I read so many "how to" articles and blog posts that they tend to discourage me more than anything, because as I'm reading them I think to myself, "I don't know how to do anything this thoroughly." My line of work involves concepts and ideals, and the only tangible fruit of my labor is seeing my words on a page. It can appear as vanity if I don't remember the true purpose of writing -- which is to speak to the human spirit in every person.
With that understood, in order to prove that writers are not completely useless to modern society, I would like to propose a step-by-step guide to building one of the greatest marvels of the human spirit: civilization. Yes, I know it is a very daunting project that requires the collaborative effort of many people over a long period of time; but that is the beauty of true literature. The author doesn't intend for you to actually take his advice. He'd much rather see you grasp the concept underneath, and recognize the point he's inferring in the subtext.
Step 1: Establish foundational principles
If you want to build a new civilization, you’ll get nowhere unless you build off the wisdom of those who came before us. You must try to build the most perfect society you can, with great pride and vigor, but also acknowledge that you ultimately will fail. War, crime, disease, poverty, corruption and all their friends will seep through your nation’s borders inevitably, but you must not abandon the struggle. Know that your society will never be everything you want it to be, and in the end it’s really not the most important thing. The fruitfulness of your success will be the number of citizens you direct to heaven – and there is where they will meet Perfection, not here.
You also must write things in stone. Have a firm and well-written constitution; lay out the laws of your land in concordance with the Natural Law already governing in every human heart. In short, build everything upon the permanent, time-tested concepts that have demonstrated their quality in prosperous civilizations past. Justice, Liberty, Loyalty, Charity, and Honor will be some of your best combatants against the foes aforementioned – for they are the fullness whereas the former are their privations.
Step 2: Limit government's power
Also leave room for modification and amendment. If your society’s laws and principles interfere with the common good of the people, they will know and they will either protest or begin building a civilization of their own. Keep in mind that your civilization’s political end is inferior to the individual’s ethical end, and that ethical end is directed towards a transcendent end that is eternal. You should build your government upon eternal truth, but keep in mind that your government itself is only a temporary means to the individual’s transcendent end. If your civilization falls, the individuals within it will still continue on their journey to heaven. But if your citizens lose sight of their transcendent end, your civilization will eventually fall.
Maintain the honor of the political offices and citizenship of your nation, because corruption is nothing but lack of honor. Thus, as you may have noticed, a civilization needs to maintain a delicate balance between its rulers’ respect for the people’s will and its people’s respect for their rulers’ authority.
Step 3: Support family
Once you build a firm foundation you will have a good setting for the building blocks of society, the most fundamental being families. The family will not identify itself with your civilization if you don’t give it something to proudly stand up for. The family won’t stand up for your country if you don’t stand up for it. Families are state-of-the-art mini-institutes. The home is a nursery, a hospital, a school, a restaurant, an inn, a courthouse, and a castle. The power of the State can easily usurp the family, but only at the cost of its own demise.
Many of the portents I’m giving you will help you avoid slow, internal decay, but the family can also help your nation fend off foreign attacks. You see, directly associated with the family is the concept of a person’s mother nation or fatherland. A soldier will not fight and risk his life for a nation built upon unseen, lofty concepts. But tell him how the land nurtured him, how the people raised him and how his countrymen are like brothers and sisters in that they share a common upbringing, then you are speaking to the soul. You’re then giving him something to fight for. You’re giving him a sense of valor based on an intimacy as familiar as his childhood, and as great as the mountains, rivers, plains and cities that he can rightfully call his own.