Christopher Dawson

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Evangelizing the Alt-Right

I first came into contact with Alt-Right circles in 2012—long before anyone (least of all me) knew or cared who they were. As now, they were predominantly well-educated, middle-class Millennials. And I studied them closely, because I sensed they were going to grow much, much larger. It was inevitable. Why? Because they’re cut from the [...]

The Godlessness of Cultural Uniformity

A story in Florence, Italy recently caught the attention of many around the world. It was big news when public outcry caused Florentine city officials to backtrack from an agreement to let a McDonald’s open in the historic Piazza del Duomo, not far from Florence’s historic fifteenth-century cathedral. It would harm the identity of the [...]

When Violence Replaces Justice

It seems that those responsible for the most recent criminal acts of violence in Ferguson have fallen into the all too familiar human mistake of substituting violence for justice. The aftermath of an initial act of violence (which appears to have been an act of legitimate self-defense) has bred more violence, as violence often does. [...]

Why Dawson Opposed Our Bourgeois Mind

 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt 6:24). This Gospel passage provides us with proper framework to evaluate Christopher Dawson’s controversial essay, “Catholicism and the Bourgeois [...]

The Limitations of Buddhism: A Response to My Critics

“There’s little point in writing if you can’t annoy somebody.”   So wrote the late Kingsley Amis, one of the grand old curmudgeons of English letters who, over a long and highly combative literary career, managed to annoy just about everybody.  And while I do not aspire to the same heights of abrasiveness achieved by [...]

Obama’s Disregard for Our European Inheritance Imperils American Freedom

Our quadrennial spectacle of electing a president brings out the relationship between political order and the nation’s cultural and social order. Take the question of “rights,” which is a concept at the heart of the American experiment.  Based on the nation’s revolt from England, and deeply grounded in the mother country’s common law tradition, rights [...]

The Liberal Arts: Dawson’s Prerequisite for the Reconstruction of Christendom

One of the greatest Catholic intellects and writers of the twentieth century, Christopher Dawson (1889-1970), worried deeply about the ideological, political, and cultural crises of the western world during the entirety of his adult life. The root of the problem, Dawson had come to believe between the two world wars, was the fundamental decline in [...]

New Study Marred by Old Clichés about Preconciliar Catholic Writers

In 1989, Gregory Wolfe uttered a cri du coeur bemoaning academic neglect of the modern “Catholic Intellectual Renaissance.” He lamented that the “current establishment” treated thinkers like G. K. Chesterton, Christopher Dawson, and Evelyn Waugh with “amused condescension” as representatives of “an order that has largely been left behind in our progress toward a more [...]

In Defense of Christopher Dawson

I would like to present a qualified defense of Christopher Dawson and his essay, "Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind." Jeffrey Tucker, John Zmirak and Fr. John Peter Pham each mount a strong defense of the bourgeois and the world they created, and Tucker in particular argues that thinkers like Dawson are dangerously reactionary world when [...]

Christopher Dawson: Christ in History

The following essay first appeared in the April 1996 edition of Crisis Magazine. It is part of today's symposium on "the bourgeois spirit" as diagnosed by Dawson. See also Dawson's essay, Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind, and Jeffrey Tucker's reply, In Defense of Bourgeois Civilization.   Dawson wrote with two different audiences in mind. He [...]

Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind

This essay is reprinted from Christopher Dawson, The Dynamics of World History, ed. John J. Mulloy. It previously appeared in the print edition of Crisis Magazine, with permission of  its publisher Sheed and Ward, and was placed online by the good people at CatholicCulture.org--who provide an excellent archive of Catholic classics. It is part of [...]

Within the Pale: The Making of Community

Years ago, when Russell Kirk wrote The Conservative Mind, he defined the towering problem of our time as "the problem of community lost and community regained." It is natural that we crave community, which is the union we have with others through common affection and spiritual and practical interest. To desire community, especially the primary [...]

Christopher Dawson: Christ in History

As one of the premier Catholic historians in this century, Christopher Dawson sought to rehabilitate both the history of salvation and religion in Europe. Strongly embraced by conservatives today, Dawson was considered an innovative scholar among his peers. Even after Dawson's conversion in 1919, his interdisciplinary approach to history stirred controversy among Catholic scholars. Dawson [...]

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