Friday, January 13, 2006

Hugh Nibley, Samuel Alito, and the Historical Record

The congressional hearings on Samuel Alito's nomination to the United States Supreme Court are winding down. A lot of attention has been given to a statement that Alito made on a job application back in the 1980's.

Hugh Nibley, one of the smartest men to ever live by any objective standard, had this to say about some of his past writings.
I refuse to be held accountable for anything I wrote more than three years ago. For heaven's sake, I hope we are moving forward here! After all, the implication [is] that one mistake and it is all over with. How flattering to think that forty years I have not made one slip and I am still in business! I would say about four-fifths of everything I ever put down has changed. Of course! ("Of All Things" p. 229, a Hugh Nibley quote book edited by Gary Gillum, 2nd edition)

One unfortunate side effect of the archive-everything-search-anything internet is that many people feel they can no longer publicly discuss ideas because they might be branded with a particular position for the rest of their life.

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