Richard Hofstadter Quotes.
As with the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of truth is itself gratifying whereas the consummation often turns out to be elusive.
It has been our fate as a nation not to have ideologies but to be one.
The tradition of the new. Yesterday’s avant-gard-experiment is today’s chic and tomorrow’s cliche.
The role of third parties is to sting like a bee, then die.
A university is not a service station. Neither is it a political society, nor a meeting place for political societies. With all its limitations and failures, and they are invariably many, it is the best and most benign side of our society insofar as that society aims to cherish the human mind.
It is ironic that the United States should have been founded by intellectuals, for throughout most of our political history, the intellectual has been for the most part either an outsider, a servant or a scapegoat.
A university’s essential character is that of being a center of free inquiry and criticism – a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else.
To the reactionary ear every whispered criticism of the elite classes has always sounded like the opening shot of an uprising.
It is possible that the distinction between moral relativism and moral absolutism has sometimes been blurred because an excessively consistent practice of either leads to the same practical result вЂ” ruthlessness in political life.
Anti-intellectualism … has been present in some form and degree in most societies; in one it takes the form of the administering of hemlock, in another of town-and-gown riots, in another of censorship and regimentation, in still another of Congressional investigations.
If for every error and every act of incompetence one can substitute an act of treason, many points of fascinating interpretation are open to the paranoid imagination.
The intellectual … may live for ideas, as I have said, but something must prevent him from living for one idea, from becoming obsessive or grotesque. Although there have been zealots whom we may still regard as intellectuals, zealotry is a defect of the breed and not of the essence.
If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas, it is having an excess of commitment to some special and constricting idea.
It is a part of the intellectual’s tragedy that the things he most values about himself and his work are quite unlike those society values in him.
Whatever the intellectual is too certain of, if he is healthily playful, he begins to find unsatisfactory. The meaning of his intellectual life lies not in the possession of truth but in the quest for new uncertainties.
The idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.
We have learned so well how to absorb novelty that receptivity itself has turned into a kind of tradition- “the tradition of the new.” Yesterdays avant-garde experiment is today’s chic and tomorrows cliche.
It is a poor head that cannot find plausible reason for doing what the heart wants to do.