Top 50 Noam Chomsky Quotes

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Noam Chomsky is an American philosopher, linguist, social critic, cognitive scientist and political activist. Sometimes called “the father of modern linguistics”, Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. So here are some of the inspirational and famous Noam Chomsky Quotes on education, love, life, hope, terrorism, and media control. I hope you will like these best quotes.

Inspirational Noam Chomsky Quotes

1. “Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.”

2. “If you’re teaching today what you were teaching five years ago, either the field is dead or you are.”

3. “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.” 

4. “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

5. “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 involve a process of free creation.” 

6. “Nationalism has a way of oppressing others.”

7. “We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.”

8. “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….”  

9. “You can live within the institutions and work hard to change them.”

10. “Rational discussion is useful only when there is a significant base of shared assumptions.”

Famous Noam Chomsky Quotes on Terrorism

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

12. “It’s only terrorism if they do it to us. When we do much worse to them, it’s not terrorism.”

13. “Terrorists regard themselves as a vanguard. They’re trying to mobilize others to their cause. I mean, every specialist on terrorism knows that.”

14. “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.”

Noam Chomsky Quotes on Love & Life

15. “Debt is a trap, especially a student debt, which is enormous, far larger than credit card debt. It’s a trap for the rest of your life because the laws are designed so that you can’t get out of it. If a business, say, gets in too much debt, it can declare bankruptcy, but individuals can almost never be relieved of student debt through bankruptcy.”

16. “It is true that classical libertarian thought is opposed to state intervention in social life, as a consequence of deeper assumptions about the human need for liberty, diversity, and free association.”

17. “If you could take a subway from the suburbs in Boston, where I live, to downtown in 10 minutes, that improves your life over sitting in a traffic jam. People should see that.”

18. “Romania, which had the worst dictator in Eastern Europe, Ceausescu, he was a darling of the West. The United States and Britain loved him. He was supported until the last minute.”

Noam Chomsky Quotes on Hope

19. “Our only real hope for democracy is that we get the money out of politics entirely and establish a system of publicly funded elections.”

20. “I don’t usually admire Sarah Palin, but when she was making fun of this hope change stuff,’ she was right: there was nothing there.”

21. “I hope that a move toward clemency with Judge Afiuni would be a step towards the importance of maintaining a properly functioning justice system.”

22. “If you’re working 50 hours a week to try to maintain family income, and your children have the kinds of aspirations that come from being flooded with television from age one, and associations have declined, people end up hopeless, even though they have every option.”

23. “I don’t join the New Atheists. So, for example, I wouldn’t have the arrogance to lecture some mother who hopes to see her dying child in Heaven – that’s none of my business, ultimately. I won’t lecture her on the philosophy of science.”

24. “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 Quotes on Education

25. “The country that consistently ranks among the highest in educational achievement is Finland. A rich country, but education is free. Germany, education is free. France, education is free.”

26. “The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organization and participation in a meaningful society.”

27. “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.” 

28. “Descriptive grammar is an attempt to give an account of what the current system is for either a society or an individual, whatever you happen to be studying.”

29. “Education is a system of imposed ignorance.”

30. “Education must provide the opportunities for self-fulfillment; it can at best provide a rich and challenging environment for the individual to explore, in his own way.”

31. “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.”

Media Control Quotes by Noam Chomsky

32. “Public opinion can be influential, the media can be influential.”

33. “Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.”

34. “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.”

35. “The money in politics is a cash cow for the media.”

36. “There’s plenty to criticize about the mass media, but they are the source of regular information about a wide range of topics. You can’t duplicate that on blogs.”

37. “Qatar-based ‘Al-Jazeera,’ the most important news channel in the Arab world, was harshly criticized by high U.S. officials for having ’emphasized civilian casualties’ during the destruction of Falluja. The problem of independent media was later resolved when the channel was kicked out of Iraq in preparation for free elections.”

38. “The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.” 

39. “Large corporations have resources to influence media and overwhelm the political process, and do so accordingly.” 

40. “So what the media do, in effect, is to take the set of assumptions which express the basic ideas of the propaganda system, whether about the Cold War or the economic system or the “national interest” and so on, and then present a range of debate within that framework—so the debate only enhances the strength of the assumptions, ingraining them in people’s minds as the entire possible spectrum of opinion that there is.” 

41. “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” 

42. “State propaganda, when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and many others, and it has been pursued to this day.” 

43. “They have the same point of view. The two parties are two factions of the business party. Most of the population doesn’t even bother voting because it looks meaningless. They’re marginalized and properly distracted. At least that’s the goal.” 

44. “Thats the danger of democracy: If organizations can develop, if people are no longer just glued to the tube, you may have all these funny thoughts arising in their heads, like sickly inhibitions against the use of military force. That has to be overcome, but it hasn’t been overcome.” 

45. “Thats the danger of democracy: If organizations can develop, if people are no longer just glued to the tube, you may have all these funny thoughts arising in their heads, like sickly inhibitions against the use of military force. That has to be overcome, bit hasn’t been over come.” 

Also Read: 55 Top John Locke Quotes

1 COMMENT

  1. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

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