Vanderbilt Law Review

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To me the positive message of the paper is that we should view our condition with a sense of history and a sense of humor and, in that perspective, dwell more upon the good that we perceive in ourselves, our institutions, and our performance. That is fine, but it does not tell us enough. We know that in all ages man has been in no wise more conspicuous than in his inhumanity to man. The record of torture and slaughter during the Crusades and the Inquisition, movements associated with religion, darkens the pages of history.What must be noted is that the contemporary period is strikingly different. I do not condemn a disposition to be optimistic and to look for the good in society but we must, if we are to survive, confront the realities of our times. The condition of the whole community of man is one of extraordinary interdependence. There are at least three grim factors which threaten the race. The first is a combination of nuclear armament and the continued commitment of this nation and others to military force as an instrument of policy in external affairs. The second is largely uncontrolled population growth. The third, to which the second is related, is almost pervasive damage by man to the natural order. As I look more particularly at the condition of this country, what is most appalling is the damage to the very soul of the American people done by our military venture in Indochina. If one is to address himself to"The Future of America and The Role of Law," the first order of business is to promote the return of the United States to lawful, peaceful, orderly processes in external relations. I find no reference to this overriding concern in Dean Forrester's paper.