Irving Babbitt Quotes (38 Quotes)


    We must not, however, be like the leaders of the great romantic revolt who, in their eagerness to get rid of the husk of convention, disregarded also the humane aspiration.

    To harmonize the One with the Many, this is indeed a difficult adjustment, perhaps the most difficult of all, and so important, withal, that nations have perished from their failure to achieve it.

    The democratic idealist is prone to make light of the whole question of standards and leadership because of his unbounded faith in the plain people.

    The humanitarian lays stress almost solely upon breadth of knowledge and sympathy.

    If quantitatively the American achievement is impressive, qualitatively it is somewhat less satisfying.


    If we are to have such a discipline we must have standards, and to get our standards under existing conditions we must have criticism.

    Perhaps as good a classification as any of the main types is that of the three lusts distinguished by traditional Christianity - the lust of knowledge, the lust of sensation, and the lust of power.

    A gross and palpable error of the era that is just closing has been the confusion of mechanical and material progress with moral progress.

    The humanities need to be defended today against the encroachments of physical science, as they once needed to be against the encroachment of theology.

    Since every man desires happiness, it is evidently no small matter whether he conceives of happiness in terms of work or of enjoyment.

    One of our federal judges said, not long ago, that what the American people need is ten per cent of thought and ninety per cent of action.

    Inasmuch as society cannot go on without discipline of some kind, men were constrained, in the absence of any other form of discipline, to turn to discipline of the military type.

    A democracy, the realistic observer is forced to conclude, is likely to be idealistic in its feelings about itself, but imperialistic about its practice.

    According to the new ethics, virtue is not restrictive but expansive, a sentiment and even an intoxication.

    The human mind, if it is to keep its sanity, must maintain the nicest balance between unity and plurality.

    An American of the present day reading his Sunday newspaper in a state of lazy collapse is one of the most perfect symbols of the triumph of quantity over quality that the world has yet seen.

    Democracy is now going forth on a crusade against imperialism.

    The true humanist maintains a just balance between sympathy and selection.

    A remarkable feature of the humanitarian movement, on both its sentimental and utilitarian sides, has been its preoccupation with the lot of the masses.

    Very few of the early Italian humanists were really humane.

    We may affirm, then, that the main drift of the later Renaissance was away from a humanism that favored a free expansion toward a humanism that was in the highest degree disciplinary and selective.

    Act strenuously, would appear to be our faith, and right thinking will take care of itself.

    The ultimate binding element in the medieval order was subordination to the divine will and its earthly representatives, notably the pope.

    The industrial revolution has tended to produce everywhere great urban masses that seem to be increasingly careless of ethical standards.

    Anyone who thus looks up has some chance of becoming worthy to be looked up to in turn.

    Tell him, on the contrary, that he needs, in the interest of his own happiness, to walk in the path of humility and self-control, and he will be indifferent, or even actively resentful.

    For behind all imperialism is ultimately the imperialistic individual, just as behind all peace is ultimately the peaceful individual.

    A person who has sympathy for mankind in the lump, faith in its future progress, and desire to serve the great cause of this progress, should be called not a humanist, but a humanitarian, and his creed may be designated as humanitarianism.

    Furthermore, America suffers not only from a lack of standards, but also not infrequently from a confusion or an inversion of standards.

    The papacy again, representing the traditional unity of European civilization, has also shown itself unable to limit effectively the push of nationalism.


    More Irving Babbitt Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Democracy - Man - America - Mind - Quantity - Wisdom & Knowledge - Leadership - Happiness - Progress - Discipline - Leading & Managing - World - Thought & Thinking - Belief & Faith - Society & Civilization - Actions - Science - Laziness - Ethics - View All Irving Babbitt Quotations

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    Walter Pater - Roland Barthes - M. H. Abrams - Joel Siegel - James Wolcott - Irving Babbitt - Henry Louis Gates - Eric Bentley - Christopher Ricks - Alphonse Karr


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