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Isaiah Berlin

We are doomed to choose and every choice may entail irreparable loss.

The desire for guarantees that our values are eternal and secure in some objective heaven is perhaps only a craving for the certainties of childhood.

Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are and where they appear to be going.

Portrait of Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin (1909 – 1997) was a Russian-British social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas, regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century. He excelled as an essayist, conversationalist and as a brilliant lecturer who improvised rapidly and spontaneously while never straying from rich and coherently structured material.

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Listen to Henry Hardy on Berlin's Pluralism

The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds.

Nobody is so fiercely bureaucratic as the 'don' disguised as temporary government official armed with an indestructible superiority complex.

Few new truths have ever won their way against the resistance of established ideas save by being overstated.