I can’t remember when I first stumbled across this quote, or how. It’s from his Gulag Archipelago, I think. And it’s been sort of bothering me ever since I read it. (Not because I disagree with it, but because I think it’s right. And because it’s hard.)
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Now, if there was anyone whose own personal experiences and suffering at the hands of his persecutors could have led him to the belief that the world was populated with evil people who needed only to be separated and destroyed, it was Solzhenitsyn. But he’s too honest and too insightful to let himself (and us) off that easily.