"... even I am growing accustomed to slavery; so much so that I cease to think of its accursed influence and calmly eat from the hands of the bondman without being mindful that he is such. O, Slavery, hateful thing that thou art thus to blunt the keen edge of conscience!"
"When I contemplate the accumulation of guilt and remorse which, like a garbage-can, I carry through life, and which is fed not only by the lightest action but by the most harmless pleasure, I feel Man to be of all living things the most biologically incompetent and ill-organized. Why has he acquired a seventy years' life-span only to poison it incurably by the mere being of himself? Why has he thrown Conscience, like a dead rat, to putrefy in the well?"
"The pangs of conscience, where are the pangs of conscience? Orestes and Clytemnestra, Reinhold doesn't even know the names of those fine folk. He simply hopes, heartily and sincerely, that Franz is dead as a doornail and won't be found."
"Americans, more than most people, believe that history is the result of individual decisions to implement conscious intentions. For Americans, more than most people, history has been that.... This sense of openness, of possibility and autonomy, has been a national asset as precious as the topsoil of the Middle West. But like topsoil, it is subject to erosion; it requires tending. And it is not bad for Americans to come to terms with the fact that for them too, history is a story of inertia and the unforeseen."
"What has history to do with me? Mine is the first and only world! I want to report how I find the world. What others have told me about the world is a very small and incidental part of my experience. I have to judge the world, to measure things."