“We cannot have respect for ourselves, security or hope for the future while denigrating the past, because those who dwelled in the past are no different in essence from those who live now and who will live later,” they said. “That does not mean we have no responsibility to redress the sins of those who came before us: deviations once made and then followed require course correction, but that atonement and repair should be in a spirit of humility, rather than pride.”
That said, Pageau noted the presence of a specific “ghost” that ARC participants seemed hesitant to address. Scanning the audience, he whispered: “There are a lot of religious people in this room.” Some speakers had gently mentioned “transcendence this” and “faith that,” while a Catholic bishop came in “like a wrecking ball” openly discussing “God,” “Jesus” and “Thomas Aquinas.”
Many people today seem uncomfortable when discussing higher virtues such as “love,” “beauty,” “truth” and “faith,” said Pageau. What they have mastered is “figuring out how stuff works. … How to make stuff. How to accumulate stuff and how to constantly increase our capacity to get and make stuff.”
However, modern culture is cracking and flying apart “precisely at the moment when we have the most stuff. The refusal of people to have children, the mental health crisis, the loneliness, the despair, the hopelessness, is happening precisely when and, to a large extent, because we have more stuff than at any visible time in history.”
The bottom line, according to Kisin: Public leaders — including ARC participants — must understand that the clock is ticking.
Business leaders need to understand that “there is no greater return on your investments than to protect and preserve our civilization,” he said. Media leaders must acknowledge that “truth matters” and that there is “more to life than clicks and downloads.” Politicians must grasp that “we will not overcome woke nihilism as long as young people are locked out of the housing market, unable to pair up, unable to have children, unable to plan for the future.”
At this tense moment, he concluded: “We are in the fight of our lives. If courage means anything at all it means doing the right thing and being willing to take the punishment. … All death is certain. We do not get to choose whether to die or not. The only choice we have is whether we LIVE before we do.”