The Rise of Reform Judaism

The Rise of Reform Judaism

The Rise of Reform Judaism

The Rise of Reform Judaism

Excerpt

While these lines are being written, the "cold war" engages two gigantic forces which are working to strengthen the morale of their own camp and to weaken the resistance in the opposing camp.

This great campaign of world persuasion can be seen as a titanic psychological enterprise akin to the national advertising campaigns of mass persuasion but on a world-wide scale and for much greater stakes than the annual profits of a manufacturing firm. The campaign is, of course, psychological, but psychology is only the instrument. The various devices, the denunciations, the posters, the parades, all these are meant to inculcate certain convictions. Behind all this use of psychology there is a philosophy. What are the basic ideas that each side in this world's "cold war" contest is trying to inculcate?

First, it is a sense of idealism. Each side believes that the happiness of mankind is attainable, and that the world is moving to a nobler future. The doctrine of world-future translates itself into a sense of personal mission. Each man in the respective countries is being persuaded that he is on the side of history. It is strange that two opposing philosophies such as world-Communism and world-Democracy share the basic assumption that the world can be made into an Eden and that each person may further the high intention of human history. Also, it is surprising that this faith in spritual armament is still so strong in this age of advanced technology, when new weapons, each more awesome than the preceding, are being invented and the technical means for increasing the store of these weapons is at hand. Yet the fact remains that the materialism and the technical competence of the age have not to the slightest degree so mechanized the mind of world leadership that there is any loss of faith in the effectiveness of the psychological and philosophic weapon. Although new arms are being invented and stock-piled, the chief and continuous struggle of the last twenty-five years has been in the realm of the spirit--to persuade, to convince, to strengthen faith, to deepen the sense of national idealism and personal inspiration.

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