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Baldur von Schirach

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I lived with people who had varied opinions, some of whom did not accept my Nazi views. I encouraged this. If a man said something that was critical of me or my ideas, I wouldn't consider him an enemy.
--
To Leon Goldensohn, June 16, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004

 
Baldur von Schirach

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I can also tell you on the Internet in China, you can have access to a lot of postings that are quite critical about the government. It is exactly through reading these critical opinions on the Internet that we try to locate problems and further improve our work. I don't think a system or a government should fear critical opinions or views. Only by heeding those critical views would it be possible for us to further improve our work and make further progress. I frequently browse the Internet to learn about a situation.

 
Wen Jiabao
 

When I speak of reason or rationalism, all I mean is the conviction that we can learn through criticism of our mistakes and errors, especially through criticism by others, and eventually also through self-criticism. A rationalist is simply someone for whom it is more important to learn than to be proved right; someone who is willing to learn from others — not by simply taking over another's opinions, but by gladly allowing others to criticize his ideas and by gladly criticizing the ideas of others. The emphasis here is on the idea of criticism or, to be more precise, critical discussion. The genuine rationalist does not think that he or anyone else is in possession of the truth; nor does he think that mere criticism as such helps us achieve new ideas. But he does think that, in the sphere of ideas, only critical discussion can help us sort the wheat from the chaff. He is well aware that acceptance or rejection of an idea is never a purely rational matter; but he thinks that only critical discussion can give us the maturity to see an idea from more and more sides and to make a correct judgement of it.

 
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One cannot live through a long stretch of years without forming some philosophy of life. As one journeys along he gains experiences and even some ideas. Accumulated opinions and philosophy may be more important to others than the bare facts about how he lived, so my ambition is not so much to relate the occurrences as to record the ideas that life has forced me to accept; and, after all, thoughts, impressions and feelings are really life itself. I should like to think that these reflections might make existence a trifle easier for some of those who may chance to read this story.

 
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There is nothing compulsory. One is not asked to violate cherished beliefs or accept any of the ideas presented. Rather, a healthy skepticism is encouraged.

 
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A difficulty in seeking Truth is the notion that certain men are ordained of heaven to seek Truth for all mankind and that we are to accept their acquisitions in the place of seeking for ourselves. We can never attain Truth by proxy. By divine ordination every man is an original investigator of Truth. He denies his own reason who hands over his religious views and opinions to any priest or religious teacher… We are to accept nothing on the opinions of others. What another man has thought and believed, what a Church Council or synod has formulated is nothing to me, only that it may be a reason for personal investigation ending in acceptance or rejection as I may find it in harmony with reason and well established truth.

 
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