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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Request for tolerance, demand for approval

One of the more insidious dangers of non-resistance to evil, even taken in its more qualified external sense, is that this approach, which very often presents itself under the slogan of tolerance, will not settle for that alone, but eventually demands approval. The difference between toleration and approval is stark, but the transformation from one to the other is seamless and follows an impeccable logic.

Insofar as the spiritual-sighted person recognizes evil as evil, he finds it repulsive. He cannot avoid finding it repulsive, and he cannot subdue this response simply through an act of will. It is part of his nature to respond in this way and he cannot easily override it. The only way for a man to stop experiencing disgust in the face of evil is to stop recognizing it as such. To do this, he must lie to himself, and not only lie to himself but be convinced by his lies.

In other words, he must distort his own spiritual vision in such way as to see evil as good. He must become spiritually blind. This is the only way that a human being can look upon evil and smile.

Since the whole business of religion is to clarify and sharpen spiritual vision, it is obvious that the concept of tolerance puts religious people in an impossible position. According to the principle of tolerance, they are taught to build up in themselves an unnatural blindness or desensitization to evil so that they can face evil and not feel what must naturally be felt in its presence. They must experience evil but not respond to it as such.

Moreover, what is at first justified as an exception must, in practice, become habitual, since evil is not exceptional but is rather omnipresent. The more we are required to ‘turn a blind eye’ to it and permit it to move freely around us and in close contact with us, the more we must train ourselves not to be repulsed by it.

This is the natural course of things. It is no exaggeration to say that spiritual blindness is the inevitable end of this form of non-resistance, but we must also observe that it is a progressive blindness, and that is develops by degrees.

The various degrees of this self-blinding appear in the form of ‘coping mechanisms’—psychological techniques—designed to help those who have not yet learned not to see. One common example of such coping mechanisms is the habit of minimizing evil. If we are forced to look at evil and cannot avoid looking it, we will naturally try to veil it somewhat, to shield our eyes from its darkness, to blur the image, and we might do this by rationalizing it away as much as possible. We make excuses for it, we admit only one or two of its many features but ignore others, anything we can do in order to achieve partial blindness, and in this way we are able to co-exist with evil without constantly suffering from the exposure.

Again, these coping mechanisms must arise on pain of psychological crisis. We all possess a desire to live in the presence of beauty, truth, and goodness. If we find ourselves in the midst of ugliness, and if we cannot do anything about it, or if our own misguided ideology dictates that we must not do anything about it, we will naturally try to convince ourselves that this ugliness is not so ugly after all. Perhaps we might even tell ourselves (or let others tell us) that the ugliness is in ourselves, in some deformity of conscience, and not in the evil we thought we perceived.

Once the option to resist evil is removed from the picture, we are left with only one option: we alter our spiritual perception—we blindfold the conscience—so that we can avoid seeing evil for what it is, even if this veiling of the conscience is an act of self-deceit amounting to spiritual self-abuse.

What else could a person be expected to do? We must live, after all. And so we lie to ourselves and say that this evil is perhaps not really evil, and we find many justifications to help us lie in this way, many of them provided by the apologists of non-resistance.

Taking for granted the human desire to live in the presence of beauty and goodness, what can we say of the person who has finally succeeded in ignoring evil, or of denying that an evil object is not in fact evil after all? The desire to experience the good is still present, and so we naturally begin to try to ‘see the good’ in the world as we experience it. We began by whitewashing the evil that confronted us, and we end by repainting it as a real good. This process of baptizing evil amounts to the inversion of our spiritual discernment so that evil becomes good, all to avoid the agony of a life wherein we are told that we must look the devil in the face and say nothing, do nothing—just nod and step aside.

Non-resistance becomes tolerance, tolerance becomes acceptance, acceptance becomes approval, and approval becomes cooperation. We cannot stress this enough—he who preaches non-resistance to evil necessarily becomes its accomplice.

It is easy to anticipate objections, especially within the contemporary political climate which cannot stand to hear anyone mention any moral standard whatsoever in public. Do we really need to condemn evil in order to stand fast against it? Is it not possible to hold a belief and yet refrain from its verbal expression? All this talk about internal surrender is unnecessary—no one is asking us to surrender internally, but only to restrain the external expression resistance, which we are free to carry out within ourselves.

In response, we would say that things are not so simple, and that man is composed of mind and body and the two are not so easily separable. To discipline oneself to remain silent when one feels compelled to speak has consequences for the inner life; it is a kind of training and a habituating. Talking oneself out of voicing our objections is no small thing. This silence or inaction, when implemented as a general principle, really forces us to talk ourselves out of having the objections in the first place. This involves a re-education, and the quieting of a voice which, if quieted too often, ceases to speak eventually forgets how to speak.

By convincing ourselves to be tolerant and to ‘see the beauty in everyone and everything’ we pervert our own spiritual vision until it becomes spiritual blindness. The original aversion ceases to be felt and we reach a point where we sincerely believe that evil is not evil, at which point evil is indistinguishable from goodness, and lies take on the same value as truth. If this seems like an exaggeration, we need only poll a contemporary audience and see how many of them believe that ‘morality is relative’, that ‘we cannot judge’, etc., and that we have no business trying to determine what is right or wrong in any objective sense. The results of this poll would speak for themselves.

Let it be said in plain terms: to force someone not to act or speak in accordance with their sense of right and wrong is a kind of violence against them, since it chokes and destroys a fundamental aspect of their humanity, and in the end, it amounts to a kind of moral brainwashing.

This is why the disciples of immorality fight first and foremost for the simple ‘freedom’ to exist untrammeled, and why, in the beginning, all they ask is to be ‘merely tolerated’. For in the end, this is all that is needed to secure victory. Once firmly established and able to move and act freely, the battle is almost over, and anyone who would stand in their way has been effectively disarmed.

Once that is accomplished, evil switches its approach. It ceases to ask for the humble freedom to exist, and what was first a timid request or tolerance becomes an aggressive demand for explicit approval. Even disagreement is not tolerated. Any expressed distaste for the evil must now be criminalized. The people are not asked simply to tolerate, but to condone, and to do otherwise is to suffer serious social consequences and is labeled as ‘hate’.

Like it or not, if we accept the existence of morality at all, we accept the fact that good and evil will always be in conflict. There is no ‘live and let live’ in the moral sphere. There is no such thing as ‘tolerance’ unless we first become nihilists. A society that preaches tolerance smuggles nihilism under the guise of good will.

The consequences for religion are dire. Any social order that pretends to permit men to follow religion while simultaneously demanding that they become morally neutral is to place them in an impossible position, asked to believe and to deny their belief, to live but not to live meaningfully, to speak the truth while lying. Ultimately, to demand that a person immersed in society not show resistance to evil and in the same breath tell them that they are free to pursue the good is like tossing a person into the sea and telling them that they are free to live as they wish, but are not allowed to swim.

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