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Brand Blanshard, “On the Difficulties of Being Reasonable,” Swarthmore College Bulletin, [Jan. 1982].
Brand Blanshard Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Karen Huang ’11, Brand Blanshard’s Aristocracy

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Whereas in the previous document Blanshard merely sketches the importance of rational thought and action, in this essay he provides the means by which reason can be disseminated in the public sphere. Blanshard calls for a particular kind of individual as the agent for social change; only the rational leader is able to have a positive influence on politics and society. According to Blanshard, if those zealous and passionate men, traditionally viewed as heroes, did not change history for the better, they should not be viewed as heroes at all. He asserts that although the habit of using reason is difficult, it is nevertheless necessary—especially for those in positions of power. For Blanshard, good philosophers make good leaders— in other words, men of reason ought to be the ones to direct history.