"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The fall of civilizations

I stumbled across this article by Orson Scott Card today (after doing a double-take at the name; if it's the same Orson Scott Card I'm familiar with, he's the author of many successful sci-fi novels, including the outstanding Ender's Game). It's a fascinating analysis of the collapse of the Roman empire, and includes enough theorizing about our own civilization to make neoapocalyptites (like myself, in my present mood anyway) happy (presuming the two aren't mutually exclusive).

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