From the world’s most frequently cited living philosopher, 1001 eye-opening quotations on everything from banking regulation to human survival.
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Noam Chomsky’s quotations – a toolkit for progressive activism.
Noam Chomsky is one of the most frequently quoted philosophers in history. He has published over a hundred books and given thousands of lectures. Born on 7 December 1928 and raised by Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia, he first made his name soon after taking up a position at the linguistics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His publication of Syntactic Structures in 1957 was revolutionary, explaining that much of human language is genetic and innate. However, it was as a political dissident that his talks and writing were to shake establishment thinking and ideology. This process started in the sixties when he joined protests against the Vietnam War and he soon he found himself championing the cause of the poor and the marginalised in other countries, whether vigorously campaigning on behalf of the disappeared in Pinochet’s Chile, Palestinian refugees or highlighting the impact of deforestation on indigenous communities across Latin America.
Today, aged 94, he continues to speak out on behalf of the victims of western imperialism, corporate greed and climate change. This ongoing critique of concentrated power has made him an enemy of wealthy elites and big business, including the corporate press. So, it’s no surprise that, despite his fame and reputation, he is rarely interviewed by the mainstream media.
For the same reason Chomsky’s razor sharp analysis of Western thought and the media, particularly their adherence to economic orthodoxy and their subservience to authority, is familiar to only a tiny proportion of the population. Few people seem to have the time to discover everyday truths about how democracy in the West is largely a facade.
In today’s world, corporate propaganda is all pervasive, driving people to devote their time to consumption rather than thinking for themselves. As Noam himself once commented, ‘People don’t know that they don’t know what’s going on: such is the illusory effect, but real power, of institutions such as the mainstream media.’ However, there is an easy antidote. Set aside a little time every day to read Chomsky.
Luckily, for anyone wanting to learn more, Chomsky, despite the profundity and depth of his insights, remains one of the easiest philosophers to understand – his writing and talks have always been eloquent and incisive, but never gratuitously complex. He has a natural gift for words and has devoted his life to dedicating that gift to the common good.
If you can’t afford a few months to read all his books or a virtual lifetime to listen to all his lectures, you can still benefit from the wisdom and erudition of the world’s most feared dissident here online for free. Equally, if you are a student or activist seeking to explore his thinking, this website provides signposts to the original sources of all his greatest quotations, enabling you to quickly decide which of his writings or lectures might be most compatible with your own particular political or research interests.
Copyright Notice: Header slider images in order of sequence. 1) Photograph of Noam Chomsky in March 2015 – Augusto Starita/Ministerio de Cultura de la Nacion – Creative Commons- Wikimedia.org. 2) Photograph by PIxabay – Creative Commons – Pexels.com 3. Photography by Alvin Delcena – Creative Commons – Pexels.com 4. Photograph by Pixabay – Creative Commons – Pexels.com 5. Photograph by Amateur Hub – Creative Commons – Pexels.com