The role of freedom is waning. The high hope of a free world, so widespread two generations ago, is today in obvious decline. Wherever human liberty survives it dwells under somber shadows. The West distinguishes itself from the Soviet bloc especially as the champion of human freedoms. In contrast with the totalitarian enslavement of man, and the disregard for human dignity and rights in the Soviet sphere, the virtue most publicized by democratic nations is that they are “freedom-loving.” The twentieth-century conflict between the totalitarian and the nontotalitarian worlds is a conflict over man’s position and his rights and duties.
Search for a rationale
Yet the West itself betrays a growing search for a rationale of freedom. That the Western conception of freedom needs to be revitalized is increasingly recognized and confessed. Multitudes of citizens in the favored Free World today lack a dynamic devotion to the cause of freedom and a missionary zeal to proclaim its message to men near and far. The spontaneous passion to enlist recruits under the flag of freedom is missing. The political crusade upholding individual worth and dignity is carried forward mainly by specialized organizations and technical leaders. What the West lacks is a passionate popular enthusiasm for liberty.
Beyond doubt the Western view of human dignity and human rights presupposes a worthier outlook on life than does the communist devaluation of man. The Free World detaches itself, and rightly so, from the materialistic attempt to limit human life to finite considerations. Cooperation and loyalty require more than an appeal to underprivilege and misunderstanding; they demand a recognition of basic values. The West grasps the great fact ...1