Saturday, December 15, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Noam Chomsky


American professor of linguistics, anarchist, human rights activist, socialist and political analyst.
Noam Chomsky
There's nothing nice that you can say about any of [the Arab countries]. Syria, for example, is one of the most violent terrorist regimes in the world. But it doesn't happen to be aggressive. Maybe it would like to be, but it isn't. For objective reasons. There's virtually no correlation between the internal nature of some country and its commitment to external violence. And I think if you look back over history you'll never find a correlation, back to the Greeks.
Chomsky quotes
Chomsky blasts the United States for having supported [post WWII] internal movements to liberate Eastern Europe from Soviet totalitarianism. "These operations included a 'secret army' under U.S.-Nazi auspices that sought to provide agents and military supplies to armies that had been established by and which were still operating inside the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through the early 1950s." This U.S.-Nazi army is so "secret" that only Chomsky knows of it, and he has thus far kept the documentation of it to himself, lest his secret get out.
Chomsky
I want Noam Chomsky to be taught at universities about as much as I want Hitler's writing or Stalin's writing. These are wild and extremist ideas that I believe have no place in a university.




Chomsky Noam quotes
Chomsky proceeds on the almost unthinkably subversive assumption that the United States should be judged by the same standards that it preaches (often at gunpoint) to other nations— he is nearly the only person now writing who assumes a single standard of international morality not for rhetorical effect, but as a matter of habitual, practically instinctual conviction.
Chomsky Noam
Now of course, the idealistic slogans are still needed for the media, for a lot of scholarship, for the schools, and so on. But, where the serious people are, the problem is that we have to maintain this disparity, and obviously it's gotta be maintained by force. So none of the idealistic slogans at home. So when you're setting up death squads in El Salvador under the Alliance for Progress, you're not hampered by these idealistic slogans. That's for the masses, for us. Well, given this kind of thinking, it's not too surprising that President Kennedy should say, with regard to El Salvador after supporting a military coup there, that "Governments of the civil-military type of El Salvador are the most effective in containing communist penetration in Latin America." This at the time when he organized the basic framework for the death squads that have been torturing and murdering ever since, and which we attribute to some kind of extreme right-wingers who somehow we can't get under control.
Noam Chomsky quotes
The U.S. has always insisted on its right to use force, whatever international law requires, and whatever international institutions decide.… The U.S., of course, is not alone in these practices. Other states commonly act in much the same way, if not constrained by external or internal forces.
Noam Chomsky
Chomsky's truly great contribution to the struggle for human freedom is that he has taken what we have been persuaded to believe is an insane idea, a product only of individual neurosis - the idea that society is not free and quite possibly not even sane - and shown it to be empirically, demonstrably true; he has provided the vital support for the individual to be able to declare him - and herself - sane against the insanity of society, despite a million voices declaring that it is the occasional doubter who is mad.
Chomsky Noam quotes
Armies usually aren’t interested in wars. They like preparation for war. But they have an understandable reluctance to fight a war. So I think if you look at, at least the history that I know, it’s usually the civilian leadership who is pushing the military to do something. It was the case in the early days of the Vietnam War.
Chomsky
The September 11 attacks were major atrocities. In terms of number of victims they do not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and probably killing tens of thousands of people (no one knows, because the US blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it). Not to speak of much worse cases, which easily come to mind. But that this was a horrendous crime is not in doubt. The primary victims, as usual, were working people: janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc. It is likely to prove to be a crushing blow to Palestinians and other poor and oppressed people. It is also likely to lead to harsh security controls, with many possible ramifications for undermining civil liberties and internal freedom.
Chomsky Noam
...the incompetence of intelligence agencies is legendary.… Just take Vietnam.… In the late 1940s, the United States was kind of unclear about which side to support.… In the case of Indochina, for whatever reason, they decided at one point to support France in it's reconquest of Indochina. Well, at that point, essentially orders went to the U.S. intelligence communities, CIA and others, to demonstrate … that Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh were agents of either the Russians or the Chinese.… They couldn't do it. They couldn't find anything.… The conclusion in the State Department was, "OK, this proves that they're agents of the international communist conspiracy. Ho Chi Minh is such a loyal slave of"—pick it, Mao or Stalin—"that he doesn't even need orders."
Noam Chomsky
Yet [Chomsky's The Responsibility of Intellectuals essay] defined the peace movement as much as any document and pushed the name Chomsky up there with Thoreau and Emerson in the literature of rebellion.




Noam Chomsky quotes
What we hear in Europe or elsewhere in the world, despite CNN and my son watches CNN every morning, is President Bush saying that the United States is the greatest country on earth, almost every day. And Noam Chomsky saying, the United States is the worst country on earth. And we don't hear a great deal of all those liberal internationalists, critical voices in between. Whether this is the job of an officially funded public diplomacy or of other forms of media, I don't know, but it does seem to me terribly important that the voices of those other Americans should be heard across the world.
Noam Chomsky
The most striking fact is how consistently people with anything at all to say about language feel the need to strike some attitude for or against Chomsky's ideas. It's a big problem.
Chomsky quotes
He would have us believe that Israel’s occupation and harsh actions against the Palestinians, its invasions and undeclared 20-year war on Lebanon, and its arming of murderous regimes in Central America and Africa during the Cold War, has been done as a client state in the service of US interests. In Chomsky’s worldview, that absolves Israel of responsibility and has become standard Chomsky doctrine.
Chomsky Noam
He embraces no ideology, and supports no revolution. His critics charge he is wedded to a simplistic view of the world, based on imaginary conspiracies, and yet, as the essayist Brian Morton wrote recently, 'many Americans are no longer convinced that our Government has the right to destroy any country it wants to, and Chomsky deserves much of the credit.'
Chomsky Noam quotes
Reactions to our adversity are not entirely uniform. At the dovish extreme, we find Senator John Kerry, who warns that we should never again fight a war "without committing enough resources to win"; no other flaw is mentioned. And there is President Carter, the noted moral teacher and human rights apostle, who assured us that we owe Vietnam no debt and have no responsibility to render it any assistance because "the destruction was mutual," an observation so uncontroversial as to pass with no reaction. [...] Properly statesmanlike, President Bush announces that "It was a bitter conflict, but Hanoi knows today that we seek only answers without the threat of retribution for the past." Their crimes against us can never be forgotten, but "we can begin writing the last chapter of the Vietnam war" if they dedicate themselves with sufficient zeal to the MIAs. We might even "begin helping the Vietnamese find and identify their own combatants missing in action," [New York Times Asia correspondent] Crossette reports. The adjacent front-page story reports Japan's failure, once again, to "unambiguously" accept the blame "for its wartime aggression."
Noam Chomsky
Education is a system of imposed ignorance.
Noam Chomsky quotes
Actually, on humanitarian intervention in general, I guess my view is not unlike the view that was attributed to Gandhi, accurately or not, when he was supposedly asked what he thought about western civilization. He is supposed to have said that he thought it would be a good idea. Similarly, humanitarian intervention would be a good idea, in principle. [...] can we expect that with the existing power structure, distribution of power in the world, there will be humanitarian intervention? There is nothing new about the question, of course. The idea of humanitarian intervention goes back to the days of the Concert of Europe a century ago - in the 19th Century there was lots of talk about civilizing missions and interventions that would do good things. The US intervened in the Philippines to "uplift and christianize" the backward people, killing a couple of hundred thousand of them and destroying the place. The same thing happened in Haiti, the same thing happened with other countries. We cannot disregard the historical record and talk about an ideal world. It makes sense to work towards a better world, but it doesn't make any sense to have illusions about what the real world is.
Noam Chomsky
If Hitler had been a crook... We're very fortunate in the United States, we've never had a charismatic leader who weren't a gangster. Every one of them was a thug, or a robber, or something. Which is fine, then they don't cause a lot of trouble. If you get one who's honest, like Hitler, then you're in trouble - they just want power.
Chomsky Noam
What will happen we don’t know, but plans are being made and programs implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people in the next couple of weeks. Very casually, with no comment, no particular thought about it, that’s just kind of normal, here, and in a good part of Europe.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact