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Two quotes

January 24, 2010

Sam Tanenhaus’s book The Death of Conservatism has some really killer quotes in it. Here’s an excerpt from Whittaker Chambers’s review of Atlas Shrugged:

At first, we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house.

I had no idea Chambers had such a sharp critical eye. And this stopped me cold:

Our earth is the home of revolution.

That’s the opening line of a speech Lyndon Johnson gave at the 1965 Howard University Commencement laying out his Great Society agenda.

Chambers’s review and Johnson’s speech are both well worth reading in full, as is Tanenhaus’s book.

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