“Too much faith is the worst ally. When you believe in something literally, through your faith you’ll turn it into something absurd. One who is a genuine adherent, if you like, of some political outlook, never takes its sophistries seriously, but only its practical aims, which are concealed beneath these sophistries. Political rhetoric and sophistries do not exist, after all, in order that they be believed; rather, they have to serve as a common and agreed upon alibi. Foolish people who take them in earnest sooner or later discover inconsistencies in them, begin to protest, and finish finally and infamously as heretics and apostates. No, too much faith never brings anything good…” ― Milan Kundera

“[Obituary of atheist philosopher Richard Robinson]An Atheist’s Values is one of the best short accounts of liberalism (a term Robinson accepted) and humanism (a term he ignored) produced during the present century, all the more powerful for its lucidity and moderation, its wit and wisdom. It may now seem old-fashioned, but during those confused alarms of struggle and fight between the ignorant armies of left and right, thousands of readers must have taken inspiration from Richard Robinson’s rational defence of rationalism.It is a pity that it is now out of print, when there is still so much nonsense and so little sense in the world.” ― Nicolas Walter

“As [Isaiah] Berlin wrote to George Kennan in 1951, ‘What we violently reject is … the very idea that there are circumstances in which one has a right to get at, and shape the characters and souls of other men for purposes which these men, if they realized what we were doing, might reject.’ The respect for individual liberty goes hand in hand with the recognition of human dignity as a fundamental principle and is incompatible with treating human beings as sheer material to be conditioned and shaped at will.” ― Aurelian Craiutu, Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes

“The person of dialogue attempts to transform the enemy into an opponent and the opponent into a partner. An opponent is for him one who presents challenge, who wants and asks to be understood. The person of dialogue believes that dialogue is the only way to be understood by others. So he makes an effort to look at the world through his opponent’s viewpoint, to ‘change hats with him’ and to ‘step into his shoes.’ … He does not shy away from defending his own arguments and is not afraid of the truth, but, invariably, he puts respect for human dignity first. … Each partner accept that the dignity of the other is of immensurable value. This presupposes the ability to strike a compromise, whenever possible, the readiness to admit that one is not is possession of the sole and complete [truth], and the willingness to accept somebody else’s reasoning and to change one’s own attitudes. (Quoted from Adam Michnik, In Search of Lost Meaning.)” ― Aurelian Craiutu, Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes

“With regard to religious belief, [Adam] Michnik admitted that ‘only those forms of religious belief that are “anti-values,” that lead to fanaticism and intolerance, are objectionable’ and should therefore be opposed. ‘I would nevertheless be afraid to live in a world without conservative institutions and values,’ he confessed, speaking like a true moderate. ‘A world devoid of tradition would be nonsensical and anarchic. The human world should be constructed from a permanent conflict between conservatism and contestation; if either is absent from a society, pluralism is destroyed.” ― Aurelian Craiutu, Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes