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Monday, June 8, 2015

30 Political and Philosophical Quotes By Noam Chomsky

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30 Political and Philosophical Quotes By Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is a major figure in analytic philosophy, who has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books.

Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from relatives in New York City. He later undertook studies in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his BA, MA, and PhD, while from 1951 to 1955 he was appointed to Harvard University's Society of Fellows.

Chomsky has been a highly influential academic figure throughout his career, and was cited within the field of Arts and Humanities more often than any other living scholar between 1980 and 1992. He continues to be well known as a political activist, and a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberal capitalism, and the mainstream news media.

Check out some of his quotes that will impress you:

1) “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....” (The Common Good)

2) “Most problems of teaching are not problems of growth but helping cultivate growth. As far as I know, and this is only from personal experience in teaching, I think about ninety percent of the problem in teaching, or maybe ninety-eight percent, is just to help the students get interested. Or what it usually amounts to is to not prevent them from being interested. Typically they come in interested, and the process of education is a way of driving that defect out of their minds. But if children['s] ... normal interest is maintained or even aroused, they can do all kinds of things in ways we don't understand.”

3) “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 we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like.”

4) “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.”

5) “Education is a system of imposed ignorance.” (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)

6) “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.”

7) “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” (Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda)

8) “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.”

9) “How people themselves perceive what they are doing is not a question that interests me. I mean, there are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, 'That person I see is a savage monster'; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. If you ask the CEO of some major corporation what he does he will say, in all honesty, that he is slaving 20 hours a day to provide his customers with the best goods or services he can and creating the best possible working conditions for his employees. But then you take a look at what the corporation does, the effect of its legal structure, the vast inequalities in pay and conditions, and you see the reality is something far different.”

10) “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” (Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World)

11) “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.”

12) “...the Bible is probably the most genocidal book in the literary canon.”

13) “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.”

14) “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”

15) “See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence.”

16) “How it is we have so much information, but know so little?”

17) “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.”

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

19) “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.”

20) “It's not radical Islam that worries the US -- it's independence”

21) “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.”

22) “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 are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”

23) “I was never aware of any other option but to question everything.”

24) “It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.”

25) “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 to consume.”

26) “Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.”

27) “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.”

28) “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.”

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

30) “We shouldn't be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.”

Noam Chomsky's Books:

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