The architecture of Niebuhr's political and ethical thought is anything but simple. It is full of dialectical cantilevers. The whole is suspended in marvellous tension like some Gothic cathedral that rises and is held fast only by the elaboration of opposing forces. Man as creature is counter poised with man as creator. Necessity is juxtaposed with freedom, possi bility with impossibility, love with law, sin with grace, history with eternity. Idealism is set in tension with realism as are their extremes, sentimentalism and cynicism. Order is balanced against justice as are their perversions, tyranny and anarchy. The presuppositions of liberalism and conservatism are laid each against the other, while the policies of socialism and laissez-faire are held in delicate balance. No one of these perspectives may be ignored or minimized without damaging Niebuhr's complex synthesis.
In the light of such intricate dialectics, the student might be excused for failing to label Niebuhr's approach. He identifies with political real ism - except when he is ?aying the realists for their failure to understand the normative dimension of life. He appreciates idealism - except when he is scoring the idealists for their failure to assess the resistance of all men to the normative dimension of life. If we _call him a Christian realist it is because he himself has often used the term and because he has emphasized the insights of realism as a corrective to the optimism of contemporary thought. Expressed differently, Niebuhr's philosophy seeks to put political realism into the service of justice.
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Publisher - Forgotten Books
Language - English
Author(s) - Harry R. Davis
Published Date - August 26 2019
ISBN - 9780331038835
Dimesions - 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm
Page Count - 387
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