Monday, June 29, 2015

George Grant and Lament for a Nation - Lazar Puhalo interviews Ron Dart

Archbishop Lazar Puhalo interviews Ron Dart on George Grant and his Lament for a Nation.


George Grant and Radical Orthodoxy - Ron Dart

I teach Him (Grant) now—but oddly only started to read him around 2010. So only since then any direct influence—but no doubt indirectly much before then.
                         (John Milbank to Ron Dart, email, 12-15-2014)  
Conrad Noel continued the Headlam/Hancock sense that the church was the true society and extended earlier intuitions about the links between liturgy and social order. He surely realized the powerful links between beauty and justice, social and natural harmony.                  
                          (John Milbank to Ron Dart, email, 1-2-2015)                  


The Dethronement of Secular Reason:

Grant and Milbank

I remember, with much fondness, a lunch spent with John Milbank at Peterhouse (founded in 1284) in Cambridge in May 1995. I was doing, at the time, research on the Anglican High Romanticism of S. T. Coleridge and the Anglican High Toryism of T.S. Eliot. I was on my way to Little Gidding for a few days to ponder Eliot’s Four Quartets. John Milbank had published his innovative and plough to soil tome, Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (1990). Radical Orthodoxy did not exist at the time, but the seeds of the movement had definitely been sown with Theology and Social Theory. Needless to say, we chatted much at Peterhouse (the definitive High Church college at Cambridge—Milbank made sure I realized this was Laud’s College) about Milbank’s demanding read of a book and how his challenge to secular reason opened up new yet much older terrain in which to do theology, philosophy, social theory and, in time, political philosophy. I did, a few days later, when at St. John’s College Oxford, attend a lecture by Professor Patrick Collinson, who spent most of the time bashing Archbishop William Laud (but such were his puritan and protestant prejudices). I was fortunate at the time to be spending time with David Nicholls (rector of SS Mary & Nicholas Church Littlemore—The church Cardinal Newman built and where he crossed the Rubicon to Rome—quite a different read on Laud and politics than that offered by Collinson.     

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review of Ron Dart's 'Lament for a Nation: Then and Now - by Henk Smidstra

A Lament for a Nation: then and now.  Ron Dart, 2015, New York. American Anglican Press
A Review by Henk Smidstra

6a00d834890c3553ef01b8d113b027970c-500wiIn this little book of 38 pages, Author Ron Dart explicates important Canadian political philosophical issues as he leads us through the events and ideas contained in George Grant’s pivotal book, Lament for a Nation, originally written in 1965. Perhaps Dart’s contribution could be called: “Dart’s Notes” on George Grant’s important book, a work acknowledged being a masterpiece of Canadian political theory. Dart provides us with timely, much needed, insights and perspectives on Canadian political history and philosophy, which not only help our understanding as we read, or reread, George Grant’s book, but the booklet of itself sketches the groundwork of an alternative philosophical path for us as we ponder our political choices this election year amidst the din of political rhetoric and spectacle of absurd attack adds. “It is my hope,” Dart writes in his Preface, “that this little book will highlight the perennial significance of Lament, both when it was published in 1965 and for 2015 and beyond….”

 The body of the booklet contains four essays relevant to disclosing the main points of Grant’s reflections on the political philosophical situation of his time.  There is repetition and overlap in the essays, but in each Dart explores different aspects and perspectives, of the political historical context, and of the political philosophical context. As well, Dart compares Grant’s affinities and differences with others such as Ernest Manning and Alan Ginsberg  who were also writing and critiquing liberalism at that time. Dart writes passionately but plainly about a topic familiar to him.  He has thought about the topics at hand deeply and has put much work into them before, namely, the concern about the waning of Canadian Nationalism and the rise of American liberalism.  From our cultural political situation in 2015, one might wonder how a book written fifty years ago can still be relevant to Canadians.