communism and America’s and Europe’srnresponse; the prudential politics ofrnthe Nuclear Age and America’s attemptsrnto halt the spread of communism in Korearnand Vietnam. Furthermore, we seernNiebuhr’s attraction to the Social Gospelrnand socialism in the 20’s and early 30’srnand his later “discovery” of Augustinernand the consequent development ofrnwhat is called his “Christian realism.”rnThis Christian realism, Brown observes,rnregisters “moral distinctions while recognizingrnthe universality of sin” and regardsrn”the kingdom of God as a goal ofrnhuman striving though never realized inrnhistory,”rnNiebuhr’s Christian faith and hisrnconsiderable knowledge of ancientrnand modern history convinced him thatrnman cannot find ultimate meaning forrnlife or adequate solutions to life’s problemsrnin nature, reason, or history, or in anrnexistential reliance on the finite self.rnMuch can be learned by investigatingrnnature and studying history, and sciencernand reason can provide some solutions tornlife’s problems, but man must look beyondrnthese finite sources. According tornNiebuhr there is no security in history:rn”Man has no final security except in thernsovereignty and majesty of God who presidesrnover history.” The “scandalousrncross,” he wrote in a review of Tillich’srnBiblical Religion and the Search for UltimaternReality is “the very center of meaningrnfor human existence; it asserts that arnsuffering love which was not triumphantrnin history is nevertheless the light thatrnshines in darkness, because faith apprehendsrnthis suffering love to be a revelationrnof the very nature of ‘ultimate real-rnNiebuhr was aware of the ironic factrnthat history itself has refuted two ofrnmodern man’s secular faiths, which havernthemselves been based upon history orrnupon an imagined historical process;rnprogress and Marxism. In Niebuhr’srnview both of these were variations of arndangerous utopianism. Belief in the idearnof progress (which Niebuhr sometimesrncalled liberalism) was “soft utopianism,”rnwhile communism was “hard utopianism.”rnBoth were based upon illusionsrnregarding the nature of man and history.rnLiberalism produced an idolatrous exaltationrnof the individual; communism,rnan idolatrous exaltation of society. Liberalism,rnof course, has many meanings.rnThe dangerous liberalism, according tornNiebuhr, was not that characterized byrn”the spirit of tolerance and fairness” butrnthe sort that held as a matter of faith thernidea of progress and that refused to recognizernthe necessity of balancing individualrnliberty with community needs.rnUtopianism is a perennial problem,rnbut it is especially characteristic ofrnmodernity. Niebuhr traced the source ofrnmodern utopianism to the Renaissancernand the flowering of Renaissance assumptionsrnabout man, society, science,rnand history in 18th-century Enlightenmentrnthinkers. In his biography Brownrncharts one of the more interesting featuresrnof Niebuhr’s intellectual development:rnhis “growing appreciation of Burkernand Madison as bearers of Christian politicalrnwisdom.” Niebuhr much preferredrnBurke and Madison to latter-dayrndevotees of the idealism and abstractionsrnof the French Enlightenment. Lecturingrnin London in 1937, Niebuhr stated;rn”Human beings do not live inrnabstract universal societies. They live inrnhistoric communities, and the peace, order,rnand justice of such communities,rnsuch as it is, is the product of ages of development,rna fact which justifies EdmundrnBurke in regarding historic rightsrnand duties as more important than abstractrnrational rights and duties.” LikernBurke, Niebuhr believed it was foolish tornattempt through reason and science tornbanish all mysteries from life. Furthermore,rnwith Burke he knew it was impossiblernto banish all of life’s mysteries. Hernthought those who attempted to do so,rnsuch as John Dewey and B.F. Skinner,rnunderstood less about the self and historyrnthan “jurists, novelists and playwrights,rnhistorians, and the best politicalrnscientists.” Niebuhr did not promoternmysticism or pie-in-the-sky religion. Norrndid he reject reason, science, and history:rnhe merely recognized their limitations.rnNiebuhr’s social philosophy took arnmiddle road on economic and politicalrnquestions; a middle way between socialismrnand libertarianism, between collectivismrnand individualism, betweenrnMarxism and liberalism. He alwaysrnstressed the need for an “adequate equilibriumrnof social power in a technicalrnage.” He held that human naturern(man’s tendency to use his freedom unrighteously)rnin conjunction with historicalrneconomic and technical developmentsrnrequire the “inner moral checks”rnsupplied by religion and outer checksrn(social, political, and economic) suppliedrnby governmental legislation. Thusrnhe supported the mixed economy ofrnRoosevelt’s New Deal, he backed unions,rnand he criticized big business.rnAnother pervasive theme in Niebuhr’srnwritings is his call for American andrnWestern resistance to totalitarianism, ofrnboth the Nazi and communist varieties.rnThough he was attracted to socialism inrnthe late 20’s and early 30’s—he even ranrnfor the New York State Senate on the Socialistrnticket—^he knew the Soviet Marxistrnmodel was not for America. As earlyrnas 1930 he pointed out the inefficiencyrnof Russia’s state-run economy. In laterrnwritings he maintained that communismrn”created a hell on earth through itsrndream of heaven on earth”: the result ofrnutopianism, it was “a universal spiritualrntragedy in Western history.”rnNiebuhr was a steady opponent of allrnforms of tyranny, and he preferred warrnand the risk of war to tyranny. He wasrncritical of pacifists who would not defendrnWestern liberty and American interestsrnand security in the face of Nazirnand communist threats. Pacifism he regardedrnas yet another form of utopianism.rnIn his foreign policy he regularlyrnopposed isolationism, though he opposedrnthe escalation of America’s interventionrnin Vietnam under Johnson’s administration,rnbelieving the West’srnsecurity was not threatened as it hadrnbeen earlier by Nazi and communist aggressionrnin Europe.rnMuch that Niebuhr wrote concernsrnthe nature of the Western community.rnIts religion, he pointed out, was “derivedrnfrom Biblical faith.” He noted thatrnWestern civilization is characterized byrncommon religious roots, “by technicalrnefficiency and consequent economicrnpower, by respect for the individual, byrn. . . self-limitation of governments . . .rnand by the achievement of justice”rnthrough a balance of social and politicalrnforces. Thus Niebuhr wrote on a numberrnof occasions that democracy is notrnpossible everywhere; it will not or mayrnnot work in places that do not havernWestern values and institutions, as, forrninstance, in Asia and Africa. In an articlernfor Foreign Affairs Niebuhr remarkedrnthat governments and laws cannot createrncommunities. Real communities, he observed,rnare organic, not artificial; theyrnare concrete and historic, not abstract.rnThey are based upon organic factorsrnsuch as ethnic kinship, common languages,rnshared histories, and commonrncultures. Consequently, Niebuhrrnthought the attempt to establish a woddrn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn