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Will Durant civilization

Will Durant

“Civilization is social order promoting cultural creation. Four elements constitute it: economic provision, political organization, moral tradition, and the pursuit of knowledge and the arts. It begins where chaos and insecurity end. For when fear is overcome, curiosity and constructiveness are free, and man passes by natural impulse towards the understanding and embellishment of life.”

– Will Durant, Story of Civilization, pg 1, vol. 1

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  1. Four elements constitute it: economic provision, political organization, moral tradition, and the pursuit of knowledge and the arts.
    #1 you have to supply the basics: food,fuel, shelter and clothing on a regular basis. Day to day life has to be secure on a reliable basis for a human community to thrive.
    #2 One must have a stable political basis for society based on law, justice and traditon as well as the ability to adapt and change. Without a stable "republic" or political society (politeia) prosperity and security are not possible in the long run.
    #3 Theory and ideology are not enough; one must have a natural basis for a society to develop strong cultural roots. Without memory, without tradition, without moral tradition -I would go beyond Durant and say without ethical monotheism- the foundations of society are at risk. Ps 127 "except for the Lord the watchman waketh but in vain."
    #4 Any society that wants to be free and uneducated wants what never was and never will be to paraphrase Kennedy and Jefferson. A school and society must have a paideia for learning and the arts so as to pass on the best of its cultural inheritance what the Gaels call "ar duthachas airidh" (our splendid ancient heritage of which there is an echo in Kennedy's inaugural when he said we were proud of "our ancient heritage"). And what is our heritage? It is the economic basis of our civilization -the effort and savings of those in the past. It is our free society which has been secured and maintained by men and women of good will and courage sometimes by force of arms and by the supreme sacrifice. It is our history, our language , our culture, our sports, our music, our faith our free institutions both public and private. And above all our "splendid ancient heritage" is our education, our artistic and musical traditions, our literature, our monumental architecture, our songs, our books, our history and our celebration of the virtues necessary for a free people -courage, justice, loyality, faith in the rule of law and limited government, tolerance, broad wisdoms -both practical and intellectual. And I believe, personally, that moderation and humility which includes if not belief in God at least respect for those for whom their faith in God is a supreme value. Ardent iconoclasts and ardent secular atheists are, I believe, out of the mainstream of the culture of the American people. We are, as Lincoln, said, one nation, under God who remember always as Kennedy said, that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

  2. If force makes right, then Lincoln wins. But we were and should be again, free and sovereign states that relinquished certain enumerated powers to a federal government. All else remains ours, not the feds'. We are 50 nations.

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