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Saturday, November 13, 2004


fussell on religion in war

blogger leo wong posted an excerpt from an interview with paul fussell regarding the death of western spirituality.

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Thank you for your notice. What may be happening is that Protestantism and reactions to it are played out, and that anything viable must be newer (and older). On the broader topic, I've just picked up John Lukacs' _A New Republic: A History of the United States in the Twentieth Century_ (Yale, 2004), which gives a new title and adds a new chapter to a book he published in 1984, _Outgrowing Democracy_. If I read the book (and even if I don't) this passage which I noticed from near the end the book will probably find its way into my blog:

"'America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.' If so, this would involve the United States 'beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars and interests and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition. . . . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.'

"These were the words of John Quincy Adams, the greatest of America's Secretaries of State, in his Fourth of July speech in 1821. In 1995 George F. Kennan, perhaps the greatest but surely one of the most principled American patriots in the twentieth cnetury, wrote that Adams's statement was as timely as it had been 174 years before. What we have seen since, and what stares in our faces now, is a total repudiation of Adams's warning by an American President and his government, by the leading American political party, by the most vocal of America's public intellectuals calling themselves 'conservatives, with at least the tacit support of a majority of conservative' Americans."

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