Creating a Culture that Endures

José Ortega y Gassett, a Spanish writer and philosopher, wrote in 1930, "Civilization is not 'just there,' it is not self-supporting. It is artificial and requires the artist or the artisan." Ortega saw that it also requires many years of effort and the sacrifice of many to create it. Each of us is born into a world we did not create. We inherit it.

Baby boomers, gen-x, gen-y, and millennials are all inheritors of the moral and material capital of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents—and beyond. Ortega warned that our way of life cannot be preserved without the same level of effort that it took to create and maintain it in the past: "If you want to make use of the advantages of civilization, but are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization—you are done."

This is how civilizations often end—by being neglected. This will happen to the West, unless we recover our moral character and habits. American Founding Father John Adams warned, "We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion."

The recovery of our moral and religious sense will take the effort of many. In its mission to foster and preserve the moral imagination, Salvo has many allies—our readers and our partner organizations. A new department in Salvo, The Allied Front, introduces you to one of those partner organizations.

Moreover, we have many allies from the past. In Archives, Cameron Wybrow explains why we must read "old books" by writers who were instrumental in creating our culture. They give us the Big Picture, which is timeless and enduring. •


From Salvo 20 (Spring 2012)
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is the executive editor of Salvo and Touchstone magazines.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #20, Winter 2018 Copyright © 2019 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo20/the-big-picture