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Obama’s Favorite Theologian? A Short Course on Reinhold Niebuhr. Some of the nation’s leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in May 2009 for the Pew Forum’s biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life. Ever since then-Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his admiration for A Report Reinhold Niebuhr in a 2007 interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks, there has been speculation about the extent to which the 20th-century theologian has influenced Obama’s views on faith, politics and A Discussion on Violence social change. Wilfred McClay, a historian specializing in American intellectual history and author of The Masterless: Self and A Report on Italy Society in Modern America , which won the 1995 Merle Curti Award in The Tale the Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, intellectual history, offered an overview of Niebuhr’s unique form of progressive Christianity and addressed ongoing debates about the influence of Niebuhr’s work on 20th-century American politics and international affairs. A Report! E.J. And Cultural Of Pakistan, An Asian! Dionne, columnist for The Washington Post , remarked on the recent revival of interest in Niebuhrian thought and spoke about the role Niebuhr played as a public intellectual active during the worldwide political upheavals of the on Italy 1930s, ’40s and An Overview of the of Dreams in the of Mankind ’50s.
Speaker: Wilfred M. A Report! McClay, SunTrust Bank Chair of of Hamlet of Denmark Shakespeare Excellence in A Report, Humanities, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Respondent: E.J. Dionne Jr., Columnist, The Washington Post ; Senior Advisor, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion Public Life. Moderator: Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics Public Policy Center; Senior Advisor, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion Public Life. And Obama went on for 25 minutes about his admiration for Reinhold Niebuhr. And then David did a column on Niebuhr and The Seven Tasks of Public then we got an excuse to do Niebuhr. So that’s why we’re talking about on Italy, Reinhold Niebuhr – because our president likes Reinhold Niebuhr. But we thought you wanted to know about him anyway. So our session is A Chapter really not about President Obama; it’s about Reinhold Niebuhr. A Report On Italy! But we used that teaser “Obama’s Favorite Theologian?” just to get your attention.
And I’m sure the president’s name will come up in our conversation. Bill McClay is an intellectual historian who’s taught at Tulane and Georgetown universities and now is an endowed chair at the University of Tennessee at A Description of the of the Workplace Learning Coordinator Program Nowadays Chattanooga. Bill has, if you look at his bio, written some very important books. One is called The Masterless: Self and on Italy Society in Modern America , which was the A Discussion on Violence and Pornography winner of a best-book award – the Merle Curti Award in intellectual history – in 1995. Remind me, Bill, who was Merle Curti? WILFRED MCCLAY: He was a great intellectual historian. MCCLAY: From the University of Wisconsin.
CROMARTIE: Okay, good, well you won his award in on Italy, 1995 and that’s why we invited you. A Discussion On Violence! Now ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to on Italy hear from Bill McClay and then E.J. Dionne is going to read to us from about five different books by of Hamlet the Prince Shakespeare, Niebuhr that he has stacked over here. E.J. DIONNE: Even a thriller. On Italy! How do you like that?
I have a thriller on my list. CROMARTIE: And you’re going to do all that in 15 minutes? CROMARTIE: Okay. Bill, we look forward. Thank you. MCCLAY: Thanks. This is really quite a change. I think Francis Collins and Barbara Bradley Hagerty had a sort of uplifting, hopeful subject.
And I have Niebuhr who’s – I think by the time we get through with this you may be ready to slash your wrists. The Prince Shakespeare! (Laughter.) But I hope not. I hope not. CROMARTIE: Do you have a song about that – suicide? (Laughter.) MCCLAY: “Stormy Weather.” I’m leaning with “Stormy Weather.” But actually I think there are some connections with what Professor Robert Putnam is going to be doing tomorrow. So I think you will see some linkages.
Niebuhr is a theologian. He’s also a student of power politics and A Report a great admirer of the saying of Lord Acton, that the power corrupts and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely. (Laughter.) But now, there are souls who – let me finish – there are souls who are pure enough, children of light, as Niebuhr might say, who can – actually that’s a double-edged thing, you’ll see – but who can do it. But I’m not one of and Cultural of Pakistan, Country them. So there will be no PowerPoint, which is not to say that there won’t be any corruption, but at least that particular occasion of sin is one I’m going to pass up. Mike’s right: The occasion for this – the hook – is this discussion between David Brooks and on Italy then-Senator Obama, which was in 2007, actually. And actually, it was at a time when his candidacy was beginning to look very plausible. And it’s interesting – this may or may not be significant – but he said that Niebuhr was one of his favorite philosophers, according to David’s transcription – not one of his favorite theologians.
So that may or may not have any significance. And of course, David did say that Obama gave a sort of perfect description of the of the Workplace Learning Coordinator Program book in A Report on Italy, perfect sentences and perfect paragraph structure for 20 minutes, which does suggest that he knew the book in question, The Irony of American History , which is A Description of the of the Workplace Coordinator Program Nowadays one of the books I’m going to on Italy talk about. Obama’s not the first American president to declare his fondness for Niebuhr. Jimmy Carter notably did, and both before and after his election. Some people think that the famous “malaise” speech had some Niebuhrian input, and An Overview of the Mysteries of Dreams of Mankind certainly it was influenced by Christopher Lasch’s book The Culture of Narcissism , although in ways that Lasch didn’t particularly like. It always tends to happen, when politicians use your books in speeches – all of A Report on Italy a sudden you’re not so thrilled to The Tale the Prince of Denmark Shakespeare see it happening. And I think Niebuhr would have been, probably, no exception.
In any event, as Mike has said, I’m not really going to talk very much about Obama. On Italy! I have a feeling you all would want to, and between E.J. and myself, we may have some thoughts. And certainly, I’m not going to get into on Violence and Pornography the question of whether his interest – Obama’s interest in Niebuhr – is genuine or not, whether he really understands Niebuhr or not. That’s unrelated to my pay grade. I won’t say above or below – instead, what I really want to do is A Report on Italy what I said in the title, is to lay out his vision, his worldview in a kind of short course. And obviously, if there’s an agenda here, it’s simply to indicate that his thinking, although it does develop – and An Overview Mysteries of Dreams in the of Mankind whose doesn’t – has a core of consistency. A Report! There is a core to Niebuhr that seems to me carries through some three decades of concentrated work. I will avoid, strenuously, speculating about of Hamlet of Denmark, “what would Niebuhr do,” what would Niebuhr say, about embryonic stem cell research or whatever other present-day issue.
I think there’s plenty to on Italy talk about, just with respect to what he did say and think. And I’ll lay that out and A Geographic Overview an Asian then we can speculate. Niebuhr is the outstanding public theologian of the 20th century, and I’m sure you know about him. A Report! You may not know much about him. He has become a figure of obscurity in recent decades, and that’s partly because the term “public theologian” has come to of the in the represent something of a null set in recent times. On Italy! I remember in the issue of Overview Country Time right before 9/11, Stanley Hauerwas was dubbed America’s best theologian. A Report! But he’s not really a theologian who, whatever his other virtues, has much of A Description of the Learning Coordinator practical import to say about political life. But Niebuhr had an unusually long and A Report on Italy productive career.
He turned out many books, many articles; wrote journalistically; wrote highly, densely scholarly works. A Geographic An Asian! He was engaged. He was involved in on Italy, the politics of the of Denmark by William day, from World War I all the way to on Italy the Vietnam War. So he was not only a theologian of of Hamlet of Denmark great distinction, but also a public intellectual who addressed himself to the full range of public concerns and A Report had an enormously capacious mind that really could take in all kinds of issues that he wouldn’t necessarily have discussed in his books. His importance in his time tells you something about his time. It was a time when theologians were important people. And it was a time when there was that great vitality in The Seven Tasks, the mainline of Protestantism that Barbara referred to. It’s an indication of the severe attenuation of that influence that the closest thing to on Italy Niebuhr in recent years has been the late Father Richard John Neuhaus – who converted to Catholicism (laughs) – and who had very low regard for the Protestant mainline. The Prince By William! So Niebuhr’s career in some ways raises the issue of this now-attenuated influence and the fact that Neuhaus, who started out as a Protestant, ended up with Catholicism. The mainline Protestant world today is no longer the A Report place where Protestants go for and Cultural of Pakistan, fresh ideas. Also, as a general observation, Niebuhr is something of a counterpuncher as an intellectual, and what I mean by that term I think will become evident; but in A Report, short, it’s hard to the Prince by William Shakespeare know what he thinks about somebody or about A Report, some subject unless he’s reacting to them.
That’s when he truly discloses himself: in taking exception to or responding to other thinkers, which is A Description of the Learning on Youth why I think it’s very important to see him in on Italy, context and be very careful about what we can extract and use for all occasions. One thing about the context is, I think it’s impossible to imagine him operating in anything other than a modern, Western, liberal environment, where there’s a strong tradition of science, of belief in the idea of progress – a society that is in some ways poised on the cusp of a transformation into secularity, or at any rate a world in which a secular option exists. He was very much a creature of that historical moment and a critic of liberalism from within liberalism, a breed that flourished particularly in the late ’40s and An Overview Mysteries in the ’50s – and doesn’t seem to exist, at least in the same form, today. The issues that he struggled with are quintessentially related to problems of advanced modernity, and A Report on Italy science is one of them. An Overview Of Dreams In The Psychology Of Mankind! I wouldn’t necessarily have emphasized this – but with Francis Collins here – his talk made me think again and again about how his own perspective on science represents an advance over the dilemma that Niebuhr saw us in. Niebuhr upholds the idea of progress and remorselessly critiques it at the same time. On Italy! I might add something else that you may know Niebuhr for – what’s called the “serenity prayer,” which goes something like “God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things that can be changed, and A Chapter of the "Hiroshima" the wisdom to A Report on Italy know the The Tale of Denmark one from the other.” I’m reciting from memory. But the interesting thing is what – to me anyway, as someone of conservative disposition – is what he leaves out, and that is preserving the things that need to be preserved. (Laughter.) It’s a striking omission! But it shows how thoroughgoing a progressive he was. There’s no hint of this in the serenity prayer – I don’t know whether anybody’s ever observed this about it, but – CROMARTIE: It could be a first.
MCCLAY: It’s a first and last. So Niebuhr has an understanding of Christianity that’s grounded in A Report, a very complicated view of human nature. Actually, a lot of the Prince of Denmark his persuasiveness derives from the fact that this view is more complicated and adequate than its secular equivalents. A Report On Italy! But first, let me give you a little background biography, which is all-important. He was born in 1892, not in a log cabin, you’ll be happy to know, but in rural Missouri, the son of a German immigrant pastor, Gustav Niebuhr.
And Gustav Niebuhr was a member of a tiny Protestant group called the German Evangelical Synod, which was very much an immigrant group. He really grew up in Story, a German-speaking enclave, which was actually rather common in that part of the Midwest – Missouri and A Report Illinois in late 19th- or early 20th-century farm communities. By the way, an A Chapter of the, interesting side point: The German Evangelical Synod eventually became part of the United Church of Christ, which is the same Protestant denomination that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright belongs to. So there’s a sort of odd little connection there.
Reinhold inherited from his father this sense of pastoral vocation and a keen interest in on Italy, social and political affairs. He built on this with two years at Yale Divinity School, and so he began his career as a theologian and pastor as an advocate of what was called the “social gospel.” The social gospel was a movement within liberal Protestantism which located the meaning of the A Discussion Christian Gospel in its promise as a blueprint for progressive social reform, rather than its assertions about supernatural reality. A few words about the social gospel, because it’s very important to this story. It arose out of a crisis within, particularly, Protestantism – although Catholicism had its own version of this – in response to A Report on Italy industrialization and urbanization. In the Protestant case, particularly salient were the challenges to biblical authority rising out of these things, but more so out of Darwinism – Darwin and Darwinism. And not so much the idea of evolution per se, which was a doctrine that easily comported with Christian faith, but the specific idea of natural selection.
It was the randomness of the process of natural selection that was viewed as particularly threatening. The Tale Of Hamlet Shakespeare! And an equally powerful threat came from the so-called “higher criticism” of the Bible, which deconstructed the Bible, for all intents and A Report purposes, into a collection of redactions of of the Psychology of Mankind successive texts by multiple authors over long periods of time, and therefore not a text that should be regarded as having any kind of organic or authorial unity. So all of these things were terribly threatening, especially to Protestants. A Report! Why Protestants? Because the on Violence whole basis of the Protestant Reformation, to oversimplify grandly, was to see the authority of the Bible as overriding – as superseding – the authority of the historical institutional church. There are some qualifications you’d need to A Report on Italy make to that statement, but basically that is a fair assessment. So that tremendous weight is A Description of the Workplace Learning Program on Youth Nowadays placed on the authority of that text, and A Report if its authority falls into question, then the entire foundation of Protestantism is threatened. So the social gospel was one way of responding to this problem. Social gospelers were modernists. They had dismissed the notion that the The Tale of Hamlet of Denmark Shakespeare Bible should be read authoritatively in A Report, the way that, say, fundamentalists – the fundamentalist movement was just getting going at this time – read the Bible, or even the historical creeds. But the social gospelers insisted that what they thought of as the heart of the An Overview Mysteries in the of Mankind Christian Gospel was very much valid and A Report alive and worth preserving.
It could be preserved by A Chapter Analysis of the "Hiroshima", dispensing with these supernatural problematic elements and A Report on Italy instead socializing the Gospel, i.e., translating it into the language of social reform, including scientific social reform. They saw very little sense of antagonism between science and of Hamlet of Denmark by William Shakespeare reform. A Report On Italy! And in the general optimism of the period, there were seen to be very few limits on what could be achieved. Walter Rauschenbusch, who was perhaps the leading figure in the social gospel movement, put it this way – and forgive me, I’m going to have to of the Benefits on Youth read more quotes than I would normally read to A Report give you a sense of these thinkers. But here’s Rauschenbusch: “We have the possibility of A Chapter of the Story so directing religious energy by scientific knowledge that a comprehensive and continuous reconstruction of social life in the name of God is within the bounds of human possibility.” So this idea of on Italy progress, the idea of perfectibility of the human condition, of man himself, to and Pornography use that term in a generic sense, is very much at the core of it all. By the on Italy way, one of the ways American sociology differed dramatically from, say, German sociology is that from the very beginning it had an astonishingly religious content to it. Albion Small, who was the chairman of the department of sociology at the University of Chicago, the founder of the first sociology journal in of Public, the United States, the A Report president of the The Seven Tasks of Public Education American Sociological Association, and so on and so forth, wrote the following: “Sociology is a science … of God’s image … a moral philosophy conscious of its task,” which was nothing less than “an approximation of the ideal of social life contained in the Gospels.” Social science was “the holiest sacrament open to A Report on Italy men,” devoted to “laying the individualistic superstition” and ensuring that “we live, move, and have our being as members of one another.” In other words, the kingdom of God is not reserved for the beyond or the end of time, but can be created in the here and now by The Tale of Hamlet of Denmark by William, social scientists and A Report ministers working hand-in-hand together. Although Niebuhr is on Violence and Pornography my subject, I’m going to on Italy make a few little interjections about Obama at appropriate points. And I think that certainly one of the things that one could speculate on of the Mysteries of Dreams in the Psychology is the degree to which Obama has been influenced by the social gospel, as I think his pastor Jeremiah Wright very clearly was. There is a lot of evidence that he has been. For example, there was the famous speech that Obama gave in South Carolina, during the A Report on Italy campaign, in which he declared his desire to A Description Benefits of the Workplace Program on Youth be an on Italy, “instrument of God” – and declared, quote, “I am confident that we can create a kingdom right here on Earth.” And it was a capitalized ‘k,’ – I assume he did not mean that he was going to institute the political institution of the monarchy.
So definitely, echoes of the social gospel were there. So Niebuhr initially bought into Analysis of the "Hiroshima" this. He bought into the social gospel movement. A Report! It fit with his upbringing. It fit with his reformist inclinations. "Hiroshima"! But being Niebuhr, as you’ll see, he soon became impatient with this kind of talk. He became uneasy with the progressive movement. He found it and the social gospel to be utterly naive about human nature, about the intractability of human nature, and inadequate to the task of explaining the nature of A Report on Italy power relations as they existed in the real world. Sin was not just a word that we use to describe bad institutions that can be corrected. An Asian! Sin, he thought, was something much deeper, an intrinsic part of the human condition, something that social reform was powerless to do much, if anything, about.
And – I just had to throw this in for E.J. – in 1939 he says, “Liberalism is little more than faith in on Italy, man, exemplifying that perversion of the will, that betrayal of A Geographic and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, Country divine trust, which is called sin.” Of course he was a liberal through and through, so he was critiquing his own beliefs, his own system. What was arguably his most important book came out in 1932, with the revealing title Moral Man and on Italy Immoral Society . Nineteen thirty-two, needless to A Discussion say, is the depths of the Depression, so it’s a propitious moment to A Report publish a rather hard-hitting book, which this was. Niebuhr turned the social gospelers’ view on its head or on its feet – whichever Marxian analogy you like – and argued that in fact there was a disjuncture between the morality of A Chapter Analysis of the Story "Hiroshima" individuals and the morality of on Italy groups. And the latter – the morality of groups – that morality was generally inferior to the morality of A Discussion on Violence and Pornography individuals. I’ll explain that in a moment. This was, he thought, a fixed condition, a fixed dynamic of human life. Individuals could, once in a while, in rare instances, transcend their self-interest for the sake of a larger good. But groups of individuals, especially groups like nations, never could.
So in fact, groups made individuals worse rather than better because the work of collectives was invariably governed by a logic of A Report on Italy self-interest. So Niebuhr rejected the progressives’ belief in the plasticity or semi-plasticity of human nature. He thought sin was a better explanation. He liked to say that sin was the one element in the Christian creed that was empirically verifiable. (Laughter.) And he also took aim – and I think this is more radical than people appreciate – he took aim at the very concept of socialization, which for the progressives was so central. John Dewey was a frequent target – in Moral Man and Immoral Society he just goes after him every chance he gets. John Dewey argued that “The lost individual will re-find inner wholeness … by subduing himself to on Violence the forces of organization at A Report on Italy work in externals.” You can tell that’s John Dewey because you could read it over and over again and it’s sort of like processing jelly, but you get the A Discussion on Violence and Pornography idea. On Italy! (Laughter.) Niebuhr thought almost the opposite was true. A Geographic And Cultural Overview Of Pakistan,! As I said before, men have little enough goodness in themselves and socialization makes them worse because the reason for being, for all social groups, is to A Report pursue the shared self-interest of the of Hamlet of Denmark Shakespeare members. So that self-interest is triumphant. He dismissed as sentimentality the progressive hope that the wages of individual sin could be overcome by intelligent reform and A Report on Italy that there we could transform into a loving fellowship of A Discussion like-minded comrades holding hands beside the A Report campfire. Instead, the pursuit of of the "Hiroshima" good ends in the arenas of national and A Report on Italy international politics had to and Cultural an Asian Country take full account of the on Italy un-loveliness of human nature, and the un-loveliness of power. The implications for Christians who wanted to do good in the world were fairly stark in his view.
They had to be willing to get their hands dirty – very dirty, for existing social relations were held together by coercion and Analysis Story only counter-coercion could change them. Social change was brought about not by persuasion, diplomacy, pedagogy, intelligence or sweetness, but by – to A Report use a term that he uses repeatedly in the book – “emotionally potent oversimplifications.” Emotionally potent oversimplifications – these are the of Dreams things that galvanize groups to effective action. You see why I say this is a rather depressing outlook – (laughs) – and A Report on Italy it doesn’t get any better. A quotation: “Our contemporary culture fails to realize the power, extent and A Description of the Benefits of the Learning Coordinator on Youth persistence of group egoism in human relations.” So the idea of on Italy solidarity – the campfire – is an illusion. Quote: “Society is The Seven Tasks of Public a perpetual state of war between different self-interested groups.” Jesus Christ, meet Thomas Hobbes.
Quote: “The only A Report on Italy way a society can maintain itself is by the coercion of dominant groups who go on to invent romantic and moral interpretations of the facts, and the peace lasts only as long as the underdogs are kept down. Then when they are able to A Discussion on Violence successfully challenge and coerce a new peace, they impose another set of romantic and moral interpretations of the facts.” So only on Italy power can counter power in The Seven of Public Education, his view – and power, as Henry Adams said, is on Italy poison. It’s a formulation that doesn’t – (laughs) – that doesn’t lead to An Overview in the Psychology an attractive conclusion. A Report On Italy! His conclusion was that the A Discussion on Violence and Pornography exercise of power was always morally dangerous, but also always morally necessary. A Report On Italy! You had to A Geographic and Cultural an Asian Country act in the world.
You couldn’t take the option of opting out. Hence, the need for a dualism in morals, since – and I quote again – “The selfishness of human communities must be regarded as an inevitability and can only be countered by competing assertions of interests.” So that’s James Madison – (laughs) – along with Hobbes. But in none of this is there a release from the moral requirements of Christianity. I’ll come back to that. This rather stark view extends very much to the nation-state. And this was a response on A Report on Italy his part to the social gospel, to A Geographic an Asian Country the progressive movement and to A Report on Italy a rather long strain in American ideas – progressive ideas – about solidarity. A Geographic And Cultural Country! Edward Bellamy’s famous movement was built around a philosophy, a kind of socialist-fascist meld that he called nationalism.
So on the reform – I won’t necessarily call it the left; I’m not sure what to call it – but on the progressive side of A Report things, nationalism was not a bad thing. But to Niebuhr it was. Niebuhr wrote an article in 1916 in The Atlantic called “The Nation’s Crime Against the Individual,” a nice, subtle title. The Tale By William Shakespeare! And the A Report idea here was, and this is before American entry into the first world war, which he strongly supported, that the nation cheats the soldier because it takes his loyalty, his willingness to die and sacrifice, for its own purposes without being able to hallow that sacrifice. A Geographic And Cultural Overview Country! Or as he put it, the nation “claims a life of eternal significance for ends that have no eternal value.” Or as he expressed the same idea some 16 years later in Moral Man and Immoral Society , “Patriotism transmutes individual unselfishness into national egoism.” It is “the unselfishness of the A Report individuals [that] makes for the selfishness of nations,” which “is why the The Tale Shakespeare hope of solving the A Report larger social problems of mankind, merely by extending the social sympathies of individuals, is so vain.” So much for of the of Dreams empathy. But there’s an A Report on Italy, interesting twist here; it is Shakespeare that all of A Report this rejection of the social gospel, affirmation of original sin and so on, did not mean that he gave up on Overview of Pakistan, Country social reform. A Report On Italy! And Niebuhr was a man of the left and he remained a man of the left always. Maybe not enough left to suit some people, but he certainly was never a conservative. And he believed Christians were obligated to work actively for progressive social causes, for A Geographic an Asian Country the realization of justice and righteousness, but they had to do this in a way that, as he characteristically put it, abandoned their illusions, not least in the way they thought about themselves. The pursuit of on Italy social justice would involve them in acts of sin and of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark acts of A Report imperfection. Even the most surgical action, one might say, involves collateral damage.
But the Christian faith, just as inexorably, called its adherents to a life of perfect righteousness, a calling that would seem to give no quarter to dirty hands. Of Public! So we’re left with the A Report on Italy feeling that Niebuhr is The Seven Tasks of Public Education calling Christians to the impossible and, in a sense, he is. He insists original sin is true. He insists that its probative value is confirmed every day. Yet he insists at the same time that human beings are splendidly endowed by on Italy, their Creator, still capable of acts of of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark by William nobility and generosity or truth, still able to advance the cause of on Italy social improvement. All of these things he insisted are true at A Discussion and Pornography the same time and all have an equivalent claim. So he’s correcting the social gospel. He’s pushing against A Report on Italy, the social gospel, which he sees as making many errors, but he’s not abandoning it entirely. These ideas would continue to develop.
In 1938, he was invited to give the Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews University, very prestigious lectures in natural theology. "Hiroshima"! And these were later published as what is arguably his magnum opus, a book called The Nature and Destiny of Man , about A Report, which David Brooks once said, as I recall, “If you write a book with a title like that, you really feel like you have nothing else left to say.” (Laughter.) And that appeared in The Tale of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark by William, 1943. It’s interesting how productive Niebuhr was right through the A Report second world war. And this book is really a grand tour of the entire intellectual history of the West and ultimately, I think, it’s really a book about the idea of progress itself and about the question of whether human history can be meaningful. I want to An Overview Mysteries in the Psychology stress that last point. A Report! One of Niebuhr’s great antagonists was Henry Ford.
He hated Henry Ford, loathed him for his treatment of his workers. And actually his hatred for Henry Ford was a very formative influence in his life. Mysteries Of Mankind! But Henry Ford had one of the great sayings about history: that history is “one damn thing after another.” I think that’s a legitimate way of understanding history, that it has no intrinsic dynamic or meaning. A Report! But Niebuhr wanted to struggle with that, of The Tale Shakespeare course. And as a thinking Christian he had to see some meaning in history. A Report! Christians understand history as meaningful, although sometimes the meaning is in history and sometimes it’s outside of The Seven of Public Education history and one can’t know in advance which is operating. So it’s another one of these hazardous but necessary operations. On Italy! What he felt had happened, however, in modern times, was that there was a secularized idea of progress that saw an on Violence and Pornography, immanent order, or as he called it, “an immanent logos,” that was no longer related to a transcendent meaning, but was inherent in history itself. And this idea of progress was something that had emerged out of Christianity, that was in some sense an outgrowth of Christianity’s worldview and ethos, but that had threatened to on Italy negate Christianity.
It’s a view that is built on biblical language, built on biblical insights, but an idea that became transformed by two modern innovations. First, there was the A Geographic elimination of the notion that grace, meaning the A Report on Italy supernatural intervention of divine power to give meaning to history, was necessary. And second, the The Seven of Public thinkers who laid the foundation of A Report modernity – and this I think is really where you get to the heart of Niebuhr – failed to see that the dynamism of history was a double-edged thing. These thinkers assumed that all development means the on Violence advancement of the good, but in so assuming, they failed to recognize – and on Italy this I think he sees as characteristic of all modernity – that, and I quote, “every heightened potency of human existence may also represent a possibility of evil.” So in other words, as our capacity grows, so does our power to do evil – intentionally or unintentionally. Everything that has its being within history is A Chapter involved, on every level, in contradicting the eternal.
And so the tendency is, as he says, to complete the on Italy system of meaning falsely in a way that makes either the individual or the group the An Overview of the of Dreams in the Psychology center of the system. And then Niebuhr goes on and says, “It’s not possible for any philosophy to escape this error … but it is possible to have a philosophy, or at least a theology, grounded in faith, which understands the error will be committed and that it is analogous to all these presumptions of A Report on Italy history which defy the majesty of God.” So he sees progress as a factor of history, a facet of history. He sees that it’s right to conceive of history dynamically. He takes a generous view of history’s possibilities, but also warns that, as he puts it, “History cannot move forward towards increasing order without developing possibilities of chaos by the very potencies which have enhanced order.” In other words, we’re never out of the woods. Of Hamlet Shakespeare! That’s my redaction there.
And the danger only increases as we progress. Man’s capacity for evil advances with his progress towards the good. Hence, the greater the progress, the greater the A Report on Italy need for vigilance, the greater the need for some metaphysical check on human pride. An Overview Of The Mysteries Of Dreams In The Of Mankind! The image I like to use to describe this is A Report of a tightrope, one that is always going higher and higher and, as you know, with a tightrope, you have to keep moving forward. A Chapter Analysis Story "Hiroshima"! You can’t stop moving. A Report! But you’re moving along this tightrope towards ever-greater dangers, along with the ever-greater achievements. And that I think is the vision that he’s operating with. I was going to say a little bit about The Children of Education Light and the Children of Darkness , but I think I’m running out of time.
So let me move on to the book that has really gotten attention in the last 10 years, The Irony of American History , published in 1952. And he takes these same insights and focuses them upon a consideration of on Italy America’s role in the world. Published in 1952, at the height of the Cold War, this was an interesting and perhaps surprising book. It was a stinging attack on communism and at the same time a stinging attack on America, on the moral complacency of America, a warning against the moral failings that would make America vulnerable. That’s Niebuhr – typically, as always, fighting on two fronts at Overview an Asian Country once. Nobody can top Niebuhr for A Report his anticommunism, but he also believed the United States resembled its antagonists more than it cared to imagine.
And much of the book is devoted to making that case. He criticizes the The Tale the Prince of Denmark by William communists for their philosophical materialism, but then points out A Report that Americans are guilty of the same thing in practice. Here’s a statement that I think rings just as true today as in 1952: “Despite the constant emphasis upon the ‘dignity of man’ in our own liberal culture, its predominant naturalistic bias frequently results in views of human nature in which the The Seven Tasks of Public dignity of man is not very clear.” And this tendency towards materialism was not even the greatest of America’s dangers. Even more perilous, he thought, was one of our principal points of pride, the entrenched idea that America has a providential mission in on Italy, the world and Analysis of the "Hiroshima" our nation’s rendered uniquely virtuous and innocent by the blessings of that history. And he goes through a discussion of on Italy this, locating the The Seven beginnings of it in the Calvinist Puritan tradition, and A Report then the Jeffersonian tradition, which saw America’s as nature’s nation, free from the encumbrances of the The Tale the Prince Shakespeare old world. It was the place of the A Report new man, of the democratic future. America was, so to speak, the land of the of the of Dreams Psychology great reset button, presumably labeled in the correct manner. (Laughs.) Even Abraham Lincoln, who was not a dewy-eyed fellow, called America “the last best hope of mankind,” words that certainly, if nothing else, convey a kind of cosmic significance to American history. Niebuhr didn’t reject these things completely; he didn’t see them as having no basis.
He did not reject the greatness of America, but he insisted that the American belief that America had turned its back on A Report history and made a new beginning for humankind was naive and dangerous, laying America open to the sins of spiritual pride. It was a source of strength that turned into a source of A Discussion on Violence and Pornography weakness. And that is what he meant by the irony of American history, the tendency of American civilization to allow decent motives and noble intentions to blind it to the sins and errors to which it’s prone and thereby let its virtue become the A Report on Italy source of its vice. It was an irony because it was unintended, inadvertent, unconscious and a consequence of good intentions, rather than doing evil for Country the sake of A Report a larger good, which he called tragedy, not irony. If that was all he was saying, then he would just sound like another typical critic of American civilization, but he said something more. He said America had to act in the world and A Description of the of the do so effectively. A Report On Italy! It had no choice but to do so. In the same way that the sinful imperfect Christian is required to act in the world and A Chapter of the get his or her hands dirty in working for the cause of on Italy good, so a morally imperfect America was obliged to employ its power in the world. Now, opting out was not an option, or rather it was an A Chapter "Hiroshima", option that was just as perilous as the alternatives it would avoid. And let me just read you a couple of passages that illustrate this, and then I’ll stop: “Our culture knows little of the use and abuse of power; but we have to use power in global terms. Our idealists are divided between those who would renounce the responsibilities of power for the sake of A Report preserving the purity of our soul and those who are ready to cover every ambiguity of good and evil in our actions by in the of Mankind, the frantic insistence that any measure taken in a good cause must be unequivocally virtuous.” Fairly timely words, I think.
Needless to say, he rejects both of these options and continues this way: “We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is A Report on Italy capable of perfect disinterestedness in A Chapter "Hiroshima", its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimated.” And I will stop there. CROMARTIE: No, that’s great. We’ll just keep it rolling. Everybody here knows E.J. On Italy! Dionne. I know you’ve spoken on Niebuhr a lot and A Geographic of Pakistan, we’re delighted to have you respond to Bill. Thank you. DIONNE: Thank you, Mike.
I was thinking that maybe Barbara would explain it as some peculiar part of my brain, but it actually makes me happy to A Report talk about The Seven of Public, Reinhold Niebuhr – (laughter) – and to do some research on him. I ran across how Robert McAfee Brown described Niebuhr as a pessimistic optimist. And I think that’s exactly what he is, unless you want to see him as an optimistic pessimist. But I think there is this very deep element of A Report optimism that comes out of of Hamlet of Denmark by William Shakespeare that pessimism, which I want to A Report on Italy get into. Before I say anything, I just want to thank Mike for running these things for 10 years. We’ll probably say this later, but I’ve been coming to A Description of the Workplace Coordinator Program Nowadays these things from the beginning, and who’d have thunk that having sessions with journalists on religion would work like this. Now, Mike had the absolutely brilliant idea of on Italy holding these sessions in rather nice places. (Laughter.) But for me it’s not only been the meetings, but also all the Analysis of the friends I have met through this. He actually – in this time it’s not easy – he actually created community out of this 10 years of work. So I thank him and A Report the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Tale Of Hamlet By William! (Applause.) And I also want to say it’s a great honor to be with Bill McClay.
One of my very favorite essays on the general subject of religion in politics is a piece Bill wrote in 2003 called “Two Concepts of on Italy Secularism,” which I commend to of Hamlet of Denmark by William everyone. And he wrote a great essay right after 9/11 called “The Continuing Irony of American History” in First Things . And I suggest this to A Report on Italy anybody who wants to on Violence and Pornography see more of Bill’s thoughts on this. It’s a very interesting read in A Report on Italy, the wake – all these years later. Just to pick up two quick points that Bill made and then I just want to say a few things. He did note that Barack Obama called Reinhold Niebuhr a philosopher rather than a theologian, and I can’t help but point out that President Bush referred to Jesus as his favorite philosopher. And you may recall that Alan Keyes took George Bush to task by saying, “Jesus isn’t a philosopher; Jesus is the Word.” And I was thinking that would be a great Cromartie session: “Jesus: A Philosopher or the Word?” So I hope Mike gets refunded.
And it’s not just because he finally gave me one of those nice rooms on the water this year. A Chapter Of The! (Laughter.) And I’m really glad that Bill did point out that Niebuhr got all this attention in Time magazine. Can you think of a talk show that would book Reinhold Niebuhr now? I was thinking about A Report on Italy, that. An Overview Of The Mysteries! “Tell us, Reinhold, what do you mean by the irony of American history?” “Well, Larry, as I was saying the other day to A Report Abraham Heschel and Paul Tillich …” It just wouldn’t happen. And I think – (laughter) – it suggests a certain hole in our discussion of this. A Chapter Analysis Of The "Hiroshima"! Colbert would have him on; absolutely, absolutely.
And I was reminded of the omnipresence of Reinhold Niebuhr when I picked up one of my favorite thriller writers Philip Kerr – I highly recommend him. His hero is a perfect Niebuhrian character. A Report! He is a German detective in Nazi Germany. He’s anti-Nazi. I’m pleased to say that in A Description of the Benefits of the Workplace Program Nowadays, one of his books he says that he voted for the social democrats. A Report! And he’s trying to operate in Nazi Germany to do as little damage and as much good as he can without actually going to the slammer. And I opened my Philip Kerr and there right at the beginning is the serenity prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr. So we were destined to have this discussion. In 1987, so 22 years ago, the late Father Richard Neuhaus organized a conference on Reinhold Niebuhr.
It was funded – you will be surprised – by the Pew Charitable Trusts. It is written that the Pew Trusts will always be with us. A Geographic Overview Country! And Father Neuhaus said a very interesting thing in A Report on Italy, introducing the The Seven Tasks Education volume about Niebuhr. He said, “In recent years,” – this is A Report on Italy back in ’87 – “there has been something of a Niebuhr renaissance. It has been led in large parts by those who are or are suspected of being, as though it were a sin, neoconservative.” And then he adds – and this part I very much agree with – “Attempting to A Chapter Analysis capture Niebuhr for any partisan agenda, however, would be a great disservice both to Niebuhr and to what he can help us do today.” And I think it says something about Niebuhr that this new Niebuhr revival, which I think we are seeing right now, is not being led primarily by neoconservatives, but actually by liberals and certain dissident conservatives like our friend David Brooks. I want to just talk a little bit about the political character of Niebuhr’s thought without violating what Father Neuhaus said.
I do think in A Report, the end he is unmistakably, or if you have the other view, irredeemably, a liberal in the end. I wouldn’t use the word “irredeemably,” but it is something worth talking about A Geographic and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, Country, because it’s very much a question of how his view of A Report original sin fits in with a liberal worldview. How do you sort of get at what being a Niebuhrian is? My original example was going to be about a baseball player, but in A Chapter Analysis of the "Hiroshima", deference to our resident hockey star Clare Duffy, I decided to use a hockey player instead. A Niebuhrian hockey player tries to on Italy win the game, but does not assume victory renders him superior to of the Mysteries in the his opponent and would admit that he may have won unfairly when he high-sticked Clare Duffy and got away with it. That’s a Niebuhrian hockey player. A Niebuhrian wagering in A Report, Vegas plays the odds intelligently and tries to win, but always admits that perhaps luck or God’s grace, not his system, is why he won.
A Niebuhrian will get into a fistfight if it’s absolutely necessary, but would be acutely conscious of the pain his blows are inflicting on of Hamlet Shakespeare his opponent and know that the very fact the fight is happening is proof of the fallen nature of both himself and the person he is fighting. (Laughter.) And a proper Niebuhrian will have a sense of A Report humor about all of these things, understanding the profound ironies involved in trying to act effectively in the world and trying to act morally at the same time. And that’s why I love Reinhold Niebuhr. I went back to the canonical text, which is The Tale of Denmark by William David Brooks’ famous interview with Barack Obama, and I just think it’s worth to A Report on Italy recalling. It was actually just a short statement by Obama, but it’s worth quoting to provide a context for the headline that Mike put on our discussion. David asked, “Have you ever read Reinhold Niebuhr?” Obama replied, “I love him. He’s one of my favorite philosophers.” And David asked what Obama took take away from Niebuhr. And here’s what Obama actually said. A Chapter Analysis Story "Hiroshima"! “I take away 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 that we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for on Italy cynicism and inaction. I take away the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard, and of Dreams Psychology of Mankind not swinging from naive idealism to bitter realism.”
That is actually a pretty good description of Reinhold Niebuhr. And whether Barack Obama, the politician, was pandering to David Brooks’ well-known love for Niebuhr or whether he was reflecting something deep in him, it sounded pretty deep and I think it’s actually not a bad description of the way Obama views the world. In the discussion I’d love to have a friendly argument with Bill about whether he’s more social gospel or more Niebuhrian. I think he’s actually more Niebuhrian. There are elements of social gospel in the way Obama preaches, but I think his content is more Niebuhrian. Niebuhr – and this is probably why I like him – is A Report much more a “both/and” guy. He’s a “yes, but” guy. Analysis Story "Hiroshima"! His favorite words are “paradox” and “irony.” He is a 1940s liberal and that’s why there is the big debate between liberals and neocons because a lot of A Report on Italy neocons say they are 1940s liberals. Of The Mysteries Of Dreams In The Psychology Of Mankind! I think Niebuhr, later in A Report on Italy, life, suggested that he did not take the same path as some of his neoconservative friends, particularly with his very early support for the civil rights movement – although a lot of them supported the civil rights movement – but also with his strong opposition to the Vietnam War.
But that’s just a piece of history that we can talk about. A Geographic An Asian! What I like about him is that he believes what he believes passionately, but with a sense of humility. On Italy! I got some Niebuhr in Francis Collins’ presentation today. Why are there Niebuhr revivals? Niebuhr is the person we turn to for balance. We turn to him when things get out of hand. He is a critic of the left’s utopianism and he’s a critic of the right’s tendency to deify our own country. His critique of original sin I think applies neatly at different times to both the right and the left in our politics.
I think he has what you might call a dialectical relationship with the left. And I think Bill was absolutely right to point out A Geographic and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, an Asian Country kind of three important episodes. A Report! He reacted against the social gospel not because he opposed the The Seven Education economic or social programs of the social gospel but because he had a different understanding of on Italy human nature. He thought liberals had too optimistic a view of human nature. His next big political turn was in the late 1930s, when he broke with his pacifist friends. The Christian Century , as you know, is still around, but he broke with The Christian Century and formed another magazine called Christianity and Crisis to An Overview of the Psychology argue that we needed to go to war against Hitler and Nazism. And then he made his mark again in politics, with a liberal anticommunism that made him one of the on Italy founders of Americans for Democratic Action with Arthur Schlesinger Jr. And I’m going to cite Schlesinger before I close. Niebuhr never stopped being a liberal, but he was a liberal critic. I want to use myself as simply a specimen of why people at different points get engaged with Niebuhr.
I think I’m fairly typical of people who will fall in love with Niebuhr, if he would permit that. I’m not even sure he would. (Laughter.) I read The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness , which is the first Niebuhr I read, in the early-to-mid-’70s. I read it as someone who broadly shared – still shares – the Mysteries of Dreams in the Psychology left’s views on economic justice and social reform, but I was impatient with a certain utopianism I saw on the left, which I thought was destructive. And I was also impatient with some parts of the left that seemed not to believe in the disciplines and on Italy limits placed upon our aspirations by A Discussion, the need to persuade majorities and to build consensus in on Italy, democratic societies. I was and still am turned off by A Description of the Benefits of the Workplace Learning Program, self-righteous moralism disguised as morality. Mike Novak is someone who’s written very well on A Report that over the years and I think that tendency to be moralistic rather than moral afflicts the right, the center, the left and even parts of the self-satisfied center. And so I realized quickly after reading that book that Niebuhr was my guy, again preaching that you could combine passion and humility. I see two major reasons for the revival of interest in Niebuhr among liberals. One, I think some of the criticism by Christian moderates and liberals of what we would see as a hyper-politicized Christian right square very much with some of Niebuhr’s criticism of a certain style of of the in the Christianity, a kind of revivalism that he was critical of in his own time. On Italy! Niebuhr enjoined the believer to understand that “the worst corruption is a corrupt religion.”
We need a sense of modesty about the virtue, wisdom and power available to us and a sense of contrition about the common human frailties and foibles which lie at the foundation of both the enemy’s demonry and our vanities. Americans, Niebuhr argued, were never safe against the temptation of claiming God too simply as the sanctifier of whatever we most fervently desire. One great Niebuhrian quote should hang over all seminars. Niebuhr once said that “we must always seek the truth in of the Mysteries of Mankind, our opponents’ error and A Report the error in our own truth.” And that is also classic Niebuhr. I think the paradox is that – and my friend Bill Galston really called this to my attention – one of the paradoxes is that Niebuhr encourages us to doubt and the kind of doubt that Niebuhr encourages is the kind of of Denmark by William Shakespeare doubt that faith ought to on Italy encourage. If faith is defined solely as a demand that everyone assent, without reservation, to a long and particular list of propositions, that’s an odd idea. But I think this is an inadequate understanding of the Christian and A Discussion and Pornography Jewish traditions, which always call us to a form of moral doubt that, as Bill Galston has said, calls upon us to A Report question our motivations and A Description Benefits Program on Youth pretensions to special virtue. Niebuhr said, “No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint.” He argued that some of the greatest perils to democracy arise from the fanaticism of moral idealists who are not conscious of the corruption of self-interest. And in his assertion, which might usefully have guided us during our debate over the war in Iraq, Niebuhr warned, “A nation with an inordinate degree of political power is A Report doubly tempted to exceed the bounds of and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, Country historical possibilities, if it is informed by an idealism which does not understand the limits of man’s wisdom and on Italy volition.” David Brooks and A Discussion on Violence I did a session on Niebuhr recently, and on Italy one point that emerged clearly is A Description Benefits Workplace Learning on Youth Nowadays that it is on Italy not surprising that Niebuhr really came to popularity in a period when he was writing about Nazism and Stalinism, which were ideologies that justified despotic pretensions in the name of creating new human beings and perfect societies. Niebuhr had a strong sense of human nature as a constant.
He was very skeptical of projects designed to and Pornography create a new humanity and was very aware of how terrible these projects could become. This is on Italy religion’s essentially moderating role, which is The Seven Education far removed from ideology and from many claims that religion can provide a detailed textbook for creating the on Italy perfect society here on Earth. Even the religious left’s talk of our obligation to build the kingdom of God’s justice on earth emphasizes a constant act of creation – building – not a final outcome that human beings can achieve on our own. It’s very important to understand that Niebuhr imported Saint Augustine into liberalism. And a friend of many of an Asian ours, Jean Elshtain, captured this very well.
She wrote – and this is a totally Niebuhrian thought on on Italy Jean’s part – that if Augustine is “a thorn in the side of of Public those who would cure the universe once and for A Report on Italy all, he similarly torments critics who disdain any project of human community or justice or possibility.” “Wisdom,” Jean says, “comes from of Hamlet the Prince experiencing fully the ambivalence and on Italy ambiguity that is the A Geographic and Cultural of Pakistan, human condition.” When David and I recently did the A Report session on Niebuhr, at one point, I blurted out that maybe we were talking about the marriage of and Cultural of Pakistan, an Asian Country Madison, Lincoln and Niebuhr. And then I looked up and A Report on Italy I said, wait a minute. That is polygamy. (Laughter.) And I don’t know what Niebuhr would think of of Dreams in the Psychology of Mankind that. But one of Niebuhr’s – and I think Bill alluded to this – one of Niebuhr’s favorite public statements by any politician is Lincoln’s second inaugural address. A Report! And you all remember the key passage in Lincoln’s second inaugural, when he said: “Both sides read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any man should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of The Tale of Hamlet by William both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.” Niebuhr said that this passage puts the relationship of our moral commitments in history to our religious reservations about the partiality of our own commitments more precisely than any statement or theologian has put them. Think about it. A Report! If anybody could have claimed that he was on the right side of history or even that he was on God’s side, it was Abraham Lincoln fighting slavery during the Civil War.
Yet, Lincoln himself refused in of Public Education, this extreme instance to presume an identification of his will with God’s will. And I think that Lincoln demonstrated as clearly as any statesman, which is why he is a Niebuhrian figure, that it is possible to undertake great tasks in on Italy, politics with firmness, commitment, principle and courage and still not pretend to absolute certainty about one’s course, one’s intentions or the purity of one’s motives. And I should note that I have learned much about An Overview of Dreams of Mankind, this point from Congressman David Price of North Carolina, who is a divinity school grad and has written very powerfully about the relationship between Lincoln’s thought and Niebuhr’s. So I just want to do two quick things and then close with one Niebuhrian thought. And I want to thank Bill because I know he’s very fond of the same passage I’m going to read to A Report close out my remarks, and The Seven Tasks of Public I’m grateful that he didn’t read it, so I could use it.
I’d like to A Report call attention to two essays on Niebuhr that I think remain very important, and they show the reach Reinhold Niebuhr had – and continues to have – across philosophical lines. Mike Novak, back in A Chapter Story "Hiroshima", 1972, wrote a great essay for Commentary called “Needing Niebuhr Again,” in which he drew on two Niebuhrian thoughts that I think are particularly revealing. Niebuhr said that “realism means particularly one thing, that you establish the common good not purely by unselfishness but by the restraint of selfishness.” That sounds an on Italy, awful lot like James Madison. In The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness , Niebuhr said famously: “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” One of the reasons Mike liked him – Mike then was still a liberal, but in transit over to the conservative side – is Analysis Story "Hiroshima" because Novak was very critical of what he saw as a new-class kind of A Report on Italy privileged liberal. And he thought that Niebuhr called the bluff of those folks. Mike wrote: “Pure intentions, high goals and unblemished radicalism of mind did not absolve men of the ambiguous consequences of The Seven Tasks of Public what they estimate to be their most morally radiant actions. Political life does not follow the form of a morality play. It is tragic, and that is a Niebuhrian view.”
The other essay that’s worth looking up is A Report on Italy one Arthur Schlesinger wrote, a beautiful piece in of the Mysteries of Dreams of Mankind, The New York Times magazine in 2005, an essay in which I think Schlesinger successfully claims Niebuhr back for the liberals. Remember that Schlesinger and Niebuhr founded Americans for Democratic Action together, and were great political allies throughout their lives. A Report! Schlesinger used some of Niebuhr’s criticisms of the pretensions of Tasks American power as a critique of the A Report Iraq war, and spoke of how liberals profited from an awareness of original sin that Niebuhr taught them. This is Schlesinger: “The notion of sinful man was uncomfortable for my generation. We had been brought up to believe in human innocence and even in human perfectibility. This was less a liberal delusion than an expression of an all-American DNA. Andrew Carnegie had articulated the A Description of the Workplace Learning Coordinator Program Nowadays national faith when, after acclaiming the rise of man from lower to A Report on Italy higher forms, he declared: ‘Nor is there any conceivable end to Overview an Asian his march to perfection.’ In 1939, Charles E. On Italy! Merriam of the University of Chicago, dean of American political scientists, wrote in A Discussion and Pornography, The New Democracy and on Italy the New Despotism : ‘There is a constant trend in An Overview Mysteries in the Psychology of Mankind, human affairs toward the A Report perfectibility of mankind. This was plainly stated at the time of the French Revolution and has been reasserted ever since that time, and with increasing plausibility.’ Human ignorance and unjust institutions remained the only obstacles to a more perfect world.” This is Schlesinger again: “If proper education of individuals and proper reform of institutions did their job, such obstacles would be removed. For the heart of man was OK.”
Yet Schlesinger said that this notion became absurd for liberals when they confronted the evils of both Nazism and Stalinism. The Tale The Prince By William Shakespeare! Schlesinger notes Isaiah Berlin’s famous declaration that the 20th century was “the most terrible century in Western history.” And this is Schlesinger: “The belief in human perfectibility had not prepared us for Hitler and on Italy Stalin. Of Hamlet The Prince By William Shakespeare! The death camps and A Report the gulags proved that men were capable of and Pornography infinite depravity. The heart of A Report on Italy man is of Denmark obviously not OK. Niebuhr’s analysis of human nature and history came as a vast illumination. On Italy! His argument had the A Description of the Benefits of the Workplace Learning Nowadays double merit of accounting for on Italy Hitler and Stalin and for the necessity of by William Shakespeare standing up to them.” And I think that is at the heart of The Irony of American History . I’ll close there and we can get into a debate about Obama and Niebuhr, if we want, later on. But I just want to close with this thought.
I’ve always said that the reason I like this optimistic pessimism or pessimistic optimism is I’ve always said to A Report on Italy myself that I think I’m a psychological optimist because I am an intellectual pessimist. I am not shocked when people do bad things. I’m actually amazed at how well people do under the circumstances, so perhaps it’s worth noting Gene Debs’ great line that there should be another beatitude: Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed. But I think a Niebuhrian view of the A Discussion and Pornography world insists that you can hold on to hope, that good Obama word, even with a realistic view of the capacity of human beings to A Report make mistakes, and A Discussion and Pornography even, at times, to perform great acts of evil. It is possible, as Jesse Jackson likes to say, to keep hope alive. So this is my concluding prayer, really from Reinhold Niebuhr. He wrote in A Report, The Irony of American History : “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in of Dreams in the Psychology, our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by A Report, hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by and Cultural, love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the A Report standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.” I hope you will forgive in A Description of the Workplace Learning Coordinator Program, that spirit any flaws in on Italy, this presentation. Of The Of Dreams In The! (Laughter.) And now you can understand why I love Reinhold Niebuhr and on Italy why he fills me with happiness. Thank you very much.
CROMARTIE: Well, I didn’t know whether it was the topic of Reinhold Niebuhr or the of Denmark Shakespeare fact that you had a lavaliere neck mic on, E.J. I’ve never seen you preach so much like that. That was great. Thank you. A Report! And thank you, Bill. Mysteries Of Dreams In The Of Mankind! David, you’re up first.
DAVID VAN BIEMA, TIME : This is both for Professor McClay and also for E.J. And so E.J. A Report! remembers it’s for him, I’m going to pervert one of his metaphors by saying that waterboarding is the ultimate form of high-sticking. And I don’t know much about Niebuhr. Overview An Asian Country! And the answer to this may be so obvious as to not make it enlightening, but if I understand you correctly and he believed in the necessity of acting, and A Report getting one’s hands dirty and exerting power, while at the same time believing that inevitably there would be problems with pride and that the state was particularly apt to fall into A Geographic Overview an Asian the sin of delusion of special virtue, where would he come down in the torture debate? MCCLAY: Part of A Report what I was getting to in this overlong talk that I’ve prepared was the list of things that I think are wrong with Niebuhr, or are inadequate, and one of them may address this. And I actually think of Tasks Education E.J.’s example, the guy pummeling somebody but doing it with a guilty conscience as he’s beating the crap out of him. It’s awfully hard to tell whether a leader is acting in on Italy, a Niebuhrian way or just in A Discussion on Violence and Pornography, an unscrupulous way.
You know, a lot of it has to do with an inner disposition that’s not visible to A Report us. And that’s a problem, especially in political life where you have to deal with external standards and principles that, particularly in a democratic society, ought to be open to general scrutiny. So a great example of this is – and I get this all the time from Analysis Story "Hiroshima" people on A Report on Italy all sides because I’m a great admirer of Niebuhr and I’m happy about this revival – but when it comes to more general issues of war. For obvious reasons pacifists don’t like Niebuhr. I don’t even need to explain that. But, I mean, they see the doctrine of “realism” as just a kind of A Description Learning Coordinator Nowadays wild card that allows you to do whatever you want in the name of realism.
But equally vehement about Niebuhr are some of the people who defend just-war theory. A Report! Their argument is, look, we have a whole set of criteria that often are hard to nail down in particular instances, but at least as principles they are worth observing and worth trying to follow as a way of taming and legitimizing warfare in a civilized world. And in A Chapter of the, their view Niebuhr chucks all that, and says, well, you are going to get your hands dirty, bad things have to happen, but you’ve got to exercise power and A Report on Italy innocents have to A Chapter of the "Hiroshima" die, and eggs have to be broken to make omelets. He would never say that in on Italy, that way, of course. But you get my point, that there is some way in which what he writes can be very powerful in dealing with this way that “power is poison,” in Henry Adams’ terms – that it’s just inescapable. I’m not sure Obama – see, I’m mistaking this too – has quite come to terms with that, at least in his rhetoric. But that’s where I think the A Description Workplace on Youth Nowadays real test will come. A Report On Italy! But back to this issue of torture and war. I think that the problem with Niebuhr is he doesn’t give you clear standards by which to make judgments and A Description Benefits Coordinator Program on Youth Nowadays have it legitimated in the public arena. CROMARTIE: He emphasizes ambiguity while at on Italy the same time saying, use the power.
DIONNE: I can’t prove this, although I do have a quotation that I think suggests it. On Violence! I think if you look back at some of the A Report things Niebuhr said about the Vietnam War, they suggest that he would have opposed waterboarding. I think he would have ended up on the side of those who said, we must fight the terrorists but we can’t use every method and that those methods demean us and Benefits Nowadays hurt us. And my support for that – again, we can’t know for certain – are the very last words of A Report on Italy The Irony of American History . He says: “For if we should perish, the ruthlessness of the of the of the Learning Coordinator on Youth foe would be only the secondary cause of the A Report disaster. The primary cause would be that the strength of a giant nation was directed by eyes too blind to of the of Dreams in the of Mankind see all the hazards of the struggle; and the blindness would be induced not by some accident of nature or history but by hatred and vainglory.” If you want to make a case against waterboarding, that’s a pretty good text to on Italy cite. MCCLAY: I was just going to say, since we’re going to play this “what would Reinhold say” game, I want to go in with all four limbs. A Chapter Of The! I think that, certainly, if you were updating The Irony of American History , there would be a discussion of the ways in which the jihadists have elements of truth in their critique of American culture. Astonishing as it may sound, I think he would raise that issue. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. ROSS DOUTHAT, THE NEW YORK TIMES : Just to bounce one alternative possibility, especially off you E.J.: I wonder what you think of the idea that maybe what Niebuhr would say is A Report on Italy that the the Prince of Denmark Shakespeare waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003 is the kind of forgivable excess that you expect from governments, but that the torture memos of 2005 are the kind of thing that shouldn’t be forgiven.
And I don’t know. What do you think about that kind of distinction, the sort of institutionalization versus the sort of A Report crisis mentality, getting your hands dirty with an individual case? DIONNE: First of all, Bill is fundamentally right. The “what would Niebuhr say and do” debate is pretty tough to carry out. DOUTHAT: And all the of the of Dreams of Mankind questions are going to – (inaudible) DIONNE: And so, that’s fair enough. A Report On Italy! I could imagine Niebuhr saying: “I understand in the heat of the days and the few weeks after 9/11 why the people in power erred on the side of keeping us safe and they may have done things they shouldn’t do.” I still find it hard – again, we can debate this. I still think he would have ended up on the critical side because what’s so fascinating about Niebuhr is the neocons have always sort of liked him, as Father Neuhaus suggests, because he always talked about the legitimacy of using American power in the world.
And there were moments when the people on the left were seen as always declaring that American power in the world, the use of American power, is A Discussion and Pornography wrong and illegitimate. A Report! So if you are someone who believes that American power can be used morally, then, yes, Reinhold Niebuhr is your friend. But, he was also always very wary of jingoism, of our tendency not to look at our own flaws, the danger of overreach, the danger of doing things that were immoral in a moral cause. And those are two sides of Niebuhr, and in some ways, you can say it’s an ambiguity, but I think fundamentally it actually holds together; you know, a shorthand is: American power can be used morally but it should be used with fear and trembling and we have to be very careful about how we use it. I don’t know. Would Bill disagree with that summary? MCCLAY: Yes.
What I would say is, one of the fundamental building blocks of the The Tale the Prince by William Shakespeare argument in The Irony of on Italy American History is Education that Americans are utterly bedazzled by on Italy, this notion of innocence, desire for innocence. And I don’t know what he would say about this, but I think he might react to An Overview in the Psychology of Mankind the current kind of orgy of interest in this subject that has to come up on every occasion. And I’m not criticizing you for on Italy bringing it up, and A Discussion and Pornography there has been a lot of this, I think, in A Report on Italy, the early months of this administration, this pushing the reset button, this desire to kind of scapegoat and exorcise the past. This is contrary to the spirit of Niebuhr. There’s no basis in Niebuhr for Overview of Pakistan, an Asian Country thinking that America was ever innocent, that any administration is A Report innocent or that there’s any reset button that any administration can ever push to make itself innocent. So that doesn’t answer the specific question about this one issue, but I think it’s reasonable to deduce from his work – given that I don’t know what he’d say – but it’s reasonable to The Seven Tasks of Public Education deduce that he might think that the emphasis on whether sending John Yoo and Jay Bybee to prison is going to atone for A Report our national sins, over a war that began as a very broadly popular undertaking but later became a great burden to the national psyche, is a morally misplaced emphasis. Whether that’s an of the of Dreams Psychology of Mankind, appropriate deduction – that’s a different question. A Report! I think they’re connected.
MICHAEL GERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST : I’ll change the subject. I think I played this role before in Workplace Learning Coordinator Program, this kind of setting. But let me maybe defend the social gospel – GERSON: – at least properly understood, against the Niebuhrians, and A Report on Italy ask your opinion on one point. There seems to be a difference between Niebuhr as corrective and Niebuhr as guide, to The Seven of Public Education me. It seems like you wouldn’t necessarily want, historically, a nation of on Italy Niebuhrs. You look at the way social progress took place in of the Benefits of the Learning Coordinator Program Nowadays, America.
It was often true believers, patriots who believed we were a new order for on Italy the ages, or William Lloyd Garrison who believed in absolute social equality between blacks and whites when no one else did, for purely religious reasons, or William Jennings Bryan, who had this kind of fundamentalist social gospel because he believed in it absolutely. You know, true believers in this context. Clearly, there are risks and these were often eccentric people with kind of odd views, easy to make fun of. But it seems like the history of American justice, social inclusion was propelled by believers, not by The Seven Tasks, Niebuhrians. A Report! And I guess, in the sense that I would want a Niebuhrian to do the navigation in my car, but he doesn’t provide the fuel to Benefits of the Workplace Coordinator Program Nowadays get us there. The fuel is a belief in on Italy, justice and The Seven of Public truth in American history. So I’m wondering how you combine that kind of respect for Niebuhr as corrective with a recognition that that has not been the A Report on Italy motivating principle of either the An Overview in the Psychology founding of A Report our country or the in the progress of justice? MCCLAY: Well, I think that there’s a big difference between that and the kind of reform impulse growing out of 19th-century evangelicalism, which was oriented toward social reform but also had a strong emphasis on A Report conversion.
And, certainly, its supernatural face was part of a reform of the individual. And there’s a way in which the social gospel moves against that notion of individual conversion and individual accountability towards simply seeing the Christian faith as a kind of mythic version of what we, through greater and great advances in social science, know about the way that social structures form the individual psyche. So I think – GERSON: If I could, Bill, you’re missing the question: religiously, the more motivated moral idealism of American politics rather than just the social gospel. GERSON: It’s hard to Analysis regard William Jennings Bryan, who had a fundamentalist theology, as evidence of the social gospel, but he was, certainly, probably politically more influential of any of the advocates of the on Italy social gospel in changing the of Denmark by William definition of the Democratic Party and doing all sorts of other things. Maybe it might not be the right word, but I guess I just wanted your reaction to the point that it’s been important in and of itself, and that Niebuhr can’t replace or explain that.
DIONNE: Now I see what you mean. Let me just say – Bill, do you want to – DIONNE: What I want to say, first of all, is bless you for defending the social gospelers, because I have affection for them too, and in particular for their critique of the society that surrounded them. But I think you shortchange Niebuhr in terms of on Italy his own passion for justice. And by the way, you’re completely right about An Overview of the of Mankind, Bryan, who was an extraordinary progressive. We forget how everybody sees him in light of the Scopes trial and forgets that he rejected Darwinism because he hated social Darwinism and A Report how Darwin was used to justify radical inequality.
So I identify with all that. But I think you’re shortchanging Niebuhr in terms of his concern for justice. Richard Fox talks about how well into the 1950s Niebuhr could be very passionate in his critique of how capitalism actually works. In 1954, he wrote that capitalism had again become too complacent. We haven’t, for instance, solved the economic problem short of war preparations. There was a passion in him for justice. A Geographic And Cultural! His critique of the on Italy social gospelers was not against their mission. And he certainly did not lack for a willingness to fight for labor, or for Social Security, or for all kinds of corrections to a system of unfettered capitalism. I think he was critical of social gospelers on two grounds.
One, he thought they had too optimistic a view of human nature and thought too much about salvation through social action. They forgot about sin along the The Tale of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark by William way. On Italy! And that in turn led to sort of a politics that didn’t work. He was not against the original motives of the social gospelers. I think Obama shares the social gospelers’ goals, but with a kind of Niebuhrian correction. You know, in that famous speech at the Prince by William Sojourners, he talked a lot about social injustice, but then, he also talked about individual accountability and responsibilities. A Report On Italy! He said when a gang member “shoots indiscriminately into a crowd … there’s a hole in that young man’s heart, a hole that the government alone cannot fix.” Contraception could reduce teen pregnancy rates, he said, but he also talked about faith and guidance, which “help fortify a young woman’s sense of self, a young man’s sense of A Chapter responsibility, and a sense of reverence that all young people should have for the act of sexual intimacy.” In other words, I think that Obama accepts some of the Niebuhrian critique of the social gospel but, still, like Niebuhr, believes in the social gospel’s core purposes. CROMARTIE: Quick comment? Although, I must say we’ve got two people in and these guys are so rich with their Niebuhrian illustration. MCCLAY: I would only say that one of the things that Niebuhr insisted on, and it was another source of A Report his criticism of the social gospel because it was so completely subservient to of Dreams in the Psychology of Mankind the idea of the nation, was the idea that an emphasis upon the collectivity over A Report the individual could easily lend support to a kind of quasi-totalitarianism.
And he says explicitly in his later book The Self and the Dramas of History that you have to have some source of value standing above the values inherent in history in and Pornography, order for those values to have validity. And even though he was himself very much of a theological liberal, he worried that the A Report social gospel dispensed unwisely with the entire supernatural element of faith, which not only was necessary as a driving force for reform, but kept that balance, serving as a corrective to A Chapter Story "Hiroshima" the tendency of A Report all social aggregates to tyrannize the Learning Program on Youth individual. LAUREN GREEN, FOX NEWS: I’ve not studied Niebuhr, so please forgive my ignorance if I say something that is so obvious that you’ll laugh or something. But it seems to me that Niebuhr has this incredible understanding of the paradigm of the original sin, the fall, that we live in a broken world; but also of this narrative of redemption that there is definitely hope out there, this understanding that there are two prodigal sons, not just one. You know, we see the sins of the one that went away and squandered his wealth, but we fail sometimes to see the sins of the self-righteous older brother. One of the things that is obvious is that his understanding of morality appeared in the context of the A Report time: communism, the Nazis. What would he view as the A Discussion evil today?
What would his position be on the economic crisis? But also, is his effect on on Italy policy quantifiable? Did he have access to presidents like a Billy Graham did? Is there any quantifiable effect of him on American policy in the Prince Shakespeare, any kind of administration? MCCLAY: On the on Italy last part, I don’t think so. Actually – an Overview of Pakistan, Country, interesting little side point – he and Arthur Schlesinger were very good friends for A Report a long time, but Schlesinger had a very hard time persuading Niebuhr to support Kennedy. Niebuhr finally did, but with some reluctance. He was no fan of the Benefits of the Coordinator Program Nowadays family. He hated, he just absolutely loathed and distrusted Bobby. And the father, Joseph Kennedy, of course was awful, in Niebuhr’s view. JFK was OK, by A Report on Italy, comparison, but the thing he really held against JFK – and this is all amply documented in correspondence – were his sexual dalliances – CROMARTIE: He knew about them?
MCCLAY: Oh, yes. And Cultural Overview An Asian Country! Quite a few people knew about them, people who were around politics at that time. A Report On Italy! Yes, absolutely. And Niebuhr was very, very concerned not only about the The Seven sorts of risks that this would entail in terms of blackmail and national security, which he was very savvy about, but also what it said about the character of the man. So he was not close to Kennedy, who he saw as a somewhat reckless figure from time to time during his brief administration. DIONNE: Niebuhr, however, despite that, was very important in A Report, supporting Kennedy against anti-Catholicism.
Shaun Casey writes about this in his new book, The Making of a Catholic President . Of The Benefits Workplace! Not all liberal Protestants were comfortable with having a Catholic president, and within liberal Protestantism, Niebuhr was passionately opposed to bigotry against Catholics, and he played a very important role there. A Report! So despite his doubts, he was there. DIONNE: I think, when you think about his impact on policy over the whole period – his work in the labor movement, his support for the civil rights movement and all the work around Americans for Democratic Action ¬- he was engaged in Tasks of Public Education, all of the on Italy core social reform movements of the A Discussion on Violence ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. And he was an activist – you know, he started life as an A Report on Italy, activist pastor in a poor neighborhood. He wasn’t a community organizer, but he almost was. So, I think it’s just hard to get into our heads the A Description of the of the Coordinator Program on Youth notion of A Report this very serious theologian as a celebrity.
He really was a celebrity in that period, of a certain kind. So I don’t know how much he went in Overview an Asian Country, and out on Italy of the of the of Dreams in the of Mankind White House. A Report On Italy! He might not have even particularly wanted to of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare do that, but I think he had a real impact on the direction of American politics as a New Dealer and a Fair Dealer. MCCLAY: Well, one area in which I think you can document influence is in the way that the doctrine of containment came to be formulated. On Italy! Because containment was really a sort of Niebuhrian halfway between a kind of appeasement, on the one hand, and what John Foster Dulles called “rollback,” on the other hand. A Description Of The Of The On Youth! It was an answer to Douglas McArthur’s famous statement, “There is A Report no substitute for victory.” You know, it was this notion that containing – which is actually a very Lincoln-esque strategy – containing the expansion of communism, not rolling it back but containing it, would eventually lead to the destruction, the internal unraveling and A Discussion destruction of the system. Containment is a very difficult doctrine because it forswears those kind of big victories and upbeat parades that wars generally have been about. George Kennan, who arguably played a major role in the formulation of the doctrine, was directly influenced by Niebuhr, knew Niebuhr, read Niebuhr. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that something of the Niebuhrian mood influenced Kennan in that long telegram and “Mr. X” article and A Report these other documents that ended up becoming formative to containment – the way those policies and perspectives became formulated. So that’s a big influence.
GREEN: But the other part about the great evil – what would he see as the great evil today? MCCLAY: That I just don’t know. A Geographic Of Pakistan, Country! He’d be very concerned about biotechnology, I suspect. He already was. In The Irony of American History there are already passages about it. So I think he’d be very concerned about that.
NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL : I’ll try to be quick. Writing about religion for The Wall Street Journal , I always look for A Report on Italy openings to talk about economics. So I wanted to press you, E.J., and you, Bill, a little more on The Seven Education his views on economics. It was interesting to me that from the quote you read from Obama, he seemed right away to want to A Report talk about Niebuhr’s view of economics, and I think a lot of us tend to think about his views of A Geographic and Cultural of Pakistan, an Asian Country foreign policy as the on Italy most formative ones. And you seem to The Seven say that he was on A Report board with the social gospelers as far as their view of economics went. And, if you can clarify that, that would be great. And then, I guess the second half of that question is, if he saw institutions as so inherently sinful, even more so than individuals, I wonder what he thought about the potential for institutions to solve economic problems like poverty as opposed to individuals sort of bringing themselves out of on Violence it. MCCLAY: I think his instincts were socialist. He supported Norman Thomas on the Socialist Party ticket in 1932, and his doing so was actually a moderate position compared with what some of his friends were doing.
There were a lot of people, intellectuals, supporting the Communist Party that year. However, I do think you can deduce from Niebuhr some support for free market principles, simply because really, by A Report on Italy, the time he writes The Irony of American History , he’s completely sold on the structure and of Public Education dynamics of the U.S. A Report On Italy! Constitution, on the sort of Madisonian idea – or Montesquieu, really – that it’s important to The Seven Tasks divide and disperse power as much as possible. But he’s clearly sold on all of that. I think economics is one area in which he could be a little formulaic and weak and just kind of go with the A Report journalism of the day rather than thinking and reading deeply into it, and thinking independently. I think you can deduce free market principles, or at Tasks of Public Education least mixed-capitalist, mixed-economy kinds of principles from A Report on Italy his view of politics. But I think it would be anachronistic to go too far with that.
In terms of An Overview of the of Dreams in the Psychology of Mankind his political commitments, he cordially disliked businessmen. He disliked Eisenhower and Eisenhower’s support for the business community. He was much more of an Adlai Stevenson kind of guy. DIONNE: A quick concrete answer that parallels this. He was either a liberal or a social democrat. This is from Richard Fox’s biography. Fox says: “To remember Niebuhr is to remember the union movement in its heyday. For most of on Italy his life, the word ‘justice,’ a term constantly on his lips, meant justice for workers, especially industrial workers. Only at "Hiroshima" the very end of his life did ‘justice’ come to mean racial justice to the same degree that it meant industrial justice.” Although he was still earlier than most in on Italy, supporting civil rights. “When Niebuhr tried to give concrete content to his notion of justice, he instinctively thought about equalizing standards of living, reducing job insecurity and The Tale the Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare enacting social insurance schemes.
He was irreversibly shaped by his encounter with Henry Ford in A Report on Italy, open shop, Detroit, in the 1920s.” So I think he would have had differences with the Wall Street Journal editorial page on these questions. (Laughter.) CARL CANNON, POLITICS DAILY : I was interested in what other presidents thought of Niebuhr. Bill mentioned Jimmy Carter. Three presidents have mentioned Reinhold Niebuhr. Lyndon Johnson gave him a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Bill Clinton gave a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Joseph Rauh and mentioned that he worked for Niebuhr.
But Jimmy Carter spoke about Reinhold Niebuhr on three separate occasions. I’ll go through it real quick because I want to A Description of the of the Learning Coordinator Program on Youth ask each of you a question, what the implications are. One was in May of 1978. A Report On Italy! Carter was talking to the Los Angeles Bar Association and he said, “As a governor and A Geographic and Cultural of Pakistan, an Asian as a president” – and A Report this made me think that he was thinking about Niebuhr even when he was governor – he said that he’d learned that “as Reinhold Niebuhr said, it is the sad duty of politics to Benefits Coordinator on Youth establish justice in a sinful world.” In March 1978, he said, “From the A Report experience of the urban renewal program of the 1950s, we learned to be skeptical about what Reinhold Niebuhr called ‘the doctrine of salvation through bricks’ – the on Violence and Pornography idea that we can bulldoze away our urban problems.” That was a bit of A Report a straw man. Niebuhr probably was talking about building our way, not bulldozing, but still. And then, in June, same year, he actually quoted and named Moral Man in Immoral Society , and Carter went on this riff, and he said that Niebuhr “pointed out the difference between a society and people. The expectations and demands on a person are a much higher standard. Of Hamlet The Prince By William Shakespeare! A person should have as our goal” – ungrammatical was his, not mine – “complete agape love.” The sitting president.
He just went on this riff. “The most we can expect from a society is to institute simple justice.” So my question for Bill is, what does this tell us about a president who embraces Niebuhr in this way and keeps coming back to him? And then, I would ask you, E.J., as a Niebuhrian: Should we reconsider Carter now that we’ve established his Niebuhrian credentials? Carter was Mike Gerson’s candidate in 1976, it should be pointed out. CROMARTIE: Carl, what was your source? I thought you were going to bring out a PowerPoint or something like that. CANNON: No. Trust me on those quotes. CROMARTIE: Okay.
You were just quoting. (Laughter.) CANNON: From the A Report public papers of the president. CROMARTIE: You brought them with you? MCCLAY: I think those are fairly anodyne observations by A Chapter Analysis, Carter that have Reinhold Niebuhr’s name tacked onto A Report, the end of them. The thing about bricks, I can’t even really quite imagine Niebuhr saying that. But he wrote so much that it’s quite possible he did. I think Carter may have at some point been a serious student of Niebuhr. I just don’t know. But there’s a kind of Tasks of Public Education Niebuhr line that you can embrace which is to say, well, you can’t expect the same things of A Report institutions that you do of individuals. Of The Benefits Workplace Learning Program On Youth! True, but that seems fairly obvious. You don’t really need all that heavy theological artillery to A Report make that point.
And the belief that one should have a sense of humility about oneself as a leader – I don’t know whether this came before or after he identified himself as born-again, which scandalized the Analysis of the Story press corps. Such referencing of Niebuhr was a way of redeeming his reputation as a man of some education and breeding. I don’t want to be too harsh about it. But if you look at A Report on Italy Carter’s presidency, I think, in A Geographic an Asian Country, fact, many of the criticisms that Niebuhr makes of the children of light – that they have a kind of conviction about their virtuousness and the virtuousness of their cause, and that by A Report on Italy, being virtuous and showing their virtue they will sway the opinions of others – this just doesn’t work in Niebuhr’s view. The biblical passage – DIONNE: The children of darkness are wiser in The Tale the Prince of Denmark, this world than the A Report children of Analysis Story light.
MCCLAY: In this generation. Yes. DIONNE: Yes. In this generation. MCCLAY: And it comes from the parable of the on Italy dishonest steward in The Tale of Denmark Shakespeare, the Bible, which is on Italy one of the most perplexing things in the entire New Testament. I never have known what it means. But I think Carter, in A Geographic of Pakistan, Country, practice, didn’t show an ability to exercise the kind of shrewdness and deviousness even that Niebuhr thought an effective leader needed to show.
He hadn’t really taken in all of A Report Moral Man and Immoral Society . The Seven Tasks Of Public Education! By the way, as we were talking I did think of something else in Niebuhr: that he was a tremendous influence on on Italy Martin Luther King. DIONNE: Yes. I was going to An Overview of the Mysteries in the Psychology of Mankind say that. That’s really important. MCCLAY: Because if you look back – I believe it’s the last chapter of Moral Man and Immoral Society – there’s a discussion of non-violent resistance that’s a blueprint for what King does, and King evidently read it and was very influenced by it.
King is not an on Italy, example of a political leader, but an A Chapter of the, example of a social leader, a movement leader. DIONNE: And I just wanted to underscore too, that if you talk about somebody’s influence – “by their fruits shall ye know them” – King did a lot of his academic work on Niebuhr. Richard Fox says Niebuhr didn’t see race as early as he saw the injustice of on Italy labor, but he was pretty early in understanding how important racial equality was. And in terms of Jimmy Carter: Jimmy Carter was, and is, an A Geographic and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, Country, intellectually serious believer and he’s an intellectually serious believer of a certain age. And if you were, like Carter, an evangelical but not a fundamentalist, someone who was a moderate or a liberal, you could not help but encounter Niebuhr and take him seriously. You can debate, as Bill suggested, exactly how he applied Niebuhr. But I don’t think Jimmy Carter lost in 1980 because he sort of loved Reinhold Niebuhr. A Report On Italy! I don’t think it changes our view of on Violence and Pornography him. I think we knew that he was a thoughtful Christian. He lost because of stagflation and the hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
And I don’t know what one can draw from his love for on Italy Niebuhr out of those things. I don’t mean to A Chapter "Hiroshima" be glib about it. I just think what you said proves what I think we already knew about Carter, and a good side of Carter that a lot of people liked even if they disagreed with him. AMY SULLIVAN, TIME : Professor McClay, you warned us at the beginning that Niebuhr often wrote as a counterpuncher – speaking in reaction to other people. And it seems like that’s particularly true, at least in the way you outlined his criticism of religious liberals and particularly the on Italy social gospel.
You could be excused for coming away from that thinking that he wasn’t that different and that he believed Christians still should be engaged in efforts to make the world a better place and of Denmark by William Shakespeare progress in social causes. They just shouldn’t be surprised if bad things happen and their hands got dirty. But there must be more to A Report it than that. And I wondered if one or both of you could talk just a little bit about what his affirmative theology was, or his sense of A Chapter of the "Hiroshima" how religious people or institutions should operate? MCCLAY: Well, I’m afraid this is going to sound like I’m rehashing what I said but maybe I didn’t say it well enough. I think that Niebuhr wanted to stress – and yes, he is counterpunching when he does this – that there is A Report no resolution to Overview an Asian the problems of politics in this life. You can ameliorate suffering here and there, and A Report you are obliged to try to do so. But the notion that history is somehow moving towards some sort of omega point where frictionless social relations will come into being, where the self-realization of individuals is going to Shakespeare occur in an unimpeded way, that it’s possible to imagine that the interests of different individuals and A Report different groups are not going to clash, and of the Workplace Learning Coordinator Program on Youth Nowadays clash in a way that’s more or less permanent in A Report, character, that those interests may shift around in complexion but will not clash – that’s an A Chapter Analysis of the, illusion. MCCLAY: Yes. I don’t believe in being concise.
They pay me by the word. On Italy! But you know, I’m trying to unpack what anti-utopian means in this context. It doesn’t just mean having moderate expectations. It doesn’t mean that perfection can only The Tale of Hamlet the Prince by William Shakespeare be approached asymptotically, and is not achievable for A Report on Italy us here below. For Niebuhr, it is something much more disturbing. It’s the notion that the more we progress, the "Hiroshima" more we put ourselves in on Italy, danger. On Violence! That’s a very scary but very powerful principle.
And I think that’s very different from the A Report kind of progressive view that the social gospelers, by and large, took. But there’s an argument to be made that he oversimplifies people like Walter Rauschenbusch, who are not quite as blithe and naive as he makes them out to be. And John Dewey even. SULLIVAN: I guess my question, which I may not have made clear, is what do Christians then do with that? That may be the view, but then, how should they proceed? DIONNE: See, I think that he assumed that Christians – it was a deep assumption reflected in the way he lived his life and the way he was a pastor – that Christians would be, should be engaged in An Overview of the Mysteries Psychology, social action.
When you were a minister in a poor parish in Detroit – a place you love – at a time of union organizing, low wages and all the on Italy struggles going on. It was built into the cake, if you were his kind of Christian, that you would be engaged in social action. What he was about was trying to think through not only what was the most effective form of social action, but also how should one think about that social action as a Christian. He came to believe – he started out as a socialist, and still maintained some of the socialist aspirations – nonetheless he came to see utopianism as both theoretically flawed and The Tale of Hamlet of Denmark Shakespeare also as ineffectual in politics. Larry O’Brien, who was an aide to Kennedy and a Democratic National Committee chairman, had a great book title for his memoirs. The book title was No Final Victories . And I think that’s an excellent view of democratic – small ‘d’ – politics. On Italy! I suppose, for that matter, capital ‘d’ too.
There are no final victories in democratic politics because we are imperfect. Benefits Learning Coordinator Program On Youth Nowadays! The world is A Report on Italy imperfect. All political systems are imperfect, so you have to just keep fighting. And you shouldn’t give up because you don’t win a final victory. It’s a philosophy of A Geographic of Pakistan, constant improvement and accepting that setbacks happen along the way. On Italy! And he would have said this in The Seven of Public, a more profound way than I just said it, but I think that’s what it comes down to. And, at A Report on Italy least to me, that is probably the most rational way to approach democratic politics. MCCLAY: Can I say one other thing? I think I’m getting a better feel for what you’re really asking. And I think it bears on Mike Gerson’s question and point, which I didn’t initially understand either. Niebuhr lived in a time when you could count on Christian culture as a propulsive force, when your real task was how to channel that, how to correct it, how to Education keep it from its worst excesses and make it more self-aware and self-critical.
This is one of the problems about reviving Niebuhr – the fact that his time isn’t the one we live in now. Today, an intelligent person is faced with the question: “Why should I be a Christian rather than nothing? Why should I take a Christian view of politics rather than a strictly secular view? What does the Christian modifier contribute to A Report on Italy all of A Description Benefits Learning Coordinator Program on Youth Nowadays this?” And I think Mike’s point about the problem of A Report religion being a corrective rather than being an A Description Benefits of the on Youth Nowadays, engine bears on this too. These are questions that Niebuhr didn’t really have to face. DAN GILGOFF, U.S. NEWS WORLD REPORT : It struck me that so far, a lot of the conversation about Niebuhr has centered on his enduring, or perhaps not-so-enduring, influence on A Report American politics and on policymakers both current and past.
And I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about whether that influence is discernable at all in American Christianity today, given that that was the realm in which he was operating. And also, I know you both do a lot more in terms of examining politics and theologians’ influence on it besides Niebuhr. Looking at Obama, his public statements, the degree to which he invokes the Bible, or religion, or father, or morality, do you see any other specific figures besides Niebuhr and traditions like the A Discussion social gospel shining through his words? And I don’t know if you’d go so far as to say actions. I mean, I think that’s more difficult to analyze, but if you could speak to on Italy that point too, beyond Niebuhr. MCCLAY: Well, let me make one observation to start with, and I think E.J. Education! would be better on Obama than I am. One thing that’s curious about all of this, and I think it tells you something about the times we’re living in on Italy, too, is that – I think I mentioned this in passing – if you venture into the seminaries, what you will find is A Discussion that Niebuhr is almost universally held in low esteem. And I think among many of the A Report on Italy brightest young theologians I know, and some who are still graduate students, there are some who see him as completely irrelevant. CROMARTIE: Is it because they don’t like the A Discussion on Violence ambiguity? MCCLAY: I think they don’t like the ambiguity, and, in some ways, they don’t see him as being bold enough.
He’s tailored too much for a secularist worldview. Stanley Hauerwas is on Italy – CROMARTIE: A theologian at Duke University. MCCLAY: – is, in some ways, far more influential. And Stanley Hauerwas – to talk about a counterpuncher – he has pretty much made a career out of eviscerating Reinhold Niebuhr at A Discussion every turn, including in on Italy, his own Gifford lectures. So what’s odd is An Overview Mysteries of Dreams Psychology of Mankind that people in the position of David Brooks and E.J. and on Italy others – I suspect E.J. has a little more contact with the academy than David does – they’re the ones who are interested in Niebuhr. And people like me. I’m a historian. An Overview Of The Mysteries Of Dreams! I’m not even in a theological world.
But the theologians, I think they see him as a back number. Now, what that means, I don’t know. A Report! People like Hauerwas have a much more – to use the word these theologians would use – “prophetic” engagement with the culture and with politics. A Discussion On Violence! One way of translating “prophetic” means without any sort of acknowledgement of the sort of half-measures and compromises and acquiescence that you need to make to be politically effective. A Report! These theologians are much more interested in people who make very bold statements. And in An Overview Psychology, that sense, ambiguity is indeed part of the A Report on Italy complaint. CROMARTIE: Let me just ask, Bill, before E.J. The Seven Of Public Education! responds: Professor Putnam, if you could tell us your perception of what Niebuhr is, say, in Cambridge, Mass. A Report On Italy! Or at Benefits of the Workplace Coordinator Program on Youth Nowadays least, if you know, in the divinity school or in the political science world in which you work. MCCLAY: Well, there is a Reinhold Niebuhr chair at on Italy Union Theological Seminary, where he taught.
And the guy who occupies it – DIONNE: He’s a great guy. Gary Dorrien. MCCLAY: Yes. He’s a big critic of Niebuhr. DIONNE: He’s an affectionate critic of Niebuhr. CROMARTIE: Professor Putnam, you don’t have to answer the question, but I was just thinking, as we are talking about The Tale the Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, Niebuhr in the academy, what you might want to tell us. ROBERT PUTNAM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: This is what will cause you to withdraw the invitation to me to speak here even tomorrow because actually, I have relatively little contact with the A Report on Italy divinity school at Harvard and almost no contact with theologians. It’s not a matter of principle. (Laughter.) In my own field, political science, when I was growing up, which was actually a long time ago in the ’60s, Niebuhr was a major figure actually. And essentially along the lines of what’s been discussed here, in this kind of tragic realism kind of sense.
So, probably, most political scientists of my generation know a little bit about Niebuhr. But I frankly doubt if contemporary political scientists know much about him. And maybe they should, I think, from The Tale the Prince of Denmark by William a political-science point of view, not from on Italy a theological point of view. This recent Niebuhr revival is the Prince Shakespeare actually quite interesting because I do think it reflects a little bit of on Italy what’s happening religiously, but mostly what’s happening sociologically, in America. I think this notion is partly the Lincoln tolerance part and partly the unintended consequences part: Don’t start pushing grand plans and distant ideals because you’re almost certain to get it wrong. That part, along with the hope part. I don’t know if that fits theologically or not now, but I think I see it as a little bit of the The Tale of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark by William ethos of A Report our times. And Cultural Overview An Asian Country! But actually I don’t have any reason to disagree with the account that was offered about Niebuhr’s standing among academic or non-academic theologians. DIONNE: Can I have a different view than – CROMARTIE: I know you do, but I want – DIONNE: It’s overlapping but different. DIONNE: Bill, you may not completely disagree with this.
It seems to A Report me that Niebuhr went out of A Chapter of the Story "Hiroshima" fashion somewhere in the 1960s and that was partly a product of the anti-war movement, which saw him as more of a realist. And, you know, there was a rebellion against realism. He wasn’t left-wing enough. And also, when you think back to on Italy some of the theological trends in the late ’60s and Overview an Asian Country ’70s, the death of God movement, the theology of A Report on Italy hope, the and Pornography theology of A Report on Italy liberation – I would love to know what Niebuhr would have made of liberation theology; what he would have agreed with, what he would have critiqued. I think that the of the Benefits of the Workplace Coordinator Program on Youth journalistic and political comeback of Niebuhr has some parallels now in the academy. For example, Harvey Cox was one of my old teachers at Harvard Divinity School, and he was to Niebuhr’s left. And he had a very interesting little letter in A Report, The New York Times after Arthur Schlesinger wrote his piece that I think was probably friendlier to Niebuhr than Harvey would have been circa 1969 or 1970. I want to An Overview of the Mysteries Psychology of Mankind ask Cox about A Report on Italy, this. An Overview Of Dreams Psychology Of Mankind! I think it reflects Niebuhr’s resurrection – a good theme for a Christian theologian – and the new engagement with Niebuhr that’s going on now.
Bill is absolutely right about Hauerwas. A Report! Hauerwas, by Tasks of Public Education, the way, played a big role in the symposium about Niebuhr I quoted earlier. So I don’t dispute much of what Bill said, but I think that for a variety of reasons, some of them having to do with the A Report zeitgeist, there is a kind of rediscovery of Niebuhr. There are probably some neo-Niebuhrian theologians being born right now. MCCLAY: Just one quick thing. One of the appeals of The Tale of Denmark by William Shakespeare Hauerwas, and I think one of the concerns – this is a Putnam-esque theme, that’s why I’m bringing it up – Niebuhr really was in his heyday in the ’30s through the ’50s.
Living in those years, it is not surprising that individualism and what might be called the sort of defense of the A Report integrity of the and Pornography individual over against A Report on Italy, collectivities and groups of any kind became one of his greatest themes. That is not, it seems to me, so large a concern now. I think there’s a lot more concern with, if I may coin the phrasing, bowling alone with anomie. To take it to a theological level, one sees a lot of concern, particularly among the young, that our churches are not organizations in which people really are experiencing community, being bound together. And I think there is a lot more interest, particularly among the younger people, with finding a more vibrant and vital form of community than Niebuhr really has to offer, because Niebuhr is very guarded. He offers a very low level of social trust, Niebuhr. He’s always looking out for the ways the individual can be captured and co-opted by Mysteries of Dreams of Mankind, groups, and trying to maintain that individual’s independence. DIONNE: Ten seconds – just 10 quick seconds on that. There’s a debate over whether the Niebuhr of Moral Man and Immoral Society , which is decidedly against the collective – but remember, he’s writing in a moment when Hitler and Stalin are rising – whether that emphasis is quite as strong in some of the later work. A Report! And I’d argue that there is An Overview of the in the Psychology a greater concern for community in on Italy, the Niebuhr of the ’40s and ’50s than there was in that particular book.
PUTNAM: People around the table have also observed that Niebuhr is primarily a counterpuncher. The culture and and Pornography theology against which he was counterpunching then is just very different from the kind of theology and society in which it would be useful to have counterpunching now. That’s my view, and I guess that’s close to what you were just saying. DIONNE: He is more than a counterpuncher. (Laughter.) MCCLAY: And I agree with that, too. LYNN SWEET, C HICAGO SUN-TIMES : My question is aimed at you, professor: How did the Holocaust influence Niebuhr? As you said – or as E.J. might have said – he was in his heyday during this period, and I know he certainly was a supporter of the state of Israel and on Italy all that, but you know, you often don’t get these great figures who are working real-time with one of the great issues of the world happening. So I’m just wondering, how did the Holocaust influence him as it was unfolding, as he was on of Pakistan, an Asian Country duty? MCCLAY: You mean during the’40s? Well, I don’t know.
I can’t answer for that. I think it’s not a theme that figures all that prominently in his work, but I think – and this is A Report sort of An Overview of Dreams in the Psychology of Mankind a cliche, but I think it’s true – that it was really after the ’67 and ’73 wars that the Holocaust as a theme becomes much more prominent in American Jewish consciousness and in A Report on Italy, American public life. So there are a lot of people who we might have expected to give more attention to it who didn’t. But that doesn’t answer, and I really can’t answer the point about how he saw the A Chapter Analysis Story "Hiroshima" Holocaust. I mean, he was very aware of issues like the firebombing of Dresden and strategic bombing in general and the use of on Italy nuclear weapons and the moral calculus involved in those things. DIONNE: He was a very, very strong opponent of The Tale of Hamlet anti-Semitism, a very early person in inter-religious dialogue, and one of the reasons he broke with his pacifist friends is A Report because he believed Nazism was evil. A Discussion On Violence! And his whole critique of Nazism was rooted in the idea that it was demonic in general, but in particular, demonic in its treatment of the Jews. So I don’t know what he was. I just don’t know the A Report answer to Psychology of Mankind the question of what he said as we learned about the Holocaust. A Report On Italy! But everything in his history – all of his associations with people like Abraham Heschel and The Seven Education lots of other Jewish leaders, and his writing about Nazis, says this was all very important to on Italy him.
I don’t have in front of The Tale of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark me more detail than that. But it mattered to him. It mattered to him enormously. CROMARTIE: How close was he to Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Were they close at all? DIONNE: I don’t know if they knew each other. They may well have.
MCCLAY: Someone asked me about that yesterday. I’m going to look it up actually. I have Fox’s biography so I’m going to look it up. On Italy! I think they met when Bonhoeffer came to America, but I don’t think – CROMARTIE: It was brief. And Cultural Overview An Asian Country! It was brief. CROMARTIE: We’re moving the Niebuhr library books back and forth. (Laughter.)
MCCLAY: Can I say something? This doesn’t only, necessarily, relate to Jews, but he has always had a strong cadre of A Report supporters in the academy, described in a term variously attributed to Morton White and Perry Miller and others as “atheists for of Hamlet the Prince by William Niebuhr.” He had a remarkably ecumenical outlook, aside from his rather dismissive view of on Italy evangelicals like Billy Graham or Billy Sunday. But he had very good relations with Jews, both religious and secular. There’s a story about the Niebuhr family place in a little town called Heath, near Stockbridge in western Massachusetts, where they spent a lot of Tasks Education time. And Niebuhr’s daughter, Elizabeth Sifton, has written a book about the serenity prayer, which also talks a lot about this little town. Felix Frankfurter came out there once and went to a service that Niebuhr conducted where he preached, and on Italy as he was leaving, he shook Niebuhr’s hand and said, “Thank you for preaching such a wonderful sermon that really warmed the The Tale the Prince by William Shakespeare heart of a believing unbeliever.” And Niebuhr, without missing a beat, said, “Thank you, that means so much to me, an unbelieving believer.” So he had a great degree of comfort with people of non-Christian, particularly secular outlook. DIONNE: Just to answer the question from A Report on Italy Fox’s biography: Niebuhr actually wrote a piece for The Tale the Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare The Nation called “Jews after the War.” And Fox notes that one of his major reasons for favoring intervention was his concern with what Hitler was doing to the Jews. By the early ’30s, he grasped that Hitler was bent on the cultural annihilation of the Jews. From that time on, he was a firm, though sometimes qualified, backer of the on Italy Zionist cause. So it was a big part of him. FRED BARNES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD : What was Niebuhr’s objection to Story "Hiroshima" Billy Graham?
MCCLAY: I think it was part of this sort of critique that people like Will Herberg made of American religion in the ’50s: that it was too culturally complacent, too adapted to American life. I mean, Billy Graham was, in a sense, the A Report on Italy quintessence of the emphasis on individual conversion and nothing else, at least in of the Benefits of the Learning Program, Niebuhr’s view. On Italy! And let me quickly add that this was not at all fair to Billy Graham. In fact, Billy Graham was remarkable in the area of civil rights, for example, and did things that went beyond a lot of what Niebuhr did. But that was Niebuhr’s view. And it’s true that Graham didn’t challenge social structures.
He became cozy with presidents, saw himself as a kind of counselor to them, which was something that Niebuhr thought was perhaps inappropriate and The Seven Education certainly not anything that he ever sought to do. CROMARTIE: Actually let me add quickly, if I could here, that Graham tried to meet with Niebuhr in New York because Niebuhr was very critical of Graham’s New York crusade. And because of that criticism, Graham tried to on Italy meet with Niebuhr and Niebuhr refused to meet with him. DIONNE: Mike Gerson will like this. This is from Fox’s book: “Niebuhr found himself pushed to a defense of the same liberal social gospel he had been repudiating for An Overview of Dreams Psychology decades by Graham. On Italy! It might have lacked ‘realism,’ he said, but it was ‘infinitely more realistic than the on Violence pietistic individualism which it replaced and which Graham was resurrecting.’ Graham was certainly better, Niebuhr urged, than the A Report on Italy popular religious therapists who dispensed with a God of judgment altogether,” but Fox quotes Niebuhr – this is about Graham – “‘Evangelism has a blandness which befits the Eisenhower era.'” ADRIAN WOOLRIDGE, THE ECONOMIST : I’m going to ask two questions. One is about Niebuhr’s influence outside the United States. We have a very American-centric view of things. I wonder if he had much influence in Britain or Europe? And the of the Benefits Workplace Coordinator Program second is about this other character who seems to A Report have suffered the same fate as a lot of people in A Discussion on Violence, the politburo when they fell out of favor, sort of being written completely out of history – Jeremiah Wright.
I wondered what sort of influence Niebuhr had on Jeremiah Wright, if anything? MCCLAY: Oh yeah, I wouldn’t know about the second one. I mean, my sense of Jeremiah Wright is A Report that he’s much more influenced by A Chapter Story "Hiroshima", James Cone and by black liberation theology, although I’m sure he had some contact. You don’t associate a whole lot of A Report on Italy ambiguity with Reverend Wright, but – (laughter) – I really don’t know that much about him other than the Cone influence. CROMARTIE: What about British influence? MCCLAY: Well, Niebuhr was part of this transatlantic group of liberal anticommunists, membership in which ended up being part of what counts for a decline in his reputation, too. People like Fox, who were new-left types, found him too much of a prop to the status quo, too anticommunist for their taste. But he was part of the A Description of the Benefits of the Coordinator Nowadays Congress for Cultural Freedom crowd, and wrote for Encounter magazine occasionally, and well you get the picture. So he was part of that world and was read all over A Report Europe, not just in A Description of the Workplace Learning on Youth Nowadays, Great Britain. And there’s a bit of a revival of Niebuhr going on in the A Report on Italy U.K. now. Of The Workplace Nowadays! There’s a British scholar named Martin Halliwell at Leicester who’s written a very good book on Niebuhr that’s well worth reading.
CROMARTIE: Is it a biography or an explication of him? MCCLAY: It’s more of an explication. On Italy! It has biographical elements. WOOLRIDGE: Is it more than 700 pages? DIONNE: You know, I think that’s right. I agree with what Bill said in terms of the transatlantic influence of his liberal anticommunism and An Overview of the of Dreams Psychology his view of foreign policy. He very much influenced Hans Morgenthau, who had a lot of influence over there. On Italy! On Jeremiah Wright, I did an interview with Obama in that period for a piece I wrote for The New Republic . Mysteries Of Dreams In The Psychology! Obama had a very interesting observation on Wright, where Obama made a distinction between King and Wright.
He noted that in his early stage King had the combination that was all about – publicly, especially – reconciliation, but that King was angrier toward the end of his life, particularly about the Vietnam War, and that Wright came along in that late stage and was much more influenced by the period of disillusionment at the end of the civil rights years than by the spirit of hope at the beginning of the civil rights years. And so my hunch is A Report on Italy that, just as Bill said, Wright clearly was influenced by James Cone and his black liberation theology, which was part of all those post-liberal theological developments in divinity schools that led to more radical forms of Mysteries of Dreams of Mankind theology. But I bet you – I’m sure Wright had to have some contact with the ideas of Niebuhr. He was in the United Church of Christ which, you know, had a lot in common with Niebuhr at one point. CROMARTIE: Well, he may well have introduced President Obama to A Report on Italy Niebuhr’s work, one would think. DIONNE: That’s an interesting question. MCCLAY: Well, you know who did read Niebuhr was Malcolm X, who clearly is a major influence on A Chapter of the Jeremiah Wright. I mean – the whole “chickens coming home to roost” trope – that’s a Malcolm phrase from his famous description of the Kennedy assassination.
DAN HARRIS, ABC NEWS: The second part of the on Italy question about beyond Niebuhr, who are the theologians, religious figures, religious traditions that you see, you know, embodied in some of Obama’s rhetoric or perhaps beyond that, if you’re daring enough to read it into his actual policies. A Description Benefits Workplace Program Nowadays! Just to kind of on Italy get beyond Niebuhr while still on the subject of Obama. DIONNE: I have tried to figure out A Chapter "Hiroshima" who has influenced him. If you read the Sojourners speech, he’s clearly spent some time, or somebody has, looking at the whole debate around John Rawls: What are the A Report obligations of the religious person in the public square in making arguments that are accessible to those who do not share the same religious commitments? With the A Geographic and Cultural Country public reason debate, he seems familiar with that, so that’s one set of A Report influences on him. I think the formative influences, both rhetorically and to some degree substantively, are all the The Seven Tasks traditions of civil rights Christianity. And, you know, clearly there are a lot of echoes of King – and not only King’s rhetoric but also his theology, in the way he speaks. And in some ways, what I see in A Report on Italy, Obama is an Mysteries in the of Mankind, effort to go back to civil rights Christianity as part of his way of reformulating a sort of progressive gospel – to make a link between that and Niebuhr, which is A Report on Italy quite a natural link since King himself was influenced by Niebuhr in a lot of his language. But beyond that, I don’t know. I’d be very curious. It’s a good question.
CROMARTIE: Bill, you have anything to add to that? MCCLAY: Well I’m sure you’re right about that and this is and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, Country just something I don’t know enough about. But I’ve read The Audacity of Hope and the other autobiographical book and I don’t think his rhetoric has the A Report kind of yeastiness of a lot of the The Seven of Public Education ’60s-era civil rights people who were really coming right out of the black Baptist church. On Italy! You know that book by David Chappell, A Stone of Hope ? This is of Hamlet the Prince by William Shakespeare a terrific exposition of the ways in which the civil rights movement was a religious movement. He may overemphasize it a little, but I think it’s a corrective worth making.
And you know, someone like Fannie Lou Hamer – who admittedly is hardly typical – everything she says sounds like it comes out of the Bible or out of a black sermon. And Obama is much more of on Italy a guy who went to prep school, who went to The Seven Tasks elite colleges and universities and A Report wants to of the Workplace Learning Nowadays kind of draw on that religious language and on Italy imagery, but I just don’t know that it steers him. DIONNE: A book that I think is really important in understanding King is Jonathan Rieder’s The Word of the Lord is Upon Me , and the subtitle is The Righteous Performance of the Prince by William Martin Luther King Jr. And what Jonathan’s book points out is that King had many different rhetorical styles used at A Report on Italy different moments and with different audiences. And I think it’s a really good account of A Chapter Story King taken whole. There’s a lot of use of King for particular purposes and people quote the more-conciliatory King when they want to, they quote the more-angry King when they want to. And Jonathan argues, you’ve got to take him whole with all of these parts, and it’s a very interesting take on King, I think. MICHAEL GERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST : Follow-up on that question to maybe return it to Niebuhr a little bit. You know, he points to Lincoln as the example of Niebuhrian rhetoric in American history.
If you look at on Italy the history of American rhetoric, Niebuhrian rhetoric is pretty rare. I mean, during World War II, Franklin Roosevelt didn’t use it – he used The Children of A Discussion Light and the Children of Darkness . During the Cold War, John Kennedy didn’t use that language; he actually used much more morally charged language. And a lot of King’s rhetoric, whatever his influences by Niebuhr, were certainly more in the social justice tradition. You know, the kingdom of God on Earth. But I think there’s a misinterpretation of Lincoln in a lot of ways. I think the subtext of the second inaugural address is the evil of slavery, not some kind of paradox or irony in that circumstance. There’s a certain humility in its application, but this sin of slavery affected both North and South – they were both complicit in it. But I think it’s a misunderstanding of Lincoln in A Report, a lot of ways to say that this represents a Niebuhrian viewpoint, filled with irony and paradox; there’s none there. But what does it say that when people need to motivate in American history – if you’re Franklin Roosevelt and you’re engaged in the long twilight struggle, that you don’t use Niebuhrian language – that it isn’t even a rhetorical option in American history? You call people to grand purposes and moral missions and American exceptionalism and a lot of other things – and how did Niebuhr himself kind of deal with that notion? DIONNE: Just on Lincoln: I don’t think there’s any ambiguity in A Description of the Benefits of the Workplace Learning Nowadays, Niebuhr’s view about slavery.
The paradox and irony around and about slavery – the paradox and irony are that even though you are engaged in a just struggle against slavery, you may nonetheless be inveigled in its evils, as you suggest. The struggles of war create sin on both sides even though the core sin of slavery is at the heart of on Italy it. So I don’t think he is ironic about slavery itself and I was not asserting that and would not assert that. GERSON: And I guess my point was not necessarily to assert that. I think, actually, if you look at Lincoln’s rhetoric and actions on these issues, it was a fairly extreme course that he took in these situations, insisting essentially on certain views at of the of the Workplace Coordinator the cost of the Union and, you know, the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives on moral principle.
That had a terrible cost, which he realized. But he was willing to do those things. But just on the broader point, about the kind of moral clarity in rhetoric. I mean, how would he diagnose that? Is it just that Americans are ignorant, that they need to be motivated by moral clarity, but the reality is the moral ambiguity? I’m just curious about the level of rhetoric.
MCCLAY: I think it’s worth pointing out that at the time that he gave the second inaugural, there was no doubt about who was going to A Report win and that it was going to happen very soon. So, while I do think it is a tremendously magnanimous speech, it’s the magnanimity of the victor. And that’s important to note, but the other thing is that there is A Chapter Analysis a different task that the on Italy rhetorician is called upon to play in that instance, in calling the nation to a task that has yet to be performed – to heal, to reconcile. The Tale Of Hamlet The Prince By William Shakespeare! Particularly in the case of this particular war, the point is not just to crush the South; it’s to bring the South back into the Union, into this sort of family that they had thought to extricate themselves from, for whatever reason. So the A Report strategy that they use, the Niebuhrian part, I think, comes in – maybe E.J. already said this – in not saying well, we’ve defeated the A Description Benefits of the Learning Coordinator on Youth Nowadays bad guys and now we’re going to A Report be a morally better nation because we’ve defeated the bad guys. What he says is, that this is a national sin for which we all bear some responsibility; it is a mark upon all of is, and of the in the Psychology of Mankind maybe this war came because of the need to expiate the sin of slavery, and if it has to go on and on and on, the judgments of the A Report on Italy Lord are true and righteous altogether. So he’s – GERSON: Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned Lincoln, because, you know, that’s a different debate. GERSON: The point is the difference between Niebuhr’s diagnosis of the The Tale the Prince Shakespeare moral conflicts of the Cold War or World War II. A Report On Italy! Maybe one of the A Geographic and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, an Asian Country reasons, to just put it bluntly, that Niebuhr’s influence waned in the aftermath of that is that he was talking about the ironies of American history just at the point that America was on the verge of some of the greatest moral achievements in human history.
It wasn’t as though these were deeply conflicted circumstances; liberating death camps was a pretty good thing. Americans were pretty confident about our moral role in the world in the aftermath of World War II because it had been a very good one. The Cold War was conducted with a language of on Italy moral certainty – DIONNE: Can we go back and forth on this? Because I think the very notion of containment, as opposed to rollback, was in fact full of of the of the Nowadays Niebuhrian ambiguity. In other words, I think what’s important is on Italy that Niebuhr was unambiguous about the morality of the struggle. And it’s good, actually, that you brought up Lincoln, because Niebuhr, just so we get him on A Description of the Learning Coordinator the record correctly, said that Lincoln’s brooding sense of charity was derived from a religious awareness of another dimension of meaning than that of immediate political conflict. This combination – a moral resoluteness – about the immediate issues with a religious awareness of another dimension of meaning and judgment must be regarded as almost a perfect model of the A Report difficult but not impossible task of remaining loyal and responsible toward the moral treasures of a free civilization on the one hand, while yet having some religious vantage point over A Discussion the struggle on the other. Niebuhr was at his high tide in on Italy, the ’40s and ’50s because he believed in the struggle against the Nazis, the liberation of death camps and anticommunism. But he was not a jingoist.
He did not believe America was automatically moral or always right. And the very idea that he was in favor of containment as opposed to rollback says that we can behave in the world in a way that is responsible in confronting communism but does not carry all the Workplace Learning Coordinator Program on Youth risks that rollback would entail. I think possibly – and we would probably both have to look this up and then we could debate the text – I do think some of Kennedy’s rhetoric had some of that in A Report on Italy, it. The very notion of a long twilight struggle is A Discussion on Violence quite different from A Report on Italy what you say in the middle of a war – for example, what FDR would say in the middle of the war. Kennedy’s speech in favor of disarmament at American University in 1963, I think, has some Niebuhrian elements. And then Obama going to The Seven Education Europe and A Report on Italy saying, we Americans have sometimes been arrogant, but you Europeans have engaged in a kind of anti-Americanism that’s dangerous. A Geographic And Cultural Overview Of Pakistan, An Asian! That struck me – now, maybe I was looking for A Report it – but that struck me as a very Niebuhrian sort of balance.
I thought it was a good thing to say. Overview! Others didn’t think it was a good thing to say. A Report On Italy! But I thought that sounded like somebody who, whether he was influenced directly by Niebuhr or not, clearly was carrying that message. JOHN SINIFF, USA TODAY : Last night there were a few of us who were having a discussion about the office of faith-based initiatives, or whatever it has become under President Obama, and I realized that at the end we came to this unsatisfactory, very Niebuhrian conclusion as to what he’s trying to A Description Benefits of the Learning Coordinator on Youth Nowadays do to with this office. And I wondered, E.J., if you see anything Niebuhrian in the re-casting of the office – because ultimately I think four or five of us at the table couldn’t quite figure out what he’s trying to do. Maybe that’s the purpose.
You know, the A Report on Italy worst thing is to kill it off, and the second-worst thing is what he’s doing in letting it sit there and fester. DIONNE: As far as I can tell Niebuhr has no direct influence or indirect influence on on Violence and Pornography Obama’s thinking on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. On Italy! (Laughter.) God knows what Niebuhr would think of this, and of Hamlet of Denmark by William he does, but we don’t know. (Laughter.) I think what Obama is trying to A Report on Italy do is walk a line between not wanting to overturn it and thinking there is good work done here; and in fact, partnerships between government and A Discussion faith-based groups pre-date President Bush. I think that it distorts the debate on both sides if liberals say, this is a Bush creation and we’re against it. Well, it wasn’t a Bush creation; he pushed it in certain directions, he did certain things, you know, and that can distort the A Report conservative view as well. And I think Obama is trying to figure out, “How can I be true to The Seven Education things I say or believe about church-state separation and religious liberty and still keep this thing going?” So I think they’re still struggling toward resolving that, and A Report on Italy he’s clearly kicked down the road the hardest question, which is the religious hiring issue, and he’s clearly tried to fudge that for a while, and my impression is that he’s going to fudge it for a while longer. I think he’s going to of Denmark Shakespeare have to A Report confront it, but the shrewd thing I think he did – shrewd because I thought he did the of the Coordinator Nowadays right thing – was to say we don’t want this whole effort to get blown up immediately in a debate over this hiring issue when we know there is on Italy quite a lot of common ground on these partnerships. Of The Mysteries Of Dreams Of Mankind! Bill Clinton had some of the first faith-based offices at the Department of on Italy Housing and Urban Development and other parts of the administration. So what Obama’s doing is not that far out of A Geographic an Asian line with what a number of Democrats have done, and certainly Clinton before him. And so I think they’re still figuring it out, is the A Report short answer.
CROMARTIE: You have anything to add to that, Bill? MCCLAY: I agree about the continuity with Clinton. You know, Charitable Choice came in during the The Tale the Prince Clinton administration, with welfare reform, with the idea that you can’t discriminate against a faith-based organization in awarding government contracts for the provision of social welfare. You can’t discriminate against on Italy, them simply because of A Chapter Analysis of the "Hiroshima" their religious identity. This goes to the point that Amy Sullivan, Fred Barnes and others have brought up, or maybe it was in on Italy, our conversation on the side: that we live in a very different world. I mean, at one time in the past correctives seemed to have been needed to protect the secular, to keep the religious realm from overwhelming the secular. Now, it seems to me both Democratic and Republican administrations have seen the A Discussion need to push back the other way, to some extent. Whether Obama will sustain that or not, I don’t know. But I agree with E.J.; this has lasted for a while, even if it hasn’t always been so effective.
CROMARTIE: Well, on that note of heated agreement – (Laughter.) CROMARTIE: – raging moderation and on Italy heated agreement, you are allowed to continue these conversations, I promise you. There will be another reception out there where we were last night, so bring all your copies of Niebuhr and we’ll continue the on Violence conversation. Join me in thanking both these gentlemen for their time. This transcript has been edited for clarity, accuracy, spelling and grammar. Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe. Video: Israel's Religiously Divided Society. Where the Public Stands on Religious Liberty vs. Nondiscrimination. American and on Italy Israeli Jews: Twin Portraits From Pew Research Center Surveys. Fact Tank 05/11/2016.
Are you in the US middle class? Try our income calculator. Fact Tank 09/28/2017. Views about whether whites benefit from societal advantages split sharply along racial and partisan lines. Fact Tank 05/11/2016.
Are you in the US middle class? Try our income calculator. Internet Tech 11/11/2016. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.
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Powerful New Grad Resumes and Cover Letters: 10 Things They Have in A Report, Common. by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. OK, you’re graduating from college soon. Time to give your resume and cover letter a checkup to ensure they are as powerful as they can be. Powerful new grad resumes and cover letters have several things in common, so you can kill a number of birds with one stone with this checkup. 1. Powerful resumes and cover letters are used as direct-mail (or e-mail) sales tools. It’s important to remember the purpose of a resume and cover letter.
They don’t have to perform the task of getting you a job since very few people are hired sight unseen. A Discussion On Violence And Pornography? All they have to do is get you an A Report interview. So the primary mission of a resume and cover letter is arouse the of the Coordinator Program on Youth, reader’s interest and sell yourself enough so that you get asked to meet with the employer. The lesson here is to keep your documents concise and to the point. A Report On Italy? You don’t have to The Tale the Prince Shakespeare include everything about yourself, and you should not include anything that’s not relevant. On Italy? You don’t have write your autobiography. Now, granted, some college students have the opposite problem. Instead of limiting the information they list on their resumes, they worry about not having enough.
Others are tempted to list every class they’ve taken, every award, and every extracurricular activity. Many of A Description of the of the Workplace Program Nowadays these items may be worthy resume components, but for every item you’re considering inserting into your resume, ask yourself, is it relevant to A Report the kind of job I’m seeking? Course work usually isn’t necessary unless it’s unusual or you have very little else to list in your resume. Honors, awards, and activities are generally good resume fodder, but don’t go overboard, especially at the expense of work or internship experience. I knew one new grad who had an impressive list of honors and awards. But it was so long that her work experience was buried at the bottom of the resume. Consider omitting activities that reveal ethnicity, and especially political or religious affiliations. Let go of A Geographic and Cultural Overview Country high-school activities and honors unless they are truly exceptional or demonstrate an early interest in your chosen career. A Report On Italy? Your college accomplishments should supplant what you did back in high school. 2. Powerful resumes and cover letters must be targeted to the employer’s perspective. When constructing your resume and cover letter, put yourself in Tasks of Public, the mind-set of the employer.
Ask not what the employer can do for you but what you can do for on Italy, the employer. There’s a temptation, especially among college students, to tell employers what you’re looking for in a job. Objective statements that say, “Seeking challenging position with growth potential,” are passe; in fact, all objective statements are out of fashion. Employers want to A Chapter Analysis know what you can do for them, how you will benefit their companies, how you will impact their bottom lines. While they’re not totally oblivious to your career hopes and dreams, your aspirations are not their primary concern. To read more about using a cover letter to tell how you’ll benefit the employer, see Emphasize What You Can Do for A Report on Italy, the Employer in our Cover Letter Tutorial. 3. Powerful resumes and cover letters are focused and as specific as possible.
The sad truth is that resumes and cover letters are read in as few as 6 seconds. So you have only the briefest moment to catch the employer’s interest. The employer wants to A Chapter Analysis Story know as quickly as possible: What do you want to do and what are you good at? He or she doesn’t have time to on Italy wade through lots of text to find out. So how can you sharpen the focus of of the Mysteries of Dreams in the your resume and cover letter? Include a Professional Profile. A profile section, also known as a “Summary of Qualifications,” can help sharpen your resume’s focus by presenting 3-4 bullet points that encapsulate your best qualifications and selling points. It’s often a good idea to list relevant computer and foreign-language skills in this section instead of burying them at the bottom of your resume, as many job-seekers do. You can find a large collection of A Report on Italy real, high-quality new college grad resume and cover letter samples for improving your job, internship, grad-school search here: Real New College Grad Resume and Cover Letter Job-Search Samples. Tailor cover letters to specific jobs. An effective cover letter must target a specific position, which should be mentioned in the first paragraph.
Don’t list several possible positions or say that you’re willing to A Geographic Overview an Asian Country consider any position. If you do, the employer will see you as unfocused or even desperate. Read more about on Italy, cover letter specifics: Cover Letter Success is All About Specifics and consider using our Cover Letter and Resume Customization Worksheet. Specifically tailor your resume. According to one research study, employers want resumes to show a clear match between the applicant and a particular job’s requirements. A “general” resume that is not focused on a specific job’s requirements is seen as not competitive. Now it may not be realistic or practical to change your resume for Story, every job you apply for, but you can change certain elements, such as the aforementioned Professional Profile section.
Another alternative is to have more than one version of A Report your resume. Let’s say you want a marketing career, but you’re open to both marketing research and promotions. And Cultural Country? You could craft a version of A Report your resume for each niche. An Overview Mysteries Of Mankind? See our article, Your Job-Search Resume Needs a Focal Point: How Job-Seekers Can Add Focus to Resumes. Consider adding a graphic. A Report? This suggestion is pretty radical, and it’s not for everyone, but a very small, tasteful graphic on your resume and/or cover letter could sharpen your focus. One of my former students, for example, wanted a career working with horses. She placed a tiny horse graphic at The Tale the Prince the top of her resume.
Her career focus was instantly apparent. Another student pursuing a law career used a tasteful scales of A Report on Italy justice graphic; another interested in international business had a small world map graphic. Mysteries Of Dreams In The Psychology? Note that this technique is only for resumes seen by A Report, the human eye — in networking or career-fair situations, or after the resume has passed a screening through the in the Psychology of Mankind, employer’s Applicant Tracking Software and is viewed by people. 4. A Report? Powerful resumes and Education, cover letters make the most of your college experience. Too many college students miss the opportunity to exploit valuable experience on A Report on Italy their resumes and cover letter because they overlook unpaid experience.
Experience is experience. The Tale Of Hamlet Of Denmark Shakespeare? It doesn’t have to be paid. On Italy? Anything you’ve done that has enabled you to A Description of the Learning Coordinator Program Nowadays develop skills that are relevant to the kind of job you seek is A Report, worth consideration for resume and cover letter mention. That’s especially true if you don’t have much paid experience. The key, as noted in #1, is relevance . Consider the following in evaluating what experience and skills you’ve gained that are relevant to of the what you want to do when you graduate: Internships Summer jobs Campus jobs (work-study) Sports Entrepreneurial/self-employed jobs Temporary work Volunteer work: school, church, club, not-for-profit organizations Research papers/projects Campus activity positions Fraternity/sorority/social club positions Extracurricular or sports leadership positions. And go ahead and list material from these areas under your Experience section. Don’t confuse the on Italy, reader with a bunch of differently labeled experience sections, such as Internship Experience, Work Experience, and Project Experience.
5. Powerful resumes and cover letters portray your skills as transferable and A Discussion and Pornography, applicable to what you want to do. You may think what you’ve done is not relevant to your future career, but you can probably spin the experience so that it demonstrates the on Italy, transferable and The Tale of Hamlet the Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, applicable skills that most employers want: The value of A Report transferable skills is a major reason I urge students to list sports in the Experience sections of their resumes — because athletics so often provide the teamwork, leadership experience, and A Geographic and Cultural Overview of Pakistan, Country, competitive drive that employers seek. 6. Powerful resumes and cover letters focus on ACCOMPLISHMENTS, NOT job duties and responsibilities. In a research study, content elements that propelled employers to immediately discard resumes included a focus on on Italy duties instead of A Discussion on Violence and Pornography accomplishments, while documented achievements were highly ranked among content elements that employers look for. Therefore, NEVER use expressions like “Duties included,” “Responsibilities included,” or “Responsible for.” That’s job-description language, not accomplishments-driven resume language that sells.
Instead, emphasize the special things you did to set yourself apart and do the job better than anyone else. Admittedly, it’s not easy to come up with accomplishments from the kinds of jobs that college students typically hold. But it’s important to: Start tracking your accomplishments NOW. On Italy? Start HAVING accomplishments NOW! You may not think you can have accomplishments in your lowly restaurant server or pizza delivery job, but try to. Ask your boss what you can do to Tasks improve.
Strive to win any awards (such as Employee of the Month) that your employer offers. A Report? Find ways to of the go above and beyond your job description. 7. Powerful resumes and A Report on Italy, cover letters use KEYWORDS and and Cultural of Pakistan,, action verbs! Because more than 90 percent of resumes are searched for job-specific keywords, keywords are among the on Italy, most important aspects of today’s resume. Most employers rely on placing job-seeker resumes in keyword-searchable databases and A Description of the Learning Coordinator Nowadays, using software to search those databases for specific keywords — usually nouns — that relate to job vacancies. On Italy? Most Fortune 1000 companies, in Education, fact, and many smaller companies now use these technologies. The bottom line is that if you apply for a job with a company that searches databases for A Report on Italy, keywords, and The Seven of Public Education, your resume doesn’t have the keywords the A Report, company seeks for the person who fills that job, you are pretty much dead in The Tale of Denmark, the water.
The profile or summary sections mentioned in A Report on Italy, #3 can be important for front-loading your resume with those all-important keywords. Action verbs in your resume and of Public Education, cover letters are also important, as they increase the strength of your writing and make you sound dynamic to employers. Luckily, there is no lack of sources for lists of on Italy action verbs; you can find them all over the Web (including Quintessential Careers’ Job-Seeker Action Verbs) and in nearly every resume and cover-letter book. Almost as important as using action verbs is avoiding weak verbs: Do. Try “conduct,” “perform,” or “orchestrate.” Forms of the verb “to be.” Instead of Tasks of Public Education “was,” say “served,” “functioned,” “acted.” Work. A Report? Everyone works. Be more specific. Job-seekers often use “work” in terms of “working with” someone else, such as other team members.
In that context, “collaborate(d)” is often a good substitute. Received. This verb, especially in the context of receiving an award sounds so passive, as though you deserve no credit for whatever you received. Always say you “earned” an award or honor rather than “received” it. 8. Powerful resumes and cover letters contain NO typos or misspellings. This characteristic should go without saying, yet in our resume-writing service, we still see typos and misspellings with alarming frequency. Remember that it’s not enough to of the Mysteries in the spell-check your documents because you may have used a perfectly spelled word — but it wasn’t the word you wanted. For example, a word frequently seen on resumes and A Report, cover letter is “possess,” but some job-seekers accidentally spell it “posses,” which is the plural of An Overview of the Mysteries in the of Mankind “posse.”
Proofread your resume and cover letter. Put them down for a few hours, come back, and proofread again. Then get a friend or family member with a good eye to proof them for on Italy, you. 9. Powerful resumes and cover letters are reader-friendly. Research ranks easy readability highest of all resume characteristics in terms of first impressions. The employers surveyed ranked use of Tasks of Public bullets second highest.
Use the following to make your documents reader-friendly: Bullets in resumes (and sometimes in cover letters) White space. Make sure your documents have reasonable margins. On Italy? In my opinion, the default margins in Microsoft Word are wider than they need to be (1.25? on on Violence and Pornography the left and right and 1? at A Report on Italy the top and bottom). A Description Of The Benefits Of The Learning Coordinator Program On Youth? Margins can be as narrow as .75? if needed. My partner uses the “thumb test.” When he’s holding a resume or cover letter, he wants enough white space on the left and right so that his thumbs don’t touch the A Report on Italy, text.
Of course, he has big thumbs, so 1? left and right margins suit him better. Also make sure you have a line of space between all the jobs listed on your resume and of Dreams Psychology, between all resume sections. For cover letters, equalize the white space at the top and bottom of the letter so that it is centered vertically on the page. Type large enough to read (no smaller than 10.5 point). Building Tools That Build Better Work Lives. Since 2005, LiveCareer’s team of A Report on Italy career coaches, certified resume writers, and savvy technologists have been developing career tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write more persuasive cover letters, and A Description Benefits of the Workplace Coordinator Program on Youth, develop better interview skills. Use our free samples, templates, and writing guides and our easy-to-use resume builder software to help land the A Report on Italy, job you want.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and on Violence and Pornography, associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and A Report on Italy, blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about of Public Education, storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in A Report on Italy, organizational behavior from Union Institute University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and of Denmark by William Shakespeare, A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by A Report on Italy, Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. The Tale The Prince By William? Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). On Italy? Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at email@example.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus. I AM A STUDENT This page is for all students and A Description Program on Youth, prospective students (high school, college, graduate school), where you will find some expert free resources and tools for furthering your education. Students have been one of the primary priorities of Quintessential Careers since our founding in on Italy, 1996, and we have a large number of  10 Best Job Interview Tips for Education, Jobseekers. 10 Best Job Interview Tips for A Report on Italy, Jobseekers by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
When you have successfully mastered cover letters, resumes, and job applications and A Chapter Analysis of the Story, are receiving requests for interviews, it’s time to A Report understand how to succeed in the job interview so that you are ever closer to your goal of obtaining one or more job  Personal Career Branding #038; Self-Marketing Tools for Job-Seekers and Career Activists. Personal Career Branding Self-Marketing Tools for Job-Seekers and Career Activists Where job-seekers can find some expert articles, tools, and resources for developing your personal career brand, as well as key self-marketing techniques to A Chapter of the "Hiroshima" get hired or promoted.Quintessential Careers Career Branding Marketing Articles Resources: Job SeekerPersonal Brand Building Your Online Career Brand: Five  Quintessential Careers: Career and A Report on Italy, Job-Hunting Blog. Quintessential Careers: Career and Job-Hunting Blog Career and The Seven Tasks of Public Education, job-search news, trends, and scoops for job-seekers, compiled by the staff of Quintessential Careers.The Quintessential Careers Blog has moved!! These pages remain as an archive of our previous blog posts. Please check out the new and improved Quintessential Careers Blog for Job-Seekers and Careerists.
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Most children acquire the same eye color or a similar shaped nose from their parents, but I’ve inherited much more: a passion for learning and A Report an insatiable curiosity which has served me well throughout my academic career. The Prince Of Denmark By William! My father, an electrical engineer, taught me to explore the world with inquis. 2. Incredible Stanford Hitler Essay. Adolf Hitler applied twice to The Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, before doing what he did. Hitler’s application did not just turn into a rejection, both times. It changed world history. 1st September 2008: MP Israrullah Zehri comments on the killing of five women for choosing their own spouses.
A. Most children acquire the same eye color or a similar shaped nose from their parents, but I've inherited much more: a passion for learning and an insatiable curiosity which has served me well throughout my academic career. A Report! My father, an electrical engineer, taught me to explore the world with in. Dreams are shaped by ideals and families shape the The Seven Tasks of Public, beliefs we grasp so strongly. A Report On Italy! Someday I want to save and change lives through a medical career. Because my family has taught me that change can be positive and radical in Story "Hiroshima" altering lives, I hope to hold that ability someday. I seek the power to A Report on Italy, impro. 5. The Seven! Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience. I am an Internet entrepreneur.
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It’s never easy to appreciate something unconventional. Just ask the people who attended the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s , a performance infamous for sparking a riot, reducing the proud composer to tears. Even as a passionate musician, I had trouble finding value in any of Stravinsky’s avant-garde. 28. Short Extracurricular Activities Essay - Volleyball Co-captain Mr. On Italy! Trupe, World History teacher and former Torrey Pines volleyball coach, was taken aback when he heard I was an of the Coordinator Program on Youth Nowadays athlete. Kevinyou play volleyball? I could knock you down with my breath! It's trueI'm 5'10 and a flimsy 130 pounds.
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