Quotes of the Day for 1 October 2010 – Daniel J. Boorstin
Daniel Joseph Boorstin was born at Atlanta, Georgia on this day in 1914. His father successfully defended a Jew falsely charged with rape and murder, the Ku Klux Klan's lynching of the defendant sent the family to Oklahoma. He earned honors from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship took him to Oxford where qualified as a barrister. Back in the US he earned his doctorate at Yale and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar. Naturally, his next step was to become a professor of history at the University of Chicago for 25 years. He was director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History for six years and Librarian of Congress for twelve. Historians panned his work, and the American Library Association opposed his appointment at the Library of Congress, in both cases because he was trained in law instead of the fields he actually worked in. Despite his education, he was brilliant in both roles, as well as in his observations about American culture.
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More appealing than knowledge itself is the feeling of knowledge.
I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever.
The deeper problems connected with advertising come less from the unscrupulousness of our 'deceivers' than from our pleasure in being deceived, less from the desire to seduce than from the desire to be seduced.
Until now when we have started to talk about the uniqueness of America we have almost always ended by comparing ourselves to Europe. Toward her we have felt all the attraction and repulsions of Oedipus.
While the easiest way in metaphysics is to condemn all metaphysics as nonsense, the easiest way in morals is to elevate the common practice of the community into a moral absolute.
The world of crime is a last refuge of the authentic, uncorrupted, spontaneous event.
All from Daniel J. Boorstin, 1914 - 2004
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