The Equivalent Of War?

In a 1906 speech at Stanford University that was the original and still perhaps the most articulate argument for organized, collective national service, William James called for “The Moral Equivalent of War.”

Ever since — from the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps to the Peace Corps to AmeriCorps to the “war” on poverty and drugs— politicians of all stripes (but more often than not liberals) have attempted to persuade us to enlist or even draft us under that banner to fight for various causes.

Today a short piece of mine appeared at City Journal online comparing the warlike rhetoric of Democrats and Republicans. You’ll have to read the whole thing (don’t worry; it’s short) to see my argument, but here’s a teaser: in the “war” on Covid-19, the Democrats are conscientious objectors and the Republicans are willing to take more casualties.

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  1. Ronald Alonzo May 20, 2020 at 11:39 am | | Reply

    I guess the guys that walk off the battlefield that was not analphabetic and were literate blessed us because they passed on what they experienced to us. So much went on untold. I guess someone said the victors tell the tales. Our current generation in the USA reads them in English: imagine all the ones that have not been translated yet? Chinese have been around 5000 years. Spanish burned all the pre-Columbian texts of the Inca and Maya writings as the devils’ work. the Library of Alexandria housed ancient books by Roman Catholic Church that burned that too. Good going!

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