A Moment with Reinhold Niebuhr



-In England-

This picture has nothing to do with what I wrote, it’s for the ass that said my jeans look stupid. I like them. 


Reinhold Niebuhr describes communism in terms of a “movement which generates more extravagant forms of political injustice and cruelty out of pretension of innocency than we have ever known in human history (22),” and then following this says, “{T}he liberal world which oppose this monstrous evil is filled ironically with milder forms of the same pretension (22).” While most Americans fervently (and rightly) condemn communism along with it’s methods and the devastating injustices resulting from it, Niebuhr asserts that many are unwilling to look within our society and recognize a shadow of the same methods we so despise. This has sadly cost America many lives and a lot of money.  For example, our multiple attempts to establish democracy have often caused resentment both at home and abroad. An example of this in The Irony of American History is in Asia where Niebuhr’s incredulous tone leaps off the paper when he says, “{W}e even expect Asians to be grateful to us for such assistance as we have given them; and are hurt when we discover that Asians envy, rather than admire, our prosperity . . . (42).”  Asian relations, being the the U.S. occupation of Japan, involved a vast political and economic reform due to the belief that the country couldn’t be peaceful without democracy. The problem with such attempts is in the assumption that our way is the best way and that our way of life should be spread across the globe.  Unfortunately that’s what the other team believes as well.  Niebuhr would say that America should be more humble in their view of democracy; he might remind us as we are attempting to force democratic elections in countries lead by dictators that we are just as innocent as the rest. The belief of national innocence and the right to use power is massively reflected in American foreign policy.  On the American end, drones have empowered and enhanced our nation’s abilities to act in even greater power at the cost of no American life.  We see evidence in Pakistan that because our power has increased, our sense of a right to use it is even greater than before.  On the other end, Iran seems to be making efforts toward nuclear weapon production.  Despite punishment from other nations, Iran seems determined to make it’s power clear to the world.  Perhaps they will be as willing to use their weapons as we are in using our drones today. The irony continues.  


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