Talk:Noam Chomsky

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FYI, I asked prof. Chomsky to take a brief look at this page (22:21, 25 May 2005 revision), and the full Hebrew translation of it that I prepared, and he replied approvingly (also replied approvingly about the wiki concept in general). BTW, he was also asked to look at the wikipedia article(s) some months ago, see w:Talk:Noam_Chomsky/Comments_from_Chomsky, the revision that he looked at was one of the less crazy ones, by comparative standards, I think... iddo999 01:09, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)


If anyone wishes to translate this page to other languages, like I did into Hebrew, it would be great... but it's a tedious task... a more modest option would be to translate a small part of it, and so maybe it would get others to join and translate the rest... iddo999 01:09, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

'any dictator..' quote[edit]

Anyone knows the source of this quote? "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the [U.S.] media."

Upon further investigation, it seems to be a fake, even though it's widespread on the internet, and not unlike other things he does say. Unless I find a source for it, it should either be removed, or put in a 'misquotations' section. If anyone knows anything about this quote, please post a comment here... thanks... iddo999 01:09, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Mystery solved, it seems. The full quote is: "The uniformity and obedience of the media, which any dictator would admire, thus succeeds in concealing what is plainly the real reason for the US attack, sometimes conceded openly by Administration spokesmen." (Turning the Tide postscript, Sec. 2.3). In theory it might be true that he said the rephrased quote too, e.g. in a talk he gave around the time when the book was published (1985), but anyway, this is pretty much the same quote. iddo999 08:12, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

wikiquote as a press source[edit]

Some right-wing loony (who cannot read properly) has used quotes that I collected/transcribed for an op-ed titled "WWNCD? What Would Noam Chomsky Do?" - all quotes taken from this wikiquote article, but citing the individual sources for each, without mentioning wikiquote... Not sure what's the circulation of this w:Washington Examiner newspaper, but it seems pretty big. Perhaps when wikiquote grows further, we could have something similar to w:Wikipedia:Wikipedia as a press source. iddo999 6 July 2005 19:37 (UTC)


The way it's organized right now, the 'United States' subsection only contains quotations related to foreign policy, and the politics&economics sections contain quotations related to domestic issues, even if they're primarily/exclusively about the United States. It's probably a good idea to have the broad politics&economics section, so that it'd be easier for others to contribute quotes and put them there, but please don't add boring quotes... iddo999 12:51, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

problem with one of the external links[edit]

I think there's a problem with the link [[Latest ZNet forum replies by Chomsky]] in the external links section. I get the following error:

WebBoard Error: Invalid Board You must specify a valid board using the following syntax: For example: Note: Cooking may or may not be a valid board. It is used for the example only.

Cookies Turned Off?

You may have also received this page after attempting to log into WebBoard. If this is the case, be sure that your browser is set to accept cookies.

If you have any questions, please email the WebBoard Administrator.

Alex 14:18, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm... Did you first follow the 'log in as a guest' link at the technical note on the top of the page, and then clicked on the guest button there? And after that, if you try the forum links they still go to an error page, you might need to press f5 or ctrl+f5 on the error page in order for it to refresh (but it's usually not needed with the default refresh settings of browsers, I think). It's true that some time ago the forum was down, but it's working fine now when I tried it... iddo999 14:42, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
I don't see any 'log in as a guest' link at the top of the page. I tried it on another computer and another browser and I have the same problem. It just shows me what I pasted above, with no links. Alex 14:47, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
At the top of the article's page, not this discussion page. I put it there in 'bold text', above the table of contents. iddo999 14:54, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
It's working now. Sorry, I didn't notice that on top of the article. Thanks. Alex 14:58, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Note that there's also a "blog" at, which features excerpts from the forum replies. Too bad that they often remove the questions asked for these excerpts, which makes it seem loose... I remember that I read an interview with Chomsky where he was asked what he thinks about his blog, and he said that he doesn't know what a blog is... iddo999 15:33, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

source requested[edit]

Quoting article:

  • Regarding 9/11 conspiracy theories: "Even if it were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? It doesn't have any significance. It's a little bit like the huge energy that's put out on trying to figure out who killed John F. Kennedy. Who knows? And who cares? Plenty of people get killed all the time, why does it matter that one of them happened to be John F. Kennedy? If there was some reason to believe that there was a high level conspiracy, it might be interesting. But the evidence against that is just overwhelming. And after that, if it happened to be a jealous husband, or the mafia, or someone else, what difference does it make? It's just taking energy away from serious issues onto ones that don't matter. And I think the same is true here; it's my personal opinion."


1 bevezető 4:06 / 22 MB - magyar
2 Strength of movements 7:42 / 31 MB - English
3 Disorganisation 3:24 / 19 MB - English
4 Contradictions.avi 4:03 / 22 MB - English
5 New word order 17:26 / 98 MB - English
6 Undermining democracy 21:06 / 114 MB - English
7 Manipulating_media 12:36 / 72 MB - English
8 Postcapitalist vision 11:11 / 64 MB - English
9 Social change 3:56 / 22 MB - English
10 Consumerism and control 11:45 / 66 MB - English
11 Achieving change 2:56 / 15 MB - English
12 Tactics and consequences 5:52 / 31 MB - English
13 Sytems of control 2:03 / 10 MB - English
14 Personal motivation 4:56 / 27 MB - English

I would like to know the exact source for this quote, the ref'd page is a Hungarian page featuring 14 film fragments. Who can help? :Mick2 14:45, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

It's in part6, the biggest one, sorry:) But if I remember correctly, the rest of that part is also interesting, about who controls social movements in relation to the world social forum. There used to be a much smaller mp3 audio link with the whole thing, which would have been better as a source link, but it's not available anymore i think. iddo999 15:33, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Another source is the following clips on YouTube (actual quote is contained in part two of the video): [1] (part one) [2] (part two). Sslop 22:35, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


Guys, no offense here, but the number of quotes here is far too much. Other far more significant figures and issues get a lot less coverage. Face it, whether you like Chomsky or not, he's, at most, a marginal figure in US and world politics.

  • Therefore,, you should add more quotes in the pages of the other far more significant figures. iddo999 16:57, 29 November 2005 (UTC), what does number of quotes per page have anything to do with significance of the person? Even if we had concrete definitions of "significant" and "marginal", it'd still be nonsense - it amounts to arbitrarily censoring unpopular views.

KAL 007 Quote[edit]

Someone needs to shorten this or split it up into quotes, its over a page long and hardly counts as a quote.

It's actually a quite heavily abridged excerpt from a speech, but I agree that calling it a quote would be a big stretch. IMHO a "quote" here should include everything that's relevant to make the point, for the benefit of the reader. In this case I tried to retain as little as possible by keeping (what seemed to me to be) the relevant parts, and trimming everything else with ellipses. You can listen to the recording and see that it's much longer with everything included. Also note that besides this one, there're several other long excerpts on this page. You can also search wikiquote for earlier discussions about length, here's one from 2005. I disagree with you that it should be shortened, unless you can point out to parts that aren't significant enough for making the point there. And I think that splitting it would be confusing for the reader in this case, because then you wouldn't be sure in what way some parts relate to others. Another possible option is to transfer it to wikisource (perhaps after adding what's missing in the ellipses), but that's not my preferred option. iddo999 11:09, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Negative Quotes[edit]

Why are there so many negative quotes from other people about Chomsky? I've looked at other wikiquote pages, and in them I don't see pages of insults towards him. Should I be adding more insults on other wikiquote pages? 04:37, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I've been collecting these negative quotes. The idea is that when you put all these clowns together, it makes them look even more insane than when reading their comments individually (in their cult forums, including forums such as NYTimes), because they contradict each other. Liberals are the most amusing I'd say, e.g. this contradiction: "For him, intentions do not seem to matter. Body count is all." versus "To focus on intentions is to prolong a futile clash of inflamed self-righteousness". Some of the right-wing comments (e.g. Steven Plaut) are actionable, but Chomsky doesn't care for libel lawsuits on libertarian principles. So you probably won't be able to find this level of negative comments about people who aren't libertarians in this sense, but anyway please don't add insults on other pages because of what you see on this page. iddo999 05:52, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I have no idea what you are thinking, but inserting quotes from software designers and wikipedians into the negative quotes just clutters up the page. There is absolutely no need for all these negative quotes. Why don't you just make a separate page for it if you're just going to make this serve as a compendium for negative quotes from every source possible? -- 09:10, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Moving the entire 'about' section into a separate page might be a good option, though there are bigger wikiquote pages than this one. My preference is to leave it as it is, for now (but if the page gets bigger, I think that this option would be the first thing to consider). BTW in case I wasn't clear, positive (and neutral/indefinite) quotes are welcome too, of course. iddo999 04:58, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Christopher Hitchens[edit]

What is he doing in the 'right-wing' section? Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 18:31, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

He is a self-described neo-conservative, though InvisibleSun also added a quote in the left-wing section from the time he was a self-described socialist/Trotskyite. iddo999 07:12, 26 November 2006 (UTC)


He has refused to be called a neoconservative. He is an independent libertarian and a marxist, and he is a great admirer of Noam Chomsky.

Quotes about section[edit]

Is there any reason this section, particularly toward the end (i.e. the non-politically-defined segment, although many of the individuals have publicly asserted political attachments), is so overwhelming negative? Surely it would be just as easy to craft it to be overwhelmingly positive, and thus a balanced (or near balanced) account should not be difficult to attain in this instance? 19:29, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

My mistake, just saw a relevant earlier response; I would suggest that, while I understand this wikipedian's intentions, it would be nice to include more neutral / positive quotes, as many I believe will take away an effect other than the one desired. 19:32, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

where is this quote in full length?[edit]

google has a hit for the search

" Well yeah, there are other alternatives. For example, the alternatives that are favored by the overwhelming majority of the population of the United States" : :

"Noam Chomsky - Wikiquote- Well yeah, there are other alternatives. For example, the alternatives that are favored by the overwhelming majority of the population of the United States. ... - 362k - [in cache] - [similar sites]"

, but the "in cache"-version does not show the text, which can be seen under the search-hit. Maybe the cache-version is regarding an older version of this site (if yes, which one?), or the full quote is more in the end of the site, because it seems to me, as if the cache-version does not search/mark the whole site, as the colouring of words stops at one point, even if below are more words, which were included in the search-question.

I have looked up the normal version of this site, but as it is so long, maybe the quote is still actually on it and I only can't find it, but others might know where it is. - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) March 25, 2008 at 21:21 (UTC)

It's there, to be found in the section United States in the quote which begins "I think the basic question you ask is a good one." (If your computer has a word search function, you can find this quote, as I did, by putting in a key word like "alternatives.") - InvisibleSun 21:33, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh, yes, I see - thank you!

Quote from Bin-Laden[edit]

Does the Counterterrorism Blog qualify as a legitimate source?

I guess not:) Why don't you look for a better source that contains the full transcript? (iirc I originally saw it here). iddo999 18:04, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

10 April 2008 Iddo999 .. (expand1 -1)[edit]

hi, Iddo999,
thanks for expanding the 'propaganda'-q.
It seems (iinm) that you also deleted the 'biggest terror'-quote, without explanation. Why? --Wda 17:19, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

It's quite boring as it is, because it doesn't have any context (iirc it might be possible to add a paragraph from The Political Economy of Human Rights book that contains this quote, and that would make more sense). Also, it's a pretty much a dupe of other quotes that are already on this page, e.g. "... led by the world champion". Also, you should place quotes in chronological order (1969 < 1992). Also, I think the 'United States' section would be better than the 'Wars' section for such a quote. iddo999 18:04, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Breaking out separate pages[edit]

The point of breaking out collections of quotes from specific works into separate pages is to avoid having a single huge page with a melange of everything. For example, look at William Shakespeare. We have a page on his miscellaneous quotes or quotes from minor works, and separate pages for each of his major plays. The quotes from the major plays are not duplicated on the main page. It should be the same for Understanding Power and The Chomsky Reader. By the way, is Understanding Power a book or a blog? Cheers! BD2412 T 05:38, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

It's a book containing a collection of various talks with extensive footnotes.
One problem with removing quotes is that the separate articles are divided by books, while this page is divided by topics. So if you're looking for a quote on a specific topic, how could you tell in which subpage to look? iddo999 05:58, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Well you could have a note in the topic saying "see also Understanding Power" (perhaps the pages on the individual books could use some section dividers, which would allow you to pipe the link directly to the relevant section). The same applies to selections which are included in Wikisource. BD2412 T 06:11, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
In the concrete case of Understanding Power, following your suggestion now (by adding a note in each of the relevant sections saying "see also ...") would look pretty terrible I'd say:( iddo999 06:26, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Aesthetics are entirely a matter of opinion, but I'm sure if you experiment with the possibilities you can achieve something satisfactory. It would not be an issue if the page were organized chronologically, or if the page were not so long as to be problematic for people with slow computers. BD2412 T 07:45, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

splitting the pages up and removing understanding power quotes from this page may have a nice cosmetic effect, but i wonder if it makes sense. i'm tired, so bear with me: understanding power isn't a "major play" or even a chomsky work, it's basically a giant quotes page unto itself. like, if shakespeare went around answering questions, we wouldn't split it into "shakespeare" and "stuff shakespeare Q&A sessions that happened to be overheard and transcribed into a book." it's a convenient excuse. the real "sources" for everythign in understanding power are a bunch of audio tapes we can't get.

also, chomsky tends to repeat himself, so if we want to remove the Understanding quotes from here, i bet half of the remainder can also be found in Understanding power (since it's also a collection of quotes). and then we'll have more on the understanding power page than here, which is contrary to the point of a quotes page.

fully in favor of shrinking and/or moving the about chomsky section. —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

Communism - Bolshevism[edit]

Michael Parenti's comment about what appearently has said about communism is simply false. Chomsky is always careful to refer to Soviet communism as BOLSHEVISM; unlike the media and pretty much all intellectual culture, he won't condemn the communist ideology because of the actions of a regime that merely claimed to adhere to communism. Now, I'm not suggesting that this quote should be removed, after all it is Parenti's mistake, I just wanted to maek you aware.—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

The source link goes to zmag forum where Chomsky responded to that, but the newer zmag website doesn't seem to allow free access to these older forum links. I can email the forum replies linked as sources to anyone who's interested. ~ iddo999 13:40, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Everything Andrew Sullivan said is a complete lie. He has no proof that Chomsky ever supported the Soviet Union, no proof that he ever supported a tyrannous regime, or has ever told deliberate lies consistently or that he is anti-american or that he makes millions of dollars fanning hatred of America. In fact that statement is contradictory. Let's say he makes millions fanning anti-americanism. Why is he fanning anti-americanism abroad? Why is he making millions doing so? That must mean that Chomsky's views on foreign policy are correct. Which in turn, means his criticisms are legitimate. That makes him a patriotic american trying to stop crimes of the US government and in turn, making Americans safer from terror.


I have restored cleanup tag to this article because the following issues need to be addressed:

  1. Format – In the "Quotes about" section, citations should be bulleted beneath the quotes, not inline.
  2. Structure – I agree with this assessment that the organization of subsections is inappropriate. Chronological order with grouping by works is becoming standard practice.
  3. Quotation length – More than two dozen of the "quotes" exceed the 250 word length of quotes limit.

Regarding items 2 and 3, it should be borne in mind that Wikiquote's purpose is not to analyze a body of work or to cover a thesis. ~ Ningauble 14:31, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

  1. I don't have a strong opinion regarding bulleted citations for the 'about' section. It's just that it'd make the page longer (in terms of the number of lines), so if someone who cares about this issue would go ahead and add the bulleted citations, I might go over the 'about' section and delete a few of the more boring quotes that I put there.
  2. There's a difference between standard practice and mandatory practice. Also, within each section the quotes are in chronological order (as you probably already noticed). I expressed my (positive) opinion regarding division to subjects here.
  3. This has been discussed several times, see e.g. this VP discussion (which also links to previous discussions).
  4. I moved the cleanup tag to the talk page. Hopefully that's ok with everyone? ~ iddo999 18:46, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Vote for deletion result[edit]

Messagebox info.svg This article was preserved after a vote for its deletion.
See its archived VfD entry for details.

Per the strong consensus of the community as expressed in the deletion discussion, lengthy quotes on this page need to be removed to Wikisource or broken into smaller quotes. BD2412 T 16:14, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Chronology work[edit]

As the layout of this page has long been neglected, I will probably attempt to begin putting these quotes into standard chronological arrangements and sections sometime within the next week or so. I will label it with an {{inuse}} tag when I do begin, but once started it still might well take me at least a day or two before I finish. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 16:44, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Hi Kalki, it took me about three hours (and another 1.5), but I guess this is not the real issue. That cleanup tag cannot last for ever. Something has to be done about it, and tonight I made a (new) start. I think a lot can be done to further improve this article, such as.
  1. Extracts of the (sub) Wikiquote articles about Chomsky's mayor publication can be add in the chronological structure...
  2. ... and also quotable text from other highly cited books/articles
  3. Theme's can be stipulated by adding wiki-links to words in the text
  4. The section about Chromsky should be cleaned up as well, but how?
  5. All 233 external links should be checked if they are still working.
  6. Most sources in the section about Chromsky are incomplete, and must be completed (because those external links eventually will become unstable).
If the proponents of the thematical structure want to keep it like it was, it seems like a good idea that they recreate the whole article in Wikibooks. Mdd (talk) 01:12, 11 March 2013 (UTC) / 02:46 / 10:25 / 12:24, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
I applaud any efforts at cleaning this up into more standard formatting, and had actually done extensive work on the page on and off for several days around the time of that note, but eventually abandoned the effort without ever having posted much, and I might look over my previous files and see if I can salvage any portions of them — but it might take me time to do that, as they were done on another computer than the one I am using here. ~ Kalki·· 07:29, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Kaki, I had already run into the cleanup tag on this article a couple of times, and your note here was a final motivation to get started. It seems there is still a lot to be done, see the listing in my above comment. -- Mdd (talk) 10:25, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Great work - looks very good. As to one of your above questions regarding the 'About' section, I would remove the subheadings and sort the quotes alphabetically by their author/speaker. ~ UDScott (talk) 13:35, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I now also rearranged the section with quotes about Chromsky, and updated the list. -- Mdd (talk) 12:24, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi there. There is/was absolutely no reason to put this page in chronological order. Quotes divided by subject were much better. This new order makes it much more difficult to find what you are looking for. The dates actually don't make a difference, because Chomsky is so old, something quoted in 2005 could have been originally written in 1992, what difference does it make if he happens to repeat it again in 2005? And the quote itself could be about any time period.. I will change it back unless there is strong opposition. 23:59, 15 March 2013‎ (Talk)‎
  • Please don't change it back. Already in 2009 is explained that "the organization of subsections is inappropriate. Chronological order with grouping by works is becoming standard practice" (see #Cleanup). This chronological order is now introduced. -- Mdd (talk) 00:21, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, please don't change it back. One reason we avoid subject headings is because it tends to introduce subjective opinions about the intent or significance of the author's words. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:08, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Fine, but now this page is disorganized & impossible to read, and for no benefit.

Incomplete source info - Cleanup tag[edit]

After the article was rearranged a year ago, the cleanup tag wasn't removed, because almost all quotes have incomplete source info. The source info is based on a weblink, which could become unstable in a year or so. In Wikiquote each article needs weblink independent source info, so if the weblink goes death only the link can be removed and not the whole quote (because it has become unsourced).

In order to add the required source info, almost every source should be checked, and source info updated or rewritten. As example I just made a start, see here. -- Mdd (talk) 12:04, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

On second though I removed 2009 clean-up template. If I am not mistaken, most of 2009 issues have been solved. The only thing required is modification of (almost all) the source info, which doesn't really count as cleanup, but much appreciated modification. I do think, that source info based on dead-links can be classified as partly sourced/unsourced, and moved to the unsourced section on the talk page. -- Mdd (talk) 14:07, 23 May 2014 (UTC)


  • Education is a system of imposed ignorance.
    • Noam Chomsky Manufacturing Consent [3]
  • It just doesn't matter much what you think, what your subjective judgement is, about the possibilities of making progress. Whether you think they're great or whether you think they're dim, you can do the same thing, try. See how far you can go. Otherwise, you're saying okay I want the worst to happen.
    • Noam Chomsky - November 16th, 2012 - Message for activists and the future generations [4]
  • Social and political issues in general seem to me fairly simple; the effort to obfuscate them in esoteric and generally vacuous theory is one of the contributions of the intelligentsia to enhancing their own power and the power of those they serve.
    • Language and Politics, p. 345
  • "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."
  • "I'm what's called here a "secular atheist," except that I can't even call myself an "atheist" because it is not at all clear what I'm being asked to deny.
  • On the ordinary problems of human life, science tells us very little, and scientists as people are surely no guide. In fact they are often the worst guide, because they often tend to focus, laser-like, on their professional interests and know very little about the world.
    • The Reality Club: Beyond Belief <ref></ref>