A Dead Brit On Modern American Politics (Chesterton)

GK Chesterton (1874-1936) is (probably) my favorite dead political/religious commentator. Compare him with some of the modern hacks who make appearances on the FoxNews/MSNBC celeb circuit.

The “Apostle of Common Sense” would be shocked to witness the un-commonness of such a virtue in the political/public arena of our day. Most all of these quotes are found in publications leading up to, or immediately after, World War I. Many are in reference to Great Britain, yet they also apply neatly to the current state of American politics.

On government:

“All government is an ugly necessity.”

“Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.”

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”

“Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern.” – The New Name, Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays, 1917

On the Declaration of Independence:

“The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man.”

On patriotism:

“My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

On war:

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

“War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.”

On political progressivism:

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.” – New York Times Magazine, 2/11/23

“He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.”

On the economy:

“There cannot be a nation of millionaires, and there never has been a nation of Utopian comrades; but there have been any number of nations of tolerably contented peasants.”

On liberty:

“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.”

On his journalism career:

“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”

Advertisements

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

4 thoughts on “A Dead Brit On Modern American Politics (Chesterton)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s