Category Archives: Book quotes

Quotes from The Book of the Subgenius

“The idea that America (or any country) values individuality as the highest ideal is a cheap myth. Everybody’s an individualist, but they don’t like individuals. Perhaps in simpler times it was true, but no modern industrial deathkulture can really afford a population of unpredictables”

“Well, you can fight City Hall, and even win. But you can’t get ultimate Slack. You mus face that. But this doesn’t mean you should let the Con make you accept things you don’t NEED and resist what you CAN USE. Don’t get our idea of Slack mixed up with Their false quest for ‘tranquility.’ Their idea of tranquility for you is the narcosis of sitting alone in a tiny condobox exhausted from work and nerve drugs, watching TV in a kind of eternal limbo. For some Subgeniuses, such mindlessness is Slack, the difference is that the Con wants everybody to have the same idea of Slack.

To many Subgenii, Slack is simply being allowed to do the kind of work they love. False Work, done only for money, without fun, is a SIN against YOU ALMIGHTY (unless it’s a LOT of money). Unrepressed greed is natural. But the way They’ve got it set up, it’s poison, as evidenced by the diseases peculiar to the rich.”

“Slack is not simply ‘Not Giving a Shit.’ It is more like ‘Giving a Shit Freely.’

Holy men have called Slack, ‘SEEING.’ Not looking, but seeing. ‘Bob” teaches men to truly see. A poor man can have true Slack. An idiot trapped in a condominium and a bad job can have true Slack. All that it takes is to stop sucking the finger and go where it POINTS!

Man’s word says, ‘seeing is believing.’ This is perversion. ‘Bob’s’ word says, ‘Believing is seeing.’ If you believe in something first, you will then see it. But you must really believe.

To be a complete and religious Subgenius, you don’t have to believe in the dogma. You don’t have to believe in yourself. You don’t have to believe in ANYTHING, but merely be CAPABLE of BELIEVING.”

Quotes from Pornography, by Andrea Dworkin

“With a disgust common to all feminists who have tried to be participants in the so-called humanism of men, only to discover through bitter experience that the culture of males does not allow honest female participation, Virginia Woolf wrote: “I detest the masculine point of view. I am bored by his heroism, virtue, and honour. I think the best these men can do is not to talk about themselves anymore.” Men have claimed the human point of view; they author it; they own it. Men are humanists, humans, humanism. Men are rapists, batterers, plunderers, killers; these same men are religious prophets, poets, heroes, figures of romance, adventure, accomplishment, figures ennobled by tragedy and defeat. Men have claimed the earth, called it Her. Men ruin Her. Men have airplanes, guns, bombs, poisonous gases, weapons so perverse and deadly that they defy any authentically human imagination. Men battle each other and Her; women battle to be let into the category “human” in imagination and reality. Men battle to keep the category “human” narrow, circumscribed by their own values and activities; women battle to change the meaning that men have given the word, to transform its meaning by suffusing it with female experience.”

“Men will advocate some forms of violence and not others. Some men will renounce violence in theory, and practice it in secrecy against women and children. Some men will become icons in male culture, able to discipline and focus their commitment to violence by learning a violent skill: boxing, shooting, hunting, hockey, football, soldiering, policing. Some men will use language as violence, or money as violence, or religion as violence, or science as violence, or influence over others as violence. Some men will commit violence against the minds of others and some against the bodies of others. Most men, in their life histories, have done both. In the area of sexuality, this fact was acknowledged with no recognition of its significance by the scholars of the Institute for Sex Research (the Kinsey Institute) who studied sex offenders:

‘If we labeled all punishable sexual behavior as a sex offense, we would find ourselves in the ridiculous situation of having all of our male histories consist almost wholly of sex offenders, the remaining few being not only nonoffenders but nonconformists. The man who kisses a girl [sic] in defiance of her expressed wishes is committing a forced sexual relationship and is liable to an assault charge, but to solemnly label him a sex offender would be to reduce our study to a ludicrous level.’

Rather than “reduce [their] study to a ludicrous level,” which would be unthinkable, the honorable scientists chose to sanction as normative the male commitment to the use of force documented by their study.”

“Pornography reveals that male pleasure is inextricably tied to victimizing, hurting, exploiting; that sexual fun and sexual passion in the privacy of the male imagination are inseparable from the brutality of male history. The private world of sexual dominance that men demand as their right and their freedom is the mirror image of the public world of sadism and atrocity that men consistently and self-righteously deplore. It is in the male experience of pleasure that one finds the meaning of male history.”

“Sade’s biographers attempt to justify, trivialize, or deny (even though records confirming the facts exist) every assault Sade ever committed against women and girls. Especially, tireless efforts are made to discount the kidnapping and torture of Rose Keller, Sade’s first nonprostitute victim of record.

Violence against prostitutes, regardless of its ferocity, is nothing less than an acceptable fact of life. W ho, the biographers ask with mock wonderment, can deny that these “girls” are there to be used? The man’s right to sexual pleasure on his own terms is the given, the natural right. Sexual pleasure includes by definition or intrinsically justifies the use of force, trickery, or violence. The cost to the prostitute’s health or well-being means nothing. Her own will
has no value and no claim to value. The use of force against
prostitutes means less than nothing. Freedom, that hallowed word, is valued only when used in reference to male desire. For women, freedom means only that men are free to use them.”

“Coleridge’s ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ operates more consistently in the viewing of pornography than it ever has in the reading of literature. The willing suspension of disbelief is crucial. Without it, one might remember that this rendition of women in private is not women in private at all, but women in makeup and costumes under hot lights in uncomfortable positions posed before a camera behind which is a photographer behind whom is a publisher behind whom is a multibillion-dollar industry behind which are rich lawyers claiming that the photographs are constitutionally protected speech essential to human freedom behind whom are intellectuals who find all of this revolutionary behind all of whom—except the models—are women who launder their underwear and clean their toilets. Indeed, to be a consumer of pornography one must be adept at suspending disbelief. Should disbelief prove stubborn and not easy to suspend, the knowledge that the models posed for money provides confirmation that they are whores and then the photographs are a simple expression of a general truth. For the viewer who remembers that the photographs are artificial constructs, the photographs prove what the photographs show: that women are whores, dumb and evil whores at that; that women like to whore; that women choose to whore.”

“Film critic Molly Haskell, at the end of a decade of vigorous feminism in the United States, expressed the weary anger and astonishment of women who keep knocking their heads against this particular brick wall:

‘If we think talking it all out has brought us [men and women] closer together in the last few years, we have only to broach the subject of rape. Men seem incapable of understanding what rape means to a woman—the sense of total violation, or the mere threat of rape as a lifelong shadow over her freedom of movement…

The central division is between the sense of rape as an act of
hostility and aggression, as women see and know and experience it, and rape as an erotic act, as fantasized by men.'”

“The valuation of women’s sexuality in pornography is objective and real because women are so regarded and so valued. The force depicted in pornography is objective and real because force is so used against women. The debasing of women depicted in pornography and intrinsic to it is
objective and real in that women are so debased. The uses of
women depicted in pornography are objective and real because women are so used. The women used in pornography are used in pornography. The definition of women articulated systematically and consistently in pornography is objective and real in that real women exist within and must live with constant reference to the boundaries of this definition. The fact that pornography is widely believed to be “sexual representations” or “depictions of sex” emphasizes only that the valuation of women as low whores is
widespread and that the sexuality of women is perceived as low and whorish in and of itself. The fact that pornography is widely believed to be “depictions of the erotic” means only that the debasing of women is held to be the real pleasure of sex.”

“On the Left, the sexually liberated woman is the woman of
pornography. Free male sexuality wants, has a right to, produces, and consumes pornography because pornography is pleasure. Leftist sensibility promotes and protects pornography because pornography is freedom. The pornography glut is bread and roses for the masses. Freedom is the mass-marketing of woman as whore. Free sexuality for the woman is in being massively consumed, denied an individual nature, denied any sexual sensibility other than that which serves the male. Capitalism is not wicked or cruel when the commodity is the whore; profit is not wicked or cruel when the alienated worker is a female piece of meat; corporate bloodsucking is not wicked or cruel when the corporations in question, organized crime syndicates, sell cunt; racism is not wicked or cruel when the black cunt or yellow cunt or red cunt or Hispanic cunt or Jewish cunt has her legs splayed for any man’s pleasure; poverty is not wicked or cruel when it is the poverty of dispossessed women who have only themselves to sell; violence by the powerful against the powerless is not wicked or cruel when it is called sex; slavery is not wicked or cruel when it is sexual slavery; torture is not wicked or cruel when the tormented are women, whores, cunts. The new pornography is left-wing; and the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.”

Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women

And now we pressure them until they transition.

“Tomboyism is punished, however, when it appears to be the sign of extreme male identification (takings a boy’s name or refusing to wear girl clothing of any type) and when it threatens to extend beyond childhood and into adolescence. Teenage tomboyism presents a problem and tends to be subject to the most severe efforts to reorient. We could say that tomboyism is tolerated as long as the child remains prepubescent; as soon as puberty begins, however, the full force of gender conformity descends on the girl. Gender conformity is pressed onto all girls, not just tomboys, and this is where it becomes hard to uphold the notion that male femininity presents a greater threat to social and familial stability than female masculinity. Female adolescence represents the crisis of coming of age as a girl in a male-dominated society. If adolescence for boys represents a rite of passage (much celebrated in Western literature in the form of the bildungsroman), and an ascension to some version (however attenuated) of social power, for girls, adolescence is a lesson in restraint, punishment, and repression. It is in the context of female adolescence that the tomboy instincts of millions of girls are remodeled into compliant forms of femininity.

That any girls do emerge at the end of adolescence as masculine women is quite amazing.”

Jack Halberstam, Female Masculinity

Quotes from The Speed of Dreams by Subcomandante Marcos

“What is the speed of dreams?

I don’t know. Perhaps it’s…But no, I don’t know…

The truth is that what is known here is known collectively.

We know, for example, that we are at war. And I’m not referring just to the real zapatista war, the one which has not totally satisfied the bloodthirstiness of some media and of some intellectuals ‘of the left.’ The ones who are so given, the first to the numbers of deaths, injured and disappeared, and the latter to translating deaths into errors ‘for not having done what I told them.’

It is not just that. I’m also speaking about what we call the ‘Fourth World War’ which is being waged by neoliberalism and against humanity. The one which is taking place on all fronts and everywhere, including in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. As well as in Palestine and in Iraq, in Chechnya and in the Balkans, in Sudan and in Afghanistan, with more or less regular armies. The one which fundamentalism of both camps is carrying to all corners of the planet. The one which, taking on non-military forms, is claiming victims in Latin America, in Social Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in Oceania, in the Near East, with financial bombs that are causing entire nation states and international bodies to disappear into little pieces.

This war which, according to us, is attempting to destroy/depopulate lands, to rebuild/reorder local, regional and national maps, and to create, by blood and fire, a new world cartography. This one which is leaving its signature in its path: death.

Perhaps the question ‘What is the speed of dreams?’ should be accompanied by the question ‘What is the speed of nightmares?'”

“Capitalism is most interested in merchandise, because when it is bought or sold, profits are made. And then capitalism turns everything into merchandise, it makes merchandise of people, of nature, of culture, of history, of conscience. According to capitalism, everything must be able to be bought and sold. And it hides everything behind the merchandise, so we don’t see the exploitation that exists. And then the merchandise is bought and sold in a market. And the market, in addition to being used for buying and selling, is also used to hide the exploitation of the workers. In the market, for example, we see coffee in its little package or its pretty little jar, but we do not see the campesino who suffered in order to harvest the coffee, and we do not see the coyote who paid him so cheaply for his work, and we do not see the workers in the large company working their hearts out to package the coffee. Or we see an appliance for listening to music like cumbias, rancheras or corridos, or whatever, and we see that it is very good because it has a good sound, but we do not see the worker in the maquiladora who struggled for many hours, putting the cables and the parts of the appliance together, and they barely paid her a pittance of money, and she lives far away from work and spends a lot o­n the trip, and, in addition, she runs the risk of being kidnapped, raped and killed as happens in Ciudad Juárez in Mexico…

Then, in neoliberal globalization, the great capitalists who live in the countries which are powerful, like the United States, want the entire world to be made into a big business where merchandise is produced like a great market. A world market for buying and selling the entire world and for hiding all the exploitation from the world. Then the global capitalists insert themselves everywhere, in all the countries, in order to do their big business, their great exploitation. Then they respect nothing, and they meddle wherever they wish. As if they were conquering other countries. That is why we zapatistas say that neoliberal globalization is a war of conquest of the entire world, a world war, a war being waged by capitalism for global domination. Sometimes that conquest is by armies who invade a country and conquer it by force. But sometimes it is with the economy, in other words, the big capitalists put their money into another country or they lend it money, but o­n the condition that they obey what they tell them to do. And they also insert their ideas, with the capitalist culture which is the culture of merchandise, of profits, of the market.”

“Juan de Mairena: ‘The free expression of thought is an important, but secondary, problem to ours, which is that of freedom of thought itself. For one, we ask ourselves whether the thought, our thought, that of each of us, can take place with complete liberty, regardless of the fact that, then, we are allowed, or not allowed, to express it. Let us ask rhetorically: Of what use to us would be the free expression of an enslaved thought?’ (Antonio Machado. Alianza Editorial, p. 179)”

Quote from A Few Notes on the Culture, by Iain M. Banks

Let me state here a personal conviction that appears, right now, to be profoundly unfashionable; which is that a planned economy can be more productive – and more morally desirable – than one left to market forces.

The market is a good example of evolution in action; the try-everything-and-see-what- -works approach. This might provide a perfectly morally satisfactory resource-management system so long as there was absolutely no question of any sentient creature ever being treated purely as one of those resources. The market, for all its (profoundly inelegant) complexities, remains a crude and essentially blind system, and is – without the sort of drastic amendments liable to cripple the economic efficacy which is its greatest claimed asset – intrinsically incapable of distinguishing between simple non-use of matter resulting from processal superfluity and the acute, prolonged and wide-spread suffering of conscious beings.

It is, arguably, in the elevation of this profoundly mechanistic (and in that sense perversely innocent) system to a position above all other moral, philosophical and political values and considerations that humankind displays most convincingly both its present intellectual [immaturity and] – through grossly pursued selfishness rather than the applied hatred of others – a kind of synthetic evil.

Intelligence, which is capable of looking farther ahead than the next aggressive mutation, can set up long-term aims and work towards them; the same amount of raw invention that bursts in all directions from the market can be – to some degree – channelled and directed, so that while the market merely shines (and the feudal gutters), the planned lases, reaching out coherently and efficiently towards agreed-on goals. What is vital for such a scheme, however, and what was always missing in the planned economies of our world’s experience, is the continual, intimate and decisive participation of the mass of the citizenry in determining these goals, and designing as well as implementing the plans which should lead towards them.”

Quotes from Lesbian Ethics, by Sarah Lucia Hoagland

“In general, the system of fathers designates as evil what it can tolerate and uses it as a safety valve. When things threaten to get out of hand, those in power can then scapegoat that which they designate as evil [ to explain why that which they designate as good- marriage, business, education, religion, medicine, for example- isn’t working. And this suggests that withdrawal from and change in central values, rather than evil, are the real threat to the traditional framework of ethics and politics.”

“It is heterosexualism which makes us feel that it is possible to dominate another for her own good, that one who resists such domination is abnormal or doesn’t understand what is good for her, and that one who refuses to participate in dominant/subordinate relationships doesn’t exist. And once we accept all this, imperialism, colonialism, and ethnocentrism, for example, while existing all along, become more socially tolerable in liberal thought. They become less a matter of exercising overt force and more a matter of the natural function of (a) social order.”

“[G]iven that a heightened concern with altruism and self-sacrifice indicates a general social perception of an underlying conflict of interests, it would seem that the focus on altruism and self-sacrifice in connection with women indicates that people generally regard the interests of men and children, in particular their alleged need of women, as essentially in conflict with the interests of women.
Further, it is significant that the individual self-seeking of men and children is not in question. That is, self-sacrifice is not a general (nuclear- or extended-) family virtue, even though other members of the family may engage in it. It is a feminine virtue…
In other words, the perceived conflict of interest between men and children, on the one hand, and women, on the other, has been resolved in favor of men and children to such an extent that self-sacrifice and altruism are feminine. The possibility of ethics in this case seems to rest on the willingness of women to devote themselves to men and children by acquiescing to male authority and by bearing and being responsible for children whether or not they choose to.”

“Basic myths behind capitalist motivation include ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘advancement based on merit.’ And we are acknowledged as useful persons by being ‘allowed’ to work. However, in a dominant/subordinate hierarchy, of course, someone decides who is ‘fit,’ someone determines ‘merit,’ and someone is in a position to ‘allow’ us to work. By dangling jobs and ‘merit’ in front of us, those in power suggest that their recognition somehow means we’re a better person- that even if we can’t gain profit by participating in the system, at least we can gain ‘acknowledgement’ and hence meaning through our work and advancement. But that means, of course, that only those who are working have value; if we aren’t working, it is because we are lazy slobs. Yet even in theory, capitalism requires that there be unemployment to depress labor prices. When we aren’t working, it is in fact because the system requires it.
The protestant work ethic holds that if we work hard, we will ‘make it.’ But this implies that if we didn’t ‘make it,’ we didn’t work hard or hard enough. This is not true. What is true is that if we do ‘make it,’ we will have worked hard. But it is also true that in a system requiring a pyramid structure very few can ‘make it’- and only by beating out and exploiting others.”

“Men use violence when women don’t pay attention to them. Then, when women ask for protection, men can find meaning by turning on the predators- particularly ones of a different race or class.

In other words, the logic of protection is essentially the same as the logic of predation. Through predation, men do things to women and against women all of which violate women and undermine women’s integrity. Yet protection objectifies just as much as predation. To protect women, men do things to women and against women; acting “for a woman’s own good,” they violate her integrity and undermine her agency.

Protection and predation emerge from the same ideology of male dominance, and it is a matter of indifference to the successful maintenance of male domination which of the two conditions women accept.”

“It is no accident that just as the feminist demand for rights again achieved public recognition, those in power diverted ethical attention to biology- this time, sociobiology. Here, amid allegedly objective descriptions of animal behavior, E. O. Wilson claims that it is a ‘near-universal phenomenon that makes are dominant over females among animals.’ Nowhere does Wilson defend this claim; rather, it appears to be substantiated as he merely describes the facts. For example, he uses the word ‘harem’ to describe a hamadryas baboon society in which females are terrorized into submission and loyalty by a threatening male. However, he also uses it describe female-centered societies such as the mountain sheep. The mountain sheep herd is female-centered, females ‘inherit’ home ranges from other females, and the females allow only a few males to ‘associate’ with them- and then only during the mating season. Yet by Wilson’s use of the word ‘harem,’ the reader is left with the impression that males dominate females in that society…

Perhaps Wilson’s most revealing judgment emerges as he interchanges the phrase ‘female receptive posture’ with the phrase ‘female submissive posture.’ Through this equation, he implies that by merely engaging in heterosex, females are dominated by males. Wilson describes females who do not engage in heterosex as ‘maiden aunts,’ or as ‘anti-social’ if they try to escape (as did the anubis female baboons which, in an experiment, scientists put in a hamadryas society). Since females having sex with males is ‘natural,’ it logically follows that male domination is ‘natural.'”

“‘Femininity’ functions as a standard of heterosexualism. Standards or measures determine fact and are used to create (and later discover) fact; they themselves, however, are not discovered. An inch, for example, was not discovered. It was created and is used to determine boundaries. No amount of investigation into surfaces will ever confirm or disprove that inches exist or that inches accurately reflect the world. A standard is a way of measuring the world, of categorizing it, of determining its boundaries so men can act upon it. ‘Femininity’ is such a standard: it is a way of categorizing the world so that men can act upon it, and women can respond.

‘Femininity’ is a label whereby one group of people are defined in relation to another in such a way that the values of dominance and subordination are embedded in perceptual judgment of reality as if they were the essence of those involved. Under the feminine characterization, women appear naively content with being controlled to such an extent that resistance to domination ceases to exist- that is, goes undetected. Female resistance is rendered imperceptible or perceived as abnormal, mad, or of no significance by both women and men.”

“Notice that, if the situation is fully her responsibility, then she is not helpless, even though she may have felt helpless at the time. There is something she could have done differently to determine the outcome. If she is wrong in such a situation, then she can go on in the world without fear of random violence; she can be sure of sense and meaning in events. Taking the blame herself makes her an agent; it implies that she has power and that she could have avoided what happened. For the same reasons, in many rape cases the woman blames herself- she should have been somewhere else, wearing different clothes, and so on. One who blames only herself is, among other things, denying that her actions were irrelevant.”

“[A]s [Simone de Beauvoir]’s argument goes, nazism is not a choice of value but a fleeing of choice. That is, to be a nazi is to be a ‘subman’, as she terms it. The subman is one who loses himself in a label- ‘white supremacist,’ ‘antisemite’- for he seeks to have meaning determined for him. He is terrified of taking the responsibility to act in this world. Instead, he finds a scapegoat to blame for all the world’s ills and thus needs do nothing himself about changing them. He is one who is afraid of choice and so pretends he has none by becoming a fanatic and submitting to a higher order, one he pretends is outside himself.”

“When concepts such as ‘justice’ and ‘duty’ and ‘obligation’ are focal points of ethical theory, their primary function is to make us believe we have a way to ensure ethical behavior in ourselves and others. They are attempts at guaranteeing humane, “cooperative.” behavior among individuals who are considered egoistic, solitary, and aggressive, when otherwise there has been no basis established through personal interaction. In other words, these “cooperative” values presuppose antagonism among individuals. And it is my contention that in presupposing antagonism, these values thereby encourage it.”

“Recall the structure of acting from duty. It involves severing reasoning and emotions, regarding reason as controlling emotions (self-control), and attempting to rise above the boundaries of nature (rather than working within them). Focusing on duty severs reasoning from emotions, and totally discounts dreaming, imagination, humor, psychic faculty, playfulness, and intuition in the development of an ethical being. In other words, acting from duty undermines our ability to care by discounting the majority of our faculties.”

“Now in challenging the concept of ‘duty,’ I do not mean to suggest that care can’t be used as a means of control. For example, most of us have heard or exclaimed, ‘If you really cared, you would…’ And many of us have been told we must care about others when we really have no feelings for them at all. Notice, however, such ideas don’t really address the judgments of our caring but instead operate in a context of duty and obligation- only now it is caring itself which has become our duty.”

Quotes from Understanding Power, by Noam Chomsky

“WOMAN: Noam, since you’re an anarchist and often say that you oppose the existence of the nation-state itself and think it’s incompatible with true socialism, does that make you at all reluctant to defend welfare programs and other social services which are now under attack from the right wing, and which the right wing wants to dismantle?

CHOMSKY: Well, it’s true that the anarchist vision in just about all its varieties has looked forward to dismantling state power-and personally I share that vision. But right now it runs directly counter to my goals: my immediate goals have been, and now very much are, to defend and even strengthen certain elements of state authority that are now under severe attack. And I don’t think there’s any contradiction there-none at all, really.

For example, take the so-called “welfare state.” What’s called the “welfare state” is essentially a recognition that every child has a right to have food, and to have health care and so on-and as I’ve been saying, those programs were set up in the nation-state system after a century of very hard struggle, by the labor movement, and the socialist movement, and so on.

Well, according to the new spirit of the age, in the case of a fourteen-year-old girl who got raped and has a child, her child has to learn “personal responsibility” by not accepting state welfare handouts, meaning, by not having enough to eat. Alright, I don’t agree with that at any level. In fact, I think it’s grotesque at any level. I think those children should be saved. And in today’s world, that’s going to have to involve working through the state system; it’s not the only case.

So despite the anarchist “vision,” I think aspects of the state system, like the one that makes sure children eat, have to be defended-in fact, defended very vigorously. And given the accelerating effort that’s being made these days to roll back the victories for justice and human rights which have been
won through long and often extremely bitter struggles in the West, in my opinion the immediate goal of even committed anarchists should be to defend some state institutions, while helping to pry them open to more meaningful public participation, and ultimately to dismantle them in a much more free society.

There are practical problems of tomorrow on which people’s lives very much depend, and while defending these kinds of programs is by no means the ultimate end we should be pursuing, in my view we still have to face the problems that are right on the horizon, and which seriously affect human lives. I don’t think those things can simply be forgotten because they might not fit within some radical slogan that reflects a deeper vision of a future society. The deeper visions should be maintained, they’re important-but dismantling the state system is a goal that’s a lot farther away, and you want to deal first with what’s at hand and nearby, I think. And in any realistic perspective, the political system, with all its flaws, does have opportunities for participation by the general population which other existing institutions, such as corporations, don’t have. In fact, that’s exactly why the far right wants to weaken governmental structures-because if you can make sure that all the key decisions are in the hands of Microsoft and General Electric and Raytheon, then you don’t have to worry anymore about the threat of popular involvement in policy-making.

So take something that’s been happening in recent years: devolution — that is, removing authority from the federal government down to the state governments. Well, in some circumstances, that would be a democratizing move which I would be in favor of-it would be a move away from central
authority down to local authority. But that’s in abstract circumstances that don’t exist. Right now it’ll happen because moving decision-making power down to the state level in fact means handing it over to private power. See, huge corporations can influence and dominate the federal government, but even middle-sized corporations can influence state governments and play one state’s workforce off against another’s by threatening to move production elsewhere unless they get better tax breaks and so on. So under the conditions of existing systems of power, devolution is very anti-democratic; under other systems of much greater equality, devolution could be highly democratic-but these are questions which really can’t be discussed in isolation from the society as it actually exists.

So I think that it’s completely realistic and rational to work within structures to which you are opposed, because by doing so you can help to move to a situation where then you can challenge those structures.”

“Of course, the “free market” ideology is very useful-it’s a weapon against the general population here, because it’s an argument against social spending, and it’s a weapon against poor people abroad, because we can hold it up to them and say “You guys have to follow these rules,” then just go ahead and rob them. But nobody really pays any attention to this stuff when it comes to actual planning-and no one ever has.

So there was just a British study of the hundred leading transnational corporations in the “Fortune 500,” and it found that of the hundred, every single one of them had benefited from what’s called “state industrial policy”-that is, from some form of government intervention in the country in which they’re based. And of the hundred, they said at least twenty had been
saved from total collapse by state intervention at one point or another. For instance, the Lockheed corporation was going under in the early 1970s, and the Nixon administration just bailed them out with public funds. Okay, so they’re back in business. And now they stay in business because the public
pays for C-130s [military aircraft], and upgrading F-16s, and the F-22 project, and so on-none of which has anything to do with a “free market” either.

Or take the fact that so many people live in the suburbs and everybody has to drive their own car everywhere. Was that a result of the “free market”? No, it was because the U.S. government carried out a massive social-engineering project in the 1950s to destroy the public transportation system in favor of expanding a highly inefficient system based on cars and airplanes-because that’s what benefits big industry. It started with corporate conspiracies to buy up and eliminate streetcar systems, and then continued with huge public subsidies to build the highway system and encourage an
extremely inefficient and environmentally destructive alternative. That’s what led to the suburbanization of the country- so you get huge shopping malls in the suburbs, and devastation in the inner cities.

But these policies were a result of planning-they had nothing to do with the “free market.”

Actually, the most dramatic example of these “market distortions” that I can think of-which I suspect is never even taught in economics courses- concerns the reason why the United States had an industrial revolution in the first place. Remember, the industrial revolution was fueled by textiles,
meaning one commodity: cotton. And cotton was cheap, that was crucially important. Well, why was cotton cheap? Was it because of market forces? No. Cotton was cheap because they exterminated the native population here and brought in slaves-that’s why cotton was cheap. Genocide and slavery:
try to imagine a more severe market distortion than that.”

“Question: But if we ever had a society with no wage incentive and no authority, where would the drive come from to advance and grow?

Chomsky: Well, the drive to “advance” – I think you have to ask exactly what that means? If you mean a drive to produce more, well, who wants it? Is that necessarily the right thing to do? It’s not obvious. In fact, in many areas it’s probably the wrong thing to do – maybe it’s a good thing that there wouldn’t be the same drive to produce . People have to be driven to have certain wants in our system – why? Why not leave them alone so they can just be happy, do other things?

Whatever “drive” there is ought to be internal. So take a look at kids: thye’re creative, they explore, they want to try new things. I mean, why does a kid start to walk? You take a one-year-old kid, he’s crawling fine, he can get across the room he likes really fast, so fast his parents have to run after him to keep him from knocking everything down – all of a sudden he gets up and starts walking. He’s terrible at walking: he walks one step and he falls on his face, and if he wants to really get somewhere he’s going to crawl. So why do kids start walking? Well, they just want to do new things, that’s the way people are built. We’re built to want to do new things, even if they’re not efficient, even if they’re harmful, even if you get hurt – and I don’t think that ever stops.

People want to explore, we want to press our capacities to their limits, we want to appreciate what we can. But the joy of creation is something very few people get the opportunity to have in our society: artists get to have it, craftspeople have it, scientists. And if you’ve been lucky enough to have had that opportunity, you know it’s quite an experience – and it doesn’t have to be discovering Einstein’s theory of relativity: anybody can have that pleasure, even by seeing what other people have done. For instance, if you read even a simple mathematical proof like the Pythagorean Theorem, what you study ub tenth grade, and you finally figure out what it’s all about, that’s exciting – “My God, I never understood that before.” Okay, that’s creativity, even though somebody else proved it two thousand years ago.

You just keep being struck by the marvels of what you’re discovering, and you’re “discovering” it, even though somebody else did it already. Then if you can ever add a little bit to what’s already known – alright, that’s very exciting. And I think the same thing is true of a person who builds a boat: I don’t see why it’s fundamentally any different – I mean, I wish I could do that; I can’t, I can’t imagine doing it.

Well, I think people should be able to live in a society where they can exercise these kinds of internal drives and develop their capacities freely – instead of being forced into the narrow range of options that are subjectively available – like, how are people allowed to think, how are they able to think? Remember, there are all kinds of ways of thinking that are cut off from us in our society – not because we’re incapable of them, but because various blockages have been developed and imposed to prevent people from thinking in those ways. That’s what indoctrination is about in the first place, in fact – and I don’t mean somebody giving you lectures: sitcoms on television, sports that you watch, every aspect of the culture implicitly involves an expression of what a “proper” life and a “proper” set of values are, and that’s all indoctrination.

So I think what has to happen is, other options have to be opened up to people – both subjectively, and in fact concretely: meaning you can do something about them without great suffering. And that’s one of the main purposes of socialism, I think: to reach a point where people have the opportunity to decide freely for themselves what their needs are, not just have the “choices” forced on them by some arbitrary system of power.”

Quotes from Gender Hurts, by Sheila Jeffreys

“As Hausman observes, there was a heterosexist bias front the beginning in the medical construction of intersexuality and transsexualism, because the physicians were concerned to construct appropriately gendered persons who would act out in acceptably heterosexual ways. Through the study of the history of transsexualism, Hausman argues that the ‘production of the concept of gender in Western culture’ can be analysed (Hausman, 1995: 11). All of the medical interventions’, as Hausman refers to them, depended upon ‘the construction of a rhetorical system that posits a prior gendered self necessary to justify surgical interventions’ (Hausman, 1995: 71). She calls the doctors the ‘gender managers’, and stresses that opposition to homosexuality fuelled their work and justified the sterilisation that was a component part of the treatment, as they considered that it was ‘more important that the patient is not homosexual
than that the patient is fertile’ (Hausman, 1995: 74).”

“The excitement that the idea of being a woman, and the excitement that the accoutrements of womanhood hold when placed upon a man, result from the fact that womanhood represents a subordinate position. When a man is forcibly cross-dressed, or able to imagine himself as a woman, he experiences the delicious excitement of being unmanned, deprived of the superior status of manhood and demoted to the subordinate status of womanhood. It is an excitement derived from the hierarchy of gender, the caste system of male dominance and women’s subordination, and would not be imaginable outside that framework. Women’s clothing is not sought out because it is prettier or more delightful, but because of its symbolic meaning.”

“The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK admits that little research has been done on the long-term use of hormones in transgendered people, effectively admitting that this treatment is experimental. They write, ‘Hormone treatment for trans people at reasonable dosages is remarkably safe’ (NHS, 2007: 11) but then proceed to list the potential side effects. They point out that taking oestrogen is associated with thrombosis, stroke, pulmonary embolism and altered liver function, and that taking testosterone is associated with polycythaemia (overproduction of red blood cells) (NHS, 2007; Persson, 2009). The overproduction of red blood cells causes the blood to become thicker than normal and can cause breathlessness and phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), thus increasing the risk of heart disease and heart attack. For a practice that is ‘remarkably safe’, this is a surprisingly extensive list of serious side effects.”

“The majority of the literature on transgenderism represents the process of transition as an epic adventure in which individuals seek to find themselves (Lev, 2004). Unfortunately, the significant others, partners, wives and mothers of transgenders suffer the negative impact of these adventures. The transgenders may be the heroes of their own lives, but the women they leave behind may not feel so positive. Christine Benvenuto characterises the behaviour of her husband as resembling a heroic quest: ‘he sees his life as an epic tale of liberation akin to the Passover story’ (Benvenuto, 2012a: 22). Her memoir of life with her transgender husband, Sex Changes, was met by a campaign led by her ex-husband to traduce and silence her in 2012.”

“The advice and visual materials on ‘female body language secrets’ are useful indications of the transgender perspective on what ‘essential’ femininity consists of. The full ‘feminisation kit’ includes videos, expert interviews, ‘special reports’, ‘cheat sheets’, a ‘worksheet’, a ‘resource guide’, a ‘hypnosis program’, and advice on walking, make-up, clothes, hair, and voice feminisation. The idea of a ‘feminine essence’ is somewhat undermined by such an industry, however, since that which is ‘natural’ and biologically determined could not possibly require such detailed instruction.”

“The eugenic sexual surgeries and drug treatments of the past and the transgendering of children in the present share a number of similarities, which will be examined here. The most significant similarity lies in the fact that a project of social engineering lies behind both forms of practice. Both practices are based upon the idea that certain problematic behaviours have a biological basis and can be ‘cured’ by treatments that alter and affect sexual characteristics. In the first half of the last century, a project of social engineering took place in Europe and North America that was directed at the control or elimination of the economic underclass, ‘morons’ — prostituted women, criminals, those deemed to be ‘gypsies’, those seen as morally deficient, lesbians and gays, all considered to be the ‘unfit’ — through sterilisation (Dowbiggin, 1997; Lucassen, 2010). Presently a regime of transgendering children as well as adults has the effect of eliminating gender non-conformity through shoring up a correctly gendered and heterosexual state and citizenry. A similarity between these practices lies in the origin of the ideas for these treatments, which come in both cases from sexologists or scientists of sex, biologists, endocrinologists and psychiatrists. Another similarity lies in the targets of the sexual surgeries, as lesbians and gays were targeted by eugenicists, and those with same sex sexual orientations are, in practice, a principal target of the sexual surgeries of transgenderism today. The practices are connected too in that they were both supported by persons who had an otherwise progressive agenda, such as sexologists who were often socialists, and some feminists. This is certainly true of the practice of transgenderism today, which has been supported by many on the Left and many feminists, though the issue of transgendering children has not been much remarked upon by these constituencies as yet. ”

“The diagnostic criteria for ‘gender dysphoria’ in children, previously known as ‘gender identity disorder in childhood’, appear in the new edition, number 5, of the US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) in 2013. The criteria are based upon traditional gender stereotypes that have been constructed to confine and limit the behaviour of girls and justify their inferior status in different societies. Boys’ behaviour, on the other hand, is constructed to justify their superior status. Children with gender dysphoria must have ‘a strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that he or she is the other gender’. The indicators that they are of the ‘other gender’ are:

‘in boys, a strong preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, a strong preference for wearing only typical masculine clothing and a strong resistance to the wearing of typical feminine clothing; a strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe or fantasy play; a strong preference for the toys, games, or activities typical of the other gender; a strong preference for playmates of the other gender; in boys, a strong rejection of typically masculine toys, games, and activities and a strong avoidance of rough-and-tumble play; in girls, a strong rejection of typically feminine toys, games, and activities.’
(Winters, 2011)”