Taste and See
What To Do About Nukes
Hmm a non-governmental, transnational group of people who want to build relationships and can get by in no man's lands sans government-provided comforts? Who care about the peace of this planet but also have an air of otherworldliness about them? Who wouldn't mind getting to know a drug trafficker just to get to know him? And who, in the unlikely scenario that some big transport was coming down, would be willing to tip someone off, just because they care about human life?
Even Niebuhr the realist wrote, "It would be ridiculous to assert that there can be no moral and spiritual disinterestedness in international affairs, simply because there is no political vantage point for its expression."
A number of people in the U.S. are caught up in a vision greater than any political vantage point, which infuses them with concern that each human life be lived to the fullest. They pop up as volunteer aid workers in ravaged regions, as English teachers to the poor, as micro-loan educators in Africa, as friends to all kinds of people, filling in the gaps where governments are powerless.
Who knows, maybe someday their work will prove useful in another area of world need.
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The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor is available from Amazon.com and other retailers.
NPR interviewed Langewiesche (Slate explained the pronunciation) and had him read an excerpt from the book, which was reviewed by the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and others.
The Niebuhr Society links to Niebuhr's writings and speeches.
The Dallas Morning News published an interview on Niebuhr's philosophy of Christian Realism, which presents "the compelling idea that there's serious evil in the world. But we shouldn't use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction," according to Barack Obama.
Previous Taste and See columns include:
Brave New Salvation | A vision of a sinless future. (June 20, 2007)
Desire Happens | You see, you want. Then what? (March 29, 2007)
'Ordinary' Delights | Let us praise the consoling banality of good. (March 13, 2007)
Dating Jesus | When 'lover of my soul' language goes too far. (December 6, 2006)
To Russia with Fury | Sometimes charity means anger. (October 9, 2006)
What (Not All) Women Want | The finicky femininity of 'Captivating' by John and Stasi Eldredge. (August 1, 2006)
A Velveteen Apologetic | How two creatures dig a rabbit hole in my disbelief. (April 1, 2006)
What Would Jesus Buy? | Saving the world one cashmere sweater at a time. (February 1, 2006)