Monday, February 20, 2017

Perhaps the single best example of the common lack of high standards in question of honesty is our tendency to think in labels. Terms like "existentialism", "pragmatism, and "empiricism", "liberalism" and "conservatism" ae, more often than not, so many excuses for not considering individual ideas on their merits and for not exposing one's self to the bite of thought. For less educated people, words like "Jew", and "Catholic", "Democrat", "Republican" and "Communist" do much the same job. These labels have some uses that are perfectly legitimate, but frequently they function as an aid to thoughtlessness and permit people to appear to think when they are merely talking.

The practice of seizing on a label instead of considering a man's ideas is common, if often unconscious.

Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic

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