Oppenheimer, Robert
January 1958
Foreign Affairs;Jan1958, Vol. 36 Issue 2, p209
Academic Journal
The U.S. conflict with Communist power emits a harsh realization on the nation's society. As this conflict continues, and its obduracy, scope, and deadliness become increasingly manifest, one can begin to see traits in American society of which one is barely aware. In this article, it is the purpose of the author to identify these traits. Perhaps the first to come to attention is the Americans' inability to give an account of their national purposes, intentions, and hopes that is at once honest and inspiring. Two other national traits have aroused grave concern. It is not that America is poor in curiosity, in true learning, in the habit of smelling out one's own self-delusion, in the dedication and search for order and law among novelty, variety and contingency. There is respect for learning and for expertness, and a proper recognition of the role of ignorance, and an individuals limits; but none of these is there enough, either among individuals, or in the value with which they are held by us.


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