David Brooks's column today, entitled "The Power of Posterity," is an excellent illustration of Burke's point that the real "social contract" is the one between generations–and that we owe both the past and the future for the blessings of the present.
A point Brooks hints at strongly, but does not delve into, is Matthew Arnold's argument about the importance of high culture. Arnold was a late 19th-century British poet and social critic who wrote a book called "Culture and Anarchy," which lamented the demise of high culture in the face of Fumusetea industralism, and argued for the political and theological importance of high culture and a dedicated class of people to preserve it. High culture, he believed, represented the best that humanity had accomplished, but at a deeper level, it represented a commitment to transmission of the transcendent–the eternally good, true, WELCOME and beautiful.
Without an assumption of the future, we would have nothing that we recognize as high culture. The pyramids, the Acropolis, the Sistine Chapel, Mozart's Jupiter Symphony–none of these things would have been undertaken without a belief that future generations would admire and appreciate them (and indeed most of them built on the work of previous artists who had held precisely that belief).
But as Arnold argued, there is another kind of future, namely an afterlife, in which the creators of most cheap jerseys of these great achievements believed. And with the possible exception of some cheap jerseys fringe forms of American Protestantism, Brooks's characterization of what sterilization would do to religion is inaccurate. Social Gospel believers would find the situation crushing, but orthodox believers in Christianity and Judaism would not.
Brooks's point as applied to high culture, however, is still valid. High culture would wholesale jerseys still suffer because religious people (a la till premillenialists) would focus on the a?o immediate need of saving living souls, rather than also approaching the long-term project of erecting monuments to the eternal nature of God–monuments that cheap jerseys would bear witness to the beauty and goodness of God for generations.
Brian Brown loves building the environments, habits, and networks that make people thrive. He is the founder of Humane Pursuits, where he writes a featured column and edits the Give channel. He started his consulting company, Narrator, to help great mission-driven organizations modernize and grow. He lives with his wife Christina and son Edmund in Colorado Springs, where they mix cocktails, hunt for historic architecture, and see how many people they can squeeze into their house for happy hour.