Paul Elisha: A Paucity of Language

Jan 14, 2014

In an ‘Armistice Day’ address, on November 11th, 1948, its last delivery under that aegis, when it was then re-titled: “Veterans Day,” to include U.S. Armed Forces participants in the Korean conflict, Army General Omar Bradley, reverently known to combatants as ‘The GI’s General, said:  “The world has achieved brilliance without conscience.  Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

In a speech on “Race, Science and Politics,” delivered at the New York State Capitol, barely a month before her death, in 1948, the anthropologist/educator, Ruth Fulton Benedict, said: “Racism is the dogma that one ethnic group is condemned by nature to congenital inferiority and another group is destined to congenital superiority.”  This, she charged, perpetuates an intolerable inequality.  Her remarks, then, were severely criticized by many, while strongly praised and supported by colleagues, like Margaret Mead and others.

Thinking back on General Bradley’s remarks, this commentator has been particularly impressed by the ability and energy of Dominant American Military leaders, in stressful times, to seek and find ways to promote peaceful prerogatives for the avoidance of warfare as an extension of state-craft.

It may be true, of today’s over-riding and seemingly tumultuous culture, that the end result of computerized technology is a paucity of language.  It may also mean that a younger generation has found a new and different form of expressing itself, while excluding its elders.  What we’re all waiting to learn, is the extent to which the greatest number of us can communicate, to derive the greatest good, for all of us, together.

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