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).

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Evil proliferates through tolerance

The problem with the public tolerance of even seemingly mundane evils such as crassness, intemperance, or personal impiety, is that evil is more pernicious when ignored. Subtle behaviors matter and leave their mark become more serious when discounted as irrelevant.

Prolonged exposure to a social atmosphere where evil is tolerated leads inevitably to the corruption of everyone involved, even if only in a very subtle way. It is impossible to imagine a virtuous man who begins working at a strip club every day and still somehow retains his resilience to the sin of lust. Some will suggest here that men who struggle with lust are imbalanced from the start, and that such men are the problem and not the situation. They suggest that healthier men would be impervious to external erotic stimuli. Here again we stumble upon the naïve anthropology of the humanists, who somehow imagine that the human condition is beyond the impulses of the flesh. We respond that any man who finds that lust is not a problem is likely not a man with robust internal resources. To be unaffected by eros is not to be whole or healthy, and certainly not morally superior. Even the hermits of the desert, even the saints, dealt with this aspect of the human condition. We suspect that putting the blame entirely on the men is a result of the individualistic moral mentality, which says that each person ought to see to themselves, and that our moral lives are not intertwined, and if you have a problem, it is your problem alone and I have nothing to do with it.

Thus, if we insist that it is contrary to the building of character to expose oneself to an immoral atmosphere due to the spiritual peril it involves, we can say that the same peril is experienced by any man who lives in a society where there are no norms regulating sexual behavior, not to mention the type of clothing people can wear in public. To say that a strip club might feed the demons in anyone but then say that people of all ages should be unaffected by the provocative clothing of women they pass on the street is to contradict oneself.

In our experience, the real issue is not that people don’t understand what we’ve just said. Most would agree that on-going exposure to a temptation, which is to say, to a spiritually corrosive atmosphere, is not healthy. Where we run into a brick wall is when we suggest that the freedom of others might need to be curtailed to prevent this exposure. For example, people who adhere to the absolute view of rights will be disgusted at the thought of anyone regulating how much flesh can be revealed in public. Modern people are caught between evils, one of which they do not recognize because it is an object of worship, and so they cannot escape their contradictions.

The point here is that leading others into temptation is a very powerful form of mental coercion, and as we have already said, mental coercion can be good or evil depending on the presence of love and the spiritual clarity it involves. In this light, we can see that the decision to flaunt one’s body amounts to a disregard for the spiritual good of others. It is no stretch of the moral imagination to say that it in many cases it qualifies as abuse, and that a civilization that permits this permits abuse on a grand scale.

It is ironic that certain freedoms are defended by saying ‘you cannot compel me’ when in fact the behavior in question is itself an act of coercion bordering on compulsion, even if they choose to ignore it.

We have used the issue of provocative dress, but this is only because we’ve seen it discussed multiple times and so it is a familiar example. This is a general principle that touches on all aspects of social life, and we can say that both men and women can produce a morally corrosive atmosphere.

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