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The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. We should never forget that the primary goal of great power is to distract and limit our natural desire for social justice and equity and real democracy. Milan Kundera
All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. Adam Smith, the Wealth of Nations
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. John Adams
The jaws of power are always opened to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking and writing. John Adams, 1735-1826
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. Thomas Jefferson
Even in the most elementary social arrangements religious belief became almost inevitably associated with authority and power. Jonathan Miller, A Brief History of Disbelief, BBC 2004
All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. Friedrich Nietzsche
This world is a will to power and nothing besides. Friedrich Nietzsche
Truth is absolute, truth is supreme, truth is never disposable in a national political life. John W Howard, former Australian prime minister
The Eastern world is finally acknowledging that there is no power without brain power. Niall Ferguson, Civilisation: Is the West History? Channel 4 2011
Th’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins
Remorse from power. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar II i 18-19, Brutus
Timon: What wouldst thou do with the world, Apemantus, if it lay in thy power?
Apemantus: Give it to the beasts, to be rid of the men. William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens IV iii
The people as a source of sovereign power are in truth only occasional partners in the constitutional minuet danced for most of the time by Parliament and the political party in power. Lord Scarman, The Shape of Things to Come, 1989
I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1792
Titles are tinsel, power a corrupter, glory a bubble, and excessive wealth a libel on its possessor. Percy Bysshe Shelley, Declaration of Rights
Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate’er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
A mechanized automaton. Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab
You can’t vote the rascals out because you never voted them in in the first place: the corporate executive and the corporate lawyers and so on who overwhelmingly staff the executive assisted increasingly by a university-based mandarin class – these people remain in power no matter whom you elect. Noam Chomsky, lecture Poetry Center of New York 1970, ‘Government in the Future’
Responsibility I believe accrues through privilege. People like you and me have an unbelievable amount of privilege and therefore we have a huge amount of responsibility. We live in free societies where we are not afraid of the police; we have extraordinary wealth available to us by global standards. If you have those things, then you have the kind of responsibility that a person does not have if he or she is slaving seventy hours a week to put food on the table; a responsibility at the very least to inform yourself about power. Beyond that, it is a question of whether you believe in moral certainties or not. Noam Chomsky
See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence. Noam Chomsky
After the American revolution, rebellious and independent farmers had to be taught by force that the ideals expressed in the pamphlets of 1776 were not to be taken seriously. The common people were not to be represented by countrymen like themselves, that know the people’s sores, but by gentry, merchants, lawyers, and others who hold or serve private power. Jefferson and Madison believed that power should be in the hands of the ‘natural aristocracy’. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy
The repression launched by the Wilson Administration successfully undermined democratic politics, unions, freedom of the press, and independent thought, in the interests of corporate power and the state authorities who represented its interests, all with approval of the media and elites generally, all in self-defence against the ‘ignorant and mentally deficient’ majority. Much the same story was re-enacted after World War II, again under the pretext of a Soviet threat, in reality to restore submission to the rulers. ibid.
There is, clearly enough, an unspoken assumption behind the proposals of Lippmann and others: the specialized class are offered the opportunity to manage public affairs by virtue of their subordination to those with real power – in our societies, dominant business interests, a crucial fact that is ignored in the self-praise of the elect. ibid.
The influential political scientist Harold Lasswell explained in the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences that when elites lack the requisite force to compel obedience, social managers must turn to ‘a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda’. He added the conventional justification: we must recognize the ‘ignorance and stupidity [of] ... the masses’ and not succumb to ‘democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests’. They are not, and we must control them, for their own good. The same principle guides the business community. ibid.
Once popular organizations are dispersed or crushed and decision-making power is firmly in the hands of owners and managers, democratic forms are quite acceptable, even preferable as a device of legitimation of elite rule in a business-run ‘democracy’. ibid.
The ten principles of the concentration of wealth and power: Concentration of wealth yields concentration of power … (1) Reduce Democracy; (2) Shape Ideology; (3) Redesign the Economy; (4) Shift the Burden; (5) Attack Solidarity; (6) Run the Regulators; (7) Engineer Elections; (8) Keep the Rabble in Line; (9) Manufacture Consent; (10) Marginalize the Population. Noam Chomsky, Requiem for the American Dream, F-Movies 2017
Power in the United States primarily lies in the corporations and the corporate world … There’s a very close link between government power and corporate power. Noam Chomsky, compilation ‘War, State Power, and American Exceptionalism’, Youtube The Essentials 2.43.03
The cost of elections has skyrocketed … democracy has eroded … 70% of the population is essentially disenfranchised … their opinions have no effect on policy; influence increases slowly as wealth increases; you get to the top fraction of 1%, they pretty much get what they want. Noam Chomsky, lecture 8th July 2017, ‘The Corporatization of the Universities’, Youtube 1.39.35
The rich liberals own everything – they own the corporations, they run the government, they run the media, and they don’t care about people like you. Noam Chomsky, Who Controls the World? Link TV June 2009, Youtube 1.29.57