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A suicidal method Print E-mail
By Jacques Maritain   
Tuesday, 02 September 2014

There are people who think that not to believe in any truth, or not to adhere firmly to any assertion as unshakeably true in itself is a primary condition required of democratic citizens in order to be tolerant of one another and to live in peace with one another. These people are in fact the most intolerant people, for if perchance they were to believe in something as unshakeably true, they would feel compelled, by the same stroke, to impose by force and coercion their own belief on their co-citizens. The only remedy they have found to get rid of their abiding tendency to fanaticism is to cut themselves off from truth. That
s a suicidal method. And it is a suicidal conception of democracy: not only would a democratic society which lived on universal skepticism condemn itself to death by starvation; but it would also enter a process of self-annihilation, from the very fact that no democratic society can live without a common practical belief in those truths which are freedom, justice, law, and the other tenets of democracy; and that any belief in these things as objectively and unshakeably true, as well as in any other kind of truth, would be brought to naught by the pre-assumed law of universal skepticism.



 

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