Courtesy Reuters

The Ideological Combat

THE United States is facing the crisis of 1949 with the military equipment of 1950 and the ideological equipment of 1775. America was well armed, philosophically, for the early conflicts with the parliamentary monarchism of Britain and the reactionary absolutism of Metternich. In those times we were able to make the Europeans and the Latin Americans understand us clearly, because we understood ourselves. But between the day of the Monroe Doctrine and the day of the Truman Doctrine, vast changes have taken place in American life. Many of these changes are, or have appeared to be, in conflict with the testament of the Founding Fathers. It can be argued that a revised philosophy is implicit in the major developments of the last half-century; but if this is so, the efforts to make this philosophy explicit have had but poor success. American theory has lagged far behind American practice; often it has seemed that without benefit of philosophy, we are backing tail-first into the future. For our own guidance at home and abroad, and for the enlightenment and inspiration of our neighbors overseas in this new age of conflict, we need to know what kind of country this is and where it is going.

As matters stand, the Europeans must have great difficulty in making us out, when they look this way. For example, the French probably understand well enough what kind of Germany the Russians want; but do the French understand what kind of Germany America wants? Are we sure about this ourselves? Until the time comes when we can speak out of a clear philosophy, the voice of America is bound to be muffled and confused.

It is painful, but it is also very salutary, that in this time of transition the Communists are forcing us to take stock of our position. In the latter half of the eighteenth century, the great majority of our people found themselves in conflict with parliamentary-monarchist theory and with British power. That theory and that power had

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