This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

A historical fallacy

First, we must situate our modern notion of democracy in its proper historical significance by acknowledging it as the novelty that it is.

Gonzague de Reynold wrote:

It has been attempted to give ancestors to modern democracy: ancient democracies, the urban or peasant democracies of the Middle Ages. These are only pictures acquired by a newly rich to adorn his chateau; he may take on the name but he is not of the same house.[1]

What we call democracy has no precedent in terms of Western civilization. The common references to Athens and Rome are inappropriate. Yes, the government was in some cases carried out by the citizens, and the citizens participated in the courts and legislation. But these were slave societies and so whatever freedoms or participatory powers were exercised by the citizens, they were of a very exclusive nature. The citizenry was in fact a minority, and so what they called democracy was really nothing but the belief in the self-government of the elite. Majority rule for them meant the majority opinion of a ruling minority.

Only if we limited political power to a small percentage of economically powerful individuals in America, and allowed only those few to vote, and then called the result the majority opinion, then perhaps we could begin to draw parallels.

What’s more, we must keep in mind that the ancients were conscious of this fact. They were not hypocrites in the way that the American Founders were hypocrites for preaching universal equality while holding slaves themselves. The Athenians were honest, and never would have never preached a populist democracy that included everyone, for they believed that slavery was a necessity for the kind of government they were attempting to establish. They believed that the only way men could be capable of giving the amount of time necessary for government, as well as achieving the knowledge necessary for judgment of such affairs, was to be exempt from physical toil and menial occupations.

[1] Gonzague de Reynold, L’Europe Tragique.

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