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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The meaning of the frontier and the absence of diplomacy

For the immigrants who populated the narrow strip of seaboard during the Colonial Period of American history, the concept of the ‘frontier’ took on a meaning opposite of what it meant in Europe. In Europe, the term ‘frontier’ would simply have meant the border between one’s own power group and some outside power. It implied the presence of ‘the other’ and one’s own separation from this other. It therefore implied relations between two or more peoples and the on-going balance of power that is involved. In other words, for Europe, the term frontier would have implied diplomacy.

In America, this has never been the case. For the colonies, the frontier was a vast and unknown territory populated by ‘savages’ or by no one, something that was ‘free for the taking’ and yet deadly. It was a wilderness, and in order to incorporate that area and ‘civilize’ it, the primary enemy was Nature, with which one does not negotiate. The native peoples, in this context, were viewed more an aspect of hostile nature than a political or cultural entity to be approached with tact and mutual respect. Young America, therefore, could avoid completely the problems of sociability and political tact that come with being surrounded by neighbors who wield power that is equal to or exceeds one’s one.

This situation very naturally created a kind of ego-centeredness and lack of proportion in the American mindset from its earliest age. It is this experience that taught America to see any kind of cooperation as an affront to its ‘liberty’, just as an only child, accustomed to acting in complete freedom and without the need for compromise, perceives the mere existence of a new sibling as an affront to justice and as a kind of attack on its prerogatives. These conditions stunted the development of American diplomacy from the very start, and it has never recovered.

In this unfortunate context another problem festered. The isolation of the Colonies from comparable powers, and the freedom to expand and dispossess the native people with impunity, created a view of alien races and cultures as objectively inferior. For Americans, it is never a question of mere economic or technical superiority—it is always a question of absolute superiority. America is the greatest country on earth, not in a particular area of development, but without qualification. Again, America has never overcome this view. Say what it will about equality and human dignity as universal principles, these have never really been granted to people who look or live in ways alien to white Protestant culture. This is why the institution of American slavery, in comparison to slavery in other places and during other historical periods, was the most barbaric ever practiced. Even the abolition of slavery, of which Americans are so self-congratulatory, occurred after, not before, the abolition of slavery in Europe.

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