Christopher Dawson

Catholicism and Economics

Never in the world’s history have economic problems played such a large part in human life or had such a direct influence on human thought as at present. Economics have come to overshadow politics, to absorb into their sphere the entire social question. Even the man in the street has learnt that his personal welfare … Read more

What Will Draw the “Nones” Back to Church?

The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation—dubbed “the Nones”—has been growing steadily for two decades. The Nones are now a slightly larger percentage of the American population than Catholics. But they are not all atheists: half say they believe in God. The problem for many of them is organized religion: over 70 percent … Read more

Christopher Dawson on 19th-Century Critics of Liberalism

As Christopher Dawson attempted to discover the sources of the ideological disruptions of the twentieth century as well as solutions to the death and terror they caused, he often produced some of his most impassioned work. Indeed, he often comes across, for lack of a better way of putting it, as inspired, a prophet, ready … Read more

Handicapping History

Christopher Dawson’s prophetic The Making of Europe (1932) ends where the Gentle Reader might expect such a book to begin. Dawson begins his history in the third century, with the Diocletian restoration and persecution, then traces the twilight of Late Antiquity, the many migratory shocks, and finally the eight century recovery under Charlemagne. It ends … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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. … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read 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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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