Seeing Things as They are!
We must not overly-romanticize the past at the expense of the present. Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell Jr. make this clear:
“We are led to forget the dominating misery of other times in part by the grace of literature, poetry, romance, and legend, which celebrate those who lived well and forget those who lived in the silence of poverty. The eras of misery have been mythologized and may even be remembered as golden ages of pastoral simplicity. They were not.”
Thanks to the Age of Enlightenment’s legacy of inquiry and reason, we live in incredible times of comfort and opportunities. With some exceptions, even the poorest nations have enjoyed a sharp reduction in poverty, crime, horrible diseases and even wars, producing increased life expectancies. In the last two centuries, extreme poverty has been reduced from 90% of the world’s population to 10%—even as the global population continued to rise.
Since the Enlightenment, humanity is achieving what has never been achieved before. Although things are not perfect, the gains are real and substantial—and therefore worth protecting.
It’s only natural to think nostalgically of the past . While there is much of value to learn from the past, we should not be misled by fantasy.
It’s difficult to imagine what life was like hundreds or thousands of years ago. Limits to personal hygiene alone would assail our modern sensitivities. Superstition ruled everybody’s lives. Medical and dental treatments were barbaric. Wars were waged not only between nations but between cities and tribes and even families. Millions were killed by plagues and famines. Freedom was incredibly limited. Laws mostly benefited the aristocracy. If you wanted to go somewhere, chances are you went by foot.
We need to recognize all that in order to appreciate all we have and the direction we need to take.
Chivalry-Now reminds us that technological progress must be conjoined with moral progress. A firm grasp of reason and conscience (Nature’s Law) makes this possible by embracing science, education, law, commerce, and protections from those driven by cynicism, bigotry and greed.
Our message is simple: It’s possible to live in today’s world and still be honorable and truthful and heroically kind towards others. It’s not only possible, it is necessary. As advanced as the world has become, there is still much to do—AND WE CAN DO IT.
Right now, we have forces diverting us from that track. We have political ideologies working hard to keep us angry and divided. More and more we find greedy hands everywhere, sabotaging democracies for their own profit. We see religious leaders orchestrating entire congregations away from their original moral beliefs.
Despite their undue influence, these manipulators are few, and we are many. Together, we can redirect our culture toward values we know to be true. All we need do is embrace our destiny to make it happen.