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Herbert Butterfield

The academic mind can eat away the very basis of its own assurance ... produce contortions when it tries to bend over backward ... allow itself to be dismayed by the picture it has created of relentless historical process.

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The very fact of its finding itself in agreement with other minds perturbs it, so that it hunts for points of divergence, feeling the urgent need to make it clear that at least it reached the same conclusions by a different route.

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But the greatest menace to our civilization today is the conflict between giant organized systems of self-righteousness -- each system only too delighted to find that the other is wicked -- each only too glad that the sins give it the pretext for still deeper hatred and animosity.

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