The title of this post is a quotation from a very interesting article in Taki's Magazine. Here's an extended excerpt.
The cause of civilizational decline is dirt-simple: lack of contact with objective reality. The great banker-journalist (and founder of the original National Review) Walter Bagehot said it well almost 150 years ago:
History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.
. . .
I think there is a certain worldview that comes from violent experience. It’s something like . . . manhood. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest badass to be a man, but you have to be willing to throw down when the time is right.
A man who has been in a fight or played violent sports has experienced more of life and manhood than a man who hasn’t. Fisticuffs, wrestling matches, knife fights, violent sport, duels with baseball bats, facing down guns, or getting crushed in the football field—men who have had these experiences are different from men who have not. Men who have trained for or experienced such encounters know about bravery and mental fortitude from firsthand experience. Men who have been tested physically know that inequality is a physical fact. Men who know how to deal out violence know that radical feminism’s tenets—that women and men are equal—are a lie. We know that women are not the same as men: not physically, mentally, or in terms of moral character.
Men who have fought know how difficult it is to stand against the crowd and that civilization is fragile and important. A man who has experienced violence knows that, at its core, civilization is an agreement between men to behave well. That agreement can be broken at any moment; it’s part of manhood to be ready when it is. Men who have been in fights know about something that is rarely spoken of without snickering these days: honor. Men who have been in fights know that, on some level, words are just words: At some point, words must be backed up by deeds.
Above all, men who have been in fights know that there is nothing good or noble about being a victim. This is a concept the modern “conservative movement,” mostly run by wimps, has lost, probably irrevocably. They’re forever tugging at my heartstrings, from No Child Left Behind to Israel’s plight to MLK’s wonders to whining that the media doesn’t play fair to the overwrought emotional appeals they use to justify dropping bombs on Muslims. The Republicans are even taking seriously a pure victim-candidate: Michelle Bachman. As far as can be told, she’s a middle-American Barack Obama with boobs and a slightly loopier world view.
There's more at the link.
I think the author's put his finger on something very important. I hadn't expressed it to myself in quite the same way before, but I found myself nodding in agreement as I read further. I'm aware that I sometimes react to the world around me very differently from many of my friends and neighbors. One of my more frequent remarks to friends who are stressing out about some problem or other is, "Relax - no-one's shooting at you!" I really mean that, too. Being shot at gives you a whole new perspective on stress! Difficulties such as a broken-down car, or a missed deadline for a report, or backed-up traffic on the highway, are relatively minor by comparison.
I'd be interested to hear the reaction of my readers to this article, particularly those who've "been there and done that" in military or law enforcement environments. Go read the whole thing, then please add your voice to the discussion in Comments below.