Thursday, October 14, 2010


"Because the American tradition lies in the hands of the populace, it does not demand conformity, nor does it homogenize different cultural, political, and ethnic strains in U.S. history. In fact, the opposite happens. People read and study the same things, but their knowledge amplifies differences at the same time that it grants them a shared inheritance. The more people know, the more they argue. They quarrel over, precisely, what America is about, over who the heroes are and who the villains are....

"Knowledge breeds contention, then, but that's how a pluralistic, democratic society works through rival interests and clashing ideologies. Disagreements run deep, and messy pursuits and cravings for power cloud the ideas and values in conflict. But the battles that ensue solicit the intelligence and conviction and rightness of the adversaries, and they collide armed with the ammunition of ideas and phrases, works of art and lessons in philosophy and religion, episodes from history and literature."

From The Dumbest Generation by Mark Baurlein, pp. 217-218.

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