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AT A TIME WHEN the faith and liberty of free men everywhere are challenged by anti-Americanism and the ruthless fanaticism of foreign enemies, public discourse reconsiders the moral underpinnings of democracy and reform movements across different continents and cultures. This discussion benefits to the extent that it builds upon rational and religious insight into the moral potential of human beings who seek through representative government the defense of liberty under law. Few American thinkers have surpassed Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) and Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)--one a philosopher, the other a theologian--in dissecting the messianic corruption at the core of totalitarian movements. Their diagnosis of the disorder at the root of closed societies was matched by a common concern about the philosophical and ethical resources for the rediscovery and defense of human integrity. The central argument advanced herein is that Voegelin's characterization of the "open society" is mirrored by Niebuhr's reliance on "Christian realism" for assessing the moral vitality of individuals and groups in democratic regimes. Voegelin's search for the ground of existence in Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy depicts the nature of man in openness toward transcendence. Niebuhr's Augustinian realism exposes a sinful and anxious creature forever tempted to misunderstand the tension between his finiteness and freedom. This tensional relationship, bounded by the polarities of immanent and transcendent divine being, has implications for the moral choices that lie behind the purposes--both pragmatic and ultimate--of democratic government.