In an earlier post I asked about the origins of this quote, and a reader capable of searching well gave us a good enough citation: Daniel Boorstin, the late historian and former Librarian of Congress, wrote:
I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever.
Boorstin wrote that in an essay in a book published in 1990, “The Amateur Spirit,” in the update of 1935’s Living Philosophies (edited by Clifton Fadiman). You can see a more complete version of the quote here.
Isn’t that eerily similar to Kin Hubbard’s observation? From Boorstin, the former Librarian of Congress, it carries the heft of more academic language than Hubbard’s version, but it clearly echoes the idea, doesn’t it?
Below the fold, the statement in greater context of the duty of historians.