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The Crisis of Modern Times

Perspectives from The Review of Politics, 1939-1962

Edited by A. James McAdams

Publication Year: 2007

In the 1940s and 1950s The Review of Politics, under the dynamic leadership of Waldemar Gurian, emerged as one of the leading journals of political and social theory in the United States. This volume celebrates that legacy by bringing together classic essays by a remarkable group of American and European émigré intellectuals, among them Jacques Maritain, Hannah Arendt, Josef Pieper, Eric Voegelin, and Yves Simon. For these writers, the emergence of new dictatorial regimes in Germany and Russia and the looming threat of another, even more devastating, European war demanded that one rethink the reigning philosophical perspectives of the time. In their view, the western world had lost sight of its founding principles. Individually and collectively, they maintained that the West could be saved only if its leaders embraced the idea that society should be governed by moral standards and a commitment to human dignity. Since the first issue appeared in 1939, The Review of Politics has influenced generations of political theorists. To complement these essays A. James McAdams has written an introduction that discusses the history of the journal and reflects on the contributions of these influential figures. He underscores the continuing relevance of these essays in assessing contemporary issues.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiii

The Review of Politics is one of those rare academic journals that has survived the test of time. In fact, it continues to thrive. Since its first issue in January 1939, the Review has outlasted America’s involvement in several major wars, the Cold War, the bankruptcy of multiple ideological movements, ...

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Introduction: The Origins of The Review of Politics

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pp. 1-28

This brief statement of purpose by Frank O’Malley, a professor of English literature at the University of Notre Dame, has adorned the opening pages of The Review of Politics since the publication of the journal’s first issue in January 1939. O’Malley’s distinction between these two approaches, ...

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1 "Integral Humanism and the Crisis of Modern Times” (1939)

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pp. 29-43

From the first point of view, that of the mere logic of ideas and doctrines, it is evident that there are many possible positions other than the “pure” positions which I shall examine. One might ask theoretically and in the abstract, what value these various positions have. That is not what I plan to do. ...

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2 "Problems Facing Catholic Rulers” (1939)

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pp. 44-54

When a ruler inherits authority he inherits a responsibility for ordering the relations of living people whom he has not created himself, and therefore has not formed with a view to the order that he conceives as most suitable. Moreover he inherits an existing order in which the relations of the members of that society operate. ...

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3 "The Deification of the State” (1939)

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pp. 55-66

It is a common heritage of English and American liberals to denounce state absolutism, to deny it as regimentation, paternalism, etc. Indeed, Englishmen and Americans have always been inclined to adopt a condescending attitude towards other traditions which seemed to exalt state power. ...

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4 “Passion and the Origin of Hitlerism” (1941)

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pp. 67-82

Hitlerism is not the creation of a single individual, the personal creation of Hitler: it is a mass phenomenon. Nor is it the necessary result of a determined economic system, since we see individuals in the most dissimilar countries, who are “converted”: rich and poor, industrialists and farmers, intellectuals and army men. ...

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5 “The Immortality of Man” (1941)

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pp. 83-97

Let us think of the human being, not in an abstract and general way, but in the most concrete possible, the most personal fashion. Let us think of this certain old man we have known for years in the country—this old farmer with his wrinkled face, his keen eyes which have beheld so many harvests ...

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6 “The End of Machiavellianism” (1942)

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pp. 98-127

My purpose is to consider Machiavellianism.1 Regarding Machiavelli himself, some preliminary observations seem necessary. Innumerable studies, some of them very good, have been dedicated to Machiavelli. Jean Bodin, in the sixteenth century, criticized The Prince in a profound and wise manner. ...

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7 “Philosophical Values and the Future of Civilization” (1943)

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pp. 128-145

In an article published in the July 1942 number of The Review of Politics,1 I suggested that contemporary learned men who deny the existence of truth, virtue, or beauty, are led into a dilemma. Either they must confine truth to positive science, where the results are always tentative and incomplete ...

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8 “On Contemporary Nihilism” (1945)

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pp. 146-173

At the present time, reason is not held in any too great esteem; “rationalism” is deprecated in most intellectual circles. “To believe in reason” is to be behind the times, to give evidence of a mode of thinking that is out of date, out of contact with what today is called “progress.” ...

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9 “The Person and the Common Good” (1946)

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pp. 174-208

Among the truths of which contemporary thought stands in particular need and from which it could draw substantial profit, is the doctrine of the distinction between individuality and personality. The essential importance of this distinction is revealed in the principles of St. Thomas. ...

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10 “Architecture and Western Civilization” (1946)

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pp. 209-237

All aspects of the life of an age are interrelated, even when the interrelations express themselves in cross purposes and intellectual dissolution. Whether or not they embody forms and ideas worthy to be dignified by the name of architecture, the buildings of any period are an expression of it. ...

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11 “On the Christian Idea of Man” (1949)

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pp. 238-251

The second part of the Summa Theologica of the “Universal Doctor,” Thomas Aquinas, begins with the following sentence: Because man has been created in God’s image, now after having spoken of God, the archetype, we must still deal with His image which is man (Sum. Theol., I, II, Prologus). ...

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12 "Natural Right and the Historical Approach” (1950)

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pp. 252-271

The attack on natural right in the name of history takes in most cases the following form: natural right claims to be a right that is discernible by human reason and is universally acknowledged; but history (including anthropology) teaches us that no such right exists; instead of the supposed uniformity ...

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13 “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1953)

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pp. 272-288

The vast majority of all human beings alive on earth is affected in some measure by the totalitarian mass movements of our time. Whether men are members, supporters, fellow-travelers, na

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14 “Social Justice and Mass Culture” (1954)

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pp. 289-301

A friend of mine has the misfortune of owning a number of stone cottages. I say “misfortune” because the cottages are in Scotland, and their rents are fixed at the level of 1914. The cottages were built long before 1914—some of them are eighteenth-century work, with their pan-tiled roofs and trick rubble walls ...

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15 “On War and Peace” (1954)

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pp. 302-311

Millions of men stand under arms to defend democracy Their weapons are fashioned by scientific technology which, now as always before, has placed its highest ingenuity at the service of its most important client: the military establishment. The state, the schools and the mass media do not shirk the task of indoctrination: ...

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16 “The Catholic Publicist” (1955)

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pp. 312-324

In the progressive alienation of the modern world from Christianity and the Church, in what is described as intellectual secularization, the publicist plays a decisive role.1 The mere mention of the name of Voltaire suggests what the significance of anti-Church publicist work may be. ...

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17 “Authority in the Twentieth Century” (1956)

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pp. 325-338

The rise of fascist, communist and totalitarian movements and the development of the two totalitarian regimes, Stalin’s after 1929 and Hitler’s after 1938, took place against a background of a more or less general, more or less dramatic breakdown of all traditional authorities. ...

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18 “What St. Thomas Means Today” (1958)

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pp. 339-355

There are schools of philosophy whose task it is to guard and transmit a definite doctrine, which generally gets its designation from the name of the thinker who was the first to elaborate it. It is in this sense that one speaks, say, of the Thomist, Scotist, Averroist schools. ...

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19 “The Thinker in the Church: The Spirit of Newman” (1959)

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pp. 356-373

Recent reports reach us from England that a notable element in support of the cause of Cardinal Newman’s canonization is the unusual extent of American devotion to him and to his thought. Certainly the name of Newman is great among us. Most American Catholic thinkers would agree ...

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20 “Human Estrangement and the Failure of Political Imagination” (1959)

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pp. 374-393

It is a well-known human tendency to continue applying remedies after the problem for which they are suitable has been solved. Concentration on a particular difficulty becomes habitual to such a degree that its disappearance may not be immediately realized. ...

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21 “Common Good and Common Action” (1960)

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pp. 394-429

Anarchy is rarely or never upheld with consistency. In the pedagogy of Rousseau, there is a set purpose to let the child be guided by natural necessity rather than by human command, and to let him learn from the experience of physical facts rather than by obedience. ...

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22 “Is the Intellectual Life an End in Itself ?” (1962)

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pp. 430-444

At about the time I received my first faculty assignment at Swarthmore College, an obituary notice of an old and admired professor made a deep impression on me. The subject was L.T. Hobhouse, the distinguished English sociologist and lifelong liberal.1 He had been one of the intellectual pillars upon which the Webbs ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780268086763
E-ISBN-10: 0268086761
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268035051
Print-ISBN-10: 0268035059

Page Count: 472
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: The Review of Politics Series
Series Editor Byline: A. James McAdams and Catherine H. Zuckert, series editors