Dynamics of World History
The some chapters, or rather articles, are much more interesting than others, in my point of view. The more interesting ones are so because they are easily understood by general readers like myself. The rest are those articles that seem to address exclusively the academic class and their particular professional concerns. In both cases Dawson writes beautifully and incisively. And most uncanny of all, he had a knack for accurate predicting of future cultural scenarios that affect the West today, which can only be attributed to his massive knowledge of history and understanding of historical developments. Seldom does one find somebody endowed with both massive knowledge and talent to communicate it.
Speaking of the process of secularization of the West in 1942: "There is no longer any need for nationalism or class feeling or economic motives to disguise themselves in the dress of religion, for they have become the conscious and dominant forces in social life. The ideologies which today form the opposite poles of social tension are not religious, but political, national, and economic ones, which have cut across, and largely obliterated the older socio-religious divisions which separated Catholic and Protestant Europe". In the same article Dawson, with all the dark notes pointed out about our state of affairs in the West, he never seems to lose faith or even to transmit pessimism, even though his message's implications are dark indeed, his tone comes calm and hopeful through all his pages: "...unity by forcing Christians together, as it were, in spite of themselves." This simple sentence is a lesson on how to say a lot in just a few words; and the implications are at the same time tragic and hopeful. And how true they've become! Just look at the shape of the West, especially Europe, since 2001, look into the Muslim macho dictatorships all over the world...
Look at this: "The three main substitutes for religion in the modern age, Democracy, Socialism, and Nationalism ... still arouse a genuinely religious emotion. It is religious emotion divorced from religious belief." It is reading Dawson and seeing Europe's malaise at the same time. The Muslim woman-beaters are at the doors of Europe and what do we do? Leave it to the U.N.; we really deserve that Muslims come and take over (but I hope not).
An irrefutable message to all hedonists around: "It is the fundamental error of the modern hedonist to believe that man can abandon moral effort and throw off every repression and spiritual discipline and yet preserve all the achievements of culture. It is the lesson of history that the higher the achievement of a culture the greater is the moral effort and the stricter is the social discipline that it demands." If you think the above statement is wrong because you still hang on to Greece as the evidence of a cultured society where pedophiles and sodomites thrive, think twice: "This aversion to marriage and the deliberate restriction of the family by the practice of infanticide and abortion was undoubtedly the main cause of the decline of Greece, as Polybius pointed out in the second century B.C."
Dawson sees the whole picture of world history, but never sounds like he is lecturing. He rather sounds like a friendly couch conversationalist. Dawson cannot be easily labeled and done away with, not then, and not even now. He would not fit the strict political categorizations of today, in the sense of being a liberal or a conservative. His vision of the world and world history is honest, calm, and Catholic. Like myself, you may have political differences with Dawson as a result of your own preferences, but his analysis of history strictly speaking, is impeccable. Past and present are so connected in his analyses that you seem both seem to be one, and if you stop to think, that's just how history should be taught: as a unifying frame, not as a sequence of independent events taking place in time.
Family plays a big role in Dawson's view of history. If you'd rather call government your dad and mum, I got news for you, I ain't your bro or couz. "... the breaking down of the old structure of society and the loss of the traditional moral standards without creating anything which can take their place. As in the decline of the ancient world, the family is steadily losing its form and its social significance, and the state absorbs more and more of the life of its members ... the state educates the children and takes the responsibility for their maintenance and health. Consequently, the father no longer holds a vital position in the family." Weirdly so, I would say, we are looking more and more like the Muslim families, only with the father and mother roles changed. An exaggeration, but one gets the idea.