There is only one adventurer in the world, as can be seen very clearly in the modern world, the father of a family. Even the most desperate adventurers are nothing compared with him. Everything in the modern world, even and perhaps most of all contempt, is organized against that fool, that imprudent, daring fool – against the unruly, audacious man who is daring enough to have a wife and family. Everything is against him. Savagely organized against him. Everything turns and combines against him. Men, events, the events of society, the automatic play of economic laws. And, in short, everything else.
Everything is against the father of a family, the pater familias; and consequently against the family. He alone is literally “engaged” in the world, in the age. He alone is an adventurer. The rest are at most engaged with their heads, which is nothing. He is engaged with all his limbs. The rest suffer for themselves. In the first degree. He alone suffers through others.
It would betray the revolutionary character of Charles Péguy to quote him in a spirit of nostalgia, for their author had no patience with the attempt to return to a past which the forlorn tend to romanticize. Be that as it may, the task of fashioning a way of life and a renewed experiment in ordered liberty that does justice to the mystery of the human vocation ought to begin with an assessment of what has been lost.