Winter 1989 • Vol. XI No. 1 Special Anniversary Feature: Excerpts from the War Years |

Notes on a Democratic Philosophy

From the Autumn 1942 issue. We hear frequently these days that if democracy is to survive it must have a new faith; that battles are not won by tanks and planes alone, but also by passionate dedication to an idea which exacts the last ounce of resourcefulness and determination from men. With this position there can be no quarrel. Even if the stoical attitude of the realistic soldier—the attitude that he has a dirty job to do and that his pride will lead him to do it well—should suffice to win the war from the fanatical devotees of Nazism and Shinto, it will not suffice to win the peace. A political faith is promulgated by a statesman who is in a position to wear the mantle of the prophet. It is something simple, concretely presented, emotionally persuasive, dogmatically asserted. It is, in short, not a philosophy. Is there, then, a need for a democratic philosophy as well as a democratic faith? Although this country was founded on a philosophy, our political prac

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