do you do when an entire civilization is crumbling around you? You do
everything. This is a book about how to get started.
College professor Anthony Esolen, blunt and prophetic, makes the case
that the decay of Western civilization is alarmingly advanced. Our
sickly, sub-pagan state resembles a bombed-out city. We have to
assess the damage, but merely lamenting it does no good. There is
work to be done. The first step is the restoration of truth.
America’s most powerful institutions—including the government—are
mass producers of deceit. We have to recognize the lies and clear our
minds of cant. Our culture produces only the drab or the garish. We
must restore beauty—in art, architecture, music, and worship. There
are two things wrong with our schools—everything our children don’t
learn in them, and everything they do learn. Public schools are
beyond reform; we have to start over. Our universities are as bad as
our schools. A few can be saved, but for the most part, we must build
new ones. In fact, this is already being done. We have to support
these efforts as if our children’s souls depended on it.
Repudiating the Sexual Revolution, that prodigious engine of misery,
requires more than zipping up. The modern world has made itself
ignorant about sex—in particular that there are two of them and
they’re profoundly different. We must restore manhood and
our servile economy, we raise bureaucrats not craftsmen. We must
rediscover how to make things that are beautiful and lasting—the
products of human work. And we must dispense with the
“rent-seekers”—the proliferating middlemen whose own work
contributes nothing. We have turned sports into a job for our
children. Instead of playing we “work out.” A genuine
civilization is based on celebration. We must restore play to human
life, seeing all the other days of the week in light of the Sabbath.
The gigantic scale of government has made us a nation of “idiots,”
incapable of attending to public affairs and the common good. We must
insist that the Constitution is not whatever judges say it is,
complying with but not obeying their edicts while we reclaim our
freedom of religion one outdoor procession, one public lecture, one
parish picnic at a time. We must love this world, but we have here no
abiding city. The great division is between those who place all their
hope in the present life and those who know that we are pilgrims.
There is no retreat, but take courage—we have our map. Let us