Quotations about   ideology

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There lies at the back of every creed something terrible and hard for which the worshipper may one day be required to suffer.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
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Added on 21-Nov-18 | Last updated 21-Nov-18
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The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.

Robert A. Heinlein (1909-1988) American writer
“Concerning Stories Never Written” (Oct 1952)
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Added on 8-Sep-17 | Last updated 8-Sep-17
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It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. This is equally true whether the faith is Communism or Holy-Rollerism; indeed it is the bounden duty of the faithful to do so. The custodians of the True Faith cannot logically admit tolerance of heresy to be a virtue.

Robert A. Heinlein (1909-1988) American writer
“Concerning Stories Never Written” (Oct 1952)
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Added on 2-Sep-17 | Last updated 2-Sep-17
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The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Minority Report, #323 (1956)
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Added on 30-May-17 | Last updated 30-May-17
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The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany: ‘Traditional values are to be debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Abolition of Man (1943)
Added on 29-Mar-17 | Last updated 29-Mar-17
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[W]hen we renounce the self and become part of a compact whole, we not only renounce personal advantage but are also rid of personal responsibility. There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement. When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom — freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse. Herein undoubtedly lies part of the attractiveness of a mass movement.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951)
Added on 28-Mar-17 | Last updated 28-Mar-17
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Revolutions, as a long and bitter experience reveals, are apt to take their colour from the régime which they overthrow. Is it any wonder that the creed which affirms the absolute rights of property should sometimes be met with a counter-affirmation of the absolute rights of labour, less anti-social, indeed, and inhuman, but almost as dogmatic, almost as intolerant and thoughtless as itself.

R. H. Tawney (1880-1962) English writer, economist, historian, social critic [Richard Henry Tawney]
The Acquisitive Century, ch. 3 “The Acquisitive Society” (1920)
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Added on 19-Jan-17 | Last updated 19-Jan-17
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The practice of terror serves the true believer not only to cow and crush his opponents but also to invigorate and intensify his own faith.

hoffer-practice-of-terror-intensify-faith-wist_info-quote

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, ch. 85 (1951)
Added on 9-Jan-17 | Last updated 9-Jan-17
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The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man which it forms.

Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881) Swiss philosopher, poet, critic
Journal (17 Jun 1852) [tr. Ward (1887)]
Added on 7-Nov-16 | Last updated 7-Nov-16
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But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence. So you have to mold the evidence to get the answer that you’ve already decided you’ve got to have. It doesn’t work that way.

Clinton - ideology - wist_info quote

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (b. 1946) American politician, US President (1993-2001)
Interview, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (20 Sep 2012)
Added on 17-Feb-16 | Last updated 17-Feb-16
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A belief is a question we have put aside so we can get on with what we believe we have to do.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays, #100 (2001)
Added on 8-Jan-16 | Last updated 8-Jan-16
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You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.

Malcolm X - wrong is wrong - wist_info

Malcolm X (1925-1965) American revolutionary, religious leader [b. Malcolm Little]
“Prospects for Freedom in 1965,” speech, New York (7 Jan 1965)
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Added on 20-Nov-15 | Last updated 20-Nov-15
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Like other idealisms, patriotism varies from a noble devotion to a moral lunacy.

Dean Inge - patriotism - wist-info

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Our Present Discontents,” Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919)
Added on 12-Oct-15 | Last updated 3-Jun-16
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BOOK: Only one thing is gonna walk you though this, Mal: belief.

MAL: You know I always look to you for counsel, but sermons make me sleepy, Shepherd. I ain’t looking for help on high. That’s a long wait for a train don’t come.

BOOK: When I talk about belief, why do you always assume I’m talking about God?

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Serenity (2005)
Added on 23-Apr-15 | Last updated 23-Apr-15
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Wooden-headedness consists of assessing a situation in terms of preconceived, fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be confused by the facts.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
“An Inquiry into the Persistence of Unwisdom in Government,” Esquire (1980)
Added on 31-Mar-15 | Last updated 31-Mar-15
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“Oh, what would you like on your vegetarian pizza?”
“Dead pigs and cows,” I said.
She glanced up at me and wrinkled her nose.
“They’re vegetarians,” I said defensively.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Blood Rites (2004)
Added on 30-Dec-14 | Last updated 30-Dec-14
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‘Patriotism is not enough.’ But neither is anything else. Science is not enough, religion is not enough, art is not enough, politics and economics are not enough, nor is love, nor is duty, nor is action however disinterested, nor, however sublime, is contemplation. Nothing short of everything will really do.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
The Island, “Notes on What’s What” (1962)
Added on 22-Oct-14 | Last updated 22-Oct-14
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A novel is never anything but a philosophy put into images. And in a good novel, the whole of the philosophy has passed into the images. But if once the philosophy overflows the characters and action, and therefore looks like a label stuck on the work, the plot loses its authenticity and the novel its life. Nevertheless, a work that is to last cannot dispense with profound ideas. And this secret fusion between experiences and ideas, between life and reflection on the meaning of life, is what makes the great novelist.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
Review of Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea, in Alger Républicain (20 Oct 1938)
Added on 6-Oct-14 | Last updated 6-Oct-14
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As with bad breath, ideology is always what the other person has.

Terry Eagleton (b. 1943) British literary theorist, critic, intellectual [Terence Francis Eagleton]
“Why ideas no longer matter,” The Guardian (22 Mar 2004)
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Added on 23-Sep-14 | Last updated 23-Sep-14
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Every institution goes through three stages — utility, privilege, and abuse.

François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) French writer, politican, diplomat
(Attributed)
Added on 15-Apr-14 | Last updated 15-Apr-14
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Writers the most learned, the most accurate in details, and the soundest in tendency, frequently fall into a habit which can neither be cured nor pardoned — the habit of making history into the proof of their theories.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
“The History of Freedom in Antiquity,” Speech, Bridgenorth Institute (28 Feb 1877)
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Added on 4-Mar-14 | Last updated 4-Mar-14
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The only religion that still demands human sacrifice is nationalism.

Kenneth Ewart Boulding (1910-1993) American economist, educator, poet, philosopher
Lecture, University of Michigan (28 Jan 1969)
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Quoted in Stephen Nelson, "Nature/Nurture Revisited I: A Review of the Biological Bases of Conflict," Journal of Conflict Resolution (Jun 1974).
Added on 20-Jan-14 | Last updated 20-Jan-14
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We find it almost as difficult as the communists to believe that anyone could think ill of us, since we are as persuaded as the communists that our society is so essentially virtuous that only malice could prompt criticism of any of our actions.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) American theologian and clergyman
The Irony of American History (1962)
Added on 4-Dec-13 | Last updated 4-Dec-13
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Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer, Part 3, sec. 65, (1951)
Added on 25-Aug-11 | Last updated 19-Apr-18
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The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“Mr. Mencken Sounds Off,” interview, LIFE Magazine (5 Aug 1946)
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Added on 16-Aug-11 | Last updated 23-May-17
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It is this belief in absolutes, I would hazard, that is the great enemy today of the life of the mind. This may seem a rash proposition. The fashion of the time is to denounce relativism as the root of all evil. But history suggests that the damage done to humanity by the relativist is far less than the damage done by the absolutist — by the fellow who, as Mr. Dooley once put it, “does what he thinks th’ Lord wud do if He only knew th’ facts in th’ case.”

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) American historian, author, social critic
“The Opening of the American Mind,” New York Times (23 Jul 1989)
Added on 9-Apr-10 | Last updated 7-Apr-17
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You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others in return.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
The Undiscovered Self (1958)
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Added on 22-May-08 | Last updated 16-Mar-17
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If you want a war, nourish a doctrine. Doctrines are the most frightful tyrants to which men are ever subject, because doctrines get inside a man’s reason and betray him against himself. Civilized men have done their fiercest fighting for doctrines. The reconquest of the Holy Sepulcher, “the balance of power,” “no universal dominion,” “trade follows the flag,” “he who holds the land will hold the sea,” “the throne and the altar,” the revolution, the faith — these are the things for which men have given their lives. What are they all? Nothing but rhetoric and phantasms.

William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) American minister, sociologist, anthropologist.
“War” (1903), War and Other Essays [ed. A. Keller (1911)]
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Added on 14-Aug-07 | Last updated 17-Jul-14
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The problem with ideology is, if you’ve got an ideology, you’ve already got your mind made up. You know all the answers and that makes evidence irrelevant and arguments a waste of time. You tend to govern by assertion and attacks.

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (b. 1946) American politician, US President (1993-2001)
Speech at event sponsored by the Center for American Progress (18 Oct 2006)
Added on 18-Jul-07 | Last updated 17-Feb-16
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At Cambridge University I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people’s opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

Salman Rushdie (b. 1947) Indian novelist
“Do we have to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again?” The Independent (22 Jan 2005)
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Added on 11-Feb-05 | Last updated 7-Mar-18
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The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1898 [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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