The Western Tradition series:

“The Western Tradition” screen The entire Western Tradition series is available for online viewing at the Annenberg Media website, Click here. Video On Demand icon closed captioned icon

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Eugen Weber, series host It has always been a problem for a society faced by a serious challenge to decide just what measures it can take and how far it can go in opposing and meeting that challenge.  If you argue that you can only preserve your way of life by adopting certain means which negate that way of life—that you can only preserve democracy or free speech by limiting them, for example; or preserve a high standard of living by taxing and restricting it; or preserve liberty by regimentation; or moral order by inquisition—then you run the risk of sacrificing exactly the things you say you are fighting for.  You run the risk of sacrificing precisely those things that you use to justify the sacrifices in the first place, and you run the risk of becoming so like your enemy that the differences matter very little.

– Eugen Weber, “The Western Tradition”, Program 14: “The Fall of Rome” at 14m06s.