The Past Is Gone
There Are No "Good Old Days" for Us to Go Back to...
There’s no going back. The past is gone. There are no “good old days” for us to go back to.
“Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” — Ecclesiastes 7:10 (ESV)
By conscientiously trying to re-create the Roman Empire, you do not get Rome 2.0, you get the Holy Roman Empire, which, as Voltaire quipped, was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. (Okay, maybe it technically was an empire, but it certainly was nowhere near as great or powerful as the actual Roman Empire was in its day.)
Rome arose organically. She was a living, vibrant cultural force at the time when her great men applied their skill and wisdom to increase her greatness. Nobody sat down and planned it all out beforehand. By the time Rome became a world power, nobody remembered exactly how it had started, so they had to make up a tall tale about a couple of twins who were raised by wolves. While it was actually happening, nobody bothered to record any of the history that was being made right before their eyes, because it didn’t really seem all that special at the time.
Rome arose almost by accident, but once Rome was dead, nobody could resurrect it. Even a coterie of powerful kings and religious leaders, assisted by smart and skillful planners and equipped with all the blueprints left behind by Roman historians, were unable to create an empire with even a fraction of the might or majesty of the original.
How is it that something so great could have arisen seemingly by happenstance? One thing led to another, with many people working independently across several centuries, in order for Rome to become what she ultimately became.
And how is it that when the technocrats of the Middle Ages set their minds to building another Roman Empire, they were unable to do it, even though they had the benefit of central planning?
One principle seems to be that great things arise organically, from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down. Certainly that’s the lesson of communism’s catastrophic failures: a centrally-planned economy simply does not work. In fact, communism was one of the leading causes of death in the 20th Century, killing many more people than even explicitly genocidal systems like Nazism. Yet communism has now been rebranded and repackaged and is being rolled out by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and The U.N. as “agenda 2030,” and America’s own ruling elite have thoroughly bought into this scheme. [So many powerful and demonstrably corrupt world leaders all simultaneously announcing nearly identical talking-points about fundamentally altering the world by the year 2030 — yet you’re a crazy “conspiracy theorist” if you wonder aloud whether this could be some kind of nefarious, gulp, conspiracy. Hmmm…]
Another principle seems to be that Nature’s vibrance or life-force cannot be created artificially. In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis uses an analogy of a garden: the human contribution is not the growth of the plants themselves, but rather the pruning, weeding, fertilizing, etc. In other words, Man takes what Nature does and guides it into becoming a garden. Without the “aliveness” that Nature provides in the form of living, growing plants, no amount of human skill or technology could create fruits or vegetables.
On both the personal and social level, it’s almost like Man commits sacrilege by trying to supplant the role of Nature: God alone provides the “aliveness” that is a necessary condition for true joy and success. Rather than trying to re-create Nature’s vitality on our own, we are wise to work with it and guide its growth in a favorable direction. I suppose that’s one of the take-aways of the Adam and Eve story: Man has been assigned the role of steward or gardener to cultivate the life-force that God alone created and sustains.
Great things arise organically, from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down, and God provides the natural “aliveness” that is absolutely essential for anything good to exist at all. Any departure from this reality dooms a project to failure, whether on a personal or social level.
The globalists’ schemes for a “great reset” of humanity are going to be costly failures [I do pray that the costs of these failures fall ultimately upon the heads of our corrupt ruling class, rather than being borne entirely by the working class, as too often happens]. However, if we oppose the globalists’ agenda with a utopian vision of artificially re-creating the world of yesteryear, we will hardly do any better. The only way forward is to apply our skill and effort to cultivating the good that is emerging organically, from the bottom-up, around us.
As St. Paul said, focus on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
As Václav Havel observed in his seminal essay The Power of the Powerless, the way to oppose the lies of corrupt leaders and their anti-human ideology is to live in Truth ourselves. Do not agree with them when they call evil good and good evil. Do not pretend to share their values or their vision. But also do not oppose their lies with a different fantasy, like going back to the “good old days.” Oppose them with what is good and comes ultimately from God: Truth and Life. Whatever is consistent with expanding the sphere of Truth and Life and abiding therein, pursue that.
Rome was alive in its day. Rome is dead today. Trying to resurrect Rome now would be a quixotic quest.
The past is gone. There are no “good old days” for us to go back to. It is far better to take what is presently good, apply our skill and wisdom to it, and by the grace of God, make it better.
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