By Reinhold Niebuhr

“[Niebuhr] is one among my favourite philosophers. I remove [from his works] the compelling concept that there’s critical evil on the planet, and hassle and discomfort. And we must always be humble and modest in our trust we will get rid of these issues. yet we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and state of being inactive. I remove . . . the feel we need to make those efforts realizing they're hard.”—President Barack Obama 

Originally released in 1952, solid through the tumultuous yet victorious postwar years whilst the USA got here of age as a global strength, The Irony of yankee History is extra suitable now than ever prior to. brought up by means of politicians as different as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece at the incongruity among own beliefs and political truth is either an indictment of yank ethical complacency and a caution opposed to the boldness of advantage. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s knowledge will reason readers to reconsider their assumptions approximately correct and improper, conflict and peace.

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They had a dim and dark understanding of the fact that power cannot be wielded without guilt, since it is never transcendent over interest, even when it tries to subject itself to universal standards and places itself under the control of a nascent world-wide community. They did not understand that the disavowal of the responsibilities of power can involve an individual or nation in even more grievous guilt. There are two ways of denying our responsibilities to our fellowmen. The one is the way of imperialism, expressed in seeking to dominate them by our power.

The bourgeois world is accused of not taking the mastery of historical destiny seriously enough and of being content with the mastery of nature. " That is to say, man will no longer have any sense of the mystery and meaning of the drama of history beyond the limits of his will and understanding; but he will be filled with illusions about his own power and wisdom. For the bourgeois idea of a society in which the morally embarrassing factor of power has been pushed under the rug, cormnunism substitutes the idea of one final, resolute and unscrupulous thrust of power in the revolution.

This dismissal usually involves indifference toward the tension in human existence, created by the fact that "our reach is beyond our grasp," and that every sensitive individual has a relation to a structure of meaning which is never fulfilled in the vicissitudes of actual history. 6 THE IRONIC SITUATION The crowning irony in this debate about materialism lies in the tremendous preoccupation of our own technical culture with the problem of gaining physical security against the hazards of nature.

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