Category Archives: Quotable

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

https://reason.com/archives/2018/02/11/the-applied-theory-of-bossing

HT: Micah Mattix’s excellent email blast, Prufrock

Two “much food for thought” insights from the article above:

Adam Smith spoke of “the man of system” who “seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.” [Richard] Thaler and his benevolent friends are men, and some few women, of system. They hate the Chicago School, have never heard of the Austrian School, dismiss spontaneous order, and favor bossing people around—for their own good, understand. Employing the third most unbelievable sentence in English (the other two are “The check is in the mail” and “Of course I’ll respect you in the morning”), they declare cheerily, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

The great essayist Lionel Trilling wrote in 1950 that the danger is that “we who are liberal and progressive know that the poor are our equals in every sense except that of being equal to us.” The same may be said of Burkeans or conservatives, too. He also wrote that “we must be aware of the dangers that lie in our most generous wishes,” because “when once we have made our fellow men the object of our enlightened interest [we] go on to make them the objects of our pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion.”

From C.S. Lewis:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

ARE YOU WILLING TO LEARN?

From historian, Eric Foner:

My own saying, I don’t know if I invented this—perhaps I did—which I tell students is that “nothing is easier than finding what you are looking for.” In other words, that’s my plea to be open-minded. When you go to an archive, you have certain presuppositions but it’s very easy to find what you’re looking for and to ignore those things which don’t fit your assumptions, and you can’t do that. You have to, as they say, be open-minded enough to be willing to change your mind when you encounter countervailing evidence.

Dave Moore’s Reflection:

Many, and yes I said many Christians, are rather poor at this kind of godly, but nimble type of thinking.  We pretty much mimic the culture at large.  Most of us Americans hunker down in our own cultural, social, and intellectual silos.  We regularly choose ignorance, group pressure, and fear to determine our cherished beliefs. 

HT: John Fea

The rest is here: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/166481

INTELLECTUALS IGNORANT OF BIBLE

From Alan Jacobs:

As our cultural elites lose even the most elementary biblical literacy, this is going to happen more and more often: reading the Bible-saturated literature of the past and missing, not secondary and trivial illusions, but the entire point of stories and novels and plays and poems, and for that matter paintings and sculptures and musical compositions. The artistic past of the West will become incomprehensible, but — and this is the scary thing — no one will know that they’re misreading. Gross errors will be passed down from teacher to student, from scholar to reader, and it is difficult to imagine circumstances arising in which they can be corrected.

CONVERSION

In her eminently fascinating book, Carolyn Weber writes about the questions she hurled at a fellow student.  She then observes:

I now understand why the words conversation and conversion are evocative of each other, turning toward each other, yet separated merely by where you are “at.”

(From Surprised by Oxford: a Memoir, p. 82)

https://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Oxford-Memoir-Carolyn-Weber/dp/084992183X

 

PONDER THIS!

The eminent Catholic scholar, Michael Novak, has died.  His quiet genius influenced many of the more popular names you may know.  In any case, there is a nice tribute to him below.

One of the best quotes from him on the possibility of humans creating some utopia: “To know oneself is to disbelieve in utopia. To seek realism is to learn mercy.”

6 Quotes: Michael Novak on Freedom and Institutions