three major components of a...

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Noam Chomsky

We do not for example say that the person has a perfect knowledge of some language L similar to English but still different from it. What we say is that the child or foreigner has a 'partial knowledge...

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Noam Chomsky

The fact is that if you have not developed language, you simply don't have access to most of human experience, and if you don't have access to experience, then you're not going to be able to think properly.

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Noam Chomsky

That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything.

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Noam Chomsky

We can imagine a society in which no one could survive as a social being because it does not correspond to biologically determined perceptions and human social needs. For historical reasons, existing...

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Noam Chomsky

It's very common for the victims to understand a system better than the people who are holding the stick.

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Noam Chomsky

There are many terrorist states in the world, but the United States is unusual in that it is officially committed to international terrorism.

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Noam Chomsky

Three quarters of the American population literally believe in religious miracles. The numbers who believe in the devil, in resurrection, in God doing this and that - it's astonishing. These numbers aren't...

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Noam Chomsky

The point of advertising is to destroy markets.

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Noam Chomsky

Governments will use whatever technology is available to combat their primary enemy - their own population.

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Noam Chomsky

One of the greatest dangers is secular religion - state worship.

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Noam Chomsky

As soon as one identifies, challenges and overcomes illegitimate power, he or she is an anarchist. Most people are anarchists. What they call themselves doesn’t matter to me. The world is full of suffering,...

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Noam Chomsky

The search for truth is a cooperative, unending endeavor. We can, and should, engage in it to the extent we can and encourage others to do so as well, seeking to free ourselves from constraints imposed...

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Noam Chomsky

The more privilege you have, the more opportunity you have. The more opportunity you have, the more responsibility you have.

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Noam Chomsky

A captured pirate was brought before Alexander the Great. “How dare you molest the sea?” asked Alexander. “How dare you molest the whole world?” the pirate replied, and continued: “Because I...

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Noam Chomsky

Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party.

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Noam Chomsky

I mean, it’s true, nobody talks about them, but when you bring it up, the idea that you have to rent yourself to somebody and follow their orders, and that they own and you work there, and you built...

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Noam Chomsky

The corporations plainly want academic scholarship to create a web of mystification that will avoid any public awareness of the way in which power actually functions in the society, and the faculty has...

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Noam Chomsky

The general public are not even aware of major decisions that will determine their fate, hence are in no position to influence them

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Noam Chomsky

Corporations are totalitarian institutions. Board of directors at the top of managers give orders, everyone follows orders..... At the very bottom of command, if you are lucky you can rent yourself to...

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Noam Chomsky

Anyone who studies declassified documents soon becomes aware that government secrecy is largely an effort to protect policy makers from scrutiny by citizens, not to protect the country from enemies.

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Noam Chomsky

The indoctrination is so deep that educated people think they’re being objective.

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Noam Chomsky

If something is repeated over and over as obvious, the chances are that it is obviously false.

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Noam Chomsky

A fundamental element of human nature is the need for creative work, for creative inquiry, for free creation without the arbitrary limiting effects of coercive institutions. A decent society should maximize...

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Noam Chomsky

Far from creating independent thinkers, schools have always, throughout history, played an institutional role in a system of control and coercion. And once you are well educated you have already been socialized...

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Noam Chomsky

He who controls the media controls the minds of the public.

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Noam Chomsky

The goal is a society in which the basic social unit is you and your television set. If the kid next door is hungry, it’s not your problem. If the retired couple next door invested their assets badly...

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Noam Chomsky

Boards of directors are allowed to work together, so are banks and investors and corporations in alliances with one another and with powerful states. That’s just fine. It’s just the poor who aren’t...

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Noam Chomsky

The press is owned by wealthy men who only want certain things to reach the public.

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Noam Chomsky

Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that...

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Noam Chomsky

If voting could actually change anything, it would be illegal.

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Noam Chomsky

It's only terrorism if they do it to us. When we do much worse to them, it's not terrorism.

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Noam Chomsky

The threat of China is not military. The threat of China is they can't be intimidated. Europe you can intimidate. When the US tries to get people to stop investing in Iran, European companies pull out,...

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Noam Chomsky

September 11 shocked many Americans into an awareness that they had better pay much closer attention to what the US government does in the world and how it is perceived. Many issues have been opened for...

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Noam Chomsky

The invasion of Iraq was simply a war crime. Straight-out war crime.

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Noam Chomsky

Virtually all informed observers agree that a fair and equitable resolution of the plight of the Palestinians would considerably weaken the anger and hatred of Israel and the US in the Arab and Muslim...

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Noam Chomsky

Whoever sets the agenda controls the outcome of the debate

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Noam Chomsky

That's the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.

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Noam Chomsky

My intellectual achievement was retarded when I went to high school. I sort of sank into a black hole because I had to go to the high-achieving, academic public high school.

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Noam Chomsky

We still name our military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy,...

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Noam Chomsky

The war against working people should be understood to be a real war…. Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class…. And they have long seen themselves as...

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Noam Chomsky

My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state... It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities...

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Noam Chomsky

Don't be obsessed with tactics but with purpose. Tactics have a half life.

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Noam Chomsky

Anarchists try to identify power structures. They urge those exercising power to justify themselves. This justification does not succeed most of the time.

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Noam Chomsky

If you want to control a population... give them a God to worship

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Noam Chomsky

Labor #‎ Unions are the leading force for #‎ democratization and #‎ progress .

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Noam Chomsky

You keep plugging away--that's the way social change takes place. That's the way every social change in history has taken place: by a lot of people, who nobody ever heard of, doing work.

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Noam Chomsky

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.

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Noam Chomsky

Democracy doesn't mean much if people have to confront concentrated systems of economic power as isolated individuals. Democracy means something if people can organize to gain information, to have thoughts...

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Noam Chomsky

It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.

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Noam Chomsky

If it's wrong when they do it, it's wrong when we do it.

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Noam Chomsky

There are few genuine conservatives within the U.S. political system, and it is a sign of the intellectual corruption of the age that the honorable term 'conservatism' can be appropriated to disguise the...

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Noam Chomsky

In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians...

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Noam Chomsky

The one state/two state debate is irrelevant as Israel and the US consolidate Greater Israel.

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Noam Chomsky

It hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison.

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Noam Chomsky

We're supposed to worship Adam Smith but you're not supposed to read him. That's too dangerous.

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Noam Chomsky

A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.

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Noam Chomsky

In the moral calculus of currently prevailing state capitalism, profits and bonuses in the next quarter greatly outweigh concern for the welfare of one’s grandchildren, and since these are institutional...

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Noam Chomsky

The world is a very puzzling place. If you're not willing to be puzzled, you just become a replica of someone else's mind.

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Noam Chomsky

Latin America, for the first time in 500 years, is moving towards a degree of independence.

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Noam Chomsky

The anniversary of Hiroshima, should be a day of somber reflection, not only on the terrible events of that day in 1945, but also on what they revealed: that humans, in their dedicated quest to extend...

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Noam Chomsky

You are responsible for the predictable consequences of your actions.

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Noam Chomsky

If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep...

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Noam Chomsky

The leading student of business propaganda, Australian social scientist Alex Carey, argues persuasively that “the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance:...

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Noam Chomsky

Control of thought is more important for governments that are free and popular than for despotic and military states. The logic is straightforward: a despotic state can control its domestic enemies by...

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Noam Chomsky

One of the questions asked in that study was, How many Vietnamese casualties would you estimate that there were during the Vietnam war? The average response on the part of Americans today is about 100,000....

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Noam Chomsky

Globalization is the result of powerful governments, especially that of the United States, pushing trade deals and other accords down the throats of the world’s people to make it easier for corporations...

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Noam Chomsky

If something is right (or wrong) for us, it’s right (or wrong) for others. It follows that if it’s wrong for Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and a long list of others to bomb Washington and New York, then...

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Noam Chomsky

Suppose that, say, China established military bases in Colombia to carry out chemical warfare in Kentucky and North Carolina to destroy this lethal crop [tobacco] that is killing huge numbers of Chinese.

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Noam Chomsky

I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.

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Noam Chomsky

The rascal multitude are the proper targets of the mass media and a public education system geared to obedience and training in needed skills, including the skill of repeating patriotic slogans on timely...

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Noam Chomsky

These are fashionable people who call themselves philosophers.

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Noam Chomsky

In much of the world the U.S. is regarded as a leading terrorist state.

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Noam Chomsky

As long as people are marginalized and distracted [they] have no way to organize or articulate their sentiments, or even know that others have these sentiments. People assume that they are the only people...

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Noam Chomsky

The 'corporatization of America' during the past century [has been] an attack on democracy.

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Noam Chomsky

There's a very committed effort to convert the US into something resembling a Third World society, where a few people have enormous wealth and a lot of others have no security.

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Noam Chomsky

There is no reason to accept the doctrines crafted to sustain power and privilege, or to believe that we are constrained by mysterious and unknown social laws. These are simply decisions made within institutions...

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Noam Chomsky

As for the various religions, there's no doubt that they are very meaningful to adherents, and allow them to delude themselves into thinking there is some meaning to their lives beyond what we agree is...

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Noam Chomsky

Prophet just means intellectual. They were people giving geopolitical analysis, moral lessons, that sort of thing. We call them intellectuals today. There were the people we honor as prophets, there were...

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Noam Chomsky

Take any country that has laws against hate crimes, inspiring hatred and genocide and so on. The first thing they would do is ban the Old Testament. There's nothing like it in the literary canon that exalts...

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Noam Chomsky

Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own. . .

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Noam Chomsky

It doesn't matter what we cover, it matters what you discover.

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Noam Chomsky

It is not a war. It is murder.

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Noam Chomsky

Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.

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Noam Chomsky

With regard to freedom of expression there are basically two positions: you defend it vigorously for views you hate, or you reject it in favor of Stalinist/Fascist standards.

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Noam Chomsky

The task for a modern industrial society is to achieve what is now technically realizable, namely, a society which is really based on free voluntary participation of people who produce and create, live...

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Noam Chomsky

When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population...

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Noam Chomsky

It’s pretty ironic that the so-called ‘least advanced’ people are the ones taking the lead in trying to protect all of us, while the richest and most powerful among us are the ones who are trying...

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Noam Chomsky

Naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk... It's as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes 'Jew' and 'Gypsy.'

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Noam Chomsky

In fact, it's doing it all over the world. Obama, first of all, is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history. The drone assassination campaigns, which are just part of it. All...

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Noam Chomsky

The whole educational and professional training system...

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Noam Chomsky

Non-violent resistance activities cannot succeed against an enemy that is able freely to use violence. That's pretty obvious. You can't have non-violent resistance against the Nazis in a concentration...

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Noam Chomsky

Nothing can justify crimes such as those of September 11, but we can think of the United States as an innocent victim only if we adopt the convenient path of ignoring the record of its actions and those...

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Noam Chomsky

One might ask why tobacco is legal and marijuana not. A possible answer is suggested by the nature of the crop. Marijuana can be grown almost anywhere, with little difficulty. It might not be easily marketable...

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Noam Chomsky

Education is imposed ignorance.

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Noam Chomsky

We don't use the term 'working class' here because it's a taboo term. You're supposed to say 'middle class,' because it helps diminish the understanding that there's a class war going on.

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Noam Chomsky

There is a noticeable general difference between the sciences and mathematics on the one hand, and the humanities and social sciences on the other. It's a first approximation, but one that is real. In...

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Noam Chomsky

Because they don't teach the truth about the world, schools have to rely on beating students over the head with propaganda about democracy. If schools were, in reality, democratic, there would be no need...

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Noam Chomsky

There's a good reason why nobody studies history, it just teaches you too much.

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Noam Chomsky

Capitalism’s concept of competitive man who seeks only to maximize wealth and power, who subjects himself to market relationships, to exploitation and external authority, is anti-human and intolerable...

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Noam Chomsky

The beauty of our system is that it isolates everybody. Each person is sitting alone in front of the tube, you know. It's very hard to have ideas or thoughts under those circumstances. You can't fight...

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Noam Chomsky

When I was in high school I asked myself at one point: "Why do I care if my high school's team wins the football game? I don't know anybody on the team, they have nothing to do with me... why am I here...

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Noam Chomsky

Passivity may be the easy course, but it is hardly the honorable one.

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Noam Chomsky

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum....

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Noam Chomsky

Advertising is tax deductible, so we all pay for the privilege of being manipulated and controlled.

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Noam Chomsky

If by 'intellectual' you mean people who are a special class who are in the business of imposing thoughts and forming ideas for people in power, and telling people what they should believe...they're really...

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Noam Chomsky

Our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, and an inkling of what we are looking for. When...

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Noam Chomsky

If you want to end terrorism stop participating in it.

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Noam Chomsky

Do you train for passing tests or do you train for creative inquiry?

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Noam Chomsky

It is only in folk tales, children's stories, and the journals of intellectual opinion that power is used wisely and well to destroy evil. The real world teaches very different lessons, and it takes willful...

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Noam Chomsky

I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they...

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Noam Chomsky

Now, the Libertarian Party, is a *capitalist* party. It's in favor of what *I* would regard a *particular form* of authoritarian control. Namely, the kind that comes through private ownership and control,...

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Noam Chomsky

There isn't much point arguing about the word "libertarian." It would make about as much sense to argue with an unreconstructed Stalinist about the word "democracy" - recall that they called what they'd...

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Noam Chomsky

... an essential feature of a decent society, and an almost defining feature of a democratic society, is relative equality of outcome - not opportunity, but outcome. Without that you can't seriously talk...

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Noam Chomsky

But, that's the whole point of corporatization - to try to remove the public from making decisions over their own fate, to limit the public arena, to control opinion, to make sure that the fundamental...

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Noam Chomsky

On abortion: We are talking about ambiguous issues of a complicated kind where you have to balance conflicting interests and concerns.

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Noam Chomsky

I think there is a good reason why the propaganda system works that way. It recognizes that the public will not support the actual policies. Therefore it is important to prevent any knowledge or understanding...

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Noam Chomsky

If we move toward the weaponisation of space, we can bid farewell to the planet. The chances of survival are very slight.

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Noam Chomsky

Freedom without opportunity is a devil's gift.

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Noam Chomsky

To cite the facts of history is to fall prey to 'moral equivalence,' or 'political correctness,' or 'the error of of atheism,' or one of the other misdeeds concocted to guard against the sins of understanding...

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Noam Chomsky

In some ways, [the student anti-sweatshop movement] is like the anti-apartheid movement, except that in this case its striking at the core of the relations of exploitation. Much of this was initiated...

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Noam Chomsky

I am not too happy with terms like “the left”, to be honest. And I don’t use it much….if by “the left” you mean people who are committed to peace and justice and freedom and so on, there can’t...

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Noam Chomsky

Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise,...

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Noam Chomsky

See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence.

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Noam Chomsky

Bolivia is a striking example. The mostly white, Europeanized elite, which is a minority, happens to be sitting on most of the hydrocarbon reserves. For the first time Bolivia is becoming democratic. So...

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Noam Chomsky

For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies,...

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Noam Chomsky

French intellectual life has, in my opinion, been turned into something cheap and meretricious by the 'star' system. It is like Hollywood. Thus we go from one absurdity to another - Stalinism, existentialism....

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Noam Chomsky

From a comparative perspective, the United States is unusual if not unique in the lack of restraints on freedom of expression. It is also unusual in the range and effectiveness of methods employed to restrain...

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Noam Chomsky

The kind of work that should be the main part of life is the kind of work you would want to do if you weren't being paid for it. It's work that comes out of your own internal needs, interests and concerns.

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Noam Chomsky

The social system is taking on a form in which finding out what you want to do is less and less of an option because your life is too structured, organised, controlled and disciplined.

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Noam Chomsky

Policy is largely set by economic elites and organized groups representing business interests with little concern for public attitudes or public safety, as long as the public remains passive and obedient.

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Noam Chomsky

Efforts can succeed over time, and not trying ensures that the worst will happen.

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Noam Chomsky

Unfortunately, you can’t vote the rascals out, because you never voted them in, in the first place

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Noam Chomsky

Neoliberal democracy. Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized...

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Noam Chomsky

The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive,...

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Noam Chomsky

For the totalitarian mind, adherence to state propaganda does not suffice: one must display proper enthusiasm while marching in the parade.

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Noam Chomsky

Everyone engaged in research must have had the experience of working with feverish and prolonged intensity to write a paper which no one else will read or to solve a problem which no one else thinks important...

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Noam Chomsky

I think that in order to achieve progress in the study of language and human cognitive faculties in general it is necessary first to establish 'psychic distance' from the 'mental facts' to which Köhler...

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Noam Chomsky

Hamas is regularly described as 'Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.' One will be hard put to find something like 'democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling...

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Noam Chomsky

Of course all such conclusions about appropriate actions against the rich and powerful are based on a fundamental flaw: This is us, and that is them. This crucial principle, deeply embedded in Western...

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Noam Chomsky

The new crimes that the US and Israel were committing in Gaza as 2009 opened do not fit easily into any standard category—except for the category of familiarity.

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Noam Chomsky

It's not going to be easy to proceed. There are going to be barriers, difficulties, hardships, failures- it's inevitable. But unless the process that is taking place here and elsewhere in the country and...

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Noam Chomsky

Workers and their families may starve to death in the New World Order of economic rationality, but diamond necklaces are cheaper in elegant New York shops, thanks to the miracle of the market.

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Noam Chomsky

The Internet is an élite organization; most of the population of the world has never even made a phone call.

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Noam Chomsky

Since Jimmy Carter, religious fundamentalists play a major role in elections. He was the first president who made a point of exhibiting himself as a born again Christian. That sparked a little light in...

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Noam Chomsky

The European reaction to Obama is a European delusion.

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Noam Chomsky

This Sarah Palin phenomenon is very curious. I think somebody watching us from Mars—they would think the country has gone insane.

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Noam Chomsky

The times are too difficult and the crisis too severe to indulge in schadenfreude. Looking at it in perspective, the fact that there would be a financial crisis was perfectly predictable: its general nature,...

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Noam Chomsky

The very design of neoliberal principles is a direct attack on democracy.

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Noam Chomsky

As in the past, the costs and risks of the coming phases of the industrial economy were to be socialized, with eventual profits privatized ...

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Noam Chomsky

Discovery is the ability to be puzzled by simple things. Noam Chomsky

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Noam Chomsky

It's not radical Islam that worries the US -- it's independence

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Noam Chomsky

Freedom without opportunity is a devil's gift, and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal

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Noam Chomsky

People have to be atomized and segregated and alone. They're not supposed to organize, because then they might be something beyond spectators of action. They might actually be participants if many people...

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Noam Chomsky

The media are a corporate monopoly. They have the same point of view. The two parties are two factions of the business party. Most of the population doesn't even bother voting because it looks meaningless....

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Noam Chomsky

It is ... necessary to whip up the population in support of foreign adventures. Usually the population is pacifist, just like they were during the First World War. The public sees no reason to get involved...

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Noam Chomsky

Democracy was regarded as entering into a crisis in the 1960s. The crisis was that large segments of the population were becoming organized and active and trying to participate in the political arena.

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Noam Chomsky

In the years of the Reagan-Bush administration alone, about 1.5 million people were killed by South Africa just in the surrounding countries. Forget what was happening in South Africa and Namibia.

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Noam Chomsky

Hypocrites are those who apply to others the standards that they refuse to accept for themselves.

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Noam Chomsky

How do I define God? I don't.... People who find such conceptions important for themselves have every right to frame them as they like. Personally, I don't.

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Noam Chomsky

Jesus himself, and most of the message of the Gospels, is a message of service to the poor, a critique of the rich and the powerful, and a pacifist doctrine. And it remained that way, that's what Christianity...

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Noam Chomsky

Social and political issues in general seem to me fairly simple; the effort to obfuscate them in esoteric and generally vacuous theory is one of the contributions of the intelligentsia to enhancing their...

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Noam Chomsky

There are plenty of things that are unknown, but are assumed reasonably to exist, even in the most basic sciences. Maybe 90 percent of the mass-energy in the universe is called "dark," because nobody knows...

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Noam Chomsky

Our current prison state has the dual effect of getting rid of a superfluous population of basically unskilled workers (with a close race-class correlation), and also demonizing them... The drug war is...

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Noam Chomsky

Suppose that the US really is trying to get rid of drugs in Colombia. Does Colombia then have the right to fumigate tobacco farms in Kentucky? They are producing a lethal substance far more dangerous than...

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Noam Chomsky

It’s ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations. What kind of freedom is there inside a corporation? They’re totalitarian institutions - you take orders from above...

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Noam Chomsky

'Reform' is a word you always aughta' watch out for. 'Reform' is a change that you're supposed to like. And watch it - As soon as you hear the word 'Reform', you should reach for your wallet and see who's...

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Noam Chomsky

If anybody thinks they should listen to me because I'm a professor at MIT, that's nonsense. You should decide whether something makes sense by its content, not by the letters after the name of the person...

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Noam Chomsky

We shouldn't be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss