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By Prof. William E. Carroll, Catholic World Report, September 18, 2023

Prof. William E. Carroll is Visiting Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (Wuhan, China).


What does it mean to “battle for the soul of America”? The metaphor has its foundation in the root sense of “soul” as that by which a living thing is alive and involves a philosophy of nature that is often rejected by many who speak of souls in the political arena.

Speaking in Alaska on September 11, 2023, President Biden noted that the terrorists responsible for killing so many people 22 years ago “could not touch what no force, no enemy, no day ever could, and that is the soul of America.” In keeping with a central theme of his political campaign to be re-elected in which he identifies himself as a warrior in a “battle for the soul of America,” he asked rhetorically: “What is the soul of America?”

His answer:  “It is the breath, the life, the essence of who we are.  A soul is what makes us ‘us.’. . .. The soul of America is the fortitude we found in the fear of that terrible September day, the purpose we found in our pain, the light we found in our darkest hour.” …

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