“It is the intellectual duty of the citizen to search for the warrant for his views, to raise opinions into beliefs by means of reasons”: Leon Wieseltier on Reason and Democratic Citizenship

Leon Wieseltier in the New Republic:

Democracy is the most mentally arduous form of government. No other system stands or falls on the quality of the individual’s opinions. The pressures upon the formation of opinion are staggering, and they interfere mightily with clear deliberation: as Habermas puts it, mass opinion is not yet public opinion. In an open society, therefore, it is the intellectual duty of the citizen to search for the warrant for his views, to raise opinions into beliefs by means of reasons, right reasons, reasons conceived in the bravery of arguments. This is the only way to resist the regimentations of demagogues and entertainers. The justification of belief is a human adventure. And discovering the reason is like discovering the sunrise.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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