States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions.
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
Debt is a social and ideological construct, not a simple economic fact.
As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss.
In the US, there is basically one party - the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to those policies. As is most of the population.
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 involves a process of free creation.
If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.
The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society.
Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.
Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world.
If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.
The principle that human nature, in its psychological aspects, is nothing more than a product of history and given social relations removes all barriers to coercion and manipulation by the powerful.
Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.
The Bible is one of the most genocidal books in history.
All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.
Death and genitals are things that frighten people, and when people are frightened, they develop means of concealment and aggression. It is common sense.
The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.
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.
The intellectual tradition is one of servility to power, and if I didn't betray it I'd be ashamed of myself.
Governments regard their own citizens as their main enemy, and they have to be - protect themselves. That's why you have state secret laws. Citizens are not supposed to know what their government is doing to them.
It's dangerous when people are willing to give up their privacy.
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.
You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.
If there was an observer on Mars, they would probably be amazed that we have survived this long.
There's a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy.
If you're teaching today what you were teaching five years ago, either the field is dead or you are.
We can, for example, be fairly confident that either there will be a world without war or there won't be a world - at least, a world inhabited by creatures other than bacteria and beetles, with some scattering of others.
Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it.
As a research tool, the internet is invaluable.
The public is not to see where power lies, how it shapes policy, and for what ends. Rather, people are to hate and fear one another.
Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.
I would appear on Fox News more easily than I would NPR.
When you look at a corporation, just like when you look at a slave owner, you want to distinguish between the institution and the individual. So slavery, for example, or other forms of tyranny, are inherently monstrous. The individuals participating in them may be the nicest guys you can imagine.
In the case of the environment, there's no one to bail it out.
I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system.
Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.
The Federal Reserve has an official commitment to two different policies. One is to prevent inflation from getting too high. The second is to maintain high employment... the European Central Bank has only the first. It has no commitment to keep employment up.
Nationalism has a way of oppressing others.
Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.
Our only real hope for democracy is that we get the money out of politics entirely and establish a system of publicly funded elections.
You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it.
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.
Unlimited economic growth has the marvelous quality of stilling discontent while maintaining privilege, a fact that has not gone unnoticed among liberal economists.
Concentration of wealth yields concentration of political power. And concentration of political power gives rise to legislation that increases and accelerates the cycle.
International affairs is very much run like the mafia. The godfather does not accept disobedience, even from a small storekeeper who doesn't pay his protection money. You have to have obedience; otherwise, the idea can spread that you don't have to listen to the orders, and it can spread to important places.
Humans have certain properties and characteristics which are intrinsic to them, just as every other organism does. That's human nature.
Language is a weapon of politicians, but language is a weapon in much of human affairs.
In America, the professor talks to the mechanic. They are in the same category.
The polls show that concern over inequality among the general public rose pretty sharply after the Occupy movement started, very probably as a consequence. And there are other policy issues that came to the fore, which are significant.
The Internet has compromised the quality of debate.
It is easier to go to the Internet than to go to the library, undoubtedly. But the shift from no libraries to the existence of libraries was a much greater shift than what we've seen with the Internet's development.
The U.S. has the most dysfunctional healthcare system in the industrial world, has about twice the per capita costs, and some of the worst outcomes. It's also the only privatized system.
Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions.
Growing up in the place I did I never was aware of any other option but to question everything.
NATO was constructed on the - with the reason, whether one believes it or not, that it was going to defend Western Europe from Russian assault. Once the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union was beginning to collapse, that reason was gone. So, first question: why does NATO exist?
The money in politics is a cash cow for the media.
There are major efforts being made to dismantle Social Security, the public schools, the post office - anything that benefits the population has to be dismantled. Efforts against the U.S. Postal Service are particularly surreal.
Public opinion can be influential, the media can be influential.
In the academic world, most of the work that is done is clerical. A lot of the work done by professors is routine.
It is pretty ironic that the so-called 'least advanced' people are the ones taking the lead in trying to protect all of us, while the richest and most powerful among us are the ones who are trying to drive the society to destruction.
China is a great manufacturing center, but it's actually mostly an assembly plant. So it assembles parts and components, high technology that comes from the surrounding industrial - more advanced industrial centers - Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, the United States, Europe - and it basically assembles them.
Right after 9-11, as far as I know, one newspaper in the United States had the integrity to investigate opinion in the Muslim world: the 'Wall Street Journal.'
No matter what engineering field you're in, you learn the same basic science and mathematics. And then maybe you learn a little bit about how to apply it.
The major advances in speed of communication and ability to interact took place more than a century ago. The shift from sailing ships to telegraph was far more radical than that from telephone to email!
There are two problems for our species' survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and we're hurtling towards them. Knowingly.
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.
Real popular culture is folk art - coalminers' songs and so forth.
If workers are more insecure, that's very 'healthy' for the society, because if workers are insecure, they won't ask for wages, they won't go on strike, they won't call for benefits; they'll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that's optimal for corporations' economic health.
With the development of industrial capitalism, a new and unanticipated system of injustice, it is libertarian socialism that has preserved and extended the radical humanist message of the Enlightenment and the classical liberal ideals that were perverted into an ideology to sustain the emerging social order.
The people who were honored in the Bible were the false prophets. It was the ones we call the prophets who were jailed and driven into the desert.
I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.
The Republican Party has become overwhelmingly so extreme that it's hardly a traditional political party anymore.
The respected intellectuals are those who conform and serve power interests.
Debt is a trap, especially 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.
There's very little dislike of Americans in the world, shown by repeated polls, and the dissatisfaction - that is, the hatred and the anger - they come from acceptance of American values, not a rejection of them, and recognition that they're rejected by the U.S. government and by U.S. elites, which does lead to hatred and anger.
As a tactic, violence is absurd. No one can compete with the Government in violence, and the resort to violence, which will surely fail, will simply frighten and alienate some who can be reached, and will further encourage the ideologists and administrators of forceful repression.
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.
If you are working 50 hours a week in a factory, you don't have time to read 10 newspapers a day and go back to declassified government archives. But such people may have far-reaching insights into the way the world works.
Anti-Americanism is a pure totalitarian concept. The very notion is idiotic.
There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, 'That person I see is a savage monster;' instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do.
For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us.
It's perfectly obvious that there is some genetic factor that distinguishes humans from other animals and that it is language-specific. The theory of that genetic component, whatever it turns out to be, is what is called universal grammar.
The government argues that First Amendment rights are outweighed by the need to prosecute those who transmit classified information and documents.
One of the best predictors of policy around is Thomas Ferguson's investment theory of politics, as he calls it - very outstanding political economist - which essentially - I mean, to say it in a sentence, he describes elections as occasions in which groups of investors coalesce and invest to control the state.
I don't have any oratory skills. But I would not use them if I had.
A tremendous amount of the entrepreneurial initiative, if you want to call it that, comes from the dynamic state sector on which most of the economy relies to socialize costs and risks and privatize eventual profit. And that's achieved by, if you like, advertising.
If you are giving a graduate course you don't try to impress the students with oratory, you try to challenge them, get them to question you.
Rational discussion is useful only when there is a significant base of shared assumptions.
Anarchism means all sort of things to different people, but the traditional anarchists' movements assumed that there'd be a highly organized society, just one organized from below with direct participation and so on.
If you don't like what someone has to say, argue with them.
By curious accident of history and geography, the world's major energy resources are located pretty much in Shiite regions. They're a minority in the Middle East, but they happen to be where the oil is, right around the northern part of the Gulf.
Sooner or later, jihadist-style terror and WMD are going to come together and the consequences could be horrendous.
Anywhere in Latin America there is a potential threat of the pathology of caudillismo and it has to be guarded against.
If you ask the CEO of some major corporation what he does, he will say, in all honesty, that he is slaving 20 hours a day to provide his customers with the best goods or services he can and creating the best possible working conditions for his employees.
Governments are supposed to lie to their citizens.
The 'anti-globalisation movement' is the most significant proponent of globalisation - but in the interests of people, not concentrations of state-private power.
The 'peace movement' exists only in the fantasies of the paranoid.
There is still much debate about whether torture has been effective in eliciting information - the assumption being, apparently, that if it is effective, then it may be justified.