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

Avoidance of romanticism

Any student of the traditional doctrine faces a danger when approaching history.

If the danger for modern ‘progressives’ is their tendency toward condescension, the danger for us is a tendency toward romanticism. Instead of worshiping ‘human progress’ and looking at the past with an arrogant self-satisfaction, we might tend to view historical periods through rose-colored glasses, and the more distant the event, the rosier the tint. This error is perhaps less harmful since it permits us to appreciate what good is present in distant ages, but both tendencies will skew the truth by exaggerating certain qualities of the past either for better or for worse. We must be wary of this. We do ourselves no favors by harboring our own illusions.

Part of this stems from over generalization, extending a certain area of superiority to everything. Having discerned the superiority of some previous civilizations in the area of doctrine, we too easily grant them—without thought or justification—a corresponding superiority in manners, social conditions, leadership, or discipline. Often this is all true, because true principles (provided by the doctrine) are more likely to lead to proper applications in the sphere of action and governance; but it is also true that human nature, no matter what point in history we address, is subject to the conditions of the Dark Age, and man is morally weak and prone to stupidity and violence as far as the historical eye can see.

Even during those epochs that possessed and promoted an authentic doctrine, and which seemed on the social level to have been well-ordered (such as the Middle Ages), we should not assume that daily life was colored by a respect for justice and that men all loved one another any more than what we see before us today. Right principles support right action, but they never guarantee it. Even when this translation is successful, it is never completely successful. We have already noted and rejected the prejudice of the moderns toward history. My warning to you at the outset is to be wary of the opposite prejudice in yourself.

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