a1 The Johns Hopkins University
The most obvious characteristic of contemporary world politics is bipolar conflict. In that civil war within western civilization, the United States is in truth the leader of forces committed to combat heresies destructive of the great values in the Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian heritage. Those values permit the reconciliation of man the social-political animal and man the person. They reject both anarchy and authoritarianism, promote both law and liberty. Effective policy designed to protect those values, and to secure their maximum acceptance in the world, must rest on an American way of life which itself demonstrates at once their validity and their practicality. Such demonstration must make clear that the combating, and if possible the extirpation, of heresies elsewhere involves no succumbing to heresies, not less than to heresy-hunting in the sense of persecution based on credulity and fear, at home. But the danger of local heresy is the danger of corruption, rooted in the narrowing of national self-interest, and appealing to traditional principles taken out of their context in time; and dogmatically construed with narrowness, and with an irrelevance to contemporary needs. Two of the most dangerous heresies, which plausibly pose as real values, are Isolationism and Individualism, corruptions respectively of the ideals of national security and of freedom for the growth and expression of personality. The second of these is the more generic; and indeed the first in large measure leads to, and re-enforces, it.
Thomas I. Cook is the author of History of Political Philosophy from Plato to Burke and several other publications which have made him one of the recognized leaders in the field of Political Theory. He is Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University, and Sectional Editor for Political Theory of The Journal of Politics.
Malcolm Moos is Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University, and co-author of A Grammar of American Politics. His most recent book, Politics, Presidents, and Coattails, was published by the Johns Hopkins Press this autumn.