Best 48 of Richard Hofstadter quotes - MyQuotes

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Richard Hofstadter
By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The role of third parties is to sting like a bee, then die.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

It is a poor head that cannot find plausible reason for doing what the heart wants to do.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

A large segment of the public willingly resigns itself to political passivity in a world in which it cannot expect to make well-founded judgments.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The American farmer, whose holdings were not so extensive as those of the grandee nor so tiny as those of the peasant, whose psychology was Protestant and bourgeois, and whose politics were petty-capitalist rather than traditionalist, had no reason to share the social outlook of the rural classes of Europe. In Europe land was limited and dear, while labor was abundant and relatively cheap; in America the ratio between land and labor was inverted.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

There has always been in our national experience a type of mind which elevates hatred to a kind of creed; for this mind, group hatreds take a place in politics similar to the class struggle in some other modern societies.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

To those who suspect that intellect is a subversive force in society, it will not do to reply that intellect is really a safe, bland, and emollient thing. In a certain sense, the suspicious Tories and militant philistines are right: intellect is dangerous. Left free, there is nothing it will not reconsider, analyze, throw into question. "Let us admit the case of the conservative," John Dewey once wrote. "If we once start thinking no one can guarantee what will be the outcome, except that many objects, ends and institutions will be surely doomed. Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world in peril, and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in its place." Further, there is no way of guaranteeing that an intellectual class will be discreet and restrained in the use of its influence; the only assurance that can be given to any community is that it will be far worse off if it denies the free uses of the power of intellect than if it permits them. To be sure, intellectuals, contrary to the fantasies of cultural vigilantes, are hardly ever subversive of a society as a whole. But intellect is always on the move against something: some oppression, fraud, illusion, dogma, or interest is constantly falling under the scrutiny of the intellectual class and becoming the object of exposure, indignation, or ridicule.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The utopia of the Populists was in the past, not in the future. According to the agrarian myth, the health of the state was proportionate to the degree to which it was dominated by the agricultural class, and this assumption pointed to the superiority of an earlier age.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

To the reactionary ear every whispered criticism of the elite classes has always sounded like the opening shot of an uprising.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The intellectual is engage-he is pledged, committed, enlisted. What everyone else is willing to admit, namely that ideas and abstractions are of signal importance in human life, he imperatively feels.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

It is the historic glory of the intellectual class of the West in modern times that, of all the classes which could be called in any sense privileged, it has shown the largest and most consistent concern for the well-being of the classes which lie below it in the social scale.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The older America, until the 1890s and in some respects until 1914, was wrapped in the security of continental isolation, village society, the Protestant denominations, and a flourishing industrial capitalism. But reluctantly, year by year, over several decades, it has been drawn into the twentieth century and forced to cope with its unpleasant realities: first the incursions of cosmopolitanism and skepticism, then the disappearance of American isolation and easy military security, the collapse of traditional capitalism and its supplementation by a centralized welfare state, finally the unrelenting costs and stringencies of the Second World War, the Korean War, and the cold war. As a consequence, the heartland of America, filled with people who are often fundamentalist in religion, nativist in prejudice, isolationist in foreign policy, and conservative in economics, has constantly rumbled with an underground revolt against all these tormenting manifestations of our modern predicament.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Intellect needs to be understood not as some kind of claim against the other human excellences for which a fatally high price has to be paid, but rather as a complement to them without which they cannot be fully consummated.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The tradition of the new. Yesterday's avant-gard-experiment is today's chic and tomorrow's cliche.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The American mind was shaped in the mold of early modern Protestantism. Religion was the first arena for American intellectual life, and thus the first arena for an anti-intellectual impulse. Anything that seriously diminished the role of rationality and learning in early American religion would later diminish its role in secular culture. The feeling that ideas should above all be made to work, the disdain for doctrine and for refinements in ideas, the subordination of men of ideas to men of emotional power or manipulative skill are hardly innovations of the twentieth century; they are inheritances from American Protestantism.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Intellect is neither practical nor impractical; it is extra-practical.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

It has been our fate as a nation not to have ideologies but to be one.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The delicate thing about the university is that it has a mixed character, that it is suspended between its position in the eternal world, with all its corruption and evils and cruelties, and the splendid world of our imagination.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Intellect is resented as a form of power or privilege.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Ideally, the pursuit of truth is said to be at the heart of the intellectual's business, but this credits his business too much and not quite enough. As with the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of truth is itself gratifying whereas consummation often turns out to be elusive. Truth captured loses its glamour; truths long known and widely believed have a way of turning false with time; easy truths are bore and too many of them become half truths. 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. Harold Rosenberg summed up this side of the life of the mind supremely well when he said that the intellectual is one who turns answers into questions.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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 — ruthlessness in political life.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

They thought man was a creature of rapacious self-interest, and yet they wanted him to be free- free, in essence, to contend, to engage in an umpired strife, to use property to get property.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

To be sick and helpless is a humiliating experience. Prolonged illness also carries the hazard of narcissistic self-absorption.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

As with the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of truth is itself gratifying whereas the consummation often turns out to be elusive.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

To be confronted with a simple and unqualified evil is no doubt a kind of luxury.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The intellectual's ... playfulness, in its various manifestations, is likely to seem to most men a perverse luxury; in the United States the play of the mind is perhaps the only form of play that is not looked upon with the most tender indulgence. His piety is likely to seem nettlesome, if not actually dangerous. And neither quality is considered to contribute very much to the practical business of life.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

What came in the end was only a small war and a quick victory; when the farmers and the gentlemen finally did coalesce in politics, they produced only the genial reforms of Progressivism; and the man on the white horse turned out to be just a graduate of the Harvard boxing squad, equipped with an immense bag of platitudes, and quite willing to play the democratic game.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

One of the primary tests of the mood of a society at any given time is whether its comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

If mind is seen not as a threat but as a guide to emotion, if intellect is seen neither as a guarantee of character nor as an inevitable danger to it, if theory is conceived as something serviceable but not necessarily subordinate or inferior to practice, and if our democratic aspirations are defined in such realistic and defensible terms as to admit of excellence, all these supposed antagonisms lose their force.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in a mordant protest written soon after the [1952] election, found the intellectual "in a situation he has not known for a generation." After twenty years of Democratic rule, during which the intellectual had been in the main understood and respected, business had come back into power, bringing with it "the vulgarization which has been the almost invariable consequence of business supremacy.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

All this is the more maddening, as Edward Shils has pointed out, in a populistic culture which has always set a premium on government by the common man and through the common judgement and which believes deeply in the sacred character of publicity. Here the politician expresses what a large part of the public feels. The citizen cannot cease to need or to be at the mercy of experts, but he can achieve a kind of revenge by ridiculing the wild-eyed professor, the irresponsible brain truster, or the mad scientist, and by applauding the politicians as the pursue the subversive teacher, the suspect scientist, or the allegedly treacherous foreign-policy adviser. There has always been in our national experience a type of mind which elevates hatred to a kind of creed; for this mind, group hatreds take a place in politics similar to the class struggle in some other modern societies. Filled with obscure and ill-directed grievances and frustrations, with elaborate hallucinations about secrets and conspiracies, groups of malcontents have found scapegoats at various times in Masons or abolitionists, Catholics, Mormons, or Jews, Negroes, or immigrants, the liquor interests or the international bankers. In the succession of scapegoats chosen by the followers of this tradition of Know-Nothingism, the intelligentsia have at last in our time found a place.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

To the zealot overcome by his piety and to the journeyman of ideas concerned only with his marketable mental skills, the beginning and end of ideas lies in their efficacy with respect to some goal external to intellectual processes.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Intellectualism, though by no means confined to doubters, is often the sole piety of the skeptic.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

...the danger that American society as a whole will over-esteem intellect or assign it such a transcendent value as to displace other legitimate values is one that hardly troubles us.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Finally, the work of the minister tended to be judged by his success in a single area - the saving of souls in measurable numbers. The local minister was judged either by his charismatic powers or by his ability to prepare his congregation for the preaching of some itinerant ministerial charmer who would really awaken its members. The 'star' system prevailed in religion before it reached the theater. As the evangelical impulse became more widespread and more dominant, the selection and training of ministers was increasingly shaped by the revivalist criterion of ministerial merit. The Puritan ideal of the minister as an intellectual and educational leader was steadily weakened in the face of the evangelical ideal of the minister as a popular crusader and exhorter. Theological education itself became more instrumental. Simple dogmatic formulations were considered sufficient. In considerable measure the churches withdrew from intellectual encounters with the secular world, gave up the idea that religion is a part of the whole life of intellectual experience, and often abandoned the field of rational studies on the assumption that they were the natural province of science alone. By 1853 an outstanding clergyman complained that there was 'an impression, somewhat general, that an intellectual clergyman is deficient in piety, and that an eminently pious minister is deficient in intellect.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

Major parties have lived more for patronage than for principles; their goal has been to bind together a sufficiently large coalition of diverse interests to get into power; and once in power, to arrange sufficiently satisfactory compromises of interests to remain there.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

In using the terms play and playfulness, I do not intend to suggest any lack of seriousness; quite the contrary. Anyone who has watched children, or adults, at play will recognize that there is no contradiction between play and seriousness, and that some forms of play induce a measure of grave concentration not so readily called forth by work.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Hofstadter

The nation seems to slouch onward into its uncertain future like some huge inarticulate beast, too much attainted by wounds and ailments to be robust, but too strong and resourceful to succumb.