I have a link on my blogroll to The Front Porch Republic. I enjoy reading their blog, and they seem like a generally congenial bunch. They have a pretty good read on the fact the Western Civilization is in deep trouble, and have a pretty good diagnosis as to why.
But I have to sigh when reading some of their posts, because too often their solution is to go back. Stop drilling for oil, stop using computers, go back to the Christianity of 1900 / 1800 / 1700 / 1500, or whatever period they think it was best, go back to Thomistic philosophy, and so on.
Now, it's one thing to realize that history does not march forward without a glance back, and that, in reaching 2010, we have lost some good things along the way. We might even look to the past for hints as to how to remedy present problems. But one thing that never happens is that history reverses itself. Even if you think 1400 was a better year to be alive than today, you can't get back there. Our civilizational crisis will not be solved by restoring what had been, but by the rise of a new civilization. (Which, of course, will contain many elements of the one we are losing.) And the thing is, no one knows what that new civilization will look like. Just like no one in Rome in 400 had any clue what the High Middle Ages would be like. The best we can do is to keep alive as much that was good about the old as we can, do our part to create whatever new good we can suss out, and hang on.
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