Page 126 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
tomorrow was to be supported by “increment of meaning,” that is,
by more warranted ascertabilities about what may be better times
to come.
Kallen worked out and held a faith which he declined to call
liberal or conservative. When he spoke of it in 1971, it was as if he
harkened back to Dewey’s lines of 1922 just cited. For his own
faith, Kallen said, he chose the labels “conservationist” and “liber­
tarian”:
Willy-nilly, the past can neither be preserved unaltered nor
annihilated. The most and the best that can be done with it is
presently to conserve it as to enable the future .which enters
it, and in entering changes it, to change it toward an ever
more abundant and diversifying liberty and safety for all
mankind. The words
conservationist libertarian
denote the
beliefs on which I like to believe I bet my life.2
A good clue to what he meant by thus classifying himself,
Kallen gave in a note on Hamilton and Jefferson: “As I read the
record, the Bill of Rights was the crux of the issue between the
Federalists and the Republicans. The one would have coercive
‘law and order’ and would sell liberty for security; the other was
concerned for a ‘law and order’ as would provide security for
liberty.”3 To Kallen, “the framing and adoption of the Constitu­
tion was a reaction to imminent anarchy; the adoption of the Bill
of Rights a reaction to the Constitution’s potentiality for
tyranny.”4 Kallen might thus be called an anti-anarchical liberta­
rian and an anti-tyrannical conservationist.
VIEW OF SECULARISM
Kallen formulated his beliefs in the many books, pamphlets,
articles, and reviews he published between 1909 and 1974.5When
2 Horace M. Kallen,
What I Believe and Why - Maybe
(New York, 1971), p. 17.
3 Kallen,
Cultural Pluralism and the American Idea
(Philadelphia, 1956), p. 70 n.
4
Ibid.,
p. 68.
5 Bibliographies appear in
Freedom and Experience - Essays Presented to Horace M.
Kallen,
ed. by Sidney Hook and Milton R. Konvitz (Ithaca and New York, 1947),
in a pamphlet in honor of Kallen’s 70th birthday, published by the American
Association for Jewish Education (New York, 1952), and in
Vision and Action:
Essays in Honor of Horace M. Kallen on His 70th Birthday,
ed. by Sidney Ratner
(New Brunswick, 1953).