Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following Tony Judt.

Tony Judt Tony Judt > Quotes


Tony Judt quotes Showing 1-30 of 315

“Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: Is it good Is it fair Is it just Is it right Will it help bring about a better society or a better world Those used to be the political questions even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.

The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears “natural” today dates from the 1980s: the obsession with wealth creation the cult of privatization and the private sector the growing disparities of rich and poor. And above all the rhetoric that accompanies these: uncritical admiration for unfettered markets disdain for the public sector the delusion of endless growth.

We cannot go on living like this. The little crash of 2008 was a reminder that unregulated capitalism is its own worst enemy: sooner or later it must fall prey to its own excesses and turn again to the state for rescue. But if we do no more than pick up the pieces and carry on as before we can look forward to greater upheavals in years to come.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“Undergraduates today can select from a swathe of identity studies.... The shortcoming of all these para-academic programs is not that they concentrate on a given ethnic or geographical minority; it is that they encourage members of that minority to study themselves - thereby simultaneously negating the goals of a liberal education and reinforcing the sectarian and ghetto mentalities they purport to undermine.”
Tony Judt, The Memory Chalet
“We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“Love, it seems to me, is that condition in which one is most contentedly oneself. If this sounds paradoxical, remember Rilke’s admonition: love consists in leaving the loved one space to be themselves while providing the security within which the self may flourish. As a child, I always felt uneasy and a little constrained around people, my family in particular. Solitude was bliss, but not easily obtained. Being always felt stressful- wherever I was there was something to do, someone to please, a duty to be completed, a role inadequately fulfilled: something amiss. Becoming, on the other hand, was relief. I was never so happy as when I was going somewhere on my own, and the longer it took to get there, the better. Walking was pleasurable, cycling enjoyable, bus journeys fun. But the train was very heaven.”
Tony Judt, The Memory Chalet
“If we remain grotesquely unequal, we shall lose all sense of fraternity: and fraternity, for all its fatuity as a political objective, turns out to be the necessary condition of politics itself.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“The historian’s task is not to disrupt for the sake of it, but it is to tell what is almost always an uncomfortable story and explain why the discomfort is part of the truth we need to live well and live properly. A well organized society is one in which we know the truth about ourselves collectively, not one in which we tell pleasant lies about ourselves.”
Tony Judt
“Whatever Americans fondly believe, their government has always had its fingers in the economic pie. What distinguishes the USA from every other developed country has been the widespread belief to the contrary.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“But the disposition to disagree, to reject and to dissent - however irritating it may be when taken to extremes - is the very lifeblood of an open society. We need people who make a virtue of opposing mainstream opinion. A democracy of permanent consensus will not long remain a democracy.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“Post-national, welfare-state, cooperative, pacific Europe was not born of the optimistic, ambitious, forward-looking project imagined in fond retrospect by today's Euro-idealists. It was the insecure child of anxiety.”
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
“We no longer have political movement. While thousands of us may come together for a rally or march, we are bound together on such occasions by a single shared interest. Any effort to convert such interests into collective goals is usually undermined by the fragmented individualism of our concerns. Laudable goals - fighting climate change, opposing war, advocating public healthcare or penalizing bankers - are united by nothing more than the expression of emotion. In our political as in our economic lives, we have become consumers: choosing from a broad gamut of competing objectives, we find it hard to imagine ways or reasons to combine these into a coherent whole. We must do better than this.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“The moral courage required to hold a different view and to press it upon irritated readers or unsympathetic listeners remains everywhere in short supply.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“Evil, above all evil on the scale practiced by Nazi Germany, can never be satisfactorily remembered. The very enormity of the crime renders all memorialisation incomplete. Its inherent implausibility—the sheer difficulty of conceiving of it in calm retrospect—opens the door to diminution and even denial. Impossible to remember as it truly was, it is inherently vulnerable to being remembered as it wasn't.”
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
“Markets do not automatically generate trust, cooperation or collective action for the common good. Quite the contrary: it is in the nature of economic competition that a participant who breaks the rules will triumph—at least in the short run—over more ethically sensitive competitors.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents
“If it is to be taken seriously again, the Left must find its voice. There is much to be angry about: growing inequalities of wealth and opportunity; injustices of class and caste; economic exploitation at home and abroad; corruption and money and privilege occluding the arteries of democracy.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents
“Familiarity reduces insecurity, so we feel more comfortable describing and combating the risks we think we understand: terrorists, immigrants, job loss or crime. But the true sources of insecurity in decades to come will be those that most of us cannot define: dramatic climate change and its social and environmental effects; imperial decline and its attendant 'small wars'; collective political impotence in the face of distant upheavals with disruptive local impact. These are the threats that chauvinist politicians will be best placed to exploit, precisely because they lead so readily to anger and humiliation.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“Loss is loss, and nothing is gained by calling it by a nicer name.”
Tony Judt
“Above all, the thrall in which an ideology holds a people is best measured by their collective inability to imagine alternatives.”
Tony Judt, The Memory Chalet
Lieux de memoire . . . 'exist because there are no longer any milieux de memoire, settings in which memory is a real part of everyday experience.' And what are lieux de memoire? [They] are . . . vestiges . . . the rituals of a ritual-less society.”
Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century
“The only thing worse than too much government is too little: in failed states, people suffer at least as much violence and injustice as under authoritarian rule, and in addition their trains do not run on time.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“Finding a homeland is not the same as dwelling in the place where our ancestors once used to live.”   —KRZYSZTOF CZYZEWSKI”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“But precisely because history is not foreordained, we mere mortals must invent it as we go along—and in circumstances, as old Marx rightly pointed out, not entirely of our own making. We shall have to ask the perennial questions again, but be open to different answers.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents
“When Communism fell in 1989, the temptation for Western commentators to gloat triumphantly proved irresistible. This, it was declared, marked the end of History. Henceforth, the world belonged to liberal capitalism – there was no alternative – and we would all march forward in unison towards a future shaped by peace, democracy and free markets. Twenty years on this assertion looks threadbare.

There can be no question that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the domino-like collapse of Communism states from the suburbs of Vienna to the shores of the Pacific marked a very significant transition: one in which millions of men and women were liberated from a dismal and defunct ideology and its authoritarian institutions. But no one could credibly assert that what replaced Communism was an era of idyllic tranquility. There was no peace in post-Communist Yugoslavia, and precious little democracy in any of the successor states of the Soviet Union.

As for free markets, they surely flourished, but it is not clear for whom. The West – Europe and the United States above all – missed a once-in-a-century opportunity to re-shape the world around agreed and improved international institutions and practices. Instead, we sat back and congratulated ourselves upon having won the Cold War: a sure way to lose the peace. The years from 1989 to 2009 were consumed by locusts.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“We are all familiar with intellectuals who speak only on behalf of their country, class, religion, 'race,' 'gender,' or 'sexual orientation,' and who shape their opinions according to what they take to be the interest of their affinity of birth or predilection. But the distinctive feature of the liberal intellectual in past times was precisely the striving for universality; not the unworldly or disingenuous denial of sectional identification but the sustained effort to transcend that identification in search of truth or the general interest. . . . In today's America, neoconservatives generate brutish policies for which liberals provide the ethical fig leaf. There really is no other diifference between them.”
Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century
“in a constitutionally ordered state, where laws are derived from broad principles of right and wrong and where those principles are enshrined and protected by agreed upon procedures and practices, it can never be in the long-term interest of the state or its citizens to flout those procedures at home or associate too closely overseas with the enemies of your founding ideals.”
Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century
“ask . . . what it is about all-embracing 'systems' of thought that leads inexorably to all-embracing 'systems' of rule.”
Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century
“the military system of a nation is not an independent section of the social system but an aspect of its totality.”
Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century
“Love, it seems to me, is the condition in which one is most contentedly oneself.”
Tony Judt, The Memory Chalet
“Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest.”
Tony Judt
“Today, neither Left nor Right can find their footing.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land
“We must distinguish better than some of our predecessors between desirable ends and unacceptable means.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

All Quotes | Add A Quote


Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 Postwar
8,227 ratings
Open Preview
Ill Fares the Land Ill Fares the Land
3,018 ratings
Open Preview
The Memory Chalet The Memory Chalet
1,502 ratings
Open Preview
Thinking the Twentieth Century Thinking the Twentieth Century
1,289 ratings
Open Preview