This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

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

Abstraction and social institutions

We tend to talk about things like education, economy, military, and politics in the abstract, and as a result we try to judge their value in the abstract instead of evaluating things as we actually find them in reality. In other words, if we admit that education, as a general concept, is a good thing, then we tend to attribute this goodness to the educational system as it presents itself to our experience. If education is worth funding, then it must follow that whatever passes for education in this time and place must be worth funding. But the value of an institution is not derived from the abstract idea we have about it. The institution is not identical with the idea. The educational system itself might be an inhuman travesty, regardless of how good ‘education’ might be as an abstract pursuit.

Institutions are products of a given social order. Look not only to the fruits of an institution, but to the underlying social order first, and then you can know ahead of time the value of that institution. Since our social order is based on numerous errors about human nature, for example, and is geared toward ends that are explicitly anti-spiritual, then we can know that our institutions, regardless of the ideals by which they were inspired, will manifest those errors. Economy, education, politics, the ends of foreign policy and military action: we can say that all of these are ‘goods’ in the abstract and necessary in principle for any social order. We can say that, in the abstract, they all support human flourishing. But within the context of a sick culture or a perverse social order, they cannot avoid being perverted in turn, and instead of facilitating healthy human development, they destroy it. This is why, when someone offers a policy in favor of education, or freedom, or national defense, do not allow yourself to be enlisted in support of that policy merely because it appeals to a legitimate principle.

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