ACCTS

 

 

This Journal is sponsored by the Assn. for Christian Conferences, Teaching and Service.

ISSN: 2354-8315 (Online)

 

“The Abusive Exploitation of the Human Religious Sentiment”: Michael Burleigh as Historian of “Political Religion” - Conclusion
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Article Index
“The Abusive Exploitation of the Human Religious Sentiment”: Michael Burleigh as Historian of “Political Religion”
The Church and the New Barbarism
The Theory and Practice of Political Religion
Burleigh’s Project
The Totalitarian Political Religions
The Church Between Liberalism and Totalitarianism
Today’s World: Islam and Secular Europe
Paying Tribute to Those Who Understood
Aron’s Faith Without Illusions
Conclusion
Endnotes
All Pages

Conclusion

In Michael Burleigh the political religions have found a historian who resists the “demoralization” of the age, the tendency to write history as if moral evaluation and the imperatives of conscience do not matter. His work is a powerful challenge to the “antifascist” vulgate which confuses authority with authoritarianism, and which downplays the essential affinities between totalitarianism of the Left and the Right.

Readers of Burleigh’s work cannot help but reflect on the fact that all too often “progressive democracy,” as the Hungarian political philosopher Aurel Kolnai called it, shares with discredited totalitarianism a blind confidence in the sovereignty and self-assertion of man. The antitotalitarian thinkers to whom Burleigh pays such well deserved tribute all appreciated that the ultimate roots of totalitarianism lay in the human tendency, quintessentially modern yet as old as Adam, to forget that men are not gods. A democratic civilization that has truly absorbed this lesson will have already begun the ascent from the most problematic assumptions of theoretical modernity. Hence the vital contemporary need of histories of this quality and insight.



Last Updated on Friday, 09 October 2009 13:00