Noam Chomsky quotes

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Country #Years #Media

  • If you sell me a car, we have perhaps made a good bargain for ourselves. But there are effects of this transaction on others, which we do not take into account. There is more pollution, the price of gas goes up, there is more congestion.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Car #Pollution #Made

  • Ontological questions are generally beside the point, hardly more than a form of harassment.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Form #Harassment

  • Education is not for profit. If you're not in education for profit, it's not going to be a fair critique for education.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Profit #Critique

  • 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 and maybe give them to people below you. There’s about as much freedom as under Stalinism.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Order #Giving #People

  • I doubt that national languages will disappear. In fact, to some extent they're becoming more diverse, like in Europe.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Europe #Doubt #Facts

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

    #Too Much #Study #Reason

  • Small changes can magnifiy. The possibility of interpersonal communication has increased substantially with contemporary technology. But as compared with the major changes, which were long ago, these are not huge.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Communication #Technology #Long

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Media #Agency #Moments

  • The big change, the really radical change in communication, was in the late 19th century. The shift from sailing ships to telegraph is astronomical. Everything since then has been small increments, including the internet.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Communication #Sailing #Ships

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

    #Population

  • Democracy is always harmful to elite interests. Almost by definition.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Democracy #Definitions #Interest

  • 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...
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Growth #Example #Prison

  • I don't buy much. Almost buy nothing. I buy what I need, do it the easiest way possible.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Needs #Way

  • 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. Make it justify itself. It usually can't. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Attitude #Taken #Thinking

  • I'm into eating as little as possible... I never cook. Never use the stove or anything.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Littles #Use #Eating

  • 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....
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Smart #People #Historical

  • The intellectual world is deeply conformist... We talk a lot about the crimes of others. When it comes to our own crimes, we are nationalists in the Orwellian sense.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Intellectual #World #Crime

  • 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, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Weed #Educational #Independent

  • With government deregulation and the triumph of financial liberalization, the dangers of systemic risks, the possibility of a financial tsunami, sharply increased.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Government #Risk #Deregulation

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Kids #Racism #Police

  • The idea that you have to drop any thing that you might be interested in doing because you have to pass that test tomorrow and it's something that you're not interested in, that's just the opposite of education. It's also harming teaching, because the teachers are evaluated by the results of the test.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Teacher #Teaching #Opposites

  • There have been many measures taken to try to turn the educational system towards more control, more indoctrination, more vocational training, imposing a debt, which traps students and young people into a life of conformity... That's the exact opposite of [what] traditionally comes out of The Enlightenment. And there's a constant struggle between those. In the colleges, in the schools, do you train for passing tests, or do you train for creative inquiry?
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Educational #Struggle #Taken

  • A language is not just words. It's a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It's all embodied in a language.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Communication #Community #Culture

  • As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Powerful #Long #Hatred

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

    #War #Law #President

  • 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 do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Sea #Pirate #Navy

  • In our society, real power does not happen to lie in the political system, it lies in the private economy: that’s where the decisions are made about what’s produced, how much is produced, what’s consumed, where investment takes place, who has jobs, who controls the resources, and so on and so forth. And as long as that remains the case, changes inside the political system can make some difference-I don’t want to say it’s zero-but the differences are going to be very slight.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Jobs #Zero #Real

  • The indoctrination is so deep that educated people think they’re being objective.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Thinking #People #Indoctrination

  • 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 to bombard students with platitudes about democracy. They would simply act and behave democratically, and we know this does not happen. The more there is a need to talk about the ideals of democracy, the less democratic the system usually is.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #School #Reality #Democracy

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Hero #Doctrine #Neptune

  • You can’t have meaningful political democracy without functioning economic democracy.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Meaningful #Political #Democracy

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

    #Israel #People #Moral

  • ...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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Crush #Religious #People

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

    #Inspirational #Relationship #Freedom

  • 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 and dedicated ignorance to fail to perceive them.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Children #Real #Ignorance

  • 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 way the world works.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Government #People #Archives

  • 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 caught the message and they do it magnificently.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Corporations #Way #Messages

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

    #War #Stopping #Way

  • 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: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Mean #Political #Growth

  • Education is a system of imposed ignorance.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Education #Ignorance #Public Education

  • 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 and applaud? It does not make any sense." But the point is, it does make sense: It's a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority and group cohesion behind leadership elements. In fact it's training in irrational jingoism. That's also a feature of competitive sports.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Sports #Football #Attitude

  • A drone strike is a terror weapon, we don't talk about it that way. It is; just imagine you are walking down the street and you don't know whether in 5 minutes there is going to be an explosion across the street from some place up in the sky that you can't see. Somebody will be killed, and whoever is around will be killed, maybe you'll be injured if you're there. That is a terror weapon. It terrorizes villages, regions, huge areas. It's the most massive terror campaign going on by a long shot.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Sky #Long #Drones

  • 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 and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Powerful #Government #People

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

    #Fate #Decision #Influence

  • 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 that you can contribute to making a better world.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Courage #Freedom #Opportunity

  • 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 advocacy of a powerful, lawless, aggressive and violent state, a welfare state for the rich dedicated to a lunatic form of Keynesian economic intervention that enhances state and private power while mortgaging the country's future.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Country #Powerful #Political

  • Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #War #Terrorism #Innocent

  • A basic principal of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Risk #Cost #Modern

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

    #Party #United States #Illusion

  • You are responsible for the predictable consequences of your actions.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Action #Responsible #Consequence

  • 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 that took place in the 18th century.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Violence #Atrocities #Easy

  • It is not a war. It is murder.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #War #Murder

  • 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 it and get a job , and if you are sufficiently propagandized you may even buy some of the junk they produce and so on...
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Jobs #Order #Giving

  • 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, that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level... Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I am opposed to economic fascism. I think that until the major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Thinking #Community #Political

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

    #World #Morality #Affair

  • One might ask why tobacco is legal and ***** 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 by major corporations. Tobacco is quite another story.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Marijuana #Stories #Answers

  • 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 they are crushing. You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like, it's not defense.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Crush #Military #Land

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

    #Effort #Trying #Succeed

  • 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 societies might have such properties, leading to various forms of pathology.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Historical #Perception #Society

  • 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 and socially powerless. In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Shopping #Community #Enemy

  • The more privilege you have, the more opportunity you have. The more opportunity you have, the more responsibility you have.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Responsibility #Opportunity #Privilege

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

    #Firsts #Vote

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

    #Chance #Obvious

  • 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 to drive the society to destruction.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Powerful #People #Ironic

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Mean #Want #Propaganda

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Believe #Future #Optimistic

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Iraq #Numbers #People

  • 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, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #War #Mean #Support

  • 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, or modern corporations.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Kings #Military #Party

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

    #Worship #Danger #States

  • 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 the possibilities for this fundamental human characteristic to be realized.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Creative #Needs #Arbitrary

  • 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, are racing full-speed ahead to destroy the environment as quickly as possible.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Powerful #Race #Racing

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

    #Mother #People #Drug

  • 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, I am opposed to those policies. As is most of the population.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Party #Two #Interesting

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

    #Interesting #Long #Mars

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Air #Appreciate #Trying

  • Even Stalin proclaimed his love for democracy. We do not learn about the nature of systems of power by listening to their rhetoric.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Listening #Democracy #His Love

  • 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 it’s wrong for Rumsfeld to bomb Afghanistan (on much flimsier pretexts), and he should be brought before war crimes trials.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #New York #War #Long

  • It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Leadership #Truth #Lying

  • 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 in ways that support the power structure, which, in turn, rewards you immensely.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #School #Independent #Creating

  • You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Peace #War #Needs

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Essence #Anarchy #Conviction

  • 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 by social laws. . . . It happens as a result of hard work by dedicated people who are willing to look at problems honestly, to look at them without illusions, and to go to work chipping away at them, with no guarantee of success — in fact, with a need for a rather high tolerance for failure along the way, and plenty of disappointments.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Disappointment #Hard Work #Law

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

    #Hypocrite #Media #Politics

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Powerful #Demand #Death Penalty

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

    #Peace #War #Office

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

    #Political #Propaganda #Establishment

  • 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
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Personality #Psychology #Might

  • How it is we have so much information, but know so little?
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Littles #Information

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Lying #Hate #People

  • States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Powerful #Hero #People

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

    #Worry #Independence #Islam

  • I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Mean #Weather #Snow

  • Nothing in these abstract economic models actually works in the real world. It doesn't matter how many footnotes they put in, or how many ways they tinker around the edges. The whole enterprise is totally rotten at the core: it has no relation to reality.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Real #Rotten #World

  • The Bible is one of the most genocidal books in history.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Atheist #Book #Religion

  • 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 the minds of political campaign managers: Pretend to be a religious fanatic and you can pick up a third of the vote right away. Nobody asked whether Lyndon Johnson went to church every day. Bill Clinton is probably about as religious as I am, meaning zero, but his managers made a point of making sure that every Sunday morning he was in the Baptist church singing hymns.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Christian #Religious #Morning

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Israel #Fit #Crime

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Freedom #Hero #Survival

  • 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.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    #Thinking #Able #Facts