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“If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.”

~ Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States” (1980)

“Professions of benign intent by leaders should be dismissed by any rational observer. They are near universal and predictable, and hence carry virtually no information. The worst monsters–Hitler, Stalin, Japanese fascists, Suharto, Saddam Hussein, and many others–have produced moving flights of rhetoric about their nobility of purpose. The same holds for ‘Peace Institutes’ and ‘Endowments for Democracy.’ If we are serious, we will ask about their actions, paying little attention to their words, an elementary observation that has inspired a rich literature from Pascal to Zamyatin to Orwell.”

~ Noam Chomsky, “Failed States” (2006)

“To view the conquest of North America as the triumphant flowering of democratic liberty and affluence over bestial savagery and abject poverty is so factually vacant, so morally and economically perverse, as to be considered hallucinatory.”

~ Jada Thacker, “How Debt Conquered America” (2016)

“One can imagine a different style of reporting, not adopting these presuppositions of U.S. propaganda, citing other sources (the World Court, for example), and selecting relevant facts by different criteria (human rights and needs, democracy and freedom, the rule of law, and other values that are commonly professed). But such will rarely be found in the media. The constant barrage of properly selected material, with hardly a critical word or analytic passage, firmly instills the presuppositions that lie behind it, shaping the perceptions of the audience within the framework of acceptable doctrine more effectively than the productions of any Ministry of Truth. Meanwhile the media can plead that they are only doing their duty honestly—as they are, though not in exactly the sense they intend.”

~ Noam Chomsky, “Necessary Illusions” (1989)

“Contemplate these numbers: about five times as many pages are being added to the classified universe than are being brought to the storehouses of human learning, including all the books and journals on any subject in any language collected in the largest repositories on the planet. … Whether one figures by acquisition rate, by holding size, or by contributors, the classified universe is, as best I can estimate, on the order of five to ten times larger than the open literature that finds its way to our libraries. Our commonsense picture may well be far too sanguine, even inverted. The closed world is not a small strongbox in the corner of our collective house of codified and stored knowledge. It is we in the open world—we who study the world lodged in our libraries, from aardvarks to zymurgy, we who are living in a modest information booth facing outwards, our unseeing backs to a vast and classified empire we barely know.”

~ Peter Galison, “Removing Knowledge” (2004)

“Nothing is more inspiring [than] to see how poor and suffering people, living under conditions incomparably worse than we endure, continue quietly and unpretentiously with courageous and committed struggle for justice and dignity.”
~ Noam Chomsky, “On Trump and the State of the Union” (2017)