Power and Morals

Power and Morals

Power and Morals

Power and Morals

Excerpt

THE WORLD TODAY is scarcely in a happy state. For a while it seemed that the vicious forces of evil and violence represented by fascism and its cult of power-worship would sweep away entirely the associational and institutional framework of what we call Western civilization; and once the Allied Nations had won the victory; and crushed the menace, the problems which remained were gigantic in their scope and fearful in their implication. In the minds of thinking men today there is a great uneasiness deriving from uncertainty about the future and a growing recognition that totalitarianism is not a basic evil but only a symptom -- admittedly a horrible symptom -- of certain radical defects in our society. Apart from the easy platitudes of popular lecturers and journalists, there has been little of the dewy-eyed and sentimental optimism which characterized the last immediate post-war era; and the war itself was fought by many with a minimum of enthusiasm and a maximum of cynicism.

Such generalizations are not meant to cast discredit upon the many thousands who heroically gave their lives for a cause they believed right and in a struggle which was necessary to preserve from complete extinction certain cherished values and institutions; but the fact remains that our primary animus was a negative one and that our aspirations for the future were and are marred by a sense of gnawing unrest, anticipated frustration, and underlying fear that the evil elemental forces which have been beaten down only by mighty effort are rising again in even more terrible and perhaps more irresistible form. We are aghast at the potentialities of destruction which physical . . .

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