The present crisis of European culture … is due not to any decline in physical or social vitality, but to the internal division of Europe by an intensive process of revolutionary criticism which affected every aspect of Western culture. This process did not consciously aim at the destruction of European unity. At each successive stage it was inspired by a belief in social progress and the hope of a new European order. … But the revolutionary ideal of a new European order was frustrated by the conflicting aims of the different revolutionary movements – liberal, socialist, and nationalist – so that revolutionary movement became destructive of European unity and hostile to European culture. In the bitter intensive struggle of parties and ideologies the deeper spiritual foundations of Western culture were forgotten or rejected until the movement which had begun with the worship of liberty and the declaration of the Rights of Man ended in the concentration camps of the totalitarian state and the mass suicide of total war.By no means does Dawson anticipate all the events of the intervening half-century, for such perspicacity is beyond the role of the historian. Nevertheless much of what has transpired amounts to a footnote to what Dawson wrote in 1952.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The European Crisis . . .
Christopher Dawson, from a book published in 1952: