St. Olaf Institute for Freedom and Community

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Open Minds Blog

Niebuhr, Assad, and the justification of Trump’s strike

By Alexander Betley '17 April 14, 2017

Writing in August 1944, Reinhold Niebuhr declared: “When … optimism is not qualified to accord with the real and complex facts of human nature and history, there is always a danger that sentimentality will give way to despair and that a too consistent optimism will alternate with a too consistent pessimism.” Read More »

James May

What would Cicero think of oratorical style in election 2016?

By James May January 13, 2017

For me, it’s always a good thing to see references to Rome’s greatest orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, in the contemporary press. Indeed, those of us living in the twenty-first century stand to learn much from him and other great thinkers and writers of antiquity. Read More »

Reinhold Niebuhr, Barack Obama and the Sense of a Reality That “Judges Yet Forgives”

By Edmund N. Santurri March 29, 2016

This past November, in an exchange with Library of America publisher Max Rudin, I mentioned incidentally that I was planning to assign the LOA’s Reinhold Niebuhr volume in my spring 2016 St. Olaf College course “Obama’s Theologian.” Read More »