Noam Chomsky quotes

Born
December 7, 1928, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Occupation
Linguist, philosopher, historian.

Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher and political activist. Chomsky is a major figure in biolinguistics and analytic philosophy.

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.
– 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!
– Noam Chomsky
Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.
– Noam Chomsky
In the case of Yugoslavia v. NATO, one of the charges was genocide. The U.S. appealed to the court, saying that, by law, the United States is immune to the charge of genocide, self-immunized, and the court accepted that, so the case proceeded against the other NATO powers, but not against the United States.
– Noam Chomsky
When I arrived in Laos and found young Americans living there, out of free choice, I was surprised. After only a week, I began to have a sense of the appeal of the country and its people – along with despair about its future.
– Noam Chomsky
By curious accident of history and geography, the world’s major energy resources are located pretty much in Shiite regions. They’re a minority in the Middle East, but they happen to be where the oil is, right around the northern part of the Gulf.
– Noam Chomsky
For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement.
– Noam Chomsky
There’s a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy.
– Noam Chomsky
Control is the source of strategic power.
– 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.
– Noam Chomsky
Civil disobedience’s main goal typically is to try to arouse and inspire others to join and do something. Well, sometimes that is a good tactic, sometimes not.
– Noam Chomsky
Anti-Americanism is a pure totalitarian concept. The very notion is idiotic.
– Noam Chomsky
Dissident intellectuals aren’t all beautiful.
– Noam Chomsky
There’s a War Crimes Act in the United States passed by a Republican Congress in 1996, which says that grave breaches of the Geneva Convention are subject to the death penalty. And that doesn’t mean the soldier that committed them – that means the commanders.
– Noam Chomsky
As a research tool, the internet is invaluable.
– Noam Chomsky
Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.
– Noam Chomsky
Anywhere in Latin America there is a potential threat of the pathology of caudillismo and it has to be guarded against.
– Noam Chomsky
I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system.
– Noam Chomsky
Real popular culture is folk art – coalminers’ songs and so forth.
– 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.
– Noam Chomsky
The U.S. is just in a class by itself in military expenses. It basically matches the rest of the world, and it’s far more advanced.
– Noam Chomsky
When secular figures are turned into divinities, they way they are in Peian Yang or Stanford University – that I don’t like.
– Noam Chomsky
Governments are supposed to lie to their citizens.
– Noam Chomsky
Stability is when the U.K. and U.S. invade a country and impose the regime of their choice.
– Noam Chomsky
I don’t know if I officially proofread my father’s book, but I read it. I did get some conception of grammar in general from that.
– Noam Chomsky
Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.
– Noam Chomsky
The probability of apocalypse soon cannot be realistically estimated, but it is surely too high for any sane person to contemplate with equanimity.
– Noam Chomsky
Libertarian socialism is properly to be regarded as the inheritor of the liberal ideals of the Enlightenment.
– Noam Chomsky
As far as U.S. intelligence knows, Iran is developing nuclear capacities, but they don’t know if they are trying to develop nuclear weapons or not. Chances are they’re developing what’s called ‘nuclear capability,’ which many states have. That is the ability to have nuclear weapons if they decide to do it. That’s not a crime.
– Noam Chomsky
In November 2004, U.S. occupation forces launched their second major attack on the city of Falluja. The press reported major war crimes instantly, with approval.
– Noam Chomsky
Governments don’t control people like they used to.
– Noam Chomsky
Under the worst conditions, horrendous conditions, people still, you know, fight for their rights and don’t just succumb.
– Noam Chomsky
Chinese military spending is carefully monitored by the United States.
– Noam Chomsky
Egypt is the second-largest recipient over a long period of U.S. military and economic aid. Israel is first.
– Noam Chomsky
WikiLeaks is a service to the population. Assange should get an award for – presidential medal of honor.
– Noam Chomsky
There happen to be a lot of people around who spent an hour on the Internet and think they know a lot of physics, but it doesn’t work like that… There’s a reason there are graduate schools in these departments.
– Noam Chomsky
States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions.
– Noam Chomsky
Public opinion can be influential, the media can be influential.
– Noam Chomsky
The truth is, I have absolutely no professional credentials – literally, which is why I’m teaching at MIT.
– 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 to consume.
– Noam Chomsky
Even in the 1950s, President Eisenhower was concerned about what he called a campaign of hatred of the U.S. in the Arab world, because of the perception on the Arab street that it supported harsh and oppressive regimes to take their oil.
– Noam Chomsky
Nicaragua dealt with the problem of terrorism in exactly the right way. It followed international law and treaty obligations. It collected evidence, brought the evidence to the highest existing tribunal, the International Court of Justice, and received a verdict – which, of course, the U.S. dismissed with contempt.
– 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 words involves a process of free creation.
– Noam Chomsky
One of the best predictors of policy around is Thomas Ferguson’s investment theory of politics, as he calls it – very outstanding political economist – which essentially – I mean, to say it in a sentence, he describes elections as occasions in which groups of investors coalesce and invest to control the state.
– Noam Chomsky
American decline is real, though the apocalyptic vision reflects the familiar ruling class perception that anything short of total control amounts to total disaster.
– 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.
– Noam Chomsky
The Oslo Accords in 1993 determined that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are a single territorial entity which cannot be divided. Immediately, the United States and Israel set about separating the two and making sure that they would not be united.
– Noam Chomsky
I stated that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are ‘among the most unspeakable crimes in history.’ I took no position on just where they stand on the scale of horrors relative to Auschwitz, the bombing of Chungking, Lidice, and so on.
– Noam Chomsky
I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.
– Noam Chomsky
Debt is a social and ideological construct, not a simple economic fact.
– Noam Chomsky
The United States is a violent military state. It’s been involved in military action all over the place.
– Noam Chomsky
The Bible is one of the most genocidal books in history.
– Noam Chomsky
Up until the First World War, when people turned anti-German, Germany had been described by American political scientists as the model of democracy.
– Noam Chomsky
The first democratic revolution was England in the 1640s.
– Noam Chomsky
By most accounts, Aristide is the most popular figure in Haiti.
– Noam Chomsky
Those who had demanded no more than an end to the bombing of North Vietnam and a commitment to negotiations saw their demands being realized, and lapsed into silence.
– Noam Chomsky
Pakistan is not a unified country.
– Noam Chomsky
My family was mostly unemployed working class.
– 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 – no more, no less.
– Noam Chomsky
You go back to the 17th century, the commercial and industrial centers of the world were China and India.
– Noam Chomsky
The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society.
– Noam Chomsky
The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.
– Noam Chomsky
American imperialism is often traced to the takeover of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii in 1898.
– Noam Chomsky
The murder of Lumumba, in which the U.S. was involved, in the Congo destroyed Africa’s major hope for development. Congo is now total horror story, for years.
– Noam Chomsky
It is easy to dismiss the world as ‘irrelevant,’ or consumed by ‘paranoid anti-Americanism,’ but perhaps not wise.
– Noam Chomsky
Reviewing the record of American intervention in Indochina in the Pentagon Papers, one cannot fail to be struck by the continuity of basic assumptions from one administration to the next. Never has there been the slightest deviation from the principle that a noncommunist regime must be imposed and defended, regardless of popular sentiment.
– Noam Chomsky
The process of shaping opinion, attitudes, and perceptions was termed the ‘engineering of consent’ by one of the founders of the modern public relations industry, Edward Bernays.
– Noam Chomsky
It cannot be too often stressed that Israel had no credible pretext for its 2008-9 attack on Gaza, with full U.S. support and illegally using U.S. weapons.
– Noam Chomsky
When I look at public opinion, I’m not far out of the mainstream. I’m in it, in many respects. In some respects, public opinion goes beyond anything I’ve ever said.
– Noam Chomsky