Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Power Confuses Itself With Virtue

From BREAKING: Dem. Senator Compares America To Hitler's Germany!!!!!! [Siren] by Jonathan Schwarz:

Rick Perlstein has posted Arkansas Senator William Fulbright's famous 1966 speech on Vietnam, usually titled "The Arrogance of Power":
The causes of the malady are not entirely clear but its recurrence is one of the uniformities of history: power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations -- to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence. Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God's work. The Lord, after all, surely would not choose you as His agent and then deny you the sword with which to do His will. German soldiers in the First World War wore belt buckles imprinted with the words "Gott mit uns." It was approximately under this kind of infatuation -- an exaggerated sense of power and an imaginary sense of mission -- that the Athenians attacked Syracuse, and Napoleon and then Hitler invaded Russia. In plain words, they overextended their commitments and they came to grief.

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