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).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Various instances of unrealism

The Founders, armed with their rationalistic humanism, availed themselves of so many ‘self-evident’ truths drawn from abstract thought and having little connection with reality as we live it. The very idea of equality is almost always evidence of a lack of respect for the facts of physical, mental, and spiritual inequality.

The neatly logical formula about governments being ‘instituted’ by groups of individuals and based on their ‘consent’, subject to dissolution if and when it stops serving their purposes, is not something that has ever existed anywhere in the past and cannot exist anywhere in the future. As with the United States itself, the document was conceived and authored by an elite. The proper formula would be the opposite: that governments are necessary and are justified due to the natural inequality of men, not so much to create liberties and ‘secure rights’ but to civilize people to the end of bettering themselves and each other via cooperative pursuit of the good.

Any pretenses at having discovered the one universally valid form of government are also delusional. The form of government of any people must be an organic expression of that culture’s spiritual temperament, stage of development, geographical situation, and mode of living. Obviously this means that there is no ‘ideal’ structure that can be thought up and imposed on all nations at all times without regard to any of these considerations.

There is no such thing as the ‘will of the people’. Not literally, not metaphorically, not as a sociological generality. What we call the ‘will of the people’ is but the carefully manipulated consensus of a uniform population, kept in line by a steady stream of aggressive propaganda and patriotic feeling. The only time ‘the people’ wield an independent ‘will’ of any kind, it is in the form of the unrest that arises when the leadership becomes incompetent and undermines itself. The will of the people surfaces only in chaos, when the lions finally devour the lion-tamer that became lazy or arrogant. Such was the case with the French Revolution. But under normal circumstances, the people do not exercise any kind of unified will whatsoever—they simply subscribe to one or more platforms designed by the few.

Governments are always the expression of the particular genius of a society. They are not founded on any theoretical ‘principles’. Principles may be formulated, but they do not influence the practice of government. They merely provide a vocabulary for the public conversation about politics. That is why these principles are always, in themselves, empty of any objective content: freedom, dignity, rights, equality, self-government, etc. These are not concrete ideas but containers to be filled with various meanings depending on the person or group. But the containers could be changed without affecting the actual practice of government, which does not depend on these ‘principles’ in the least.

One of the most important keywords in American ideology is ‘liberty’. We will devote a separate section to the topic of liberty specifically, but here we will only observe that liberty is more of a feeling than a fact and really isn’t something that is ‘practiced’ in America more than anywhere else, and in fact we could point to ways in which it is practiced less in America than in other places or in the past. To use the example of conscription (which we call ‘the draft’), we can say that they very idea that the state can take men and sons (and soon, daughters as well) from their homes without their consent and send them overseas to fight wars they do not understand against enemies they’ve never heard of—all this is the measure of American ‘liberty’ and evidence of its purely ideal character.

Lastly, we can mention the idea of the ‘separation of powers’ into the legislative, executive, and judicial, and idea that comes from Montesquieu. As usual it is very clean and very logical in theory but convoluted and chaotic when it comes to human realities. Just as the theoretical opposition between ‘individual’ and ‘state’ does not correspond to a reality (since the state is in fact composed of the same individuals it theoretically opposes), so also the ‘powers’ that the constitution seeks to separate can only be separated on paper. In reality they interpenetrate. Likewise, the real ‘power’ that should (but cannot be) separated from all of the others is the money power, which today has become the primary driver of American government. A single man or a small group of extremely wealthy men who, in theory, are opposed to the state, are in practice its engineers and managers. Money reaches into all branches of government, and one hand can pull many strings.

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