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Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, studies and teaches political philosophy. He has written on Edmund Burke and the nature of political parties, on Machiavelli and[…]

The War on Terror, or global warming?

Question: What should be the big issues of the 2008 presidential election?

Harvey Mansfield: The two big issues today we can take from our two parties. The Republicans think it’s the war on terror, and the Democrats think it’s global warming. Both of these are post-modern, you would say. The war on terror shows that our secular, western civilization has not taken over mankind to the point where we are at the end of history as was hoped not so long ago. No. There are people – or at least an important fraction of the people – who hate us, and who think we live lives of cowards because we put life over death. They believe in death. We believe in life. So that, I think, was a very important challenge to us. Then too, global warming is also post-modern. It says that our technology has brought us to grief, or is about to bring us a great cosmological punishment. And . . . and . . . and if we don’t repent soon, we’re going to suffer a worldwide disaster.

Recorded on: 6/13/07