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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: John William Gardner (1912–2002)
QUOTATION: As I said in another connection: “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.”
ATTRIBUTION: JOHN W. GARDNER, Excellence, Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?, p. 86 (1961). Gardner was secretary of health, education, and welfare 1965–1968.
SUBJECTS: Excellence