And now a word from Alasdair MacIntyre

In light of all the chaos at Yale and Mizzou, I am called to remember what a wise professor said:

A crucial turning point in that earlier history (of the late Roman Empire) occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium.  What they set themselves to achieve instead–often not recognizing fully what they were doing–was the continuation of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness.  If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point.  What matters at this stage is the construction of new forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us.  And if the tradition of the virtues was able to sustain the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope.  This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time.  And it is our lack of awareness of this that constitutes part of our predicament.

We are waiting, not for Godot, but for another–doubtless very different–St. Benedict.

This is the final words in Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. Go Read it. It’s important.  (Amazingly I’m not smart enough to have set up an amazon affiliate link yet so I make no money from this plug.)

5 comments to “And now a word from Alasdair MacIntyre”
  1. I was hoping for something more along the lines of Bocaccio’s “Decameron,” which has a related post-apocalyptic setting.

  2. And yet a post-modern reading of that paragraph would find support for exactly the behavior that we see exhibited in Missouri.

    They truly believe that they have a hand in the “the construction of new forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us.”

    Ignoring their arrogance, ignoring their ignorance, ignoring their stupidity….we cannot ignore their power to shape events through control of the vernacular and manipulation of the narrative.

    Orwell was correct! (Yes, that is my mantra)

  3. The opening chapter of After Virtue referneces “A Canticle for Leibowitz” which has post-apocalyptic setting in which all the scientist have been killed by the know-nothings.
    Great read.

  4. Yes, by itself a post modern reading could lend itself to that.
    If you ignore the entire work preceding that paragraph. But I can’t cut and past a 300 page book into a blog post!

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