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Ignorant Enthusiasm Cannot Remake the World

The Value of a Liberal Education:

The most important question of our era, as of every age, is not the political question; it is the personal and intellectual puzzle. Free minds are those elevated above the sordidness of everyday life. Everyday life will be sordid under any New Order, men being creatures of passion. Let the state of the nation be what it may, the man of liberal mind need not despair; he has his mem­ories, his books, his ideals. These elements are worth more than Utopia. But there is a worldly, utilitarian value in liberal learning, too. So long as we are bent upon Utopia, we must have minds that can conceive Utopia, that know Utopia has to be built of stone, not of air. A liberally educated man has a great store of general knowledge and common sense; ignorant enthusiasm cannot remake the world.

— Russell Kirk (“A Conscript on Education” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 44 (1945), 82-99)

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