Alfred Whitney Griswold

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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 1906 - 19 April 1963) was and American historian, who was president of Yale University, 1950-1963

Sourced

  • 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)
  • 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.

Unsourced

  • A Socrates in every classroom.
  • It is a barren kind of criticism which tells you what a thing is not.
  • 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.
  • There will be certain things in a man that have to be won, not forced; inspired, not compelled.

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