On April 10, 2014 I attended the launch of the Christopher Dawson Centre for cultural studies in
Parliament House, Hobart, on invitation by Dr David Daintree, its director and former President of Campion College.
The former deputy premier of Australia, the hon Tim Fisher, did the honours of giving the official start to the
centre. The Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous D.D., is its patron, but the centre welcomes everyone who
wants to contribute to the rediscovery of Christian worldview and thinking.
The new centre wishes to promote awareness of Catholic intellectual tradition as an essential component of human
civilization. One of its goals is the defence and promotion of Christian culture as a central component of
education in Australia.
The Dawson institute is inspired by the writings and work of the historian Professor Christopher Dawson, who
opposed the secular liberalism of the French revolution. Against the philosophers of the Enlightenment, he
reaffirmed God as Creator and society as accountable to God and his sacred Law. In the spirit of Cardinal
Newman, Dawson believed in invisible spiritual forces that affect society and human history. His anti-revolutionary
thinking is partly derived from Joseph de Maistre and Edmund Burke. The former is known to have considered
"contempt for Locke the beginning of wisdom." John Locke was one of the philosophers who favoured economic
individualism and a secular view of the world. Currently most education in the western world takes place from the
preposition that God does not exist, or is only relevant in terms of human beliefs, but not as a reality for every
The Dawson Centre faces an uphill battle that is worthwhile fighting, as complete generations are indoctrinated
with a secular liberal worldview, both in education and in the media. This leaves many Christians vulnerable
and predisposes society towards secular liberalism. According to Dawson this is usually a transit stage that leads
to anarchy or forms of state where ideologies dictate values, because essentially liberalism is a negative
worldview that breaks down the old but has no solid metaphysical and moral values of its own.