I don’t usually post quotes here, but this is an exception. I am grateful to Alan for making this quote available to me. It’s from the former US Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, John W. Gardner’s book, Excellence (first published in the 1960s) and will help shape my thinking from here on:

“We must learn to honor excellence in every socially-acceptable human activity—and to scorn shoddiness, however exalted the activity. An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity—and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity—will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”

© Stuart Cross 2009. All Rights Reserved.