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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Moralism and metaphysics

Morality, contextually referred to as ethics, is the most relative of the sciences, and it is therefore furthest removed from metaphysics. From this it can be understood why we said earlier that the emergence of ethical systems are symptomatic of a departure from metaphysical principles, and can suggest either an change in emphasis due to spiritual temperament, or in the worst case, a falling off from traditional doctrine. We have in mind here Stoicism and Epicureanism with regard to the decadent period of antiquity, but we can also include here the moral element that tends to predominate in much of modern thought, not to mention Protestantism, which emphasizes morality almost to the exclusion of anything else. But as for professional philosophers, Kant provides a notable example. It is not that moral discernment is irrelevant or that it has no value, but that, being of such a contingent nature, moral philosophies not sufficiently attached (that is to say, subordinated) to a religious doctrine as their principle are doomed to end up as a collection of conventions, and it seems to us that more often than not the motivation behind their development is not exactly disinterested.

Moralism usually ends by simply justifying the actions of oneself, or one’s own social group. This does not make its claims ‘wrong’, but since proponents are usually attempting to claim as absolute their own collection of conventions, which can only be but relative, they are wasting much time, since this is a futile project.

What we have just said is hardly an affirmation of ‘moral relativism’, as should be clear from our remarks on moralism elsewhere. Moral relativism sees all moral notions as valid, regardless of their character or derivation. This we vehemently deny. It is true that moral codes are relative to one another, but we also add that, if they are to remain legitimate, they must be derived from a superior order of knowledge, which is to say, rooted in a religious doctrine. Thus, we differ from the ‘relativists’ by denying the arbitrariness of moral codes, and we differ from the ‘moralists’ by denying that moral codes must be universal in order to be legitimate. At any rate, we wish to spend as little time as possible on this subject, even though it was necessary to mention because morality holds such an exaggerated place in the Western mind. Even those who speak so often and so loudly about a ‘return to traditional values’ seem to mean little more than a return to a specific moral code, and that only in part, as it pleases them. Even if they succeeded, the code they managed to revive could not achieve what they wished. Being established ad hoc, and not as a direct development connected to an established religious tradition. The seeds, however well-sown, would find nothing in which to take root.

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