Markets also have a very bad psychological effect. They drive people to a conception of themselves and society in which you’re only after your own good, not the good of others and that’s extremely harmful.
…Capitalism is basically a system where everything is for sale, and the more money you have, the more you can get. And, in particular, that’s true of freedom. Freedom is one of the commodities that is for sale, and if you are affluent, you can have a lot of it. It shows up in all sorts of ways. It shows up if you get in trouble with the law, let’s say, or in any aspect of life it shows up. And for that reason it makes a lot of sense, if you accept the capitalist system, to try to accumulate property, not just because you want material welfare, but because that guarantees your freedom, it makes it possible for you to amass that commodity. […] what you’re going to find is that the defense of free institutions will largely be in the hands of those who benefit from them, namely the wealthy, and the powerful. They can purchase that commodity and, therefore, they want those institutions to exist, like free press, and all that.
“Anarchism : Noam Chomsky interviewed by David Dobereiner, John Hess, Doug Richardson & Tom Woodhull” in: C. P. Otero (ed.), Language and Politics, Black Rose, 1988, pp. 166-196, January, 1974.
The beauty of the system, however, is that such dissent and inconvenient information are kept within bounds and at the margins, so that while their presence shows that the system is not monolithic, they are not large enough to interfere unduly with the domination of the official agenda.
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
“If any of you have ever looked at your FBI file, you discover that intelligence agencies in general are extremely incompetent. That’s one of the reasons why there are so many intelligence failures. They just never get anything straight, for all kinds of reasons. Part of it is because of the information they get. The information they get comes from ideological fanatics, typically, who always misunderstand things in their own crazy way. If you look at an FBI file, say, about yourself, where you know what the facts are, you’ll see that the information has some kind of relation to the facts, you can figure out what they’re talking about, but by the time it works its way through the ideological fanaticism of the intelligence agencies, there’s always weird distortion.” - Noam Chomsky, Q&A with community activists, February 10, 1989.
There have been many measures taken to try to turn the educational system towards more control, more indoctrination, more vocational training, imposing a debt, which traps students and young people into a life of conformity… That’s the exact opposite of [what] traditionally comes out of The Enlightenment. And there’s a constant struggle between those. In the colleges, in the schools, do you train for passing tests, or do you train for creative inquiry?
“Pointing to the massive amounts of propaganda spewed by government and institutions around the world, observers have called our era the age of Orwell. But the fact is that Orwell was a latecomer on the scene. As early as World War I, American historians offered themselves to President Woodrow Wilson to carry out a task they called "historical engineering,” by which they meant designing the facts of history so that they would serve state policy. In this instance, the U.S. government wanted to silence opposition to the war. This represents a version of Orwell’s 1984, even before Orwell was writing.“ - Noam Chomsky, in: Wendy McElroy, Carl Watner (1987) The Voluntaryist, Nr. 23-41 (1987), p. 120; Republished in: "Propaganda Review, 1987,” at zpub.com, accessed May 23, 2014.
I don’t see any need to say in a complicated way what you can say in an easier way. You can make things look complicated, that’s part of the game that intellectuals play; things must look complicated. You might not be conscious about that, but it’s a way of gaining prestige, power and influence.
Noam Chomsky: “There are other media too [the first being newspapers and control of information] whose basic social role is quite different. It’s diversion. There’s the real mass media, the kinds that are aimed at the guys who… Joe six-pack. That kind. The purpose of those media is just to dull people’s brain. This is an over-simplification, but for the 80 per cent or whatever they are, the main thing for them is to divert them. To get them to watch National Football League, and to worry about the… you know… mother with child with six heads, or whatever the thing you pick up on the supermarket stands, and so on. Or, you know, look at astrology, or get involved in fundamentalist stuff, or something. Just get them away you know. Get them away from things that matter. And for that, it’s important to reduce their capacity to think. Sports. That’s another crucial example of the indoctrination system in my view. For one thing, because it offers people something to pay attention to that is of no importance. That keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea about doing something about. And in fact, it’s striking to see the intelligence that’s used by ordinary people in sports. You listen to radio sations where people call in. They have the most exotic information and understanding of all kinds of arcane issues, and the press undoubtedly does a lot with this. I remember in high school I suddenly asked myself at one point: Why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? I mean, I don’t know anybody on the team, you know. […] It doesn’t make any sense. But the point is, it does make sense. It’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority. And, you know, group cohesion behind… you know, leadership elements. In fact, it’s training in irrational jingoism. That’s also a feature of competitive sports. I think, if you look closely at those things, typically, they do have functions, and that’s why energy is devoted to supporting them, and creating basis for them, and advertisers are willing to pay for them.”
“Israel is an embattled country. They rely very heavily on U.S. support. So they have developed a very sophisticated system of propaganda. They don’t call it propaganda. They call it hasbarah. It is the only country I know of in the world that refers to propaganda as explanation. The Ministry of Propaganda is the Ministry of Explanation. The idea being that our position on everything is so obviously correct that if we only explain it to people, they will see that it is right.” - Noam Chomsky, Interview by Burton Levine in Shmate: A Journal of Progressive Jewish Thought, May 1988