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 Church.”

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


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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- cantation.”

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- ture.”

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 heirs.”

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 States.

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

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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 democrat.”

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 proposals.

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- going.

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 America.

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 border.

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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 transactions.

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 States.

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 world.

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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