Jay Winter is the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, where he focuses on World War I and its impact on the 20th century.
Jay Winter on
This is an age divided in two parts, Europe/North America becoming more and more secular, godless; Africa/Latin America/parts of Asia with a firm religious and church-oriented cultural life. That division between those countries that have passed through a process of secularization and those that are still in it seems to me to be the widest fracture in the world today.
A global ethic has to be independent of confession and religious observance as a test of inclusion or exclusion. Andrew Carnegie was nothing but a Scot Presbyterian; that's who he was. But the ethic that comes out of the work of those who follow in his footsteps and who search for international peace can't be defined by a Protestant faith or a Catholic faith or a Muslim or Jewish faith.
War, like sin, is inevitable, but it need not dominate the world. I think the notion of a regime in which war is an exception, rather than a rule, in the conduct of the business of states and their citizens is an objective that I would call utopian. That is a great objective, to make war into a marginal, serious, though not dominant, element in the way in which states conduct their business and the citizens of the world look to the future.
Prophets speak the language of those ideas which are not held by a large number of people. Leaders can't be prophets. They have to be able to hear the voices of those who have no power.