„In no field of endeavor is it easier than in the field of foreign affairs to be honestly wrong; in no field is it harder for contemporaries to be certain they can distinguish between wisdom and folly; in no field would it be less practicable to try to insist on infallibility as a mark of fitness for office.“

—  George F. Kennan, Context: If humiliation and rejection are to be the rewards of faithful and effective service in this field, what are those of us to conclude who have also served prominently in this line of work but upon whom this badge has not yet been conferred? We cannot deceive ourselves into believing that it was merit, rather than chance, that spared some of us the necessity of working in areas of activity that have now become controversial, of recording opinions people now find disagreeable, of aiding in the implementation of policies now under question. … In no field of endeavor is it easier than in the field of foreign affairs to be honestly wrong; in no field is it harder for contemporaries to be certain they can distinguish between wisdom and folly; in no field would it be less practicable to try to insist on infallibility as a mark of fitness for office. In defense of a colleague undergoing investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951; published in Memoirs : 1950-1963 (1967), p. 218
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George F. Kennan
1904 - 2005
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„The picture placed the busts between
Adds to the thought much strength;
Wisdom and Wit are little seen,
But Folly's at full length.“

—  Jane Brereton Welsh writer (b. Flintshire 1685) 1685 - 1740
On Beau Nash's Picture at full length between the Busts of Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Pope., in Dyce, Specimens of British Poetesses. This epigram is generally ascribed to Chesterfield. See Campbell, English Poets, note, p. 521. Reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

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„Love calls it folly, what so wisdom saith.“

—  Torquato Tasso Italian poet 1544 - 1595
Nè consiglio d'uom sano Amor riceve. Canto V, stanza 78 (tr. Fairfax)

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„I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the wisdom of indifference.“

—  Anatole France French writer 1844 - 1924
J'ai toujours préféré la folie des passions à la sagesse de l'indifférence. Variant: I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the wisdom of indifference. Pt. II, ch. 4

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