Philosophical Anthropology and Practical Politics

By F. S. C. Northrop | Go to book overview

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A New Approach to Politics

Contemporary politics leaves much to be desired. Its shortcomings appear in both foreign and domestic policy.

The need to settle disputes between nations in an atomic age by peaceful rather than violent means is obvious. History gives no evidence, as Roscoe Pound reminds us, that even domestic social disagreements are resolved without recourse to fighting unless, in intervening periods when tempers are under control and passions are stilled, legal institutions and procedures are established.

Nevertheless, previous attempts to achieve an effective international legal order have been disheartening. Recall the disillusionment following the creation of the League of Nations at Versailles. Witness the present Cold War which followed so soon upon the high hopes for the United Nations that were publicly voiced and officially authorized at San Francisco.

Domestic politics also is not what it needs to be. The lack of foresight at both the state and federal levels in adjusting the cultural customs of the Old South to the unanimous decisions of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States in the desegregation cases and the resultant recourse to the military in full battle array with its breeding of bitterness suggest that the relation between legal decisions and social customs calls for more attention by ourselves and our politicians than it is now receiving.

Domestic events abroad reinforce this conclusion. Since World War II as Africans, Middle Easterners and Asians have freed themselves from Western imperialistic domination, they have not returned to their medieval political customs in which they were ruled by theocratic Hindu maharajas, caliphatic sultans, Judaic patriarchs

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