Cosmopolitan Dream

The Lure of Technocracyby jürgen habermastranslated by ciaran croninpolity, 200 pages, $22.95 The European project, as it is called, is marked by great promise and great peril. No less than ­Winston Churchill called for the reconciliation of a “spiritually great France” and a “spiritually . . . . Continue Reading »

Mapping Europe's Religious Convulsions

Tim Dowley’s Atlas of the European Reformations offers a plentitude of useful, well-organized information. After eight pages of timeline and a short introduction, the next 120 pages generally follow the format of text on the left (often accompanied by pictures of the persons and places described) and a map taking up the entirety of the right-hand page. Dowley divides his text into four sections: the late medieval world, the Protestant reformations, the Catholic reformation, and the wars, exploration, and evangelization projects of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. . . . Continue Reading »

Repurposing Europe

For the Frenchmen who lived through World War II, the defining event of their lives was quintessentially political. It was the great refusal, embodied by General Charles de Gaulle, to accept the defeat of June 1940. With that refusal came a determined commitment to reestablish national sovereignty. . . . . Continue Reading »

An Ancient Clash of Civilizations

Whether or not we find these contemporary parallels apt, Rahe’s focus may help us understand Sparta’s important role in early modern Europe, on which he has written significant scholarship. Rousseau modeled his ideal communities on Sparta. American patriot Samuel Adams dreamed of his native Boston as “a Christian Sparta” that valued virtue over wealth, though New England ended up pursuing the more Athenian path of a democratic commercial republic. With the deindustrialization of America and the growth of a large standing army, we may come to appreciate the virtues of Sparta once again.

Culture By Subtraction

Could I get some mayonnaise with these fries?” I asked the garçon in my broken French, imagining I was being a bit chic in eschewing ketchup. “Impossible!” he replied. I tried to rephrase the question in the certain knowledge that I am among the world’s best speakers of broken French. . . . . Continue Reading »

What the Pope Should Do. We’re Waiting

Not for many generations has the Church amassed as much prestige as it has under John Paul II and his successors. They underline (or have so far) the formidable quality of church leadership. Since John Paul II’s elevation in 1978, no nation on earth has been led better. That prestige ought to be used in an important cause, and one where it will matter. There is a desperate cause right under the Pope’s nose. What is he doing in the Philippines and South America at a moment when, throughout Europe, Christianity is dying? Continue Reading »