Bill Clinton on ‘Future Preference’

“Professor Carroll Quigley’s second lasting insight concerned the key to the greatness of Western civilization, and its continuing capacity for reform and renewal. He said our civilization’s success is rooted in unique religious and philosophical convictions: that man is basically good; that there is truth, but no finite mortal has it; that we can get closer to the truth only by working together; and that through faith and good works, we can have a better life in this world and a reward in the next. According to Quigley, these ideas gave our civilization our optimistic, pragmatic character and an unwavering belief in the possibility of positive change. He summed up our ideology with the term ‘future preference,’ the belief that ‘the future can be better than the past, and each individual has a personal, moral obligation to make it so.’ From the 1992 campaign through my two terms in office, I quoted Professor Quigley’s line often, hoping it would spur my fellow Americans, and me, to practice what he preached.”  

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