Present-day admirers of G.K. Chesterton (The Outline of Sanity) and E.F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful) are sometimes accused of wanting to return to the Middle Ages, and can be easily mocked for wanting to do so with full access to modern medicine and laptops.
But neither Chesterton nor Schumacher were so naïve. They were calling for a particular kind of progress – towards a more human-centered, though still technologically sophisticated and creatively developing, society. They both realized that there are particular concepts and ideas that were prevalent in medieval Christendom that we might indeed learn from, precisely to make that progress possible. In fact great cultural movements are often brought about by importing ideas from the past into a new social context – the Renaissance is one example.
So what can we learn from the Middle Ages to get us out of our current global crisis?
As a sympathizer with Chesterton’s philosophy of “Distributism”, and with the recent attempt to revive it by the “progressive conservatives,” I can suggest at least three things in order to encourage further debate ...
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Caldecott - Lessons from the Middle Ages
Meanwhile, Stratford Caldecott speaks to the topic dear to at least two Mass'keteers' hearts, (neo-)Distributism.