Under The Sun

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Walter Bagehot (1826-1877):

"[H]is singular genius derives from his double vision. In any conflict of persons or of ideas he was always able to see that neither side was perverse or stupid, but had reasons for militancy; and he entered not only into those reasons but also into the feelings attached. This is a rare talent, especially when it does not lead to shilly-shallying in the double-viewer's own course of action. Bagehot could always state the reasons for his choices with the utmost clarity."(--Barzun)

The historian G.M. Young called Bagehot "the wisest of his generation".

In a letter to his fiancee, Bagehot wrote: "I get tired of either sense or nonsense if I am kept very continuously to either and like my mind to undulate between the two as it likes best."

He once remarked: "Unfortunately, mysticism is true."

Some of Bagehot's writings [by the way, it's pronounced 'BAJ-et'], including a pdf of The English Constitution, can be found here.

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