8 Quotes for Election Season from Saul Bellow

Intellectual Takeout | March 8, 2016

8 Quotes for Election Season from Saul Bellow

1) “For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics. Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.”

 

2) “A good American makes propaganda for whatever existence has forced him to become.”

 

3) “Take our politicians: they're a bunch of yo-yos. The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of clichés.”

 

4) “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”

 

5) “The principles of Western liberalism seem no longer to lend themselves to effective action. Deprived of the expressive power, we are awed by it, have a hunger for it, and are afraid of it. Thus we praise the gray dignity of our soft-spoken leaders, but in our hearts we are suckers for passionate outbursts, even when those passionate outbursts are hypocritical and falsely motivated.”

 

6) “There is simply too much to think about. It is hopeless — too many kinds of special preparation are required. In electronics, in economics, in social analysis, in history, in psychology, in international politics, most of us are, given the oceanic proliferating complexity of things, paralyzed by the very suggestion that we assume responsibility for so much. This is what makes packaged opinion so attractive.”

 

7) “Much of junk culture has a core of crisis — shoot-outs, conflagrations, bodies weltering in blood, naked embracers or rapist-stranglers. The sounds of junk culture are heard over a ground bass of extremism. Our entertainments swarm with specters of world crisis. Nothing moderate can have any claim to our attention.”

 

8) “Americans must be the most sententious people in history. Far too busy to be religious, they have always felt that they sorely needed guidance.”