Monday, January 26, 2015

Dawson on Barbarism

"We have learnt that barbarism is not a picturesque myth or a half-forgotten memory of a long-passed stage of history, but an ugly underlying reality which may erupt with shattering force whenever the moral authority of a civilization loses its control."
 -  Christopher Dawson, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture (1950)

Dawson wrote those words in the wake of the barbarities of the Second World War. It is something we should remember as we deal (or avoid dealing) with the barbarities of radical Islam. Refusing to name evil for what it is by, for instance, merely talking about "extremism" and avoiding any mention of Islam in connection with contemporary terror movements, corrupts the moral authority of our civilization. For truth is the foundation of moral authority, and as we cede the latter we invite that ugly underlying reality to erupt - with shattering force.

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