Irving Babbitt - Quotes

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

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. ---->>>

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

Democracy is now going forth on a crusade against imperialism. ---->>>

A man needs to look, not down, but up to standards set so much above his ordinary self as to make him feel that he is himself spiritually the underdog. ---->>>

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

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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

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

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

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. ---->>>

Yet Aristotle's excellence of substance, so far from being associated with the grand style, is associated with something that at times comes perilously near jargon. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

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

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. ---->>>

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

If a man went simply by what he saw, he might be tempted to affirm that the essence of democracy is melodrama. ---->>>

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

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

Robespierre, however, was not the type of leader finally destined to emerge from the Revolution. ---->>>

The humanitarian would, of course, have us meddle in foreign affairs as part of his program of world service. ---->>>

Very few of the early Italian humanists were really humane. ---->>>

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

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

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. ---->>>

To say that most of us today are purely expansive is only another way of saying that most of us continue to be more concerned with the quantity than with the quality of our democracy. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: August 2, 1865
Birthplace:
Die: 07-15, 1933
Occupation: Critic
Website:

Irving Babbitt (August 2, 1865 – July 15, 1933) was an American academic and literary critic, noted for his founding role in a movement that became known as the New Humanism, a significant influence on literary discussion and conservative thought in the period between 1910 and 1930. He was a cultural critic in the tradition of Matthew Arnold and a consistent opponent of romanticism, as represented by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (wikipedia)