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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The problem of ideology

Ideology is the first problem to address in any contemporary political discussion. Ideology may be defined as the attempt to answer vast, complex problems by means of simplistic, “common sense,” closed systems of thought. Ideologies are always narrow in their approach, promising utopia if only their doctrines can be given full assent and obedience. They provide a false haven from the perennial problems of life, and are in this sense an attempt to escape from the responsibility of real action, choosing instead a vague, abstract, and usually ambiguous solution.[1] The present pope has identified, perhaps more than any of his predecessors, the specific evil of ideology, and has responded by declaring war on this way of thinking.

Pope Francis speaks of ideology as a “distilled faith,” passed through a filter with only the superficialities retained. “In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought.”[2]

Socialism and capitalism are two ideologies with which CST struggles most, although it sometimes refers to the first as Marxism, and the second as economic “liberalism.” Because the latter—capitalism—is the reigning ideology of the present era, we will develop the Church’s teaching on this ideology in particular. It does not matter at all that there is no such thing as pure capitalism in actuality, any more than there is pure socialism. That neither of these extremes can be realized in practice does not prevent them from being entertained in the mind as erroneous ideals, poisoning the thinking of millions. It is in this latter “idealistic” form that ideologies such as capitalism wreak havoc in modern society. It is also as ideologies that Pope Francis condemns them.

[1] OA, 27.

[2] http://en.radiovaticana.va/storico/2013/10/17/pope_francis_prayer_keeps_us_from_losing_faith/en1-738101

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