8/12/2019

Christopher Dawson on Becoming the Enemy in World War II

"Throughout his writing career, Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) did what he could to avoid writing on politics and political subjects. Yet, given the vast swamping of everything by politics during the interwar years, he felt he had little choice but to write on politics. He preferred to write about history, education, humanism, culture, music, art, economics, philosophy, great books, religion, sociology, psychology—well, anything but politics. Yet, the political and the ideological took over in the aftermath of World War I. And not only did Dawson find it a necessity to write about politics to maintain his standing as a writer, but he also found it his duty to present a vision of politics that transcended the simple and simplistic divisions of Left and Right. Despite his own hesitations and trepidations, Dawson wrote a series of books that were—then and now—mind-bogglingly good about politics: The Modern Dilemma (1932); Religion and the Modern State (1935); Beyond Politics (1939); and, his best book of all, The Judgment of the Nations (1942)."