The Best Noam Chomsky quotes

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Noam Chomsky is a man of many talents, and he has had an incredible impact on the world. He’s one of the most influential thinkers in modern linguistics, political science, philosophy, psychology and cognitive science. His contributions to society have been so vast that they cannot be summed up with a single paragraph. From his childhood to present day (he’s now 85 years old) Noam Chomsky has made great strides towards making our world a better place and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Discover the most known sentences from Noam Chomsky.

Discover the most interesting Systems, Democracy, Free, Power, Public, Human Beings, Society, Language quotes from Noam Chomsky, and much more.


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About Noam Chomsky

birth of the author

December 7, 1928

award of the author

, And More.

education of the author

University Of Pennsylvania

institution of the author

University Of Arizona

website of the author



See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence. — Noam Chomsky

Palestinians have no wealth or power. — Noam Chomsky

People tend to rally around power. — Noam Chomsky

Sectors of power are not going to favor the flourishing of dissidence. — Noam Chomsky

see people with power understand exactly one thing violence Noam Chomsky quote

I don’t entirely agree with the slogan ‘speaking truth to power. — Noam Chomsky

The intellectual tradition is one of servility to power, and if I didn’t betray it I’d be ashamed of myself. — Noam Chomsky

The dangers of unexamined and unregulated monopoly power, particularly in the state executive, are hardly news. The right reaction is not passive acquiescence. — Noam Chomsky

The ‘anti–globalisation movement’ is the most significant proponent of globalisation–but in the interests of people, not concentrations of state–private power. — Noam Chomsky

Control is the source of strategic power. — Noam Chomsky

palestinians have no wealth or power Noam Chomsky quote

Every great power, every aggressive power has always regarded itself as exceptional and as doing things only for the most moral ends. — Noam Chomsky

What’s called ‘liberal’ in the intelectual culture means highly conformist to power, but mildly critical. — Noam Chomsky

The basic principle, rarely violated, is that what conflicts with the requirements of power and privilege does not exist. — Noam Chomsky

I am opposed to the accumulation of executive power anywhere. — Noam Chomsky

The respected intellectuals are those who conform and serve power interests. — Noam Chomsky

people tend to rally around power Noam Chomsky quote

Governments are not representative. They have their own power, serving segments of the population that are dominant and rich. — Noam Chomsky

If you care about other people, you might try to organize to undermine power and authority. That’s not going to happen if you care only about yourself. — Noam Chomsky

What the public wants is called ‘politically unrealistic.’ Translated into English, that means power and privilege are opposed to it. — Noam Chomsky

What was Noam Chomsky’s early life like?

Noam Chomsky was raised in Philadelphia and attended an experimental elementary school where he could freely explore his intellectual interests.
At age 10 he wrote a school newspaper editorial bemoaning the rise of fascism in Europe.



The human digestive and visual systems did clearly evolve over a very long period. — Noam Chomsky

The more there is a need to talk about the ideals of democracy, the less democratic the system usually is. — Noam Chomsky

the human digestive and visual systems did clearly evolve over a very long period Noam Chomsky quote

A functioning eco–system is a human need. — Noam Chomsky

A democracy barely functions under the neoliberal system. — Noam Chomsky

Health–care system] is largely privatized and unregulated. So of course it’s highly inefficient and costly. — Noam Chomsky

People who don’t accept that doctrinal system, they may try to survive in the media, but they are unlikely to. — Noam Chomsky

California is maybe the richest place in the world. They’re destroying the best public education system in the world. — Noam Chomsky

a functioning eco system is a human need Noam Chomsky quote

An effective regulatory system today would be one guided by a few basic premises that can be applied flexibly but also universally. — Noam Chomsky

Human language is nothing like the signalling systems of other animals. — Noam Chomsky

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

Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one–party system and the ruling party is the business party. — Noam Chomsky

The atrocities in Cambodia are a direct and understandable response to the violence of the imperial system. — Noam Chomsky

If you have worker–owned and worker–managed enterprises, you’ve got a different sociopolitical system. — Noam Chomsky

To understand how people organize social systems, we have to discover the principles that we create to make some societies intelligible. — Noam Chomsky

The United States is unique among the rich countries, developed countries, in not having some kind of a national health–care system. — Noam Chomsky

The entire socioeconomic system is based on production for profit and a growth imperative that cannot be sustained. — Noam Chomsky

I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system. — Noam Chomsky


Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state… — Noam Chomsky

You can’t have meaningful political democracy without functioning economic democracy. — Noam Chomsky

If you believe in democracy, why shouldn’t you know what the government is doing? — Noam Chomsky

Democracy is a danger to any powerful group. — Noam Chomsky

Politicians don’t want democracy here in America, why would they want it in the Middle East? — Noam Chomsky

propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state Noam Chomsky quote

The answer to subversion of democracy is more democracy, more freedom, more justice. — Noam Chomsky

The best defense against democracy is to distract people. — Noam Chomsky

Democracy is always harmful to elite interests. Almost by definition. — Noam Chomsky

Plainly elites in America don’t want democracy. And why should they? Democracy is always harmful to elite interests. Almost by definition. — Noam Chomsky

Democracy has both expanded and declined over the years. — Noam Chomsky

you can t have meaningful political democracy without functioning economic democracy Noam Chomsky quote

The ‘corporatization of America’ during the past century has been an attack on democracy. — Noam Chomsky

We could not bring democracy to South Vietnam at a cost that we were willing to accept. So it was a disaster. That’ is the left extreme. — Noam Chomsky

One of the benefits of a properly functioning democracy is minority rights and majority rule. — Noam Chomsky

Concentration of executive power, unless it’s very temporary and for specific circumstances, let’s say fighting world war two, it’s an assault on democracy. — Noam Chomsky

For business after WWII ] democracy means getting people to regard government as an alien force that’s robbing them and oppressing them, not as their government. In a democracy it would be your government. — Noam Chomsky

if you believe in democracy why shouldn t you know what the government is doing Noam Chomsky quote

The very design of neoliberal principles is a direct attack on democracy. — Noam Chomsky


America is a very fundamentalist society. It’s like Iran in the degree of fanatic religious commitment. — Noam Chomsky

How did Noam Chomsky influence the field of linguistics?

Noam Chomsky’s linguistic research in the 1950s aimed to understand the tools and means through which children acquire language.
He proposed a system of principles and parameters that suggested a child’s innate understanding of syntax and semantics.
Although controversial among linguists, Chomsky’s theorization revolutionized and reoriented academic approaches to language.

In the United States everyone is an illegal immigrant–everyone except the people in Indian Reservations. This is an immigrant society. — Noam Chomsky

Expressing criticism of society is not being a grouch. — Noam Chomsky

The freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow. — Noam Chomsky

expressing criticism of society is not being a grouch Noam Chomsky quote

The Left, in a general sense, is very much atomized. We live in highly atomized societies. People are pretty much alone; it’s you and your iPad. — Noam Chomsky

The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society. — Noam Chomsky

To use the terms that are reserved for official enemies, it is the commissars and apparatchiks, not the dissidents, who are respected and privileged within their own societies. — Noam Chomsky

Bear in mind that capitalism is a tiny period of human society. You never really had capitalism, you always had one or another variant of state capitalism. — Noam Chomsky

Isis is a monstrosity. It didn’t come from nowhere. It’s one of the results of the U.S. hitting a very vulnerable society–Iraq–with a sledgehammer. — Noam Chomsky

the u s is to a very unusual extent a business run society Noam Chomsky quote

The responsibilities of someone in a more free and open society are, again obviously, greater than those who may pay some cost for honesty and integrity. — Noam Chomsky

Redundant Thematics

In Noam Chomsky Statements


The U.S. is, to a very unusual extent, a business–run society. — Noam Chomsky

In a society that has very high concentration of capital in a narrow sector of the population, that’s going to influence everything in different ways. — Noam Chomsky

One of the real problems of society is that its far too atomized, what sociologists call secondary associations. — Noam Chomsky

The ideal is to create a completely fragmented atomized society where everybody is totally alone, doing nothing but trying to pursue created wants, and the wants are created. — Noam Chomsky

democratic societies can t force people therefore they have to control what they think Noam Chomsky quote

Universities are less constrained by authority and rigid doctrine in the United States than in most other societies, to my knowledge. — Noam Chomsky

In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress ‘suspects.’ — Noam Chomsky

Democratic societies can’t force people. Therefore they have to control what they think. — 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

What are Noam Chomsky’s politics?

Noam Chomsky, an anarcho-syndicalist, orients his politics around maximizing communal decision-making and cooperative activity for all.

Chomsky views the accurate provision of information to the public as necessary for societal engagement, and he is deeply critical of intellectuals and journalists who conceal information in order to protect cultural and economic elites.


Public opinion can be influential, the media can be influential. — Noam Chomsky

public opinion can be influential the media can be influential Noam Chomsky quote

After all, the internet originated around 1960 and wasn’t privatized until 1995. That’s thirty five years in the public domain during the hard, creative development period. — Noam Chomsky

The Republican Party among the public is a minority party. — Noam Chomsky

There’s a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy. — Noam Chomsky

In my experience at least, the large public universities do not fall behind in fostering creativity and independence; often the contrary. — Noam Chomsky

The internet is something created largely by public funding. — Noam Chomsky

the republican party among the public is a minority party Noam Chomsky quote

Most of what is done I think is to kept secret so the public won’t know. The same is true of what Wikileaks exposed. — Noam Chomsky

Public opinion in Egypt is very antagonistic to the way the dictatorship, Mubarak dictatorship, interpreted relations with Israel. Very antagonistic. — Noam Chomsky

All public resources go to the rich. The poor, if they can survive in the labor market, fine. Otherwise, they die. That’s economics in a nutshell. — Noam Chomsky

As elite attitudes towards public education over time illustrate, simple formulas are far from adequate. There are conflicting tendencies. — Noam Chomsky


There is undoubtedly much to learn about the social uses of language, for communication or for other purposes. — Noam Chomsky

it s as if we re higher apes who had a language faculty inserted Noam Chomsky quote

It’s as if we’re higher apes who had a language faculty inserted. — Noam Chomsky

It’s true that language is in a sense linear but that is as obvious as perceptual space is three–dimensional. — Noam Chomsky

Language is a weapon of politicians, but language is a weapon in much of human affairs. — Noam Chomsky

I doubt that national languages will disappear. In fact, to some extent they’re becoming more diverse, like in Europe. — Noam Chomsky

While language can surely be used for communication (as can much else), communication probably has no special role in its design or evolution. — Noam Chomsky

language is a weapon of politicians but language is a weapon in much of human affairs Noam Chomsky quote

Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analog in the animal world. — Noam Chomsky

Welsh is now almost a national language in Wales. The Scottish dialects are reviving to some extent. I don’t think it’s a major thing, but it’s there, and it’s happening elsewhere. — Noam Chomsky

The fact is that if you have not developed language, you simply don’t have access to most of human experience, and if you don’t have access to experience, then you’re not going to be able to think properly. — Noam Chomsky

There is a kind of nonlinguistic thought going on which we are trying to represent in language, and we know that sometimes we fail. — Noam Chomsky

I think a very important aspect of language has to do with the establishment of social relations and interactions. Often, this is described as communication. But that is very misleading, I think. — Noam Chomsky

language etches the grooves through which your thoughts must flow Noam Chomsky quote


No sane human being devotes 100% of his or her life to political activism. — Noam Chomsky

As long as nuclear weapons exist, the chances of survival of the human species are quite slight. — Noam Chomsky

If humans are organisms like every other organism–which they are–then we should expect that if there are some domains where real scientific progress is possible, then there are others where it is not. — Noam Chomsky

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued–they may be essential to survival. — Noam Chomsky

We are entering a period of human history that may provide an answer to the question of whether it is better to be smart than stupid. — Noam Chomsky

no sane human being devotes 100 of his or her life to political activism Noam Chomsky quote

Humans have certain properties and characteristics which are intrinsic to them, just as every other organism does. That’s human nature. — Noam Chomsky

In fact, there is a very close correlation between human rights violations and US aid, particularly in Latin America. — Noam Chomsky

In fact, anyone who merits attention and who promotes any cause at all is doing so on the basis of a belief that it is somehow good for humans, because of their inherent nature. — Noam Chomsky

The responsibility of the writer as a moral agent is to try to bring the truth about matters of human significance to an audience that can do something about them. — Noam Chomsky

When geologists announced the beginning of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, humans destroying the environment, one of the main things they pointed to is the use of plastics in the earth. — Noam Chomsky

Sea level rise and destruction of water resources as glaciers melt alone may have horrendous human consequences. — Noam Chomsky


It’s not a free trade agreement. It has virtually nothing to do with free trade… It’s a protectionist agreement; it’s anti free–trade. — Noam Chomsky

Free markets are based on the free circulation of labor. If you don’t have free circulation of labor, you don’t have free markets. — Noam Chomsky

Haitian rice farmers are quite efficient, but they can’t compete with U.S. agribusiness that relies on a huge government subsidy, thanks to Ronald Reagan’s free market enthusiasms. — Noam Chomsky

As we [with Edward Herman] discuss there [in Manufacturing Consent] and elsewhere, recognition of the importance of ‘manufacturing consent’ has become an ever more central theme in the more free societies. — Noam Chomsky

anyone in a position to overcome barriers to free thought and communication should do so Noam Chomsky quote

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. — Noam Chomsky

In many respects, the United States is a great country. Freedom of speech is protected more than in any other country. It is also a very free society. — Noam Chomsky

Those of us lucky enough to have a share of privilege in the more free societies should not be asking this question, but doing something to answer it. — Noam Chomsky

Anyone in a position to overcome barriers to free thought and communication should do so. — Noam Chomsky

Poor whites didn’t have rights. They made all kind of restrictions on voting. So person meant relatively well–off, free white man. — Noam Chomsky

The ‘free–floating intellectual’ may occupy himself with problems because of their inherent interest and importance, perhaps to little effect. — Noam Chomsky

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