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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Richard Hofstadter Quotations (Based on Topics)
Characters - Education - Mind - Service - Life - History - Society & Civilization - Idea - Eternity - World - Politics - Imagination & Visualization - Failure - View All Richard Hofstadter Quotations
William Manchester - Thucydides - Tacitus - Robert Conquest - Polybius - Michel Foucault - James Mill - Iris Chang - Henry Adams - Flavius Josephus