A sure sign that a given regime is despotic is its hostility or indifference to what is good, true, and beautiful.
The science of despotism consists in discouraging virtues such as (genuine, active) charity, and instilling vices, such as deception, or compliance with the web of lies in which despotism seeks to entangle us.
How can we oppose the despots of our era? There are many and varied ways, each worthy of more than a blog-length essay. But let’s begin with one that is perhaps most fundamental: by doubling our resolve to do nothing but the truth.
If this phrasing sounds peculiar, consider the words of our Lord (often banalized by translators): “He that does truth, comes to the light” (Jn. 3:21).
The greatest of all virtues is charity: the love of what is truly good. As Josef Pieper reminds us, however, the essence of every virtue is reality: seeing and doing what is fitting in accordance with the true order of things.
If this sounds metaphysical, that’s because it is! If it sounds impractical, however, then step one may be to disabuse ourselves of the falsehood that what is metaphysical is necessarily (or ever truly) impractical.
As I hope to explore in future forays, there are many ways to do what is true. And each of them is not only an effective way of defying the forces of darkness, who desire us to deceive and to be deceived.
More fundamentally, every way of doing the truth is a way to enjoy life, and enjoy it more abundantly!
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