Public Men in and out of Office

By J. T. Salter | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

TODAY WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUTURE. YESTERday we were at war. Today we are living in a post-war world. Great questions challenge the voters' attention. While we were at war, buildings of stone and concrete were destroyed in a flash to be rebuilt in a month, or a year, or in the years unfolding. Political arrangements, institutions, and attitudes are more durable. They change under the hammer of war or depression, but who can know how different they will be when the hammer is gone?

The most interesting thing about this fact of the future is that we and all the people of the world--not only the voters of America but also the people of other lands--are living in this new age whether we know it or not. We may try to confine our thinking to our congressional district, but our daily actions will not be walled in. They touch lands out of sight and out of mind and far away. Our thinking has remained singularly parochial for a people that invented the atomic bomb. Our tools of communication have been improved enormously during the last 2,000 years, but whether or not progress has been made in the social and political ideas communicated is a question still under debate. Our Einsteins have certainly outstripped our Aristotles.

And Einstein himself once told me the reason why. A few months before Germany waged war on Russia, Mr. Einstein casually asked me what I thought Russia was going to do. I replied that I did not know. Immediately I asked him the same question, but he, too, said, "I do not know." I next

-vii-

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