Friday, January 28, 2005


The Spirit of Moderation

Learned Hand (1872-1961), The Spirit of Liberty, 3rd edition (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974), pp. 164-165:
What is the spirit of moderation? It is the temper which does not press a partisan advantage to its bitter end, which can understand and will respect the other side, which feels a unity between all citizens -- real and not the factitious product of propaganda -- which recognizes their common fate and their common aspirations -- in a word, which has faith in the sacredness of the individual. If you ask me how such a temper and such a faith are bred and fostered, I cannot answer. They are the last flowers of civilization, delicate and easily overrun by the weeds of our sinful human nature; we may even now be witnessing their uprooting and disappearance until in the progress of the ages their seeds can once more find some friendly soil.

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