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Courage in Postmodern Times

Courage In Postmodern Times

Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb. Richard Avramenko.University of Notre Dame Press, 2011.


In The Death of Character, James Davison Hunter notes that the problem with modern character education and discussions surrounding the renewal of character is that “we want what we cannot possibly have on the terms that we want it.”1 What holds true of character in general is particularly true with respect to courage. There is quite a lot of talk in academia and among cultural pundits at large about the need to “shore up moral foundations” or “reorient our moral compass,” both as individuals and as a people. And yet much of what passes for discussion is little more than words passing each other in postmodernity’s night: “You go your way and I will go my way; if perchance we meet, that would be nice, and if we do not, what a pity . . . but, oh look, here comes someone else.”

In short, everyone agrees that character is important, that honor is a virtue (at least if it can be stripped of its proclivity to overweening pride leading to some arcane desire to draw pistols at dawn), and that courage is something that our children, our statesmen, our soldiers, and even our fellow citizens need if they are to be successful (ever successful). However, when confronted with questions of, “What precisely does this courage entail and in what does it consist?” or “What does it mean to be courageous and honorable and to be a man or woman of character?”, then we withdraw into platitudes, slogans, and clichés–anything except meaningful engagement with questions that demand substantive answers.

It is precisely this need for meaningful engagement that makes Richard Avramenko’s study, Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb such a compelling read. What Avramenko would have us learn is that, “Courage reveals the ground of our collective lives,” which is ever political and brings “to light deeply divergent communities of care.”2 For Avramenko, the exploration and exposition of “these divergent cares are precisely what this book pursues.”3 For the reviewer, it is the exploration and exposition of Avramenko’s project that will fill the following pages, providing at once a sense of Avramenko’s sweeping and quite often compelling analysis and a bit of critical reflection regarding areas requiring further examination, specifically as it relates to the moral courage Avramenko extolls in the thought of Rousseau.

As shall become evident, whatever the few shortcomings might be, they should in no way detract from the thrust of his thesis, namely that courage may well save us intellectually, and far more important, existentially, from a life that is not fit for humans to live precisely because it is a life lived in continual fear of losing life and limb. Avramenko notes at the outset of his work that, “Courage tells about how we die together and as such “supplements, perhaps even completes, the story of how human beings live together.”It therefore transcends the limitations of man as mere rational actor and in so doing “discloses what we care about fundamentally.”5  And when we invoke transcendence, we need not–as Avramenko reminds us–invoke of necessity the divine.  To transcend may simply mean that we “climb over” our mere empirical existence–a “finite transcendence.”6 In so doing, we discover that “courage is risking life and limb for the sake of something about which we care fundamentally.”7

Courage so defined naturally transcends or “envelops both the feminine and masculine” and examined existentially “reveals a close kinship between relational ontologies and meaningful existence.”8  That is to say, “It reveals both men and women as creatures defined by care.”9  In turn, when “a consensus on a definition of courage is reached, then courage reveals communities of care,” the sources of which lie “beneath the liminality of reason.”10 There are of course only a finite number of “fundamental cares”11 and though courage is most often and most readily equated with martial courage—the courage of the warrior that finds its touchstone in “andreia,” the term used by the ancient Greeks for “manly courage”12–Avramenko states that the story he intends to tell is “how political courage, moral courage, and economic courage developed either in opposition or in supplement to martial courage.”13

A bit further on he elaborates, “This book provides a phenomenological starting point and basic hermeneutical language for recognizing and describing fundamental cares and modes of articulation that range beyond the modern, Western obsession with autonomy and rationally articulated communities.”14 Courage rightly understood pertains to defending communities rightly conceived and at its most foundational level reveals the “possibility of caring fundamentally about holding multiple fundamental cares.”15 These fundamental cares should not be confused with “preferences” and certain “ways of being,” which reflect little more than “whimsical lifestyles.”16

There is much that fascinates the imagination and spurs the intellect in what Avramenko proposes and little that at first glance seems controversial.  Yet as Avramenko is painfully aware, courage is often an unwelcome guest in modernity’s conversations about politics and life. If courage is about risking life and limb for fundamental cares, what makes courage such an unwelcome guest? In part it has to do with disagreement regarding fundamental cares. As Avramenko mentions in both the beginning and end of his work, individuals have repeatedly risked life and limb for cares they conceive of as fundamental but which often result in violence, much of it heinous by most measures.

Nevertheless, although Avramenko does want us to understand the importance of courage, and though he does admonish us to consider the importance of living courageous lives, his purpose is first and foremost to get us to see what we might have neglected conceptually and in all likelihood have neglected out of our fear with respect to where it might lead us and what it might demand of us in light of what it reveals about us as human beings.

Without succumbing to unwarranted judgment, Avramenko simply notes in his “Preface:” “Rather than inquiring into the virtue of a particular man or woman, one can ask about the nature of the community that emerges around varying ideas of courage.”17 This itself is work enough, for not only is there disagreement about the meaning of courage but courage itself entails a conception of manliness which seemingly excludes the feminine.18 Furthermore, courage partakes more of the exceptional than the common and may well exclude the coward, and modern democratic tendencies detest exclusions.19

In addition, the academic who is best suited to elucidate the virtue of courage is often unwilling to do so–“Only the courageous will be inclined to say that courage is important” and thinkers “are a notoriously timid lot.”20 In a similar vein, courage “expresses an abiding fundamental care: honor” and “honor is closely related to a certain type of courage: martial courage.”21  Martial courage usually entails violence, which again is unsettling to not only the “timid lot” but enlightened Western sensibilities that value protective bubbles over battles of any type–physical, mental, or spiritual.

Finally, courage and courageous actions “emerge from beneath the liminality of reason”22 and modernity requires reason of a certain type–a calculating and therefore quantifiable reason that man can contain in his own mind, through which he reasons he can maintain control of a world that so often seems to escape his restless grasp for control. As Avramenko states, “Courage discloses a disruption of the hierarchy of human preferences that predicates the rational actor model.”23 It modifies the primacy of the subjective and for subjective man this ever smacks of the imposition of the objective, which may not exist and thus is, as Nietzsche reminds us, the imposition of a lie.

Courage is then an often unwanted guest but for reasons that are not always sound and more often than not are detrimental to human community let alone human excellence. It is to welcome courage once again to the conversation about the meaning of man as a political animal and to overcome these obstructions–to transcend them–that Avramenko launches into his careful, imaginative, and insightful analyses of “four different manifestations of courage, along with the fundamental cares and modes of articulation attending them.”24

Before turning to some critical reflections, it will prove helpful to first summarize Avramenko’s argument in some detail to obtain a sense of the impressive intellectual breadth and depth of his analysis. Avramenko begins with what he describes as a “rather sympathetic presentation of martial courage in the ancient world”25 which is by and large focused on Sparta and specifically the actions of the Spartans at Thermopylae. In this and the subsequent section on political courage, Avramenko’s work truly shines in its ability to intertwine history, literature, and philosophy to provide rich insights into the classical understanding of all that pertains to courage.

What we learn is that martial courage in the ancient world is “bound up” with honor; that “to fail in martial courage is to find oneself dishonored; and third, to be dishonored is to live with shame”26aidōs. Drawing on the concepts of aidōs and aideomai (which “pertains to how one feels about others in relation to the self”27) Avramenko discloses that martial courage involves a robust and expansive sense of selflessness. Although the appeal of martial courage is often equated with Max Weber’s sense of “Kriegsbruderlichkeit” (the brotherhood of warriors”),28 Avramenko follows in the footsteps of the pacifist William James when he concludes, “In making himself martially courageous, man creates for himself moments of human possibility–possibilities of self-overcoming, fraternity, and transcendence,” which must be “replicated in civilian life,” for courage “is an absolute and permanent human good.”29 That is to say, while we may evince “distaste for martial courage, honor, and violence,” it is “more difficult to let go of the selflessness and transcendent character of martial courage.”30

Hence, not only are “martial courage and honor not merely artifacts of the ancient world,”31 they have implications for modernity. They at once teach us how to courageously face battle but moreover how to courageously live at peace. They also allow us to understand the reason violence abides in human history, a political lesson Avramenko notes struck home for him personally on September 12th, 2001.32 Still martial courage is but one form of courage–however important.  In the next chapter, Avramenko turns to classical Athens and the defense of a different conception of courage articulated first by Pericles and his defense of “democratic leisure . . . purchased by martial courage in the empire.”33

Yet the Periclean vision of “justice and democratic leisure” (hathumia)34 is incomplete, for true political courage “requires selflessness” and it is precisely selflessness that is lacking in Pericles’ vision, a point Avramenko makes with sophisticated verve drawing on Greek tragedy, comedy, and history alike. Yet what overcomes this Periclean conception of courage, along with the Spartan and even the more ancient Homeric formulations, is a defense of political courage that relies on discourse and human reason such that “discourse is brought to bear for the sake of justice.”35 This is embodied in the words and deeds of the new hero, Socrates, whom Avramenko illuminates by first drawing on the philosophy of Aristotle but even more so by a historically informed and carefully reasoned analysis of the thought of Plato and the question of courage as it finds articulation in the Laches.

This analysis of Plato’s Laches is arguably the most powerful and erudite in Avramenko’s book. It discloses to us that Socrates’ “hunter-philosopher courage” is true political courage.36  Though the language of battle, courage, honor, and violence remain, they are transformed by the spiritual and existential war Socrates wages against the all-too-human statesmen who care only for power, glory, and wealth and not for moral excellence in the souls of men and the cities they inhabit. Indeed, the invocation of a moral order undergirding Socrates’ political courage prepares the way for the discussion of moral courage in the next chapter.

Although a substantial leap in history follows as chapter four turns to what Avramenko refers to as the “appearance of moral courage and heroism” as expounded by Rousseau,37 the theme of morality corrects them across time. Here we discover, that “moral courage . . . brings compassion to bear for the sake of autonomy.”38  Through a thematic analysis of the First Discourse, the Discourse on Heroism, and finally Emile, Avramenko unfolds Rousseau’s project as one of expounding an ever increasing defense of courageous autonomy.39 For Rousseau, the end result is the creation of the “citizen” as a “new type of man,”40 who embodies moral courage that is at once autonomous but not individualistic and selfish.  It is this new man alone who is fit for the “real world–the world of human dwelling,” in which “beings live, eat, and breathe, where things come into being and pass away.”41 

This new man embodies to a heightened degree compassion, and in Rousseau’s creation we discover that “the nonreasonable ‘language’ of sentiments perfects reason.”42 Hence, this perfection entails a softening of not only reason but courage, which is ever prone to the “excessive manliness of the Homeric tradition” with its inherent violence.43 While for Pericles this softening involves the defense of democratic leisure, which Plato’s Socrates redefines in terms of leisure beholden to justice, and Rousseau’s formulation involved the embodiment of compassion, Tocqueville offers “a courage amenable to the age of equality.”44

In chapter five, Avramenko develops this concept of economic courage and heroism as articulated by Tocqueville whereby “exchange is brought to bear for the sake of well-being.”45 In Tocqueville’s formulation there is an unmistakable emphasis on utility, itself a reflection of the spirit of the age of equality, which is prone to isolation and an individualism that stands in danger of devolving into selfishness. To avoid this devolution, Tocqueville formulates a courage that remains bound up with exchange but which also nurtures a spirit of self-overcoming captured by “the doctrine of self-interest properly understood.”46 This doctrine is essential to shoring up the “mores (moeurs) of a people.”47

Furthermore, to combat the change that courage implies a conception of manliness inimical to the feminine, Avramenko stresses that the task of nurturing mores is not primarily the purview of men but women–in “America ‘it is women who shape mores.”48 In sum, “We find in the American context . . . courage with a feminine character,”49 and this has salutary effects, raising the estimation of women and promoting the prospects for peace, though the inherent restlessness in the democratic soul may well lead down the path of the “American democratic experiment” undermining itself.50 The ominous laden tone of the end of the chapter on Tocqueville prepares the way for Avramenko’s concluding chapter in which words of warning undergird words of admonishment that the study of courage should not be neglected.

Avramenko summarizes his argument by considering “how reflections on courage can contribute to a deeper understanding of our own political and social lives.”51 As he had noted at the outset, his work is intended to explore “how the recognition of cares and associated behaviors that defy the usual understanding of homo economicus might help us understand other people and their willingness to risk life and limb for the sake of things we usually have great difficulty understanding.”52

Avramenko’s study does a fine job helping us to understand this lesson if we have had the courage to persevere to the end. Indeed, the end is itself a beginning, for the last chapter gives way to over sixty-two pages of endnotes, which comprise an education in their own right, expanding on salient tangents and offering up a plethora of ideas for further investigation. Many of these ideas may well lead the interested reader to begin to read through the works listed in the thirty page bibliography. The scope of Avramenko’s project is impressive to say the least and his insightful analysis worthy of careful reading and rumination.

Assuredly there might be points of contention where a specialist in a particular field might find some robust ground for spirited and collegial disagreement and assuredly there are points over which one could quibble. The former I will leave for the potentially aggrieved specialist to address. The latter are not worth mentioning here (if at all), for they detract from the import of the work more than they illuminate substantive areas of contention.  Such quibbling is more often the work of those whom Avramenko himself might refer to as cowardly.

What is, however, required is a bit of courage to deal with a more salient criticism as it relates to the broad contours of Avramenko’s argument.  I do so not with the intent of undermining a fine work but rather to spur dialogue and encourage the interested reader to continue a path of research which Avramenko has done an admirable job of rescuing from unwarranted neglect. At the outset of his work, Richard Avramenko states that one of the purposes of his book is to move beyond the “modern, Western obsession with autonomy and rationally articulated community.”53 It therefore appears at first glance a bit odd to include Rousseau as a corrective to what many critics–in addition to the ones Avramenko cites–see as the reason for modernity’s obsession with these themes.

Even Avramenko notes at the outset of his chapter on Rousseau that though he, “like other thinkers,” is “enamored with courage and heroism, . . . his fundamental care is not honor or justice but autonomy, or, literally, self-rule.”54 Avramenko of course takes pains to situate Rousseau’s conception of autonomy by tracing its meaning through the works already discussed (First Discourse, Discourse on Heroism, and Emile). What we learn from Avramenko is that Rousseau is about creating a “new type of man ‘the citizen,’” who is a “synthesis of the manliness of the natural man with both the gentleness of the civil man and the selflessness of the hero.”55 The citizen embodies a “new type of courage–not martial courage, not political courage, but moral courage.56

For Avramenko, Rousseau’s great work on education, Emile, is “concerned with what Rousseau calls ‘first lessons in courage’”57 and it is to Rousseau’s conception of courage to which Avramenko returns the reader’s attention in the final pages of his closing admonitory chapter, “The Aftermath.” As Avramenko states, “It is Rousseau, after all, who steadily calls our attention to the need for strength and virtue to counter the weakness of our empirical selves.”58 Indeed, though the book closes with a general admonishment to live courageously, its Rousseauian tone should not be lost on the reader: “And no matter how eloquent we may be, or how sophisticated our philosophical training, when life demands that we act decently in the here and now, there is no substitute for the selfless habits of courageous action. Let this be our resolute stand and the first lesson in courage.”59

What precisely this first lesson entails is seemingly manifold, all wrapped up in Rousseau’s conception of the “citizen” and the first lessons of Emile. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to see that this first lesson entails honoring a moral courage which at its heart is inimical to the one dominant alternative to Rousseau’s conception of moral courage that remains largely unarticulated, namely the Christian conception of moral courage that is rooted in a sense of the individual created imago Dei. That this alternative is in need of explanation arises precisely because Rousseau sees his conception of moral courage as a corrective to it. As Avramenko nears the end of his chapter on “Moral Courage and Autonomy,” he notes that in Emile Rousseau recommends only one book for Emile to read: “And, not surprisingly, it is not the Bible. Instead, it is Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.”60 The excellence of Defoe’s work at once stimulates the imagination but also “restrains it by keeping his [Emile’s imagination focused on the real world.”61

Reading of the “isolated island world of Crusoe prepares Emile for social relations that are not inimical to his autonomy.”62 It is autonomy understood in these terms that alone can prepare the citizen to evince compassion in a community that is “based on a reciprocal respect for the autonomy of others.”63 The pupil who embodies these lessons “has received the first lessons in courage as outlined in Emile.”64 What does this all mean? As Avramenko concludes: “In sum, for Rousseau the enduring appeal of courage remains. Moral courage enables the pupil to resist both physical enslavement and the moral enslavement that one experiences in the darkness of the church.”65

The latter imagery itself arises out of Rousseau’s own recounting of a youthful dare (one that is pregnant with metaphor) that tested his courage to cross a cemetery, enter a church, and remove the Bible from the pulpit and abscond with it. Rousseau overcomes his fears of the darkness and like Emile is freed from enslavements that would capture the imagination and consequently threaten his autonomy.66 All this is carefully crafted and reflects the craftsmanship of Avramenko’s study throughout. Yet the reader cannot but help and ask, “Why?” Why, if the concern is with moral courage, not also delineate the Christian conception, out of which Rousseau’s religiously infused educational program arises that itself calls for transcendence but one that remains firmly this side of heaven?

Indeed, keeping in mind Eric Voegelin’s understanding that, “Christianity is not an alternative to philosophy, it is philosophy itself in its state of perfection,”67 it seems necessary to take the Christian formulation of courage seriously in its own right. Undeniably, this itself is an act of courage transcending the liminality of reason given the spirit of our age, where to venture into such waters is itself an act fraught with risking academic life and limb.

Avramenko may well understand this danger, for he is prudentially attuned to the sense that the topic of courage is already explosive enough. As Avramenko notes at the outset of his work, “To talk about political order and its relationship to courage is to be exclusionary, perhaps even sexist–a charge all prudent thinkers need to fear.”68 How much more fearful to include an overt treatment of the contentious matter of Christian–or more broadly defined–religious courage?

It is telling that Avramenko does mention on several occasions religious, and specifically Christian, conceptions of courage in passing but either dismisses them or leaves them for the reader to ponder on his own.69 It is then a bit of an overstatement on the part of Avramenko to argue that, “We have marched through nearly two and a half millennia of human beings” making themselves courageous.70 While Avramenko’s study addresses derivations of the theme of courage as articulated at different times in history and deftly and insightfully connects them, it does not provide a comprehensive survey akin in spirit to Alexander D’Entrèves’ study of natural law.71

The reasons for jumping from Greek antiquity to modernity without so much as a note explaining why the intervening two thousand or so years pass by without due analysis remains unaddressed, though this lacuna in Avramenko’s work demands attention. Implicitly the reader can assume that since for Avramenko Rousseau “melds Spartan virtue with an ethic of care,” this captures the essence of what the intervening centuries have offered up for man’s contemplation.72 However, care, compassion, and a host of related concepts employed by Rousseau have their own history and Rousseau’s thought has its own antecedents. Only after considering the generation of Rousseau’s thought can we adequately consider whether the Rousseauian synthesis truly captures the span of time Avramenko would have it traverse.

Near the end of his introductory chapter, Avramenko notes, “If the reader finds one of the types of courage preferable to another, then as much is revealed about the reader’s cares and political commitments as about courage. And I will consider the book a success, at least by this measure.”73 In the foregoing I am sure I have revealed some, if not much, about my own sense of what courage entails, but I have done so in light of what the author has revealed about himself.

In both instances, the book proves a success by Avramenko’s standards and a salient starting point for further dialogue conducted by courageous souls treading where prudent academicians may fear to tread but where philosophers concerned about the right ordering of the soul must venture boldly–courageously. Avramenko observes near the end of his study that, “A basic character of courage is that it points to things beyond itself–courage provides a lens through which we can observe how we exist beyond the narrow world of our personal being.”74

Courage then is an antidote to the natural devolution of individualism to selfishness which ends in individual men and women being trapped in their own soliloquys. As Tocqueville observes of democratic equality, “There is a danger that he may be shut up in the solitude of his own heart.”75 Courage alone can save man from this death-in-life solipsism. Courage draws him out of himself to face life because he has faced death and has thereby learned that there are some things worthy of risking life and limb.

Avramenko would not have the reader miss this admonitory point. He unfolds his argument to confront the reader with the existential decision demanded of the reader who must close the book and act in a world that stands in need of us caring more about fundamental matters and less about the triviality that so often consumes our lives. Hence, though Avramenko offers a fine analysis of martial, political, moral, and economic courage and their interrelationships, the real import of his work–below or beyond the oft citied “liminality of our reason”–entails a transcendent theme which serves as bookends to his study.

The point is one intimated at the outset and clearly articulated at the end of his study: “No matter what we care about fundamentally, no matter how our community is articulated, the good life cannot be achieved in a world populated by vicious people. And this is the unsocial scientific virtue of courage: goodness requires virtue.”76 And virtue is never merely, even primarily about analysis. In truth, when a civilization, a nation, a people begins the conversation about what up to that moment had been self-evident, it may be reaching the pinnacle of enlightened minds but not necessarily enlightened lives.

Avramenko ends his analysis of “the politics of life and limb” by reminding us of precisely this point. In citing Rousseau’s recounting of a story first recorded by Plutarch about an Athenian praising the Spartans, for “the Athenians know what is decent, but the Lacedaemonians practice it,”77 he not only recapitulates the ark of his analysis but, far more to the point, draws out the lesson that courage is not about words but about deeds. In this sense, Avramenko’s work partakes of the spirit of Rousseau’s Emile, in which the tutor guides the student to pursue a course of life that accords with truthfulness without overtly recognizing that this is transpiring.

Having read Avramenko’s work, I have not only obtained a better understanding of the concept of courage and gleamed prescient insights into the meaning of courage as articulated by the philosophers he marshals, I have been reminded as a soldier myself that, “When life demands that we act decently in the here and now, there is no substitute for the selfless habits of courageous action.”78 For Avramenko this must be “our resolute stand and the first lesson of courage.”79 Indeed, it must be. And where Avramenko’s book ends our work begins.

The first lesson is not the last. As scholars, we must continue the work he has begun by carefully analyzing concepts that some–arguably too many–have considered decrepit, a “moribund fundamental care” of pre-modern, pre-liberal, democratic ages.80 This requires a fuller treatment of the concept of courage, possibly in a comprehensive multi-volume study or in further exploration of philosophers of courage. In this regard, the discussion would not only be enriched–as Avramenko himself notes–by considering conceptions of courage as articulated in “the non-Western canon” but also by careful consideration of various forms of “existential courage,” both “religious and non-religious.”81

As citizens, statesmen, or soldiers, we must strive to live lives that are courageous, precisely because life demands no less from us. As Avramenko notes in his conclusion, “Courage impels us to ask not only, ‘What is a good man?’ but an even more rudimentary question: ‘What does it mean to be human?’” Avramenko goes on to provide the answer: “To be human is to find oneself amid a community of care. To be a courageous human being is to participate selflessly in a community of care.”82 If the reader closes Avramenko’s study and walks away with a conceptual and, moreover, an existential appreciation of this lesson, he or she has indeed grasped the first lessons of courage.



1. James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New York: Harper Collins, 1991), xv.

2. Richard Avramenko, Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011), 237.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid., 7.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid., 9, 14.

7. Ibid., 7.

8. Ibid., 13.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid., 15.

11. Ibid., 17.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid., 18.

14. Ibid., 18-19.

15. Ibid., 35, 241.

16. Ibid., 243.

17. “Preface” in ibid., xi.

18. Ibid., 1-2.

19. Ibid., 2.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid., 17.

22. Ibid., 15.

23. Ibid., 6.

24. Ibid., 20.

25. Ibid.

26. Ibid., 49-50.

27. Ibid., 46.

28. Ibid., 68, 71.

29. Ibid., 81, 83.

30. Ibid., 19.

31. Ibid., 20.

32. “Preface” in ibid., xi.

33. Ibid., 94.

34. Ibid., 91.

35. Ibid., 20.

36. Ibid., 131-38.

37. Ibid., 21.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid., 159.

40. Ibid., 167.

41. Ibid., 173.  Avramenko’s phrasing–as is often the case in commentaries or analyses of Rousseau’s works as well as in Rousseau’s own formulations–once again reminds me of antecedents. In this particular instance, the words of Paul the Apostle to the Athenians on the Areopagus regarding the “unknown God” come to mind when, on a rare occasion, he quotes two Greek poets (probably Epimenides of Crete and from Aratus’ poem, “Phainomena”): “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; / as even some of your own poets have said, / ‘For we are indeed his offspring’” (Acts 17:28).

42. Ibid., 185.

43. Ibid., 191.

44. Ibid., 195.

45. Ibid., 21.

46. Ibid., 221.

47. Ibid., 224.

48. Ibid., 226.

49. Ibid., 228.

50. Ibid., 232, 234.

51. Ibid., 22.

52. Ibid.

53. Ibid., 237.

54. Ibid., 141.

55. Ibid., 166, 167.

56. Ibid., 167.

57. Ibid., 166.

58. Ibid., 254.

59. Ibid., 255.

60. Ibid., 181.

61. Ibid.

62. Ibid., 183.

63. Ibid., 188.

64. Ibid., 189.

65. Ibid.

66. See ibid., 177-79.

67. Eric Voegelin, “Gospel and Culture,” in Published Essays, 1966-1985, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Baton Rouge: University of Missouri Press, 1990), 173.

68. Avramenko, Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb, 1-2.

69. See especially ibid., 246-47. Avramenko may well be evincing a Tocquevillean tendency, opening corridors of thought down which he allows a reader to peer without himself traversing the ground. If that is his intent, he might have understand all too well the Nietzschean wisdom of wearing masks and the correlated injunction that, “When today a philosopher lets it be known that he is not a skeptic . . . the whole world does not like to hear it . . . from then on he is called dangerous.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, 15 vols., vol. 5, Kritische Studienausgabe (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1999), 208, p. 137.

70. Avramenko, Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb, 235.

71. Alexander Passerin d’Entrèves, Natural Law: An Introduction to Legal Philosophy (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1999).

72. Avramenko, Courage: The Politics of Life and Limb, 191.

73. Ibid., 20.

74. Ibid., 215.

75. Tocqueville quoted in ibid., 218.

76. Ibid., 253.

77. Ibid., 254.

78. Ibid., 255.

79. Ibid.

80. Ibid., 251.

81. Ibid., 244, 246.

82. Ibid., 237.

Rouven J. SteevesRouven J. Steeves

Rouven J. Steeves

Rouven J. Steeves is Assistant Professor of Political Science and German at the United States Air Force Academy.

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