Not Niebuhr

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David Brooks claimed that the Libyan war is "in the spirit of Reinhold Niebuhr." Adam Serwer shakes his head:

If Niebuhr argued anything, it was that a fixation in the purity of one's intentions would ultimately lead to disaster, and that the difference between liberal capitalism and communism was that the former trusted in its own virtue too confidently. Intervening in a civil war in a country we don't understand because we are a "champion of freedom and humanity" strikes me as the kind of thing Niebuhr was trying to warn us about.

Amen.

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