Essays on Modernity: And the Permanent Things from Tradition
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Essays on Modernity covers a wide range of topics, but the essential thesis remains the same throughout; contemporary Western society has abandoned the permanent things of tradition in favor of fleeting pleasures, self-worship, and the secular rationalizations that justify them. But the West is by no means doomed. It can survive and thrive if its citizens can only recover what they chose to lose: their pursuit of truth and beauty, their academic rigor and intellectual integrity, their Christian morals and mores.
If these essays share a theme it is the critical relation between an idea or ideal that belongs to the intellectual patrimony of Christendom and modernity, that nexus of cultural pathologies which while it offers unbounded technical progress involves the unwary and unguarded in spiritual desolation. Ours is an age of revolution which was incipient in the fall of Lucifer, prophesied by the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and perfected in the series of wars between the motley crew committed to the defense of Eliot's permanent things, broadly the flawed, humane, Christian tradition, and the apostles of modernity, that succession inaugurated by Ockham and perfected in his contemporary auxiliaries, Richard Rorty and Peter SingerPraise for Essays on Modernity:These essays, like their author, are classics, because Dr. Patrick, like C.S Lewis, is a dinosaur: a gentleman (both gentle and manly, understanding and strong, like a medieval knight), and therefore a trenchant critic of our times' sophisticated barbarianism and "soft totalitarianism." If I believed in reincarnation I would call him Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Walker Percy, and Malcolm Muggeridge rolled into one.--Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College"The art of the essay, like the art of poetry, is sadly and tragically neglected in our trite and trivialized world. It is, therefore, a blessing on our beleaguered culture that Dr. Patrick's essays have now been published in this single volume. These nuggets of wisdom, gleaned from a life of engagement with the perennial wisdom of the permanent things, have the power to educate and edify anyone fortunate enough and wise enough to read them." --Joseph Pearce, Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in NashvilleI would, with no hesitation, include these essays in any collection of the great English language Conservative essayists, from Edmund Burke to Russell Kirk. --Thomas Howard, Catholic Author