In working with history, especially the history of ideas, I am often struck by how much has changed: how what was taken as truth turned out to be false, how optimism gave way to pessimism, how what looked like a cure turned out to be a curse.  Now and then, one comes across a statement that holds value.  John Emerson Roberts said this in 1895:

People sometimes ask, with an implied reproach, ‘What do liberals believe?’ as if truth were something that could be minted and stamped and carried about in an ecclesiastic wallet and shown to prove how rich one is. The first step in the higher life of the soul is to give up the hope of having any absolute criterion of truth.

And didn’t he choose a vivid metaphor!

See the Books page for more on John Emerson Roberts, Kansas City’s Freethought Preacher.

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