Last modified on 2 April 2014, at 15:48

Alfred Whitney Griswold

There are certain things in a man that have to be won, not forced; inspired, not compelled.
Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.

Alfred Whitney Griswold (27 October 190619 April 1963) was an American historian, and president of Yale University, 1950–1963.

SourcedEdit

  • A Socrates in every classroom.
    • On his standards for the faculty of Yale University, as quoted in TIME magazine (11 June 1951).
  • There are certain things in a man that have to be won, not forced; inspired, not compelled. Among these are many, I should say most, of the things that constitute the good life. All are essential to democracy. All are proof against its enemies.
    • "We Cannot Legislate Intelligence, Morality, or Loyalty: These Must be Inspired, Not Compelled," Vital Speeches 19 (15 July 1953), p. 588; also in Liberal Education and the Democratic Ideal and Other Essays (1959) by Alfred Whitney Griswold, p. 106
    • Paraphrased variant: There will be certain things in a man that have to be won, not forced; inspired, not compelled.
  • Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club? Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report? Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam, whether it takes ultimate shape in a law of physics or a law of the land, a poem or a policy, a sonata or a mechanical computer.
    • Address at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (9 June 1957)
  • Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth, we have spoken it.
    • Address at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (9 June 1957)
  • Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.
    • Essays on Education quoted in The New York Times (24 February 1959)
    • Variant ending: The source of better ideas is freedom. The surest path to wisdom is liberal education.
  • Liberal learning is both a safeguard against false ideas of freedom and a source of true ones.


MisattributedEdit

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