Danger to civilization

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The phrase danger to civilization has frequently been employed by writers, including several times in the past half century. However, it has not been repeated -- to the point of almost becoming a litany -- more often than by President George W. Bush and members of the Bush administration since the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, and in particular on the campaign trail for U.S. presidential election, 2004. See power of persuasion.

Early Examples

  • "Hysteria and degeneration have always existed; but they formerly showed themselves sporadically, and had no importance in the life of the whole community. It was only the vast fatigue which was experienced by the generation on which the multitudes of discoveries and innovations burst abruptly, imposing on it organic exigencies greatly surpassing its strength, which created favourable conditions under which these maladies could gain ground enormously, and become a danger to civilization." --- Max Nordau, "Degeneration," 1892.[1]
  • From the Dedication of Anabel Taylor Hall as an Interfaith Center and World War II Memorial at Cornell University by Myron C. Taylor, October 26, 1952:
"These horrors, occurring in our time and as part of our boasted civilization, are not to be forgotten. Nor are these loyal sons of Cornell to be forgotten who gave their all to check and punish such wanton disregard of human life. Their sacrifice entitles them to a lasting memorial, that those who follow should see and recognize the danger to civilization and to mankind when too great power is entrusted to a single man or a single group of men."[2]
  • "The world is being convinced that the danger to civilization comes from America. The tragedy is that the American people, their senses dulled by years of slaughter and body-counting, are behind all the other peoples of the world in realizing this terrible truth." -- Owen Lattimore, New York Review, September 21, 1972.


More Recent Examples

  • In the January 24, 1991, Rocky Mountain News (Denver), on behalf of the Center for the New West, Philip Burgess wrote "Saddam is a clear and present danger to civilization because of his capacity and demonstrated willingness to inflict enormous death and destruction - on innocent people (including his own), on places and to the ecosystem itself."
"This is a war - or it's a potential war ? against a regime that has gassed its own people, that has a ruthless dictatorship, that threatens the world with weapons of mass destruction, is a clear and present danger to civilization - not only in that region but throughout the world."[4]
  • On July 18, 2003, in Dallas, Texas, [and July 20 in Houston][5] President Bush said
"It is clear that the future of freedom and peace depend upon the actions of America. This nation is freedom's home and freedom's defender. We welcome this charge of history and we are keeping it. (Applause.) Our war on terror continues. The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. This country will not rest, we will not tire, we will not stop until this danger to civilization is removed."[6]
  • President Bush, August 26, 2003, at the American Legion Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, said "No nation can be neutral in the struggle between civilization and chaos ... The enemies of freedom are not idle and neither are we, ... This country will not rest, we will not tire and we will not stop until this danger to civilization is removed."[7]
  • President Bush, speaking at a fund-raiser on September 5, 2003, in Indianapolis, Indiana, "vowed to continue the war on terrorism" by saying "This country will not rest. We will not tire. We will not stop until this danger to civilization is removed."[8]
  • "President Bush, in a September 9, 2003 speech in Jacksonville, Florida, said, 'Our war on terror continues. The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. This country will not rest, we will not tire, we will not stop until this danger to civilization is removed.'"[9]
  • On October 30, 2003, at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, while speaking "to a group of supporters about his plans for the country and his upcoming re-election bid, " Bush said 'We will not tire. We will not stop until this danger to civilization is removed'."[10]
  • In an editorial that was released for use by all services, November 13, 2003, President Bush said "This country will not rest, we will not tire, we will not stop until this danger to civilization is removed."[11]
  • In a speech to Republican political supporters on December 2, 2003, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, President Bush said: "It is clear that the future of freedom and peace depend on the actions of America. This nation is freedom's home, and freedom's defender. We welcome this charge of history, and we are keeping it. (Applause.) The war on terror continues. The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. This country will not rest, we will not stop, we will not tire, until this danger to civilization is removed."[12]
  • "President Bush stopped in Little Rock [December 8, 2003] to raise money for his re-election campaign. He spoke to more than 500 supporters at a luncheon at the Statehouse Convention Center. Bush looked back on the challenges that followed the attacks of Sept. 11. He says the war on terror is not over, and his supporters are ready to continue the fight. 'This country will not rest, will not tire, we will not stop until this danger to civilization is removed,' Bush said."[13]

Other Examples

  • Early in 2003, TIMEeurope.com asked: "Who really poses the greatest danger to world peace? Iraq, North Korea or The United States." The voting was closed with the outbreak of military action. But before then we recorded nearly 700,000 responses. Another 200,000 were discounted by robot-protection software. The results are still online. US:86.9%; N.Korea:6.7%; Iraq:6.3% [14]

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