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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Honor the honorable

 “A man’s reaction to Monarchy is a kind of test. Monarchy can easily be ‘debunked;’ but watch the faces, mark the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose tap-root in Eden has been cut: whom no rumour of the polyphony, the dance, can reach – men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire equality, they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”

~ C.S. Lewis[1]

C.S. Lewis was not one to argue for monarchy, but he was at least honest in his observations. He knew that, whatever man thinks he wants, his actions reveal an impulse to show honor to persons of honor—to engage in that healthy worship of greatness where it is found. This impulse is a completely healthy one because it corresponds to reality: that which is superior deserves respect from that which is inferior.

Hierarchical societies were the result of an acknowledgment of this “impulse to show honor to persons of honor.” Egalitarian societies are the result of its denial, and because this denial is unnatural it has one of two results: either it frustrates the impulse (which does not disappear even when denied) or else it directs honor toward that which is not honorable or is only honorable in a perverse sense.

For example, the man who really believes in egalitarianism will wind up honoring himself, refusing to see in his betters (who are always many) anything that outstrips his own self-image. If he does not do this and chooses to express the impulse externally, he will worship, as Lewis wrote, money or fame or some other surrogate-nobility. That is, after all, what happens in capitalist societies such as America: they worshipers of capitalism deny that any man is better than any other, but they also speak and act as if they rich man is automatically—simply because of his wealthy—a superior specimen, both in morals and in aptitudes, than those with less. In short, they project the class assumptions of old regarding the stratification of human virtue, with the difference that they project it in purely economic terms, which is perhaps the lowest possible measure of a man’s worth. The aristocracy of money is the material aristocracy. Further, by allowing these surrogate-aristocracies to thrive (which they always do when traditional aristocracies are denied), new models of virtue are erected for imitation. Where the wealthy are the most noble of citizens, and where wealth is the very mark of this nobility, then men seek after money rather than nobility. In short, greed replaces the good life—becomes the good life. The same happens regarding celebrity and fame.

[1] C.S. Lewis, “Equality”, Present Concerns (Orlando: Harcourt, 1986), p. 20.

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