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).

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Quantity over quality

“[W]hat is this law of the greatest number which modern governments invoke and in which they claim to find their sole justification? It is simply the law of matter and brute force, the same law by which a mass, carried down by its weight, crushes everything that lies in its track. It is precisely here that we find the point of junction of the democratic conception and materialism…”

~ René Guénon[1]

We’ve already acknowledged that democracy automatically implies force. That the democratic mentality also tends toward materialism, we’ve mentioned. That this combination creates a poisonous preference for quantity over quality, we will explain below.

If not irrational, we can say that democracy is at least nonrational, since it prefers ‘victory by numbers’ and sides with the majority first and foremost without regard to reason and in spite of any objective truth. Everything is about the numbers.

It is no coincidence that mass warfare became the norm alongside the rise of democracy, and that the traditional army composed of career warriors came to be replaced by the armed horde composed of cannon fodder, justified by universal suffrage.

We can see the preference for quantity over quality even in the way rhetoric and debate are conducted. If a certain cause or movement needs to be justified in a democracy, how does one proceed? In logic, a demonstration involved evidence and structured argument such that the truth of a position can be verified. Not so in democracy, wherein a ‘demonstration’ is nothing more than a mass gathering in the form of a protest or a march, whether the cause is civil rights, gay pride or the March for Life. The obvious assumption is that the greater the number of participants, the more the proponents of that agenda are justified in their position, and—so the thinking goes—the more convinced the leaders and the general population ought to be of the validity of the cause. The gathering together of a mass is interpreted as a special kind of argument in itself—as a proof of truth.

But clearly it doesn’t matter how many people take part in such demonstrations if they do not have a basis in justice, and no quantity of participants can prove the rationality of an opinion. In fact, it proves nothing except a general desire amongst the participants.

In the search for truth, quantity has little weight. If a thing is true by reason, then it matters very little how many citizens agree with it, or how many participated in a parade for or against it. This is the difference between quality and quantity, and it demonstrates (in the non-democratic sense) the underlying mentality of a democratic people.

[1] René Guénon, Crisis of the Modern World (Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis, 1996), p. 76.

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