To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.

— Michael Joseph Oakeshott

The most fantastic Michael Joseph Oakeshott quotes that are proven to give you inner joy

Every human being is born an heir to an inheritance to which he can succeed only in a process of learning.

15

The man of conservative temperament believes that a known good is not lightly to be surrendered for an unknown better.

15

Education is ... the invitation to disentangle oneself, for a time, from the urgencies of the here and now and to listen to the conversation in which human beings forever seek to understand themselves.

14

Our predicament is not the difficulty of attaining happiness, but the difficult of avoiding the misery to which the pursuit of happiness exposes us.

11

In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea;

there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination. The enterprise is to keep afloat on an even keel.

11

The rule of law bakes no bread, it is unable to distribute loaves or fishes (it has none), and it cannot protect itself against external assault, but it remains the most civilized and least burdensome conception of a state yet to be devised.

9

Political action involves mental vulgarity, not merely because it entails the occurrence and support of those who are mentally vulgar, but because of the simplification of human life implied in even the best of it purposes.

5

For most people, political activity is a secondary activity - that is to say, they have something else to do beside attending to these arrangements. But the activity is one which every member of the group who is not a child nor a lunatic has some part and some responsibility.

3

A recorded past is no more than a bygone present composed of the footprints made by human beings actually going somewhere but not knowing (in any extended sense), and certainly not revealing to us, how, they came to be afoot on these particular journeys.

3

The conjunction of ruling and dreaming generates tyranny.

1

Poetry is a sort of truancy, a dream within the dream of life, a wild flower planted among our wheat.

0

It is difficult to thinkof any circumstances where learning may be said to be impossible.

0

About Michael Joseph Oakeshott

Quotes 21 sayings
Profession Philosopher
Birthday December 11, 1901

It is certain that most who concentrate upon achievement miss life.

0

To try to do something which is inherently impossible is always a corrupting enterprise.

0

Politics I take to be the activity of attending to the general arrangements of a set of people whom chance or choice have brought together. In this sense, families, clubs, and learned societies have their 'politics'. But the communities in which this manner of activities is pre-eminent are the hereditary co-operative groups, many of them of ancient lineage, all of them aware of a past, a present and a future, which we call states.

0

The politics of our society are a conversation in which past, present and future each has a voice; and though one or other of them may on occasion properly prevail none permanently dominates, and on this account we are free.

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Like Midas, the Rationalist is always in the unfortunate position of not being able to touch anything, without transforming it into an abstraction; he can never get a square meal of experience.

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History is what the evidence compels us to believe.

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We consider ourselves to be free because no one in our society is allowed unlimited powerno leader, faction, party or 'class', no majority, no government, church, corporation, trade, or professional association or trade union. The secret of its freedom is that it is composed of a multitude of organisations in the constitution of the best of which is reproduced that diffusion of power which is characteristic of the whole.

0

Economics is not an attempt to generalize human desires or human behavior;

but to generalize the phenomena of price.

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