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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Those who live by the sword die by the sword

It will probably strike some as objectionable that we seem to be degrading those who take up the sword by calling what they do a kind of mandatory unrighteousness, but it should be remembered that we also said that it is no sin, precisely because it presents itself as a spiritual imperative. Not to resist in precisely this imperfect manner is to betray one’s responsibility to the good, nor can one hold out for a clean solution. The only chance of an ideal and perfect outcome is to hope that God will wipe the cosmic slate clean before we have to strike, that some other force will intervene on our behalf and do this unpleasant task for us. In other words, to demand an unambiguous solution is to either stall or to be enlisted in the work of evil by allowing its expression through evil deeds and to the detriment of the villain and everyone else.

In a certain sense we can say that the choice, for the man who insists on perfect righteousness, is this:

Betray God’s cause and his own vocation in favor of ‘righteousness’ or, on the other hand, confidently and clearly perceiving that evil threatens and no righteous outcome is possible, to remain faithful to his vocation, and to resist by taking a path that is unrighteous because imperfect and undesirable.

The warrior is called to selflessness, to acceptance of sacrifice, to humility, to suffering. On this basis the warrior, the vocation of the sword, is given special honor. People in every age have sensed this and acted accordingly, until times of decadence when spiritual disease rendered the vocation perverse, because in the absence of spiritual sightedness, this vocation cannot maintain the careful balance of sincere pursuit of the good and humble acceptance of the imperfect.

The fate of the warrior is to confront uninvited evil and to be wounded by it, and to some degree he surrenders any ideal happiness that he might have dreamed about and pursued and instead sets himself to the accomplishment of feats other men cannot imagine and could not endure.

The tragic dilemma of this vocation is that the warrior is right even if unrighteous, good even when immersed in evil. He shoulders the burden of killing but at the same time the burden of being killed. It is perhaps not without reason that the medieval sword was often in the shape of the cross, since to take up the sword is, in a certain sense, to agree to be crucified upon it.

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