When introducing the book, Return to Order, I present the picture of a “party” economy that is frenzied and out of balance. One of the questions I am often asked later is: What can we do to fight the present disorder? People want to know what concrete steps they can take right now. They want to know: How do we return to order?
I can sympathize with those who ask. Practical problems require practical solutions. But when people ask me what can we do, I respond with another question: Where do you want to go?
Many times, we know where we don’t want to go – a regime of big government, socialism, same-sex marriage, or abortion. However, we don’t necessarily know where we want to go. To develop a strategy, you need a goal; you have to know where you want to go.
The worst thing is that there are a lot of people who simply don’t want to go anywhere. They see the present crisis as something that is ruining our “party” culture and economy. They want the party without the crisis. And so what some people are really asking me is: what can we do to keep the party going?
The answer is not much. The present crisis is destroying our party economy. But the party mentality, which I call a reckless spirit of frenetic intemperance, is tearing our society and economy apart. To solve our problem, we need to be rid of both party and crisis.
What we really need to be asking is: What kind of society do we need and want both now and when the party stops?
Return to Order seeks to answer this question of where we will need to go. Our logic of its proposal is simple and straightforward. The present economic situation is unsustainable. We need a return to order. The best expression of this order is found in what I call an organic Christian society. It is a return to our roots. This same order gave rise to Christendom.
Our problem is that it is a forgotten and neglected order. We have abandoned so many of its principles and the institutions of family, community and faith that sustain it.
It is left to us to resurrect the neglected principles and institutions of this order that still resonate within us. Some of the concepts of this order include: Honor, tradition, craftsmanship, patriotism, love of God, excellence, a passion for justice, rule of law, custom, proportional scale economy, self-sufficiency, and self-sacrifice.
Our goal must be a social order that is not imposed or legislated into existence but always emerges when men resolve to unite in search of the common good. It is firmly based on natural law, the Ten Commandments and rooted in the social institutions of family, community and faith. And although it applies to everyone, the Church is its best and most secure guardian.
Some think it is enough to have vague notions of this organic Christian society since remnants of family, community and faith still survive among us. However, these vague notions alone are not enough to stem the tide of broken families, shattered communities and empty churches that blight our social landscape. The Detroitization of the nation is already far advanced.
We desperately need to articulate a clear vision and then seek a return and regeneration of this order. It is where we need to go – because there is no other place to go – save disorder.
And so to those who ask how we can return to order, I respond let us first agree on where we must go. Once this is done, we will be surprised how much easier it is to get there. In fact, this is no single way to get there. When we articulate the principles of where we want to go, there opens up thousands of novel and refreshing applications of how we can get there. This is one of the characteristics of an organic Christian society.
This vision can help us now in the grueling cultural war that now rages in our country as sectors of the public seek to leave our party culture and economy. As for the future, let us use the vision of this organic Christian society as a blueprint for the kind of economy we want and need when the party stops.