Despite Charles Malik’s prolific career and accomplishments on the world stage, his written legacy has largely been lost to history, falling out of circulation or never making it to print. It survives in hard-to-access libraries and sometimes in languages foreign to Western readers.

The Library of Congress in D.C. holds the largest collection of Malik’s work with 114.8 linear feet of material. Below you will find the Charles Malik Institute’s ongoing effort to mine this archive, with occasional additions from other libraries, and bring Malik’s work back into public discourse.

Find a Charles Malik Original Quote

Yet a general critique is necessary, because war and peace are not only a function of Communism: they depend also on the state of health and illness in Western culture. There are many phases of Western life which are repulsively…

Yet a general critique is necessary, because war and peace are not only a function of Communism: they depend also on the state of health and illness in Western culture.

There are many phases of Western life which are repulsively materialistic. The spirit of business and gain, the maddening variety of things exciting your concupiscence, the utter selfishness of uncoordinated activity, all this is not something to attract and inspire. To the superficial observer who is unable to penetrate to the core of love and truth which is still at the heart of the West, there is little to choose between the soulless materialism of the West and the militant materialism of the East.

Quality is in eclipse. Quantity and size dominate. Not the better and truer, but the larger and physically stronger: these call forth moral approbation.

There is a corresponding bankruptcy of fundamental ideas. There is thus in this realm an unequal struggle for the hearts of men between Communism and the West. Communism displays a set of generic ideas—I believe for the most part false—in which it passionately believes, for which Communists are willing—I believe misguidedly—to die. There is no comparable ideological passion in the West. The talk about democracy, freedom, representative government, is woefully inadequate: it deals for the most part with pure form, sheer external machinery. It does not satisfy man’s deepest cravings for friendship and understanding and truth and love.

Politically the West will not serve the cause of peace by allying itself with dark regimes just because it is more expedient not to disturb them. Such regimes are running sores on the body politic of humanity. The West must be honest enough to rebuke and challenge them. It must firmly lead them into the broad ways of responsible change. Their peoples are poised to see whether the West acts from principle or from expediency. And the subversive whispers of world revolution become more and more potent the more these peoples despair of their rulers and the West.

Nor does it do merely to reject Communism. A positive alternative must be suggested. The only effective answer to Communism is a genuine spiritualized materialism which seeks to remove every trace of social injustice without loss of the higher values which constitute the very soul of the West. Communism cannot be met by a mere nay; it requires a mighty yea which will do full justice to man’s material needs but will at the same time place them in their subordinate position in the scale of values.

The tragedy of the world today is that the traditions which embody the deepest truth are not bothering clearly, sufficiently, responsibly, boldly to articulate themselves.

Whatever be the weakness and decadence of the West, it still has one saving glory: the University is free, the Church is free. It is a great thing to preserve unbroken the tradition of free inquiry started by Plato and Aristotle, and the tradition of love started by God. Truth can still be sought, and God can still be loved and proclaimed in joy and freedom. And this fact alone is going to save us. It will not be by pacts, or by atomic bombs, or by economic arrangements, or by the United Nations, that peace will be established, but by the freedom of the Church and the University each to be itself. Communism does not know what it has done when it subjected the Church and the University to its own dictates.

Source: War and Peace 2

Communism | Western Thought |

I must say in all humility that the leadership of the West in general does not seem to be adequate to the unprecedented challenges of the age. There is a tragic dearth of men, men who are so genuinely in…

I must say in all humility that the leadership of the West in general does not seem to be adequate to the unprecedented challenges of the age. There is a tragic dearth of men, men who are so genuinely in touch with the truth and with the hearts of their fellow men as to have only to open their mouths to be loved and believed and followed. The world desperately cries for masters; for it is only the voice of conviction and truth that is going to save us. 

Nor is it sufficient in this cruel century to be happy and self-sufficient. You must step forth and lead, and not only in material things. It is not enough to realize good institutions and to leave it to others to copy them. For man isn’t only an ape: he does not only mimic the good example of others. Man thirsts after ideas. If the habits and institutions of the West are not adapted for the production of a ringing message, full of content and truth, satisfying the mind, appealing to the heart, firing the will, a message on which one can stake his whole life, then in the present world, in which there is, perhaps as never before, a universal hunger for truth and justice and rest, the West cannot lead. Leadership must pass on to others, no matter how perverted and false these others might be. For the Logos prefers and can finally utilize a false prophet far better than no prophet at all. If your only export in these realms is the silent example of flourishing political institutions and happy human relations, you cannot lead. If your only export is a distant reputation for wealth and prosperity and order, you cannot lead. Nor can you really lead if you send forth to others only expert advice and technical assistance. To be able to lead and save yourself and others, you must above everything else address their mind and soul. Your tradition, rooted in the glorious Greco-Roman-Hebrew-Christian-Western-European-humane outlook, supplies you with all the necessary presuppositions for leadership. All you have to do is to be the deepest you already are. The challenge of this epoch is not Communism, but is whether Western society, conceived in the joyous liberties of the Greek city-states and nurtured on Christian charity, can still recover from the worship of false and alien gods and return to its authentic sources. The challenge of the moment is whether modern man, distracted and overwhelmed by himself and by the world, can still regain the original integrity of his soul. (31-34)

Source: War and Peace 1

Communism | Crisis Leadership | Faith | Western Thought |

…unless Marx and his movement are adequately answered and arrested on every level—militarily, politically, economically, and above all, theoretically and spiritually—the best intentions in the United Nations will always be vitiated. (25)

…unless Marx and his movement are adequately answered and arrested on every level—militarily, politically, economically, and above all, theoretically and spiritually—the best intentions in the United Nations will always be vitiated. (25)

Source: The Spiritual Significance of the United Nations 3

Communism | United Nations | Western Thought |

…the Western World has not so far articulated a sufficiently dynamic message in the economic, social, and cultural field that will fire the imagination of the non-Communist rest of the world. The Communist message in this regard still exerts a…

…the Western World has not so far articulated a sufficiently dynamic message in the economic, social, and cultural field that will fire the imagination of the non-Communist rest of the world. The Communist message in this regard still exerts a strong pull. The problem for the Western world therefore is whether, maintaining and even strengthening its fundamental respect for man and his freedom, which is undoubtedly the most important thing, it can nevertheless summon sufficient boldness of thought and action to convince the rest of the world of its willingness and ability to lead it into an age of plenty, equality and justice. (278)

Source: Human Rights in the United Nations 1

Communism | Human Rights | United Nations | Western Thought |

If it is to understand its own historic position in its true light, Communism must thoroughly understand the fact that it is standing face to face with, and rebelling against, the West—the Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Christian, humane traditions of the…

If it is to understand its own historic position in its true light, Communism must thoroughly understand the fact that it is standing face to face with, and rebelling against, the West—the Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Christian, humane traditions of the West—and not only the unhappy West of secularism, liberalism, capitalism, and imperialism.

Source: Human Rights and Religious Freedom 6

Communism | Faith | Human Rights | Western Thought |


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