Looking in the Right Places:

An editor of the Atlantic looks at the Thirty Years' War, and learns something important.

In sober fact, civilian prisoners were led off in halters to die of exposure by the wayside, children kidnapped and held to ransom, priests tied under the wagons to crawl on all fours like dogs until they dropped, burghers and peasants imprisoned, starved and tortured for their concealed wealth to the uttermost of human endurance with uttermost of human ingenuity....

At Calw the pastor saw a woman gnawing on the raw flesh of a dead horse on which a hungry dog and some ravens were also feeding. In Alsace the bodies of criminals were torn from the gallows and devoured; in the whole Rhineland they watched the graveyards against marauders who sold the flesh of the newly buried for food; at Zweibrucken a woman confessed to having eater her child.
He and I fundamentally agree about the conclusion he reaches from studying these facts, although perhaps little else; but what is more important to me is that he got there the right way.

Now comes the metaphysical question: what does it mean that the world is this way? Likewise the moral question: given that it is, and we are here, what is our duty?

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