Discovery is the ability to be puzzled by simple things.
It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.
The 'peace movement' exists only in the fantasies of the paranoid.
It's a near miracle that nuclear war has so far been avoided.
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.
There is a social responsibility to take care of vulnerable people. It seems that a sensible social responsibility is obligatory education, but also decent education, and that is not happening.
Organization and education, when they interact with each other, they strengthen each other, they are mutually supportive.
The general population doesn't know what's happening, and it doesn't even know that it doesn't know.
The fact that all normal children acquire essentially comparable grammars of great complexity with remarkable rapidity suggests that human beings are somehow specially designed to do this, with data-handling or 'hypothesis-formulating' ability of unknown character and complexity.
If the rewiring of the brain that yielded recursive generation of hierarchically structured expressions took place in an individual, not a group (and there seems to be no coherent alternative), then interaction must have been a later phenomenon.
The UN to some extent diffuses U.S. power. Therefore it's less direct an agency of the United States than the U.S. Army is. But still, it can't escape the distribution of power in the world.
On abortion: We are talking about ambiguous issues of a complicated kind where you have to balance conflicting interests and concerns.
I'm sorry to say it has some historical analogs. It's kind of reminiscent of what happened in Germany in the late Weimar years.
Anarchists try to identify power structures. They urge those exercising power to justify themselves. This justification does not succeed most of the time.
In fact, it's doing it all over the world. Obama, first of all, is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history. The drone assassination campaigns, which are just part of it. All of these operations, they are terror operations.
Democracy was regarded as entering into a crisis in the 1960s. The crisis was that large segments of the population were becoming organized and active and trying to participate in the political arena.
It is only in folk tales, children's stories, and the journals of intellectual opinion that power is used wisely and well to destroy evil. The real world teaches very different lessons, and it takes willful and dedicated ignorance to fail to perceive them.
Isaiah Berlin's observation is accurate enough, and applies at home as well, and even more harshly for the reasons already mentioned: the apparatchiks and commissars could at least plead fear in extenuation.
I'm no expert on pornography. The core element of it, I think, is degradation of women, whatever else goes on. I don't think it should be outlawed, but I'm not in favor of the degradation of anybody.
Physics and those parts of other fields that grow out of physics -- chemistry, the structure of big molecules -- in those domains, there is a lot of progress. In many other domains, there is very little progress in developing real scientific understanding.
It's designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.
If Palestinian Authority refuse to join the US-run negotiations, their basis for support would collapse. They survive on donations essentially. Israel has made sure that it's not a productive economy.
Now is not the time to look at the past. Lets look forward to the future.
Diplomats know very well that these are standard slogans for those who are engaged in serious crimes.
It hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world's largest open-air prison.
Every time a candidate came up from the base, that is with popular support, the Republican establishment went into high gear to destroy them with massive propaganda attack ads and so on. It was one after another, each one crazier than the last.
Genocide is an invidious word that officials apply readily to cases of victimization in enemy states, but rarely if ever to similar or worse cases of victimization by the United States itself or allied regimes.
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.
If you want to become a biologist, it doesn't help to go into the Harvard biology library and all the information is there for you. You have to know what to look for and the internet is the same, just magnified.
What can realistically be done depends on the historical moment. The same is true with regard to the agents.
I've occasionally been asked to talk on Israel-Palestine. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it elicits hysteria in the community.
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.
Another recollection is that Paul Johnson mostly kept away from ideas and dedicated activism, and concentrated on sex lives and other gossip.
Should a community... be free to enact legislation to say they don't want blacks? Now that's illegal. Fifty years ago it was legal. Is that progress or is that regress?
It's a mistake to suppose that capacities must evolve gradually. There are many known examples of sharp changes -- slight genetic modification that yields substantial phenotypic effects, and much else.
The media are a corporate monopoly. 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.
If scientists and scholars were to become collectively self-organised and consciously activist today, they would probably devote themselves to service to state and private power. Those who have different goals should (and do) become organized and activist.
Policy is largely set by economic elites and organized groups representing business interests with little concern for public attitudes or public safety, as long as the public remains passive and obedient.
There's an awful lot you can find in the press. If you do what you really ought to do, start by reading every article from the end, back to the front; most of the lies are up in the front. Turns out there's a lot of stuff back there.
The developing world voice can be amplified enormously by support from the wealthy and the privileged, otherwise it's very likely to be marginalized.
US wars are going to be against much weaker enemies. And they have to be won quickly and decisively before a popular reaction develops.
After Vietnam the type of interventions that are carried out are designed so as not to elicit public reactions.
Arab public opinion does not regard Iran as a hostile entity. In fact it's so supportive of Iran that a majority would think the place would be better off if Iran had nuclear weapons. The main enemies are the United States and Isreal, in the 80, 90 percent range.
In fact, it's pretty dramatic when you get to 1975, very revealing, the Vietnam war ends. Everybody had to write something about the war, what it meant. You also had polls of public opinion, and they're dramatically different.
Governments are not representative.
Governments are not representative. They have their own power, serving segments of the population that are dominant and rich.
Even Stalin proclaimed his love for democracy. We do not learn about the nature of systems of power by listening to their rhetoric.
The first commitment is raise your salary. One of the ways to raise your salary sometimes is to have short-term profits but there are many other ways.
Andorrans deserve much better than the rule of superstitious hysterics and extreme authoritarians, who try to instill obedience to their Holy Texts and chosen Divinities -- and we should not fail to see that the terms are appropriate, if anything too kind.
There are all the activist groups on every imaginable topic -- solidarity groups, environmental and feminist groups -- sectors of these movements do very valuable work.
The threat is that the public will know what the government is up to. Any system of power is going to want to keep free from public surveillance, that's natural. Its shouldn't be but, its very natural.
We don't use the term 'working class' here because it's a taboo term. You're supposed to say 'middle class,' because it helps diminish the understanding that there's a class war going on.
Yes, it's simple, really. If you're riding a bicycle and you don't want to fall off, you have to keep going -- fast.
I think that we have basically nothing in the field of human behavior. Maybe that is just a condition of temporary ignorance. But it may be that we are simply not intellectually equipped to develop such a theory.
In fact, most of what they're calling crime is a kid caught with a joint in his pocket. Why do people think of that as the problem?
States are violent institutions. The government of any country, including ours, represents some sort of domestic power structure, and it's usually violent. States are violent to the extent that they're powerful, that's roughly accurate.
There are many concepts of spirituality, among them, various notions of divinity developed in the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religions. Within these the concepts vary greatly.
If you owned everything and a tiny little piece gets out of control, then your world's gone. Like some unusual child who has a million toys and one of them is stolen, he's going to perish.
The first thing you ought to do is verify what I present. Just because I say it doesn't make it true. So check it out, see what looks correct, what looks wrong, look at other material which wasn't discussed, figure out what the truth really is. That's what you've got a brain for.
Education should not be a matter of pouring water into a vessel ... it should be conceived as laying out a string along which learners proceed in their own ways, exercising and improving their creative capacities and imaginations, and experiencing the joy of discovery.
In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don't want them.
There's a radical insurgency, which is a large part of the Republican base, which is willing to do anything, destroy the country, whatever, in order to get rid of this Affordable Care Act. That's the one thing that they're able to hang onto.
It is familiar to mainstream academic scholarship. One very prominent political scientist, in his standard text American Politics 20 years ago, observes that The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen.
We have to be a little cautious about not trying to kill a gnat with an atom bomb. The performances are so utterly absurd regarding the post-truth moment that the proper response might best be ridicule.
The idea that people should be allowed to decide something about their own fate is just anathema to European elites.
The public is easily amenable to lies: the more lies there are, the greater the support for war. For instance, when the public was told that Saddam Hussein would attack the U.S., this increased support for the war.
With government deregulation and the triumph of financial liberalization, the dangers of systemic risks, the possibility of a financial tsunami, sharply increased.
I don't think all thinking is a kind of rational structure. But I don't think it is correct to identify the rational-nonrational dichotomy with the linguistic-nonlinguistic dichotomy.
Radical activists can't ignore the fact that we live in this world, like it or not, and have to make difficult decisions about which paths are the best -- or sometimes, the least harmful. There are no abstract formulas. Have to think through each case on its own.
The two tendencies are antithetical in significant respects. These are distinctions that should be kept in mind, however one feels that the problems and dilemmas that constantly arise should be resolved.
There are many cases around the world in which the presence of UN peace-keeping forces has had a somewhat beneficial effect.
The general principle is that the victors don't look at themselves or concede anything. The defeated typically have to, except when it's beneficial to the powerful for them not to.
I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.
The basic principle, rarely violated, is that what conflicts with the requirements of power and privilege does not exist.
A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.
My intellectual achievement was retarded when I went to high school. I sort of sank into a black hole because I had to go to the high-achieving, academic public high school.
The labor movement had been pretty much killed in the 1920s, almost destroyed. It revived in the 1930s and made a huge difference. By the late 1930s the business world was already trying to find ways to beat it back.
What's called liberal in the intelectual culture means highly conformist to power, but mildly critical.
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.
How do I define God? I don't.... People who find such conceptions important for themselves have every right to frame them as they like. Personally, I don't.
Those are possibilities for technology, which don't tend to be used, because of the way power is concentrated. There are all kinds of possibilities, including for coercion. In China, technology is used to control and coerce. Here too, to an extent, but not to that extent.
Should we even have the classification system? Why shouldn't these things be open? There are things you want to keep secret, like the characteristics of your latest fighter plane or something like that.
In fact, there is a very close correlation between human rights violations and US aid, particularly in Latin America.
I don't use the social media but I can see the effects in my own correspondence. I get a ton of correspondence. It used to be hard copy and now it's a very limited amount of actual letters people write. So it's mostly email.
Barron and Paul...rely on 'specialists' at the State and Defense Departments...Elsewhere in the media, similiar figures are bandied about, with equal credibility.
One might ask why tobacco is legal and marijuana not. A possible answer is suggested by the nature of the crop. Marijuana can be grown almost anywhere, with little difficulty. It might not be easily marketable by major corporations. Tobacco is quite another story.
I have not suggested that the emergence of language is instantaneous. Rather, that the rewiring of the brain enabling an infinite array of structured expressions was in effect instantaneous. I have never heard of an alternative to this suggestion.
The intellectual is an individual with a specific public role in society that cannot be reduced simply to . . a faceless professional.
There was a really monstrous and almost literal genocide in the Mayan area, specifically under Ríos Montt. By now it has been recognized somewhat by Guatemalan society. In fact, Montt was under trial for some crimes. But the U.S. prohibits people from fleeing here.
In my experience at least, the large public universities do not fall behind in fostering creativity and independence; often the contrary.
In the sciences particularly the large public universities must and do take an active role in fostering creativity and independence; otherwise the fields will wither, and along with them even the aspirations of wealth and power.
The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly.
Those lucky enough to qualify as intellectuals have their own special responsibilities, deriving from their good fortune. Among these is the task that Edward Said describes, surely an important one.
America is a very fundamentalist society. It's like Iran in the degree of fanatic religious commitment.
It's hard to achieve that, especially in a free society, but it's been done, and that's the kind of thing that activists in the IWW have to work against, right on the shop floor. It's not so simple, but it's been done before.
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.
To object that the facts about human nature set limits on our ability to change the world and ourselves makes about as much sense as the lament that our lack of wings sets limits on our ability to 'fly' as far as eagles under our own power.
Popular support for alternative energy has been very high for years. But it harms corporate profits.
Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt, they can't afford the time to think.
A number of analysts have observed that although bin Laden was finally killed, he won some major successes in his war against the U.S.
Every wave of immigrants who came to America were treated pretty badly, but when they all finally became integrated, all of us became Anglo-Saxons.
I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the Holocaust.
Evaluating countries is senseless and I would never put things in those terms, but that some of America's advances, particularly in the area of free speech, that have been achieved by centuries of popular struggle, are to be admired.
Julian Assange shouldn't be the subject of a grand jury hearing, he should be given a medal. He's contributing to democracy.
There is good reason to believe that we have already entered the Sixth Extinction, a period of destruction of species on a massive scale, comparable to the Fifth Extinction 65 million years ago, when three-quarters of the species on earth were destroyed, apparently by a huge asteroid.
Africa's a wreck and it's not because it was hit by an asteroid. It's a wreck largely because it was hit by Europe.
Bradley Manning should be regarded as a hero. He is doing what an honest, decent citizen should be doing: letting your population know what the government, the people who rule you are doing. They want to keep it secret of course.
The freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.
The time to be political is not when you have parties and carnivals, it's kind of a show, the election. It affects something but not that much. And focusing all the attention on it is I think a mistake.
I don't say you're self-censoring -- I'm sure you believe everything you're saying; but what I'm saying is, if you believed something different, you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting.
I think the Christian Coalition could be extremely dangerous. We should always be concerned when any group wants to impose their doctrinal concerns on all. To an extent that's what they are trying to do.
You might recall, perhaps, that we were probably the only commentators to rely on the most knowledgeable source, State Department intelligence.
Corporations with their political allies are waging an unrelenting class war against working people.
The US is the wrecking machine that is destroying everything. The world is hoping that China will somehow come to the rescue.
People are dangerous. If they're able to involve themselves in issues that matter, they may change the distribution of power, to the detriment of those who are rich and privileged.
Its true that contemporary technology permits decentralization, it also permits centralization. It depends on how you use the technology.
Where are the drug cartels getting their weapons? They are being provided by the United States. Cut off that flow of arms.
Mikhail Gorbachev complained. He was told look, there's nothing on paper. People didn't actually say it but the implication was look, if you are dumb enough to take faith in a gentleman's agreement with us, that's your problem. NATO expanded to East Germany.
Evolutionary theory has nothing to say, in general, as to whether cheating is more advantageous than cooperating. There are many circumstances in which the contrary would be true, and empirical evidence, though it exists, has little bearing on real situations.
The focus on creativity and independence exists in pockets of resistance in the educational system, which, to thrive, should be integrated with the needs and concerns of the great majority of the population. One finds them everywhere.
I don't really think there have been transitional periods to socialism. There have been efforts, but they have usually been destroyed by a combination of external force and internal corruption.
One commonly hears that carping critics complain about what is wrong, but do not present solutions. There is an accurate translation for that charge: 'They present solutions, but I don't like them.
If you're in a system where you must make profit in order to survive. You are compelled to ignore negative externalities, effects on others.
So yes in theory there is a kind of a formal democracy and in many ways these were achievements and an improvement over the feudal system and more advanced than anything else in the world, but nothing that we ought to call democracy.
I have no Facebook page or Twitter -- I don't participate in it, and I don't like it particularly. I mean, it's a form of interaction, which strikes me as extremely superficial.
It's roughly the case that if systems become too complex to study in sufficient depth, physics hands them over to chemistry, then to biology, then experimental psychology, and finally on to history. Roughly. These are tendencies, and they tend to distinguish roughly between hard and soft sciences.
Most of intellectuals are false prophets, flatterers of the court. The real prophets are the exception and treated badly. How badly they're treated depends on the society. Like in Eastern Europe, they were treated very badly. In Latin America, they were slaughtered.
Right to a speedy jury trial and so on and so forth. But what do they mean by 'person'? It certainly didn't mean individuals with flesh and blood like Native Americans who weren't persons, they don't have any rights.
If you ask me whether or not I'm an atheist, I wouldn't even answer. I would first want an explanation of what it is that I'm supposed not to believe in, and I've never seen an explanation.
Historically, several policy domains, including that of foreign policy towards the US and India, budget allocations etc, have been controlled by the Pakistani military, and the civil-military divide can be said to be the most fundamental fracture in Pakistan's body politic.
Wikileaks is a democratizing force. Its giving individuals access to decisions and thinking by their representatives and in a democracy that ought to be reflexive.
Freedom without opportunity is a devil's gift.
Freedom without opportunity is a devil's gift, and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal.
I just went along with political activists and interested in other intellectual interests which I pursued kind of at random. I never had a real college education. I got a degree, but it was just patching together courses here and there.
George Washington hated the guerrillas. He wanted to imitate the British red coat armies, fighting as gentlemen are supposed to fight.
There are cases -- for example, the American Revolution. George Washington's army lost just about every battle with the British, who had a much better army. The war was basically won by guerrilla forces that managed to undermine the British occupation.
I do not see how we can rationally oppose high speed rail because of the environmental and other costs without considering the social and human consequences of the radical elimination of transportation that this entails.
American society is now remarkably atomized. Political organizations have collapsed. In fact, it seems like even bowling leagues are collapsing. The left has a lot to answer for here. There's been a drift toward very fragmenting tendencies among left groups, toward this sort of identity politics.
Hume's paradox does hold: power is in the hands of the governed. If they refuse to accept it, you're in trouble, no matter how many guns you have.
As the capacity to coerce declines, it is natural to turn to control of opinion as the basis for authority and domination -- a fundamental principle of government already emphasized by David Hume.
There are women (some men, too, but mostly women) who are going to the occupied Palestinian territories to stand with the victims of Israeli occupation. These are very courageous Israeli women and some British and American women. That's something quite new.
There are very interesting books about these events, for instance one by a very well-known American historian named William R. Polk called Violent Politics. It's a record of what are basically guerrilla wars from the American Revolution right up through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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.
The rise of what's called Islamic fundamentalism is to a significant extent a result of the collapse of secular nationalist alternatives which were either discredited internally or destroyed, leaving few other options. Something like that may be true of American society.
I happened to go to a school when I was a kid and that's all we did, pursue our own interests. It was kind of structured so you ended up knowing everything you were supposed to know, arithmetic, Latin, whatever it was. But almost always it was under your own initiative.
The change between horse and buggy to automobile is a big change and there hasn't been a major change since.
It's fine to criticize somebody else's crimes and misdeeds, but you don't talk about your own. The only exception is a country that is defeated. And even that is rather nuanced.
Democracy, in any rational form, also imposes conditions on majority rule. That's what the Bill of Rights is about, for example.
There's a tremendous amount of language loss. Most of the attention is given to indigenous languages, which makes sense, but some of the most dramatic language loss is in Europe.
There's an interesting book called The Fugu Plan, written by Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz, which describes the circumstances when European Jews came to Japan, a semi-feudal society.
The criminalization of Black life was something specific to the United States in the post-Reconstruction period and there's something like it happening today with mass incarceration, directed largely against black males.
Intellectuals of the categories happen to enjoy unusual privilege, unique in history, I suppose. It's easy enough to find ugly illustrations of repression, malice, dishonesty, marginalization and exclusion in the academic world.
Workers and their families may starve to death in the New World Order of economic rationality, but diamond necklaces are cheaper in elegant New York shops, thanks to the miracle of the market.
For example, when my father was able to buy a secondhand car in the late 1930s, and he took us to the countryside for a weekend, if we looked for a motel to stay in we had to see if it said restricted on it. Restricted meant no Jews.
As any good teacher knows, the methods of instruction and the range of material covered are matters of small importance as compared with the success in arousing the natural curiosity of the students and stimulating their interest in exploring on their own.
Peter Kropotkin was surely on the left. He was one of the founders of what is now called 'sociobiology' or 'evolutionary psychology' with his book Mutual Aid, arguing that human nature had evolved in ways conducive to the communitarian anarchism that he espoused.
The dangers of unexamined and unregulated monopoly power, particularly in the state executive, are hardly news. The right reaction is not passive acquiescence.
Independence of mind, enthusiasm, dedication to the field, and willingness to challenge and question and to explore new direction. There are plenty of people like that, but schools tend to discourage those characteristics.
One should attend carefully to the fear and desperation of the powerful. They understand very well the potential reach of the ultimate weapon, and only hope that those who seek a more free and just world will not gain the same understanding and put it effectively to use.
Another problem with the official definitions of terror is that it follows from them that the US is a leading terrorist state.
There are plenty of things that are unknown, but are assumed reasonably to exist, even in the most basic sciences. Maybe 90 percent of the mass-energy in the universe is called dark, because nobody knows what it is.
Regulate the banks, get money out of elections; raise the minimum wage, environmental issues. They're all very important and the Occupy movement made a difference. It shifted not only the discourse but to some extent, action on these issues.