Civilization is an idea, not something with material reality, not an object taking up space. Were it mere buildings, then ruins would be a civilization -- say, sacked Carthage. But it's not. It's not unread books in unattended libraries. It's no more musical artifacts than it is wind wailing through hollow trees. It is an agreement between people about rules. At a certain point of degeneration or growth, it is imposed by some more benevolent power upon some mere chaos of willfulness and self-seeking. Barbarians have to be subdued, their barbaric practices suppressed, their savage culture extinguished. Not all behaviors are equal, you see. We are not speaking of technology, but of sensibilities.
So we are civilized either by temperament or by force, as some children are mild and need few rules, and some are undisciplined and need punishment.
I say this because I was hearing news about Nuevo Laredo last night, one of those savage Mexican border towns that are ruled by drug cartel anarchy and terror. And I was thinking about what civilization is. What happens when the agreement falls apart, and there is no power to impose justice? The rules of civilization are no longer in play. You can't play with cheaters. Civilization is not a thing, an object. It is a set of rules that apply only under particular circumstances. When those circumstances change, behavior must change.
How to destroy Los Zetas? The Letter People, whose names must not be uttered, such is their terror. It's not just that they will behead, say, journalists. They will sew in penises where tongues once were. They are to be destroyed through uncivilized means. On a Night or Week or Month of Long Knives, they must be isolated and butchered as one butchers pigs. Not warned, not frightened, not driven away, not reformed, not saved. Slaughtered. Also, their children must be killed, and their wives, and their abuelitas. No quarter. Is this savage? Of course it is. But civilization, like the Constitution, is not a suicide pact.
A very unchristian proposition, you assert. I agree. Let us examine the point. Jesus could afford to sacrifice himself, offer himself as the archetypal victim, because he was the Son of God. Among other things, it is his nature and purpose to sacrifice and suffer and die. So may it be for every good man, to be selfless. But the family situation of Jesus did not stop only with his Father. Or rather, it did stop there. He was, you see, not married, and had no children. He could afford to sacrifice himself. No one was depending on him.
It is the first duty of a man to protect his family -- by which is not meant his birth family, the one that happenstance or Providence placed him helpless within, but the one that he himself forms out of his own character and commitment. A man who follows his theoretical ideals about helping his neighbor, or the stranger, or the monster, at the sacrifice of his children, is not just a fool -- he is a reprobate.
When society, culture, government, fails to protect from savages, when the social compact is abrogated, disavowed, then vigilantism is not just understandable, it is required as an act of survival and honor and manliness. It is justice. The families of monsters will suffer, as the families of the innocent will suffer. This is not Old Testament verses New Testament. It is how to save a society in the first instance, and how to save an individual in the second. No contradiction. Different contexts. Evil is not tamed or accommodated. It is contained or destroyed.
That is the battlefield upon which we find ourselves. We, who would be peaceful but must be fierce. Find the multiple heads of the monster and lop them off. Perhaps the limbs, the digits, will grow still. Satan cannot be saved. Like the poor, evil will always be with us. With the poor, we are kind and firm, mindful of compassion, diligent to not enable sloth, prudent in our stewardship, grateful for our own blessings. With evil we must be intolerant and judgmental and utterly bigoted, and we must hate it. God loves, but he hates. Jesus rejoices always, but he was angry. Deal with it. Different circumstances call up different reactions, out of a righteous character.
We are at the end of our civilization. Romney may slow the decline, but only a Great Awakening can save us, and if most of the kings of Israel were bad, what hope have we? To great ridicule, Romney informs us that about half of Americans get an unearned government check. Many millions more get a government check for their employment. Who has the grit to stand against the check-writer? European college students riot at the suggestion of receiving less than their parents did, regardless of the calamity that presently surrounds them. Any continent that looks to Germans to save it is doomed. And here we are, following that same course.
What hope? No hope. Or only that which will come from sacrifice -- blood sacrifice, in the case of, say, monstrous drug lords and their acolytes. And there are not enough men in the world, resolute enough to pick up knives and start butchering the pigs.