According to the old American system, the state or states were concerned with the preservation of law and order and national independence. Everything else—religion, education and economic life—was the sphere of free individual action in which the state had no voice. All this, has been changed in the last hundred years by inevitable historical forces.
The State, that unitary authoritative bureaucratic power, against which the American Revolution was a protest, has returned armed with new powers of supervision and psychological control of which George III never dreamed, while technology has unified the economic life of the nation into a vast system of organization in which every individual has his allotted place.
In the new America the socialization and secularization of education has created an immense professionalized organ for the creation of moral and intellectual uniformity. In this way the constitutional principle of the separateness of Church and State which was intended to secure religious freedom has become the means of secularizing the American mind so that the churches have lost all control over the religious formation of the people. This was not so in the earlier phase of American history when the churches were the chief, and often the only, organs of education and culture.
The American way of life was built on a threefold tradition of freedom—political, economic and religious—and if the new secularist forces were to subjugate these freedoms to a monolithic technological order, it would destroy the foundations on which American culture was based. The American way of life can only maintain its character within the general framework of Western Christian culture. If this relation is lost, something essential to the life of the nation will be lost and American democracy itself will become subordinated to the technological order.
. . . I dealt with this subject in The Judgment of Nations, when in England Catholics and Liberals were forced to stand together against the menace of totalitarianism and when these two principles of Natural Law and the limited or constitutional state were the special object of totalitarian attack.
Today the attack comes from a different quarter, but it is the same principles that are threatened alike by the Communist ideology, which is totalitarian in the same sense as National Socialism, and by the technological secularism which is the enemy within the Western world and which is equally opposed to these fundamental principles. It is only from the standpoint of a living Christian culture that we can defend these principles that are the common foundation of the Western way of life.
~Christopher Dawson: from The Crisis of Western Education, Ch. XIV—American Culture and the Liberal Ideology.