In the end, a “millennium” is too big a concept for the imagination. A thousand years equals 30 generations, a duration that has no flesh and blood dimension. Half a millennium ago, Columbus had just landed in the Western hemisphere; half that again, America had not yet been born.
But a century has resonance for us, spanning the two or three lifetimes that we have touched. For example, I can trace my own grandparents’ path back to Moravia and the Ukraine, though I can’t go any further back than that. My grandparents were married just before the turn of the last century, and their children’s lives began with it. Brief as this interval is in the overall span of time, three generations is probably enough to understand ourselves as human beings.
Looking behind us, this century of ours was mostly a stage for the destructive dramas of a secular religious faith called “socialism.” It is a faith inspired by the dream of a social redemption realized through human rather than divine power, through the force of politics and the state. In its communist form, the efforts of this faith ruined whole continents and destroyed a world of human lives. Have we learned from these disasters, or will the passions of this faith follow us into the century to come?
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