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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Private acts have social consequences

As we develop our position further and approach additional arguments about social evil, we can point out another misconception. When resistance is weighed and judged, it is usually examined in the specific context in which it was exercised. This means that the judgement about its appropriateness tends to only take account of the immediate facts of the interaction, and this is misleading.

For example, let’s imagine that one night a man wakes up in his own home to encounter a burglar he shoots the burglar, who promptly dies. Some might protest that the force deployed—which in this case was lethal force—exceeded the threat, and therefore was not justified.

The problem is that this objection ignores the social nature of evil, that it is never contained within a specific situation where it played out. It was a private home and the decision to commit the crime was a private one, as was the decision of the homeowner to kill him. Nonetheless, the consequences of these private decisions are far from isolated. Let us imagine instead that, in the name of proportional response, the homeowner had simply threatened the burglar and driven him away. Or perhaps, in the name of turning the other cheek, he actually permitted the criminal to take what he wished and to go freely. What then? As a result of this non-resistance, the evil would have branched out in several directions. First, it would spread into the community. People would know that a thief was in their midst, and was still out and about, social trust would be undermined accordingly. No one would be able to go to sleep at night in peace, knowing that they could be next. What is perhaps worse is that the criminal, who might have been motivated by desperation, will be left to his own devices, and his only hope of salvation will be an act of heroic willpower on his part that is almost certainly out of the question.

In other words, to judge the evil consequences of theft only in terms of the monetary value of what has been stolen is to lie about the nature and scope of its evil.

This is also why terrorism is a horrible crime: it destabilizes society, destroying its unity by creating fear and revulsion and confusion. It renders the entire people more susceptible to temptation, since in desperation we are always more vulnerable to evil suggestions.

It is important to understand that our obligation to contain evil is real even if we don’t feel particularly offended by it, because by permitting it, we speak on behalf of everyone, and in a real sense we permit it to be visited on everyone by turning a blind eye.

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