“It is in the nature of intellectual life…to gravitate toward the extreme alternative position”

It is in the nature of intellectual life – and part of its value – to gravitate toward the extreme alternative position, since that is usually the one most in need of articulation…. We want big minds to voice extreme ideas, since our smaller minds already voice the saner ones.

Adam Gopnik, “Facing History,” The New Yorker (9 April 2012), 74.