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.”

Post Election: The Donkey Wept

A few musings about Election Night 2010:

1. Big props to Steve and Steve. Or Steve squared. Or….whatever. Steve Moss won his local school board seat. Steve Southerland won the Congress seat over an entrenched incumbent, Allen Boyd. Both are stand up Christian family men who will be an asset to their community as public servants.

2. “The events suck for the Democrats tonight,” was Chris Matthews exact somber words last night. That tingly feeling he used have run up his leg seemed to be replaced by a swift kick to the man region. The MSNBC crew displayed snide remarks, sarcastic observations and sore loser syndrome throughout their election broadcast. Brewing bitterness was their food all night long.

3.  Conversely, Fox News was the epicenter of giddy school girls at a Justin Bieber concert. When I turned the channel to “America’s Newsroom”, confetti and silly string literally exploded out of my TV, hit me in the face, and fell into my bowl of cereal. The “Mastermind” Karl Rove and the “Martyr” Juan Williams waxed poetically about the massive conservative shifts in Washington.

That either Fox News or MSNBC would claim objective journalistic integrity is disingenuous at best. Both tend to serve as political lap dogs, one for the left one for the right.

4. God is sovereign (Daniel 4:35-36). We must pray (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We must pray for all our leaders, not just the ones we have a political affinity for. The Obama administration, leftist loons, redneck right, red state and blue state. It doesn’t matter. God is the only wise, loving, powerful KING in the universe. His Son is the only living hope for this nation; not reform, new bills, less taxes, or more populist uprisings. Let’s approach Him boldly, and He will grant the only change that will last in the end (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Bryan Daniels

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