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il Barth, one of the most eminent theologians 
fi century, has reaffirmed his stand against 
eligious commitment in the Cold War. In a 
er to a Pastor in the German Democratic 
public,” reported in the New York Times last 
jonth, he has again insisted that if it is to be 
to its vocation, the Christian Church must 
tain neutral in the present world struggle. 
But Barth seems to have moved beyond the 
utralism he expressed in his famous 1948 lec- 
t, “The Church Between East and West.”: 
y, ten years later, he clearly is neutral against 
United States. The East German pastor had 
asked him whether Christians living under Com- 
mist regimes might properly seek to “pray 
“way” their oppression. “Might you not fear,” the 
I ologian replied, “that He might grant your 
‘prayers in the fearful fashion of letting you awake 
‘one morning among the fleshpots of Egypt as a 
bounden to the American way of life?” 
answer, with all that it implies, has 
‘tned considerable anguish among many Chris- 
‘tins. In West Germany Barth has been criticized 
for proclaiming “the worst kind of neutralism.” 
Inthe United States The Christian Century (in 
an editorial quoted elsewhere in this issue) asks: 
y is this man, who condemned Naziism, blind 
to the evils of totalitarianism when it appears in 
its Communist form?” In both Europe and Amer- 
ita, the controversy that the new Barth pro- 
nouncement has aroused takes us back to the 
heart of the question of religion and international 

~As Reinhold Niebuhr has stated, Karl Barth is 
certainly “neither a ‘primitive anti-Communist,’ 
Ror a ‘secret pro-Communist.’ He is merely a very 
eminent theologian, trying desperately to be im- 
partial in his judgments.” The premise of Barth’s 
Reutralism is basic to his theological thought: the 
transcendence of God over all times and places, 
and the duty of the Church to witness to, and to 
judge, all times and places, including, most es- 
pecially, those times and places which seem most 
congenial to the Church. 




Beware of the seducer, Barth warns Christians 
in the West. When an age, a culture, a State seem 
to offer you the most, that is when you, as Chris- 
tians, are in deadly danger. And to Christians in 
the East he seems to offer the ancient comfort: 
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the 

The first thing we must state quite clearly to 
those who demand that the Church take sides 
between East and West, Barth wrote ten years 
ago, is “that the Church is not identical with 
the West, that the Western conscience and judg- 
ment is not necessarily the Christian judgment. 
Just as the Christian judgment and the Christian 
conscience are not necessarily the Eastern con- 
science and judgment either.” And addressing 
those in the West who point to the official athe- 
ism of the East as reason for a religious-political 
Crusade he asked: “What should the Church do? 
Join in a general Eastern front as the representa- 
tive of the special interests of the Divine?” 

No, he answered, religion can have nothing to 
do with a “partisan” Crusade against Commu- 
nism. “Not a Crusade but the word of the Cross 
is what the Church in the West owes to the god- 
less East, but above all to the West itself.” And 
he warned, then as now, that if we pray for the 
destruction of the bulwarks of Communism, “then 
we shall have to pray in the same breath for the 
destruction of the bulwarks of the Western anti- 
Christ as well.” 

Theologically, Barth’s position seems unassail- 
able. Religion, ultimately, is transcendent or it 
is nothing. The Church in every age must say a 
firm No to every invitation to become a kind of 
pampered, flattered courtesan of the State or of 
political camps. Many of the criticisms of Barth’s 
position, from Christian sources, seem to miss 
this, Barth’s essential truth. And this is a truth 
that needs constant retelling in societies where 
religion and a partisan “patriotism” are too often 


volume 2 number 3 

The Christian Churches—both Protestant and 
Catholic—have not made this confusion in their 
official pronouncements. Despite strong pressures 
and criticisms, the World Council of Churches 
has consistently refused to identify its cause with 
the political cause of the West. And the Church 
of Rome (which politicians love to praise as “the 
West's greatest ally against Communism”) has 
very carefully insisted that its mission is in no 
way tied to the military-political objectives of 
Western power. 

But some individual (and also highly-placed ) 
Churchmen, both Protestant and Catholic, have 
spoken and written as though God had taken a 
desk in the U.S. State Department, and they have 
seemed to imply that any questioning of State 
Department policies—for example its China pol- 
icy—is somehow a questioning of the Eternal 
Decrees. For all such Churchmen, Barth’s posi- 
tion should come as a thundering reminder of 

essential religious truths. One might say, indeed, - 

that only those Churchmen who have remem- 
bered these truths in their own situations, who 
have refused to tie religion to political objectives 
and who have tried to speak religion’s judging 
word to national pretensions, have any right now 
to criticize Karl Barth. 

It is not in the theological essentials of his po- 
sition that Barth is open to criticism. Unpleasant, 
inexpedient as these may sound to most Western 
—and perhaps to some Eastern—ears, they are 
hard truths that religion forgets at its own peril. 
It is rather (and “of course” ) in his political dicta 
that the theologian invites the criticism, not of 
“bad faith” or “pro-Communism,” but rather of 
an astounding naiveté. 

Barth seems quite incapable of distinguishing 
any middle ground of relative justice in the cur- 
rent struggle between East and West. He sees, 
quite rightly, that the West as well as the East 
is under God’s judgment, and he sees, again 
quite rightly, that religion must proclaim that 
judgment to Washington, Paris and Bonn as well 
as to Moscow. But because he sees these things, 
he can see nothing else. Because he cannot say 
Yes or No to either side, he can say nothing— 
except to pronounce a transcendent plague-on- 
both-your-houses. He is politically irresponsible 
because he cannot utter the “perhaps” and the 
“maybe” that are the necessary vocabulary of po- 
litical art. 


Karl Barth, however, is not a statesman, or 
even a political amateur. He is a theologian, and 
it is as a theologian that he speaks. In fact, his 
new “Letter” makes it clear that he can speak 
only as a theologian. In the dense forest of po- 
litical relativities he is unable to distinguish one 
injustice, one hypocrisy, from a worse injustice 
and a worse hypocrisy. Because all the roads are 
twisted, he cannot see that some give a chance, 
at least, for freedom, and others lead only to regi- 
mentation and death. 

But, stripped of its serious political naiveté, 
Barth’s continued insistence on the ultimate free- 
dom of religion in the world struggle, on the 
urgency for religion’s examining and challenging 
the illusions of the West as well as of the East, is 
very relevant indeed. And it is a position for 
which we can all be grateful. 


Last month the Saturday Evening Post ran an 
interesting editorial. Its rather pugnacious title 
asked: “Who Says 38,000,000 Protestants Want 
to Recognize Red China?” The Post supplied the 
answer in the editorial’s lead paragraph. It was, 
it seems, the Worker—that tired weekly whisper 
of the American Communist Party—that said this 
startling thing. 

And why did the Worker say it? According to 
the Post, it was because of the November meet- 
ing in Cleveland of the World Order Study Con- 
ference of the National Council of Churches. At 
this meeting the delegates passed a resolution 
favoring U.S. recognition of Communist China 
and its admission to the United Nations. 

The Post’s implication is clear: by this resolu- 
tion the Conference gave aid and comfort to the 
Worker. Otherwise, why did the Post have to 
seek out its information from the Communist 
paper, and, in reporting it editorially, imply that 
the news was published in the Communist paper 
as a kind of scoop? After all, the New York Times 
gave considerable coverage to the Conference, 
and its China resolution, at the time of the meet- 
ing in November, and reports on the proceedings 
appeared in most of the nation’s religious press. 
But reporting stories as “from the Worker” is an 
old trick of those who wish to insinuate that 
something is Communist-tainted—a trick well 
taught, in his day, by the master of such insinua- 
tion himself. 


jp the magazines 

“The Cult of the ‘American Consensus’” by John 
Higham (Commentary, February) is an extended 
consideration of the “new look” in American histori- 
cal scholarship. In the work of contemporary his- 
torians, notably Daniel J. Boorstin, the author finds 
an interpretation of the American past which differs 
significantly from the older generation of Turner, 
Beard and Parrington. The earlier view of American 
history as a story of cleavage and conflict (“East vs. 
West; . . . farmers vs. businessmen; . . . city vs. 
country; property rights vs. human rights; Hamilton- 
ianism vs. Jeffersonianism”) has given way to a 
monistic image of stability, continuity and flow: “In- 
stead of two traditions or sections or classes deployed 
against one another all along the line of national 
development, we are told that America in the largest 
sense has had one unified culture. Classes have turned 
into myths, sections have lost their solidarity, ideol- 
ogies have vaporized into climates of opinion. The 
phrase ‘the American experience’ has become an in- 

The concept of a “consensus” has further ramifica- 
tions. The perennial issue of our neglect of theory for 
practice in the realm of politics has received new 
emphasis, according to Professor Higham; in Boor- 
stin’s assertion that the supposed intellectual defi- 
ciencies of the American tradition were in reality 
proofs of practical virtue and social vigor, he cites 
evidence of a new conservatism in historiography as 
opposed to the older progressive approach. It is a 
conservatism that evokes the pragmatic faith of James 
and Dewey with the difference that the old belief in 
ideas as “precious tools for attaining practical ends” 
is abandoned. “For Boorstin . . . thought does not 
guide behavior; behavior defines thought or makes it 
unnecessary .. .” 

This “larcenous seizure of pragmatic attitudes for 
the sake of a conservative historiography” has come 
about, in Professor Higham’s opinion, through the 
attempt, over the past ten years, of historians (Kirk 
and Rossiter as well as Boorstin) to mount a tradi- 
tion of conservative thought to compete with that of 
the liberals. But the competition was seen to lack 
ideological content, and the new view of history, 
“instead of upholding the role of the right in America, 

- - merges the left with the right. It argues that 
America has ordinarily fused a conservative temper 
with a liberal state of mind. It displays, therefore, 
the homogeneity and the continuity of American cul- 

Richard Lowenthal’s report on Berlin, “The Cross- 
roads,” which appears in the February issue of En- 
counter, probes the motives behind the Soviets’ new 

post-Stalin policy of “crisis creation,” and suggests 
some counter-moves for the West that would be more 
effective than its present diplomatic and military in- 
sistence on “stability” and “status quo.” Mr. Lowen- 
thal writes: “Khrushchev’s revival of the Cold War is 
the continuation of co-existence diplomacy by differ- 
ent means. He uses military threats not because he 
wishes to resume military expansion in the heart of 
Europe—a lunatic policy, the risks of which he fully 
appreciates—but because he wants to lift the double 
mortgage of Western political nonacceptance [of 
East Germany] and of the ring of Western mili 
bases from the conquests Stalin bequeathed to his 

Western response has been “negative and incon- 
sistent .. . Mr. Khrushchev has challenged the West 
either to preach what it practices or to practice what 
it preaches.” But, while our policy must broaden to 
meet every possibility—including that of a blockade 
—we must beware of negotiating along the lines 
which Khrushchev has used to define the “Berlin 
question.” “By focusing attention on the status of 
Berlin, Mr. Khrushchev is seeking to build up the 
suggestion that the position of this city is the one 
anomaly that requires a solution in the interest of 
peace. The moment we accept this suggestion, the 
moment we agree to negotiate a separate new solu- 
tion for Berlin, we take the wrong turning at the 
political crossroads—the turning that leads to perma- 
nent acceptance of the status quo of German and 
European partition, and hence to a major and pos- 
sibly decisive defeat for the West.” 

The February 7 issue of the Saturday Review car- 
ries an article by Adlai Stevenson on the moral chal- 
lenge before the West today. 

It is Mr. Stevenson’s belief that “the quality of our 
moral response has become the decisive issue in 
politics,” for the reason that “most of the major 
problems of our day present themselves in moral 
terms, and are probably insoluble without some stir- 
ring of generosity, some measure of vision.” Among 
these problems: the existence of poverty within our 
own borders and without; the rights and status of 
colored peoples and their susceptibility to Commu- 
nist ideals of “brotherhood.” The task that these chal- 
lenges impose upon us requires that we assume a 
responsibility which extends beyond the realm of per- 
sonal morality. “For no democratic system can sur- 
vive without at least a large and active leaven of 
citizens in whom dedication and selflessness are not 
confined to private life, but are the fundamental prin- 
ciples of their activity in the public sphere.” 




It Symbolizes a New Sweep of Democracy in Latin America 

James Finn 

The exchange of criticism that swept back and forth 
between Cuba and the United States early this year 
caught many people in both countries largely by sur- 
prise, The victorious rebel leaders and the Cuban 
people were disconcerted when even Americans who 
welcomed the overthrow of General Fulgencio Ba- 
tista criticized harshly the rapid trials and executions 
of those who had been imprisoned as war criminals. 
And Americans were taken aback at the resentment 
with which their criticism was met, and often slightly 
bewildered to find that the resentment has been 
building up for years. 

This mutual criticism, it becomes increasingly 
clear, marks a watershed between two views of 
Cuba: the definite but distorted picture presented to 
the United States when Batista was dictator, and the 
shape of present Cuba which is only gradually 
emerging out of the successful revolution and which 
is yet to be sharply defined. 

Almost as soon as I arrived in Havana it became 
obvious that practically all Cubans, from Fidel 
Castro to the cab drivers, felt impelled to correct 
misconceptions they attributed to the American peo- 
ple. Only misinformation, they felt, could account for 
the critical sentiments so prevalent in the United 

This was strikingly evident during the great rally 
which formed to hear Castro speak from the Presi- 
dent’s Palace. As he spoke of the terror and corrup- 
tion of the Batista regime, of the difficulties of the 
insurrectionist rebels and the ideals of the revolu- 
tionary government, the crowd reacted enthusiasti- 
cally. And when he asked if they approved of the 
conduct of the war trials the response was loud and 
prolonged. This, Castro said, was a manifestation to 
the world of “the will of the people,” by which the 
new government would be guided. He hoped that 
the several hundred foreign newsmen who had been 
assembled there and had seen this demonstration 
would return to their respective countries to clear 
up the falsehood about Cuba. 

Mr. Finn, an associate editor of The Commonweal, 
is one of the American journalists who covered 
the recent trials in Cuba. 


After asserting defensively that the present regime 
had no reason to defend itself before indictments 
from abroad, he launched into an explanation and a 
defense of the “revolutionary justice” that was being 
practiced. The prisoners, he stated, were guilty of 
the most gross and inhuman crimes. The aftermath 
of the revolution was more controlled and orderly 
than any other revolution one could call to mind 
only because the people trusted the rebels swiftly to 

‘mete out justice. If these trials were not held, the 

government would be responsible for the havoc that 
would surely follow. The trials themselves might well 
be compared to the Nuremberg trials held by the 
victorious Western powers. Further, the United 
States had forfeited the right to criticize because it 
had for so long continued support to Batista, and to 
this day supported corrupt regimes in the Dominican 
Republic and Nicaragua. Let these faults be remedied 
before criticizing those of others. 

These brusque and repeated assertions, the ex- 
pression of an exposed sensitivity and a desire to ap- 
pear justified in world opinion, were also evident, 
though to a lesser extent, in Castro’s press conference. 
But here he was preceded by other speakers whose 
main purpose was to offer detailed and documented 
accounts of the crimes perpetrated under the dic- 
tatorship of Batista. It was a catalogue of horrors: of 
pierced eyes and extracted fingernails; of beatings, 
castration and hangings; of a range of tortures remi- 
niscent of Nazi ingenuity. With these outlined before 
one—and they were intimately familiar to the people 
of Cuba—it was easier to understand the strong emo- 
tion which supported the war trials. 

And in these early days, when the newsmen and 
journalists descended upon Cuba, the war trials were 
the first item of discussion. The trial of Major Jesus 
Sosa Blanca, which followed the press conference, 
was held in the large, circular Sports Coliseum, quite 
obviously so that the observers would be favorably 
impressed with the due process accorded even to one 
of the most widely known and deeply hated prison- 
ers. That American papers repeated past criticisms 

se ee ee ae ae ee eee ee ee rer Ge ee ke 



and compared this particular trial to performances in 
the Coliseum of Rome—a comparison that occurred to 
Sosa Blanca himself—merely bewildered the Cubans. 
They had concentrated on putting their best foot 
forward only to be told that they were headed in the 
wrong direction. This bewilderment, and the subse- 
quent retrial of Sosa Blanca, are marks of the un- 
certain stance of the new government and of an al- 
most inevitable naiveté. 

But this naiveté has been more than matched in 
the commentary that has issued from the United 
States, where the naiveté is less justified. The disap- 
pointed and censorious reactions which Americans 
early extended to Castro’s forces can, of course, be 
partially attributed to poor press coverage. Batista 
had clamped a tight censorship on the island and 
only a few American reporters, notably Herbert 
Matthews of the New York Times, broke through this. 

The little news that filtered out did scant justice to 
the intense terror which was the daily companion of 
the Cubans. When Batista did flee and Castro sud- 
denly—as it seemed—emerged triumphant under the 
banners of democracy, Americans wished upon him 
their own “democratic” feelings and attitudes. Since 
he had thrown off press censorship and opened the 
doors to the press, news about the immediate events 
was plentiful. And when the rebels acted differently 
from the ideals that had been established for them, 
Americans were shocked. The war trials were torn 
from the only context in which they could be fairly 
considered, and pronounced barbarous. 

But however one judges the trials and however 
indicative they may be of the temper of Castro and 
his followers, they will fade into the past as more 
insistent and more lasting problems press upon the 
new government. The first and largest question which 
now faces Cuba is what kind of government is the 
new government to be. And, following that, what re- 
lations will Cuba establish with the United States? 
These questions are of more importance to the United 
States than is immediately apparent, for the answers 
given to them will directly influence our relations 
with the entire Latin American world. 

The government Cuba is to have, at least initially, 
depends largely on Castro. Although he has said, “I 
am not the Government,” the provisional government 
which was headed by President Manuel Urrutia and 
Premier Jose Miro Cardona was of course designated 
by him. And, if we leave aside the Communists, there 
is at this moment only one effective party in Cuba— 
the Fidelistas, those who are united in support of 

their country’s liberator. This support cuts across all 
levels of society; it extends from the guajiros, the 
Cuban peasants, to the middle-class professional and 
the intellectual. It combines large elements of con- 
fidence and trust in Castro precisely because he is 
regarded as a liberator, as one who opposed and 
overthrew a corrupt, brutal regime. This, more than 
any specific, enunciated program is, therefore, the 
reason for his present support. It is clearly insufficient 
to be the basis for terminal judgments about the 
future course of Castro, or of Cuba. 

Castro has, of course, on numerous occasions out- 
lined most sketchily his political and economic goals. 
What he has said has always been some variation of 
the statement he made during the press conference: 
“My political ideals are clear as spring water. We are 
defending only the interests of our peoples; we want 
only economic independence along with political in- 
dependence. We must stop exploitation to establish 
a regime of social independence, but always within 
the framework of full human freedom.” And he has 
constantly reiterated that “I am a democrat, a true 

In more particular terms he has stated that “basic 
objectives” of the revolutionary regime are social re- 
forms, including social security, more and better 
housing, equal land distribution, and improved edu- 
cation. Before these can be fulfilled, or even fairly 
undertaken, the economy of the island must be stabi- 
lized. The principal industries upon which that 
economy is based are sugar, tobacco and tourism, 
and concerning these Castro has made some definite 

An experimental land reform movement has al- 
ready been launched under Castro’s aegis. Since 
there is little diversification on Cuba’s rich farms the 
work is largely seasonal. Thus in 1958 more than a 
third of Cuba’s working force was unemployed or 
averaged only a few hours a week. This does much 
to account for the fact that in a nation which has a. 
yearly national income of close to two billion dollars: 
for its six million inhabitants, the Cuban peasant 
lives on twenty-five cents a day. The agrarian re- 
form which is just getting under way will, if it 
develops, do much to alleviate these conditions and 
strengthen the entire economic structure. 

Tourism, the other large industry, has been the 
source of tension and disagreement among members 
of the revolutionary regime and, it seems, the cause 
of the first break in the seeming unity. For it depends 
to a large extent upon the large gambling casinos in 
the big tourist hotels. These casinos, most of which 
are owned by citizens of the U. S., symbolized for 


Cubans the corruption of the Batista dictatorship and 
many were smashed during the last days. 

Castro, who is personally opposed to gambling, at 
one time said that the casinos would stay closed. 
While President Urrutia and various members of the 
provisional government have maintained this posi- 
tion, Castro has shifted ground. In the interest of the 
economy, he has said, and of the ten thousand work- 
ers who depend for their livelihood on the tourist 
trade, he favors reopening the casinos. 

It was evidently the opposition between what 
Premier-designate Cardona advocated and what 
Castro proclaimed in many speeches that led Mr. 
Cardona to resign. Now that Castro himself is 
Premier, and the law has been changed so that his 
age will not disqualify him for the Presidency, Cas- 
tro’s power has been politically affirmed. But he has 
also formed his first direct, vocal opposition. 

Castro’s action here is worth examining, for it 
seems to reveal deep inconsistency. He has shifted 
ground on the gambling casinos, an issue which stirs 
strong emotions in Cuba. After proclaiming that he 
was not the Government, he spoke as if he were and, 
when difficulties developed, he took over the Premier- 
ship. Even further, the law has been changed so that 
he will not have to wait until he is thirty-five, three 
years from now; to be President. 

Thefe are some who will find in these actions only 
confirmation of their general thesis, that Castro’s 
idealism was only rhetoric deep, or at least not deep 
enough to withstand the pressures and temptations 
allotted to a.national leader and spokesman. But it 
is also possible to view these actions as the result of 
an idealism that has yet to find its way in the 
labyrinthian realities of governing. 

In everything he has said and done, during and 
after the revolution, Castro has displayed vitality, 
imagination and thoughtfulness. He has also, how- 
ever, been oddly assertive and erratic. Even those 
who have a substantial faith in his good intentions 
cannot say how he intends to cross the terrain be- 
tween present conditions and his goals for the future. 
This uncertainty about the particulars of his inten- 
tions does not necessarily indicate insincerity on 
Castro’s part. It is indeed probable that he lacks, not 
sincerity, but certainty, that he has no fixed ideology 
and is responding to conditions pragmatically. 

This very sensitivity and uncertainty, which seem 
to be a part of Castro and the Government, make the 
early expressions of United States attitudes more im- 
portant than they would ordinarily be. There is an 

anti-dictatorial spirit sweeping all Latin American 
countries. While democracy does not automatically 
replace a fallen regime, in Latin America any more 
than in other parts of the world, the democratic rhet- 
oric and sentiment which derive from heroes such as 
José Marti are becoming increasingly meaningful. 

The changing structure of many Latin American 
countries, among which Cuba can be included, is 
creating a middle class which wishes to moderate 
the traditional abuses so long associated with dicta- 
torial reigns in Latin America. That within the last 
four years six Latin American dictators have been 
replaced is only the most striking manifestation of 
the profound transformation Latin America is under- 

In one form or another the changes in South Amer- 
ica have paraded across the headlines of our papers. 
And the ambivalent feelings which many South 

_Americans have toward the United States were 

known and evaluated in our State Department be- 
fore Mr. Nixon made his recent unhappy trip. But 
such knowledge has only recently, and still insuffi- 
ciently, altered the course of our South American 
policy. More than once in the last several years, the 
United States has been in the embarrassing position 
of seeming to give aid and friendship to a regime that 
maintained itself only by suppressing popular senti- 
ment. When the Latin Americans see what at least 
appears to be cordiality between our representatives 
and those of a corrupt regime, when the new, “safe” 
governments see aid go to doubtful allies while they 
are taken for granted, and when they know that pri- 
vate interests in the United States resist the national 
development of resources in South America, it is not 
surprising that they look askance at United States 
protestations of good will and friendliness. 

Cuba now has a new leader. He is only one of 
many in Latin America and his country is a relatively 
small island with a total population less than that of 
New York City. But he is young, vigorous and articu- 
late, and he speaks to other Latin Americans in ao- 
cents they can understand. While the relations the 
U. S. forms with his government will not be all- 
determining, they will be influential throughout Latin 

A realization of these factors is not a recommenda- 
tion to silence U. S. criticism or to rush all-out sup- 
port. It does commend us, however, to make greater 
efforts to understand what is taking place, what is 
likely to take place, and to encourage those forces 
which are most likely to bring political and economie 
strength to the many countries that lie below our 

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Washington, D. C. 
SIR: I agree wholeheartedly with the main thrust of 
Mr. Thomas Molnar’s attack on utopianism in inter- 
national dealings (Worldview, January, 1959). Be- 
cause I agree, I am particularly disappointed that he 
has weakened the force of his argument by staking 
out needlessly rigid positions on certain secondary 
issues, especially Quemoy and Algeria. 

Concerning Quemoy, he writes: “The military im- 
portance of the off-shore islands may be great or 
little. The prestige of the Western powers in general, 
and of the United States in particular—their ability 
to stand by their friends—is, on the other hand, enor- 
mously important .. .” Then Mr. Molnar moves on 
to other issues, but I do not think the subject can 
be left there. It is precisely because the off-shore 
islands are now worthless and may very soon be 
militarily indefensible that I and many others object 
to mortgaging Western prestige to their defenses. 

Our prestige is important and ought not to be com- 
mitted lightly. Berlin and South Korea and Formosa, 
for example, may be hard to defend but they are 
prizes worth defending and have symbolic and ma- 
terial value that makes them worth taking a stand 
for—Quemoy and Matsu do not. Neither did the 
Tachens which were abandoned with no loss back 
in 1955. The off-shore islands should not have been 
abandoned last fall when under direct fire but now 
that the crisis has once again abated, we should 
strengthen our position by liquidating the worthless 
and the potentially indefensible. 

My second objection is to the identification Mr. 
Molnar makes between maintaining a firm Western 
position and the hanging-on of the French in Algeria. 
I agree that France is very important to the Western 
alliance. I think Algeria should be allowed its free- 
dom because I think the Algerian War is draining 
France of vital strength. Money squandered in the 
desert war could be used to modernize the French 
industries, to end the chronic housing shortage, to 
build the laboratories and school facilities that would 
enable France to achieve new scientific and techno- 
logical eminence. 

Let us not forget that it is an entire generation of 
young French men and women who are paying for 
the Algerian War very dearly in terms of lost oppor- 
tunities in education, in science, and in industry. This 

is the view of Mendes-France and, one suspects, of 
de Gaulle himself. No one should believe that the 
F.L.N. would usher in a democratic utopia if Algeria 
were free of French control—on this point Mr. Mol- 
nar is right. But likewise no one, in my opinion, 
should believe that the long, bloody, expensive war 
to impose on Algeria a control the majority do not 
want is strengthening France or the West. 
Notwithstanding these dissents to the way in 

which Mr. Molnar applies his general views, I want 
to reiterate my agreement with those views and to 
congratulate him for his vigorous, persuasive state- 
ment of them. 


The New York Post 

MR. MOLNAR REPLIES: I was surprised to read 
the editorially added sub-title to my article on “Poli- 
tics and Utopia” (January, 1959), according to which 
in my view “power has its own morality.” This I 
never said, this I do not believe. On the contrary, I 
believe that power and morality are two distinct 
realities (which must come to terms at some point), 
and that nations and statesmen must apportion them 
judiciously in their realistic conduct of international 

Worldview, in its January editorial “Varieties of 
Utopianism,” and Mr. Herman Reissig in his letter 
published last month, criticize me on two points: 
first, that when I attack the utopians in our midst, 
I “beat an almost-dead horse”; and second, that I at- 
tribute to power an almost exclusive role in inter- 
national affairs: “without limits,” as Mr. Reissig 

Now I agree that nobody has ever seen a “utopian” 
in the purely distilled condition in which my oppo- 
nents demand that I exhibit one. (The poor creature 
would long ago have evaporated and would now be 
waiting for us in its nowhere paradise.) But I do 
know many people whom I may, in good conscience, 
call utopians in the given situations I mentioned in 
the article, and other, similar situations: those who 
would give up, or make concessions on Berlin and 
Formosa, who stress for unilateral nuclear disarma- 
ment (Linus Pauling and Bertrand Russell among 
them), who believe that with every new African 


nation a new and authentic voice is added to the 
Western chorus of democracy, who, casting tradition 
and philosophy out of their minds and spurred by 
no other mental image than that of the “nuclear 
holocaust,” suggest that we reconsider the very con- 
cepts of good and evil. 

Why do I call these people “utopian”? First, be- 
cause they do not understand the nature of the 
enemy who considers every concession—and even the 
discussion of concession—as a crack in the Western 
armor, a possible point which, skillfully exploited, 
may divide the Western allies. That many believe in 
just such concessions is demonstrated by Senator 
Mansfield’s utopian suggestion that we renounce free 
elections as a means of reuniting Germany and help 
place Greater Berlin under the policing force of a 
mixed East-West German militia. Perhaps the Sen- 
ator has never heard of the fate of the post-war coali- 
tion governments in Poland, Hungary and Czecho- 
slovakia. They too began by being “mixed.” 

I call these people “utopian,” in the second place, 
because they do not understand the nature of power, 
and think of it as an anomaly in the twentieth cen- 
tury. This is implicit in their philosophy, too: in their 
monistic system the concept of force must be angel- 
ized (otherwise morality would have no place in it) 
or expelled. 

I call these people “utopian,” in the third place, be- 
cause they have a strange preference for discharging 
insoluble problems into the lap of world organiza- 
tions, refusing to understand that these organizations 
are only instruments of diplomacy and power-politics, 
not embodiments of mankind’s collective happiness, 
present or future. As instruments, they can be used 

and maneuvered by ideological or power-groups; but. .. 
since this is usually done with exalting slogans, the — 
utopian is unable to resist the mirage these slogans 
promise him. 

What is the alternative to utopianism? Mr. Reissig 
would like to put a word in my mouth, but I refuse 
to swallow it; he says I want our statesmen to meet 
“all hard facts with hard steel.” I never said that; 
what I do say is that they should meet hard facts (for 
example, the Communist will to expand) with hard 
facts (our unyielding firmness). 

Hard facts, in my vocabulary, may of course mani- 
fest themselves as a need for programs of economic 
aid, etc., but also as a clear decision to use whatever 
weapons we have. Otherwise we may have to adopt 
that great logician Bertrand Russell’s choice. Lord 
Russell derisively asks if the “realists” have consid- 
ered that war would expose the neutral nations to 
“nuclear holocaust.” I should like to ask Lord Rus- 

sell if he has considered that through unilateral dis- 

armament we would expose them, and ourselves, to 
a Soviet concentration-camp regime. 

With Mr. Shannon I have, I am pleased to see, no 
important disagreement. He and I may think differ- 
ently about the State Department’s stand on the off- 
shore islands now, but we agree that it was wise not 
to evacuate them last fall. The same applies to Al- 
geria, except that in my opinion a Communist en- 
circlement of Europe's “soft underbelly” (which is at 
least a possibility with an independent Maghreb 
blocking French presence in the rest of Africa too) 
is one of the fatal blows that can strike the Western 

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gther voices 


The recently published pamphlet in which the dis- 
tinguished Protestant theologian Karl Barth seems to 
urge Christian “acceptance” of the Eastern Commu- 
nist regimes has provoked international comment. 
The following is a substantial excerpt from an edi- 
torial which appeared in the February 4 Christian 


Karl Barth is currently the center of a storm over a 
45-page pamphlet published in November by a Basle 
publishing house over his name. Entitled “Letter to a 
Pastor in the German Democratic Republic,” the 
pamphlet is interpreted to be an appeal to East 
German Protestants to desist from their resistance to 
Communist policies while not urging active support 
of Communist leaders. 

We have not yet seen a copy of the Barth pam- 
phlet, so lack the basis for a first-hand judgment. Re- 
ligious News Service quotes Dr. Barth as describing 
oppression and persecution as “useful scourges” to 
purify the church of complacency and self-assurance. 
Since East German Christians suffer persecution at 
the hands of the Communists, presumably this com- 
ment is intended to influence their attitude toward 
their persecutors. Dr. Barth said that adversity and 
suffering are “God’s tools.” He presented what he 
called the “American way of life” as a greater danger 
than Communism. In reply to a question as to 
whether it was right to try to “pray away” the East 
German Communist regime, he said that required 
accepting before God the responsibility for such a 
prayer: “Might you not fear that He might grant your 
prayer in the frightful fashion of letting you awake 
one morning among the fleshpots of Egypt as a man 
bounden to the American way of life?” He also wrote 
that the East Germans had nothing worse to fear 
than “liberation in accordance with the ideas of 
[Chancellor Konrad] Adenauer.” While he de- 
nounced life in the West, the theologian did not ex- 
press any admiration for life under the Communists. 

As a matter of fact, such an expression was super- 
fluous if the general trend of his remarks was what 
the above quotations suggest it was. He was saying, 
if the above is a true indication, to the hard-beset 
pastors in the East Zone: Submit. Endure. Do not 
resist, actively or passively, the Communist regime. It 

is the will of God that it rule over you. He also 
seemed to say: Do resist the West. 

Dr. Barth’s tolerance toward the evils he finds in 
the East is not matched by a similar attitude toward 
evils he finds in the West. “The message of Christ is 
as repulsive and painful to the West as to the East,” 
he wrote. “Who knows, perhaps it is more painful 
and repulsive to the West than to the East.” He 
recognized that the East is dominated by “open to- 
talitarianism” but said the West is infected by “creep- 
ing totalitarianism” and implied he thought the latter 
was the more insidious evil. 

While it is permissible to hope that the full text of 
Dr. Barth’s statement may soften the harshness of 
some parts of this judgment, it is quite likely that its 
main burden will not be lightened. He has spoken in 
this vein before, as he indicated in his pamphlet. 
“These have always been my opinions.” Concerning 
them several observations might be made. 

First, it is our duty to acknowledge that “the 
American way of life” has its serious limitations. We 
constantly confess its sins, so there is no"reason why 
we may not agree that it does sin. This way of life 
tempts Christians and other men to pride and com- 
placency, to conformity to standards which are not 
the standards of the gospel, to materialism and other 
forms of idolatry. 

Second, we need not acknowledge and do not for 
a moment admit that the Communist system is less 
subject to critical Christian judgment. On this point 
we believe Dr. Barth errs, as he has repeatedly done 
in the past. Why is this man, who condemned 
Naziism, blind to the evil of totalitarianism when it 
appears in its Communist form? 

Third, we are not ashamed that we have the free- 
dom to exercise critical self-judgment and to express 
this judgment openly. Instead, we hold this freedom 
is the mark of an order which is capable of reform 
and so is subject to divine discipline. By Christian 
standards this freedom should be the decisive ele- 
ment in any comparison that can fairly be made be- 
tween the two ways of life. Does freedom mean noth- 
ing to Dr. Barth? 

Fourth, Communist oppressions and persecutions 
may be in God's hands “scourges,” “tools” and puri- 
fiers, but this action of divine providence in no way 
excuses or justifies oppressors and persecutors .. . 




Four Existentialist Theologians 
edited by Will Herberg. Double- 
day. 312 pp. $1.25. 

by Frederick D. Wilhelmsen 

Not only vision but courage as 
well is needed by any man who 
would take upon himself the task 
of compiling a reader in existen- 
tialist theology. Will Herberg, in 
giving us his Four Existentialist 
Theologians, has thrown a bridge 
between the European Continent 
and the United States of America; 
he has given to the American pub- 
lic the fruit of a movement in 
theology whose origins are in 
Europe but whose future belongs 
to the North American continent. 
I say this because here, within a 
society frankly pluralistic in struc- 
ture, will be debated the future of 
any Protestant-Catholic-Jewish di- 
alectic in the theological order. 

That this dialectic has limped 
badly in the past cannot be laid 
only to the reluctance of Protes- 
tants and Catholics to talk to one 
another; it can be laid as well to 
something far more profound: the 
principled refusal of Protestant- 
ism to engage the Catholic world 
in a conversation carried out in 
the terms and language of scho- 
lasticism. The spectacular rise of 
existential analysis has thrown in- 
to the hands of both great reli- 
gious bodies an intellectual in- 
strument, a methodology, that 
both can use, not only for their 
own proper ends, but also to fur- 
ther an understanding and com- 
prehension without which reli- 
gious peace must remain a pious 

Herberg’s vision, as indicated, 
is strengthened by courage. Not 
everyone will be satisfied with the 
selections he has made nor even 
with the men he has chosen to 

Mr. Wilhelmsen, a member of the 
philosophy department at the 
University of Santa Clara, has 
recently spent a year in Spain as 
a Guggenheim Fellow. 


represent existentialist theology. 
My own reservations are them- 
selves a compliment to the ed- 
itor’s courage. While Nicolas Ber- 
dyaev, Martin Buber, and Paul 
Tillich are certainly representa- 
tive of Orthodox, Jewish, and 
Protestant theological existen- 
tialism, it is difficult to under- 
stand why Mr. Herberg chose 
Jacques Maritain as representa- 
tive of Roman Catholic existen- 
tialist thought. 

If existentialist thought is char- 
acterized by a preoccupation with 
anguish, death, communion, tra- 
gedy, nostalgia, loyalty, fidelity, it 
is difficult to see how Maritain 
can be considered representative 
of Catholic existentialism. While 
these elements function within 
the vast scope of his achievement, 
they can hardly be called cen- 
tral to his thought. On this score, 
I would have preferred Ga- 
briel Marcel, And if existentialist 
thought is marked by a talent for, 
and an insistence on, philosophiz- 
ing and theologizing within the 
concrete rather than from the con- 
crete, I believe that Romano Guar- 
dini would have been a happier 

Be that as it may, Herberg per- 
haps proves his point by including 
Maritain’s famous meditation on 
subjectivity and alienation. Never 
knowing any subject, any person, 
precisely as such, precisely as in- 
teriority, the human person is 
doomed to fall short of his built-in 
drive for a communication and a 
love that breaks down every bar- 
rier and that swarms through to 
the very center of the beloved. 
Only in God where I am known 
even as I am can I find that com- 
munion with all history and all 
mankind that I desperately need. 

Maritain’s eloquent pages on 
subjectivity echo, without repeat- 
ing, Martin Buber’s life-long con- 
cern with the “I-Thou” relation- 
ship. Convinced that I become an 
“T” only when I utter the name of 
a “Thou,” Buber’s Jewish person- 

alism itself echoes the existential- 
ist insistence that man exists only 
within a world and that he cannot 
be understood apart from the 
world which is his. For Buber 
this implies a dependence of my 
very knowledge of external reality 
on my communion with a world 
of persons. Jewish personalism in 
its perennial opposition to the 
Greek emphasis on Nature and 
the Greek tendency to reduce 
man to Nature is the traditional 
bone-work underlying the nery- 
ous delicacy of I and Thou. 

If union in love dominates the 
thought of Martin Buber, dis- 
union and sin can be said to lie 
at the center of the mind of 
Nicolas Berdyaev. When we set 
aside the many prophetic inani- 
ties that plague the corpus of 
Berdyaev’s work, there remains a 
solid center of doctrine worth the 
meditation of any man who has 
ever been stirred to think on the 
mystery of sin. For Berdyaev, sin 
is “objectification,” “thingifica- 
tion.” When I cast a person forth 
from my heart and look upon 
him as if he were a reality distant 
from my being and foreign to my 
life, I have sinned against that 
man; I have sinned by expelling 
him from my life. 

For me, the most exciting sec- 
tion of Four Existentialist Theo- 
logians is that devoted to Paul 
Tillich. Here we have a man who 
has brought to the service of 
Protestantism the very latest dis- 
coveries in existential analysis. 
And he has done this, as he says 
in his introduction to his sermons, 
as a Christian apologist. Here 
we have the best in modernity 
wedded to the finest in tradition; 
we have science exercised in the 
name of humility. 

A review is no place to explore 
the ontology of Tillich, but let it 
be said that this ontology is rooted 
in the human situation, in man 
as he courageously faces the hide- 
ousness of death and the ghastly 
possibility of annihilation. There 






isa meaning, says Tillich, even to 

the meaninglessness of life as 
lived in torture by those who 
know not the True God and who 
know that they know Him not. 
“The courage to be is rooted in 
the God who appears when God 
has disappeared in the anxiety of 

The Protestant and Politics by 
William Lee Miller. Westminster. 
92 pp. $1.00. 

by Bernard Murchland 

“We must dirty our hands,” Al- 
bert Camus wrote in his early 
days as a rebel. With that state- 
ment he summed up his vigorous 
plea for social commitment in an 
absurd world. 

In this slender volume, William 
Lee Miller calls for political 
awareness with Camusian energy. 
He also indicates the absurdity of 
the present political scene in 
America. And he sees both in the 
broader context of Christianity’s 
relevance to all political activity. 
“Christianity,” he writes, “gives 
no precise answer to any of the 
dilemmas of life—certainly not the 
political ones. But it provides 
what’s more important: direc- 
tion, understanding, commitment. 
There is no ‘Christian’ position— 
but there are better and worse 
positions, relatively just and rela- 
tively unjust acts, and the Chris- 
tian should seek what is good 
and just.” 

Mr. Miller’s preliminary con- 
cern is to establish the non- 
political character of the Ameri- 
can citizen and censure his fellow 
Protestants rather severely (and 
humorously) for the part they 
played in creating it. A curious 
combination of idealism and indi- 
vidualism, Miller argues, accounts 
for its distinctive traits. 

Thus the traditional American 
Father Murchland, of the Univer- 
sity of Notre Dame, contributes 
frequently to a number of relig- 
lous journals. 

When American philosophers 
and theologians begin to take 
seriously the cross of anxiety and 
anguish; when they come to see 
that the insane and those men- 
aced by insanity often live more 
profoundly the human situation 
than those whose lives are un- 
troubled by doubt and free from 

emphasis on private success and 
rugged individualism has mili- 
tated against public responsibil- 
ity; a successful two-party system 
has tended to abolish political ex- 
tremes; an immensely productive 
economy has given the business 
man a veto over the politician; 
and the recent emergence of tech- 
nology has made the scientist the 
archpriest of modern society. As a 
result: “a nation with a most un- 
political tradition has now become 
the nation that most urgently 
needs political understanding.” 

The particular value structure 
that is honored in American so- 
ciety is the root cause of the po- 
litical absurdities that abound 
among us. Nor have most attempts 
to relate religion to politics done 
much other than further muddle 
a confused situation. 

The confusion runs all the way 
from the familiar “politics is dirty” 
attitude, found among some reli- 
gious groups, through the moral- 
izing errors of the conservatives 
(with their monstrous judgmental 
looseness), on to the crusading, 
my-country-right-or-wrong, God- 
is-on-our-side zeal of the “pa- 

Mr. Miller indicts a lengthy 
litany of such attitudes. And in 
explaining the relationship be- 
tween religion and politics he is 
careful to avoid the pitfalls of 
moral specificity. The Christian 
faith is essentially rooted in the 
broad reality of God’s transcend- 
ence and immanence. It does not 
relate itself to concrete situations 
in the form of offering clear-cut 
answers, ideals or principles. 
Rather it offers creative variations 
on the key virtues of love and 

tragedy; when they see that risk 
and failure are fundamental hu- 
man categories; when they begin 
to face the issues Paul Tillich has 
faced—American philosophy and 
theology will have come of age. 
Will Herberg has forwarded this 
future maturity of American in- 
tellectual life. 

justice. Understood thus, religion 
furnishes invaluable insights into 
the nature of man and history— 
insights without which political 
maturity is impossible. Man is in 
no sense a simple creature; he is 
a complex in whom conflicting 
demands (of individuality and so- 
ciality, sin and virtue, reason and 
the irrational, historial pressures 
and present challenges) mysteri- 
ously co-exist. 

And here we find the chief 
merit of Mr. Miller’s book—its 
solid argument for Christian real- 
ism, which is primarily, and most 
sanely, a matter of taking all 
points of view into consideration, 
including the Ultimate one. It 
knows that we are rarely granted 
the luxury of an either-or choice 
in human, and especially political, 
affairs. It accepts limitations and 
urges on us the courage to endure 
the endless efforts, frustrations 
and new beginnings that are 
necessary to realize anything hu- 
man. This kind of realism in the 
political domain stems indisput- 
ably from the special awareness 
of God the Christian has. The 
Christian God is not a Greek idol, 
a pagan monolith, an abstract 
principle (like Aristotle’s Prime 
Mover) from which lesser prin- 
ciples are more or less univocally 
derived. He is rather the ultimate 
challenge in every situation. In a 
word, He is Love. 

I would like to see William Lee 
Miller further develop these prin- 
ciples, here briefly adumbrated. It 
would be an important contribu- 
tion in a time when we all fear 
some nameless horror; a time, too, 
in which we all suffer deeply from 
the lack of real leadership. 


What We Are For 

by Arthur Larson. Harper. 173 pp. $2.95. 

“What we are for," in the author's opinion, "is the active, 
positive force for change in the world." Yet by appearing only 

International Politics in the Atomic Age 
by John H. Herz. Columbia. 360 pp. $6.00. 4 

How a variety of factors, most notably technological advance and 7 
nuclear power, has fundamentally changed the traditional stuc — 

to oppose the revolutionary Soviet offensive on all fronts, we 
have come to represent in the world's eyes an "ill-defined force 
for countering change." To offset this image, Mr. Larson suggests 
several ways to re-think our position in the affirmative. 

Voices of Dissent 

Grove Press. 384 pp. $1.95. 

The continuing tradition of articulate American radicalism is 
embodied in this challenging anthology of articles from Dissent 
magazine. Among the authors who appear are Irving Howe, 
Lewis Coser, Norman Thomas, Paul Goodman, Harvey Swados, 
Erich Fromm, and C. Wright ‘Mills. 

Education and Freedom 

by H. G. Rickover. Dutton. 256 pp. $3.50. 

To this passionate critique of twentieth century American educa- 
tion Admiral Rickover brings the insights of professional knowl- 
edge and a sense of urgency gained from a career of public 
service. "The future belongs to the best-educated nation," he 
writes. "Let it be ours.” 

ture of international relations is the subject of this study. The 
author recommends and outlines a whole new approach to the 
problems of co-existence which, in their turn, demand new com 
cepts of sovereignty, security, and defense. 3 

Island in the City: the World of Spanish Harlem 
by Dan Wakefield. Houghton Mifflin. 278 pp. $4.00. 

A distinguished piece of social reporting, this book communicates — 
not only the observable grim facts of daily life in Manhattan's — 
“El Barrio," but also a true understanding of the personal — 
tragedies of its inhabitants. 7 

The Tragedy of American Diplomacy 
by William Appleman Williams. World. 219 pp. $4.75. 

"The tragedy of American action is not that it is evil, but 
it denies American ideas and ideals," writes the author, 
supports this conclusion by tracing developments in modern 
history that reveal a basic misunderstanding of our role in 


volume 2, no. 3 / March 1959 

WORLDVIEW is published monthly by The Church Peace Union. 
Subscription: $2.00 per year. 
Address: 170 East 64th Street, New York 21, N.Y. 

William Clancy, Editor 
William J. Cook 

A. William Loos John R. Inman 

Editorial Assistant, Arlene Croce 


Editorial Comment 
In the Magazines 
The Revolution in Cuba 
James Finn 
Other Voices 
Four Existentialist Theologians 
by F. Wilhelmsen 
Protestants and Politics by Bernard Murchland 
Current Reading 

Opinions expressed in WORLDVIEW are those of the authors, and 
not necessarily of The Church Peace Union. 

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