Quote Du Jour: The Most Useless and Unproductive of All Forms of Reflection

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

It is the natural result of the whig historian’s habits of mind and his attitude to history — though it is not a necessary consequence of his actual method — that he should be interested in the promulgation of moral judgements and should count this as an important part of his office. His preoccupation is not difficult to understand when it is remembered that he regards himself as something more than an inquirer. By the very finality and absoluteness with which he was endowed the present he has heightened his own position. For him the voice of posterity is the voice of God and the historian is the voice of posterity. And it is typical of him that he tends to regard himself as the judge when by his methods and his equipment he is fitted only to be the detective. His concerns with the sphere of morality forms in fact the extreme point in his desire to make judgments of value, and to count them as the verdict of history. By a curious example of the transference of ideas he, like many other people, has come to confuse the importance which courts of legal justice must hold, and the finality they must have for practical reasons in society, with the most useless and unproductive of all forms of reflection — the dispensing of moral judgements upon people or upon actions in retrospect.

Herbert ButterfieldThe Whig Interpretation of History

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
This entry was posted in Books Publishing and Writing, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Quote Du Jour: The Most Useless and Unproductive of All Forms of Reflection

  1. Will S. says:

    Reblogged this on Patriactionary and commented:
    Great quote from a great book.

    Liked by 1 person

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