Wednesday, September 19, 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
For example, take Suharto's Indonesia, which is a brutal, murderous state. I think Canada was supporting it all the way through, because it was making money out of the situation. And we can go around the world. Canada strongly supported the US invasion of South Vietnam, the whole of Indochina. In fact Canada became the per capita largest war exporter, trying to make as much money as it could from the murder of people in Indochina. In fact, I'd suggest that you look back at the comment by a well known and respected Canadian diplomat, I think his name was John Hughes, some years ago, who defined what he called the Canadian idea, namely "we uphold our principles but we find a way around them". Well, that's pretty accurate. And Canada is not unique in this respect, maybe a little more hypocritical.
Chomsky quotes
A lot of sophistication has been developed about the utilization of machines for complex purposes, and it doesn't make sense not to use it if you can think of a good question to ask. Playing chess is about the dumbest question you can ask. But, if you want, maybe can make money that way, or something. In fact, what's going on with the chess is about as interesting as the fact that a front-end loader can lift more than an Olympics champion, weight lifter, or something. Probably so, but, you know, these are just not serious questions.
Chomsky
I don't have as complete and overall philosophy as he does. I agree with some of the things he says. I've seen things that he said that I didn't agree with. But certainly what he says about the engineering of consent seems valid. Recently Chomsky gave a speech about what it means to oppose terrorism which I was very impressed by, because he essentially said that we should put an end to terrorism, and that includes the terrorism against the US but also the terrorism committed by the US... and I agree.




Chomsky Noam quotes
If there was anyone who actually fit the category of conservative, if there was such a category of people, they would have a very easy way to deal with the fact that 60% of the children under 2 [in Nicaragua] are suffering probable brain damage. Namely, by paying their debts. Simple conservative principle. But that's beyond unthinkable. Compassionate conservatives might want to go beyond that, if they existed. But they're much more interested in making political capital over the fact that a woman in a vegetative state shouldn't be allowed to die in dignity.
Chomsky Noam
I'm not a pacifist. And I am not one of those people, like Noam Chomsky, with whom I have agreed on some points, I don't agree on this point, who believes that all uses of American imperial power are by definition wrong. I suppose in fact I might be called, in a certain stretch, a liberal imperialist. I believe there are times when great powers can intervene to prevent atrocities, and should.
Noam Chomsky quotes
The Oslo agreements did represent a shift in U.S.-Israeli policy. Both states had by then come to recognize that it is a mistake to use the Israel Defense Forces to run the territories. It is much wiser to resort to the traditional colonial pattern of relying on local clients to control the subject population, in the manner of the British in India, South Africa under apartheid, the U.S. in Central America, and other classic cases. That is the assigned role of the Palestinian Authority, which like its predecessors, has to follow a delicate path: it must maintain some credibility among the population, while serving as a second oppressor, both militarily and economically, in coordination with the primary power centers that retain ultimate control. The long-term goal of the Oslo process was described accurately by Shlomo Ben-Ami shortly before he joined the Barak government: it is to establish a condition of permanent neo-colonialist dependency. The mechanisms have been spelled out explicitly in the successive interim agreements; and more important, implemented on the ground.
Noam Chomsky
Remember, every business firm, like even a mom and pop grocery store, is a market imperfection. A firm is defined in economic theory as a market imperfection introduced to deal with transaction costs. And the sort of theory is that the imperfections, the firms, are kinda like little islands in a free market sea. But the problem with that is that the sea doesn't remotely resemble a free market, and the islands are bigger than the sea; so that raises some questions about the picture. But these market imperfections, like a firm, or a transnational corporation, or a strategic alliance among them, this is a form of administering interchanges. And there's a real question about whether we want to accept that. Why, for example, should the international socioeconomic system, or for that matter our own society, be in the hands of unaccountable private tyrannies? That's a decision, it's not a law of nature.
Chomsky Noam quotes
[ Fisking Chomsky is] easy, but fun.
Chomsky
If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don't like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you're in favor of freedom of speech, that means you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.
Chomsky Noam
Thomas Jefferson, the leading Enlightenment figure in the United States, along with Benjamin Franklin, who took exactly the same view, argued that dependence will lead to "subservience and venality", and will "suffocate[s] the germs of virtue". And remember, by dependence he meant wage labor, which was considered an abomination under classical liberal principles.
Noam Chomsky
Like Noam Chomsky and very few others, he [Said] managed not only to reshape his own field of scholarly endeavor, but to transcend it, influencing other fields and disciplines, and going well beyond the narrow boundaries of the American academy to become a true public intellectual, and a passionate voice for humanistic values and justice in an imperfect world.




Noam Chomsky quotes
Naturally, any conqueror is going to play one group against another. For example, I think about 90% of the forces that the British used to control India were Indians. [...] It was true when the American forces conquered the Philippines, killing a couple hundred thousand people. They were being helped by Philippine tribes, exploiting conflicts among local groups. There were plenty who were going to side with the conquerors. But forget the Third World, just take a look at the Nazi conquest of nice, civilized Western Europe, places like Belgium and Holland and France. Who was rounding up the Jews? Local people, often. In France they were rounding them up faster than the Nazis could handle them. The Nazis also used Jews to control Jews. If the United States was conquered by the Russians, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Elliott Abrams and the rest of them would probably be working for the invaders, sending people off to concentration camps. They're the right personality types.
Noam Chomsky
The Americans didn't even think about the outcome of the bombing, because the Sudanese were so far below contempt as to be not worth thinking about. Suppose I walk down the sidewalk in Cambridge and, without a second thought, step on an ant. That would mean that I regard the ant as beneath contempt, and that's morally worse than if I purposely killed that ant.
Chomsky quotes
...sectors of the doctrinal system serve to divert the unwashed masses and reinforce the basic social values: passivity, submissiveness to authority, the overriding virtue of greed and personal gain, lack of concern for others, fear of real or imagined enemies, etc. The goal is to keep the bewildered herd bewildered. It's unnecessary for them to trouble themselves with what's happening in the world. In fact, it's undesirable -- if they see too much of reality they may set themselves to change it.
Chomsky Noam
It is the fundamental duty of the citizen to resist and to restrain the violence of the state. Those who choose to disregard this responsibility can justly be accused of complicity in war crimes, which is itself designated as ‘a crime under international law’ in the principles of the Charter of Nuremberg.
Chomsky Noam quotes
Sneering critics like Noam Chomsky, who condemn the executioners of thousands only in passing, would not hesitate to honour the vengeful feelings of Palestinians subjected to Israeli occupation. They have no standing.
Noam Chomsky
Walter Lippmann ... described what he called “the manufacture of consent” as “a revolution” in “the practice of democracy”... And he said this was useful and necessary because “the common interests” - the general concerns of all people - “elude” the public. The public just isn't up to dealing with them. And they have to be the domain of what he called a "specialized class" ... [Reinhold Niebuhr]'s view was that rationality belongs to the cool observer. But because of the stupidity of the average man, he follows not reason, but faith. And this naive faith requires necessary illusion, and emotionally potent oversimplifications, which are provided by the myth-maker to keep the ordinary person on course. It's not the case, as the naive might think, that indoctrination is inconsistent with democracy. Rather, as this whole line of thinkers observes, it is the essence of democracy. The point is that in a military state or a feudal state or what we would now call a totalitarian state, it doesn't much matter because you've got a bludgeon over their heads and you can control what they do. But when the state loses the bludgeon, when you can't control people by force, and when the voice of the people can be heard you have this problem -- it may make people so curious and so arrogant that they don't have the humility to submit to a civil rule [Clement Walker, 1661], and therefore you have to control what people think. And the standard way to do this is to resort to what in more honest days used to be called propaganda, manufacture of consent, creation of necessary illusion. Various ways of either marginalizing the public or reducing them to apathy in some fashion.
Noam Chomsky quotes
Chomsky's morally impassioned and powerfully argued denunciation of American aggression in Vietnam and throughout the world is the most moving political document I have read since the death of Leon Trotsky. It is inspiring to see a brilliant scientist risk his prestige, his access to lucrative government grants, and his reputation for Olympian objectivity by taking a clearcut, no-holds-barred, adversary position on the burning moral-political issue of the day, and by castigating the complacent mythology of "specialized expertise" under which many academic intellectuals shrug off the crimes committed by their government, only provided they are not naked enough (e.g., the Dominican intervention) to defy the most accomplished casuistry.
Noam Chomsky
A lot of the people who call themselves Left I would regard as proto-fascists.
Chomsky Noam
For all the propaganda of al Jazeera, the wounded pride of the Arab Street, or the vitriol of the Western Left, years from now the truth will remain that our soldiers did not come to plunder or colonize, but were willing to die for others’ freedom when few others would. Neither Michael Moore nor Noam Chomsky can change that, because it is not opinion, but truth...


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