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 paralysis of the perfectionist

We must be careful, after all of that, and state clearly that we are not justifying a heretical consequentialism wherein evil means are fine if the end is good. We are not trying to offer such ‘clean’ solutions, for that is precisely what such formulations offer.

What we are trying so hard to illustrate is that an overly idealistic morality leads to a kind of perfectionism in practice and the most disastrous result of perfectionism is that it is debilitating.

Moral perfections, like all perfectionists, suffer from paralysis. They cannot move, cannot take a single step, cannot make a single decision, unless assured of its perfect righteousness. Since no such assurance is forthcoming, the perfectionist will tend to become willfully blind to the harsher realities of life. In the end, there is only one way they are enabled to act. They act by pretending (and believing) that they act perfectly. Thus, they become Pharisees. Or else they do nothing at all, deadlocked in a futile search for the righteous option they will never find.

Such people might become pacifists but depending on temperament they might err in the opposite direction and try to over-sanctify the warrior vocation. These are the people who describe the military as the ‘hand of god’, which of course leads to an attitude of permissiveness and results in all sorts of heinous behaviors on the part of warrior types who think their actions are all-too-righteous.

This latter view is the flipside of pacifism, just as naïve. It is just another idealized and ridiculous picture of war, this time as a righteous and morally cleansed affair. In any case, the idealists lead everyone astray and pretend to offer a path of simplistic perfection that ignores the ugliness of human realities.

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