Search for...
Follow @ontheissuesorg
OnTheIssuesLogo

Noam Chomsky on Welfare & Poverty

Political Activist


The vile maxim: all for ourselves and nothing for others

BROWN: In many of your books, you have referred to the "vile maxim" of Adam Smith, "All for ourselves and nothing for other people." What did he have in mind? What's the context for that comment?

CHOMSKY: He had in mind the basic principle of the rising capitalist classes, which is what the working people of New England paraphrased a century later without having read Adam Smith, "Gain wealth, forgetting all but self." This idea of all for ourselves and nothing for anyone else was, Smith argued, the "vile maxim of the masters of mankind." He pointed out that this impulse, sometimes, incidentally, happens to help people, but he certainly wasn't impressed. In fact, the historical Adam Smith, who was also rooted in the Enlightenment and anti-capitalist in many respects, is rather different from the image of him that's been constructed.

Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p.216 , Feb 12, 1996

They stoke racial hatred to cut public services

BROWN: Do you think there is a racial element involved in the question of who gets the benefits of government welfare programs?

CHOMSKY: There certainly is a racial element. It's part of the really vicious propaganda that has been developed in order to sell the corporate welfare programs that transfer funds to the rich. One way in which this has been done--this goes right back to Reagan's crazy anecdotes about black welfare mothers driving Cadillacs and breeding like rabbits--is by engendering race hatred.

Public policy for about 20 years now has been directed to establishing a sharp divide between a small sector of the very rich, and the majority of the population while cutting out public services. You've got to get them to accept the cuts somehow. What you do is get people frightened, get them to hate each other, in order to turn their attention away from the real power and towards fearing and battling each other. The welfare mother, by implication black, has been used for that p

Source: Dialogues, by Gov. Jerry Brown, p.224-5 , Feb 12, 1996

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Noam Chomsky on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Joe Scarborough
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Page last updated: Jun 13, 2015