Civilization is not merely any complex society. Civilization is a constant Moral Choice, made every day. A constant fight, an uphill struggle, against fallen human nature. It is hardly the easiest way of life; indeed, it may be the hardest, yet it is the best, for the simple reason that the alternative is death. Death of the Body, Death of the Soul, Death of every Human decency, the victory of evil in our lives.
Yet our Civilization is failing, its defenders are in retreat and the forces which would destroy have won the field. This is how Civilization dies, with retreat. When its defenders cease fighting, when they sue for peace and are slaughtered. Yet so long as we keep fighting and never falter in our belief, we shall not be defeated.
Part I: The Failure of Pacifism
Peace must always be the goal of every Civilization, in its ultimate good as defined by the Catholic Catechism:
Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is “the tranquillity of order.”
When “the Tranquility of Order” is rejected, Civilization itself collapses. In order to prevent the end of Civilization there is a moral duty to safeguard the defense of Order, and indeed all good things. This is where a policy of Pacifism is found lacking, and ultimately fails.
Pacifism cannot preserve a Civilization for the simple reason that it cannot protect a Civilization. Pacifism is in a sense all too true, passive suicide. It is the unwillingness to observe one’s moral duty to defend others, and at its root is not goodwill but selfishness. The same can be said of Spiritual Pacifism, or the unwillingness to defend the Truth, and to barely endure literary and cultural attack after attack “like children [sitting] on sand-castles when the tide is flowing.”*
As I have said in my previous post …Because They Love What They Left Behind, War cannot be glorified, yet Pacifism is a betrayal of Peace, and in order to defend what little remnants of our once glorious Civilization that are now left to us, we must be willing to wage war, possibly a physical war, certainly an ideological war, in order to achieve true Peace. We must use all moral means we can (and a Just War is a moral means of defense), and no immoral ones, for once the line is blurred between morality and immorality our cause is lost.
For the alternative is death and the lowest fallen bloodlust that can be attained by Human nature. Our choice every day must be the moral choice, the choice of Civilization, the choice to follow Christ.
*The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King– J.R.R. Tolkien
Please continue reading The Death of Civilization in the second installment The Revolt Against Authority.