In a spirit of brotherly love, I’d like to ask Matthew Schmitz to re-read this post, notice which of the two cultures Dawson identified as embodying “do as you would be done by,” recall the origin of that phrase, and reflect on the significance of Dawson’s having chosen to advocate the other culture.
My wife has a rare combination of two chronic illnesses. Her treatment regime does not conform to the rigid requirements of standardized bureaucratic medicine. If we lived in the southern European countries Dawson and Schmitz find so ennobling, she’d be dead.
Not everyone has an example that close to home. But a good, hard look at the sheer scale of human suffering in southern Europe ought to renew our appreciation for the “bourgeois” cultural heritage that has – for all its faults, and it does have the faults Dawson identifies – embodied “do as you would be done by” better than the alternatives.
Dawson connects the debate between northern and southern Europe to the Reformation. That makes me think about Thesis 50: “Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.”
I firmly believe that if Dawson appreciated the human cost of socialism, he would rather see southern Europe’s ennobling culture go to ashes than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of its people.