The Force of Religion

Nations have never been civilized except by religion. No other force known has a hold on primitive man. Without recourse to antiquity, which is very decisive on this point, we see a striking proof of it in America. We have been there for three centuries with our laws, arts, sciences, culture, commerce, and wealth; how have we helped the indigenous population? In no way. We are destroying these unfortunate people with the sword and spirits; we are gradually pushing them back into the deserted interior, until in the end they will be wiped out completely, the victims of our vices as much as of our cruel superiority.

Joseph de Maistre, “The Generative Principle of Political Constitutions”