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Quotes of the day: Raymond Aron

Published Monday, March 14, 2016 @ 1:40 AM EDT
Mar 14 2016

Raymond-Claude-Ferdinand Aron (March 14, 1905 - October 17, 1983) was a French philosopher, sociologist, journalist, and political scientist. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Despotism has so often been established in the name of liberty that experience should warn us to judge parties by their practices rather than their preachings.

Foreknowledge of the future makes it possible to manipulate both enemies and supporters.

If tolerance is born of doubt, let us teach everyone to doubt all the models and utopias, to challenge all the prophets of redemption and the heralds of catastrophe.

In a way, all sociologists are akin to Marxists because of their inclination to settle everyone's accounts but their own.

In writing if it takes over 30 minutes to write the first two paragraphs select another subject.

Intellectuals cannot tolerate the chance event, the unintelligible: they have a nostalgia for the absolute, for a universally comprehensive scheme.

Peace impossible, war improbable.

Racism is the snobbery of the poor.

Reality is always more conservative than ideology.

Skepticism cannot be revolutionary, even though it speaks the language of revolution.

The intellectual who no longer feels attached to anything is not satisfied with opinion merely; he wants certainty, he wants a system. The revolution provides him with his opium.

The man who no longer expects miraculous changes either from a revolution or from an economic plan is not obliged to resign himself to the unjustifiable. It is because he likes individual human beings, participates in living communities, and respects the truth, that he refuses to surrender his soul to an abstract ideal of humanity, a tyrannical party, and an absurd scholasticism.

What passes for optimism is most often the effect of an intellectual error.


(March 14 is also the birthday of Albert Einstein.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Raymond Aron


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