THE IRONY OF AMERICAN HISTORY

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The Irony Of American History

Author : Reinhold Niebuhr
ISBN : 0226583996
Genre : Religion
File Size : 70.69 MB
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“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—President Barack Obama Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace. “The supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.”—Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times “Niebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about America’s tendency—including the left’s tendency—to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.”—Kevin Mattson, The Good Society “Irony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft. . . . The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction
Category: Religion

The Theological Vision Of Reinhold Niebuhr S The Irony Of American History

Author : Scott R. Erwin
ISBN : 9780199678372
Genre : History
File Size : 90.18 MB
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This book argues that an appreciation of Reinhold Niebuhr's theological vision is necessary for understanding the full measure of his 1951 work, The Irony of American History. The work is important because Niebuhr remains at the center of a national conversation about America's role in the world, and commentators with divergent political and religious positions frequently look to Irony for guidance. Niebuhr described his theological vision asbeing "in the battle and above it," and, in more extensive terms, explained it to be a "combination of moral resoluteness about the immediate issues with a religious awareness of another dimension of meaning and judgment." This book claims that this vision led Niebuhr, in Irony, to assert that America must both take "morally hazardous action" in combating the aggression of the Soviet Union and engage in critical self-evaluation to prevent the country from assuming the most odious traits of its Cold War foe. The excavation of Irony's theological foundations is necessary since, rather than explicitly advancing his vision in the work, Niebuhr chose to communicate it implicitly--through thehistorical figure of Abraham Lincoln for instance. Moreover, this book argues that the study of both Niebuhr's theological vision and his application of this vision throughout his life is instructive as the contemporarygeneration engages with global problems.
Category: History

Reinhold Niebuhr Major Works On Religion And Politics

Author : Reinhold Niebuhr
ISBN : 9781598534054
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 44.38 MB
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A definitive collection of the theologian and public intellectual who was the conscience of the American Century. “One of my favorite philosophers,” remarked Barack Obama about the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) in 2007. President Obama is but one of the many American political leaders—including Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King Jr.—to be influenced by Niebuhr’s writings. Throughout the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, Niebuhr was one of the most prominent public voices of his time, probing with singular style the question of how to act morally in a fallen world. This Library of America volume, prepared by Niebuhr’s daughter, Elisabeth Sifton, collects four indispensable books: Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (1929), Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932), The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness (1944), and The Irony of American History (1952), along with a selection of essays, sermons, lectures, prayers, including his world-famous Serenity Prayer, and writings on current events—Prohibition, the Allied bombing of Germany, apartheid in South Africa, the Vietnam War—many of which are collected here for the first time.
Category: Political Science

The Irony Of Barack Obama

Author : R. Ward Holder
ISBN : 9781317026983
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 54.81 MB
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Drawing on the political theology of Reinhold Niebuhr, described by Barack Obama as 'one of my favourite philosophers', this book assesses the challenges facing the President during his first term. It evaluates his success in adhering to Niebuhr's path of 'Christian realism' when faced with the pragmatic demands of domestic and foreign affairs. In 2008 Candidate Obama used the ideas of 'Hope' and 'Change' to inspire voters and secure the presidency. Obama promised change not only regarding America's policies, but even more fundamentally in the nation's political culture. Holder and Josephson describe the foundations of President Obama's Christian faith and the extent to which it has shaped his approach to politics. Their book explores Obama's journey of faith in the context of a broadly Augustinian understanding of faith and politics, examines the tensions between Christian realism and pragmatic progressivism, explains why a Christian realist interpretation is essential to understanding Obama's presidency, and applies this model of understanding to considerations of foreign and domestic policy. By combining this theological and political analysis the book offers a special opportunity to reflect on the relationship between Christian faith and statesmanship, reflections that are missing from current popular discussions of the Obama presidency. Through consideration of Niebuhr's models of the prophet and the statesman, and the more popular alternative of the political evangelist, Holder and Josephson are better able to explain the president's successes and his failures, and to unveil the Augustinian limits of the political life.
Category: Political Science

American Defense Policy

Author : Paul J. Bolt
ISBN : 0801880939
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 25.76 MB
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American Defense Policy has been a mainstay for instructors of courses in political science, international relations, military affairs, and American national security for over 25 years. The updated and thoroughly revised eighth edition considers questions of continuity and change in America's defense policy in the face of a global climate beset by geopolitical tensions, rapid technological change, and terrorist violence. On September 11, 2001, the seemingly impervious United States was handed a very sharp reality check. In this new atmosphere of fear and vulnerability, policy makers were forced to make national security their highest priority, implementing laws and military spending initiatives to combat the threat of international terrorism. In this volume, experts examine the many factors that shape today's security landscape -- America's values, the preparation of future defense leaders, the efforts to apply what we have learned from Afghanistan and Iraq to the transformation of America's military, reflection on America's nuclear weapons programs and missile defense, the threat of terrorism, and the challenges of homeland security -- which are applied to widely varied approaches to national defense strategy. This invaluable and prudent text remains a classic introduction to the vital security issues facing the United States throughout its history and breaks new ground as a thoughtful and comprehensive starting point in understanding American defense policy and its role in the world today.
Category: Political Science

Reinhold Niebuhr Revisited

Author : Daniel Rice
ISBN : 9780802862570
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 40.96 MB
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Reinhold Niebuhr Revisited offers fresh and creative ways of looking at Niebuhr?s views on religion, politics, and American culture through the eyes of authors with diverse academic backgrounds and perspectives. / ?Despite all the efforts to dismiss and replace [Niebuhr], he remains and is to be reckoned with ? profitably, we must say ? given the quality of the essays and the qualifications of the essayists in this book. . . . If Niebuhr is worth reading today, what should the reader be looking for, and how might discoveries from a now-historic figure be influential today, and for what should he be noteworthy and a figure of promise? The contributions to this volume are most helpful in answering these questions. . . . Read on, please, and engage Niebuhr anew.?-Martin E. Marty (from the foreword) / Contributors: Charles C. Brown, Henry B. Clark II, William Dean, Gary Dorrien, Douglas John Hall, Martin Halliwell, Mark Hulsether, Robin W. Lovin, Colm McKeogh, Martin E. Marty, Eyal J. Naveh, David W. Noble, Larry Rasmussen, Daniel F. Rice, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Roger L. Shinn, John E. Smith, Ronald H. Stone, Kenneth W. Thompson.
Category: Biography & Autobiography

Reinhold Niebuhr

Author : Richard Crouter
ISBN : 9780199702008
Genre : Religion
File Size : 69.62 MB
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A primer on the current "Niebuhr revival" of the political left and right, this book traces the significance of Reinhold Niebuhr's thought for secular as well as deeply Christian minds. Placed in the context of religious and cultural history, Niebuhr's theological views deepen and challenge contemporary expertise on issues of war, peace, economic, and personal security. While rejecting cynical pessimism and naive optimism, Niebuhr's Christian realism reinvigorates age-old teachings of the Bible, St. Paul, Augustine, and Kierkegaard. His thought enriches present-day debates between science and religion and between atheists, agnostics, and believers. To live with Niebuhr's legacy is to combine critical acumen with humble self-awareness. It is to pursue a larger common good - for him, God-given - that is shared among individuals, nations, and the world community.
Category: Religion

Why Niebuhr Now

Author : John P. Diggins
ISBN : 9780226148830
Genre : History
File Size : 44.36 MB
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Barack Obama has called him “one of my favorite philosophers.” John McCain wrote that he is “a paragon of clarity about the costs of a good war.” Andrew Sullivan has said, “We need Niebuhr now more than ever.” For a theologian who died in 1971, Reinhold Niebuhr is maintaining a remarkably high profile in the twenty-first century. In Why Niebuhr Now? acclaimed historian John Patrick Diggins tackles the complicated question of why, at a time of great uncertainty about America’s proper role in the world, leading politicians and thinkers are turning to Niebuhr for answers. Diggins begins by clearly and carefully working through Niebuhr’s theology, which focuses less on God’s presence than his absence—and the ways that absence abets the all-too-human sin of pride. He then shows how that theology informed Niebuhr’s worldview, leading him to be at the same time a strong opponent of fascism and communism and a leading advocate for humility and caution in foreign policy. Turning to the present, Diggins highlights what he argues is a misuse of Niebuhr’s legacy on both the right and the left: while neoconservatives distort Niebuhr’s arguments to support their call for an endless war on terror in the name of stopping evil, many liberal interventionists conveniently ignore Niebuhr’s fundamental doubts about power. Ultimately, Niebuhr’s greatest lesson is that, while it is our duty to struggle for good, we must at the same time be wary of hubris, remembering the limits of our understanding. The final work from a distinguished writer who spent his entire career reflecting on America’s history and promise, Why Niebuhr Now? is a compact and perceptive book that will be the starting point for all future discussions of Niebuhr.
Category: History