Analogous to the question that the Christian American must face of how far scriptural values are to be pushed in a secular America is the general question of how far American values are to be pushed in the world at large. And just as American evangelicals appear passive about expressing their convictions in the domestic marketplace of ideas, so the country in general seems more and more reticent to export its national values beyond its own boundaries.
True, with our Promised Land mythology, we have had a history of “carrying the big stick,” and if we have seldom engaged in political imperialism we have more than once made up for it by extending our economic tentacles around the globe. We have exported Coca Cola, cheap jazz, and jeans until it is small wonder that countries with a modicum of taste and culture have not established aesthetic tariff barriers to keep us out! The universal appreciation for Puccini’s Madame Butterfly quite clearly shows that our worldwide adventures have left a trail of broken hearts, whatever else they may have accomplished.
Moreover, a special danger is now seen in crusades in behalf of “Western values”: the danger of letting the end justify the means. Hochhuth’s drama The Deputy and Carlo Falconi’s Silence of Pius XII tell the sobering story of a pope who, because of his crusade against Russian Communism as the greatest of all evils, compromised his spiritual authority by not speaking forthrightly against the genocidic activities of the Third Reich, in the vain expectation that Hitler would at least save Europe from Marxism. Such a fundamental blunder easily leads to a reconsideration of whether ideological crusades do not often do more harm than good.1
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