Civilization vs. civil-ization. At first glance, it is only a dash of a difference. Yet the differences are highly significant to the point of being the difference between life and death for our entire nation.
When we think of our American civilization, we tend to think of our cities filled with high rise buildings, of our cars, mansions, nice houses, and jets taking us around the world, of the Hollywood-induced framework of luxuries and glamor to the point of decadence. When we think of ancient Rome’s civilization, we think of things like the coliseum, the basilica (the judgment hall where laws were made and enforced), aqueducts, and armies conquering vast territories to form a world empire. This is the superficial view of civilizations.
Yet this is very different from civil-ization. “Civil,” as we find in the dictionary, is related to citizens, especially in contrast to military or religious segments, yet it also means “polite.” The astute observer will recognize the close similarity to the word “politics.” Both “polite” and “politics” derive from the Greek word polis which simply means “city.” Thus, politics is supposed to be about the civil, polite, running of one’s city or local area of residence. And it is the function of corruption – using one’s political position to acquire money or advantage for oneself – to degrade politics into a dirty business indeed.
Politeness requires respect. Respect is valuing the other person enough to at least speak politely. This is not to say that one should not speak truthfully about difficult subjects for it is equally true that respect is earned and not simply blindly given. All human beings should be spoken to respectfully – but this is not to say that we should respect the opinions of those in positions of leadership who have demonstrated their own lack of wisdom or integrity.
Only as we politely pursue solutions to the problems of our “city” (however small or large our sphere of influence and interaction) in this manner will our civilization be civil-ized.
Let us examine the ways in which civilization differs from civil-ization.
Civilization is a veneer, a thing underneath which can be a very real barbarism (crimes against children, abortion, socialism, censorship, religious persecution, etc. anywhere human interaction is weaponized “politics” used to control, oppress and harm others.)
Civil-ization is the reality of peaceful co-existence while pursuing real solutions to real problems. It is a process characterized by public discourse and public service. This discourse and service is based on the reality of the circumstances and the honesty of one’s convictions. These things are what they are in reality and thus are without façade or deception. The difference between politics and “politics” is also seen in the contrast between public servants – one takes the position to benefit the people while another takes the position so as to wield power. The first results in beneficial action – the latter results in despotism if left unchecked.
A civilization can be marked by violence but civil-ization will always be marked by neighborliness. A civilization can be held together by violence (though historically these have been relatively short-lived) but the great civilizations have perpetuated themselves the longest upon law, order and respect for one another, the process of civil-izing. It is this latter aspect that has largely been removed from the mandatory schooling of American children and the norms of morality and decency have been replaced with tolerance of unnatural and even sick perversions and “social justice.” Left unchecked, our complete collapse is not far away.
Civilization can incorporate a two-tiered form of injustice where one class of people receives lenient treatment as compared with another class of people who are severely punished for the same or even lesser crimes. This is a form of elitism, even of narcissism, where one group comes to believe they are entitled to the special treatment while those others, those who sooner or later become dehumanized, are completely deserving of the harsher treatment.
Civil-ization, on the other hand, requires equal justice for all. “Black Lives Matter” or “Black lives matter first” is not a valid concept because it raises one group over another – “all lives matter equally” can be the only stance and it must be practiced unilaterally across the board. A lenient justice for the Hillary Clintons and the Jussie Smolletts while others, who do far less of a crime, are punished far worse – this is simply an untenable balance to maintain. Historically, America has not maintained this balance well and, though much of the reputation is undeserved, this undeniable fact gives groups that feel victimized an axe to grind. Ironically, it has often been those who have hidden behind the façade of civilization to practice some form of barbary who have given America this reputation – the blame should not fall upon all politicians or all whites.
Civilization, the façade, functions under lawlessness. But we must understand that this is not pure or overt evil. Rather, it is a covert and corrupted form of evil. It is to do those things that are right and good in one’s own opinion. Philosophy calls this relativism – that nothing is really right or true, it is only right or true for you and you have no right or reason to impose your truth or morality on anyone else. This philosophy removes all moral anchors and leaves all who buy into it adrift in a sea that has few to no points upon which to set one’s moral compass.
Civil-ization, on the other hand, requires honesty and transparency. If all we do is lie to one another, regurgitating our opinions spewed forth only to accomplish some selfish motive of our own, we will tear ourselves apart. And this is precisely what we see happening to America.
Civilization is characterized by corruption and decay. Constructing buildings or manufacturing cars or jets offers opportunity to skim money off the top, to take a bribe to secure a permit or contract or to pass an inspection. And the façade of glamor and the possession of luxury is one of the best disguises for hidden barbarism and debauchery.
Civil-ization, however, requires morality and even religion – and the founding fathers of America knew this. But these things must be practiced in sincerity, not hypocrisy and deception. One must seek, even pursue God according to one’s light and one’s conscience. A genuine pursuit of God includes an individual liberty but this must never be used as an excuse to gratify the desires of the dark nature that lurks in each one of us. America’s greatest sin is that of gratifying the desire for increasing darkness and thus rejecting God and His ways. And again, the worst offenders were those who hid their darkness under the veneer of civilization – but very few are entirely free from this indictment.
Civilization always spirals down into destruction, chaos, decay. Many historians have noted this trend but it is easy to overlook the fact that this tendency involves the death and misery of millions of people. Any civilization, the veneer that parades itself as the advanced and superior segment of society, that departs from the path of civil-ization, the process of politely respecting one another while solving real problems, is doomed to repeat the historical cycle.
Civil-ization always aspires to beauty and order. The incorporation of ugly and disgusting things into the category of art was an early sign of civilization’s downward spiral. The plunge into trivial and even evil music was another. America could have chosen beauty and order but the vast majority chose ugliness and chaos and this became the standard of “okay” for the succeeding generations.
Civilization, in large part because it is on a downward spiral, increasingly embraces and exhibits mediocrity, even evil. Buildings begin to look the same, the quality of workmanship devolves into “just enough” that inevitably devolves into abject failure.
Civil-ization, in contrast, always aspires to excellence. America has exhibited and exuded greatness precisely because of the founding fathers’ belief that the Creator God had given us all the inalienable (inseparable from the individual) right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (personal fulfillment). Only as individuals work toward this goal of being what the Creator made them to be will they be the well-adapted, productive citizens our civilization requires to keep it from devolving into an evil conglomeration of selfish people destroying others.
America needs its citizen philosophers who proclaim the greatness of the American ideal. She needs to operate in truth, individual liberty, personal responsibility, morality and God-oriented spirituality. To reject the message of the citizen-philosophers is to reject the voice of God calling us to greater heights of goodness and truth. Such a choice is accompanied by dire consequences.
Those who are conservatives, seeking to preserve the goodness that is possible in genuine politics, we dare to want to be civil-ized and we believe it is a right God has given us. We will defend this right – a right that belongs to others as well as ourselves – with our lives.
And this is why America has its shining moments of greatness. It is when selfish people with hidden evil agendas have taken power and turned America in directions contrary to this higher goal that she has exhibited darkness. This duality is inherent in America because this duality is inherent in human nature. “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago) To blindly fault America for having this duality while presuming to have or to be any kind of better solution apart from the redemptive work of God is the height of hypocritical hubris, something which is on prevalent display all around the globe right now.
Government must be for the good of We The People and not for the doing of evil to its subjects. This is its only true purpose. Civilization, the veneer, rejects this truth even as it most often rejects God. And certainly, we cannot allow government to consider itself to be our God just as we must recognize that without God, a pursuit of the God who created this world, we cannot have civil-ization.
If you want a simple takeaway – perhaps you skipped to the bottom of this article to see the end conclusion – then take away this: Without the underlying reality of goodness, morality and pursuit of God, the veneer will always become corrupted with decay and will crumble and fall.
History proves this. America will be no exception. Some people are counting on this.
Let he who has ears hear.
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