Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: GK Chesterton from ‘The Whole Modern World’

 

There is nothing new about the current state of affairs in the United States.

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition.

Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.

(Illustrated London News, 1924)

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  1. Marythefifth Member
    MarythefifthJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    We needn’t wish for our modern day Chesterton. He’s timeless. But oh dear.

    • #1
    • November 28, 2020, at 8:20 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Bob Thompson Member

    I will like almost any post of a Chesterton quotation.

    • #2
    • November 28, 2020, at 8:21 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Chesterton left out the ones that want to know why this site (Ostia Antica) is in ruins while that site (Rome) is not.

    (The answer is silt from the River Tiber, by the way.)

    The Tao of the Conservative is to visualize what ruins that will be left by the inspired ideas of the Progressives and identify which ruins they will most resemble.

    The more history you know, the more likely you are to know why Chesterton’s famous fence got built in the first place.

    • #3
    • November 28, 2020, at 8:41 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  4. Mim526 Member

    No wonder there are an increasing number of independents, and they decide elections. They must be thoroughly disgusted by all the pooping up the place on the one side while the other can’t seem to get off the pot to do much about it.

    Voters brought in a rough-n-tumble pooper scooper and what did many of the pot-sitters do? Decided they’d a) remain mostly silent in their constipation or b) critique rough-n-tumble’s scooping technique from their porcelain throne rather than get down to business and start shovelin’. Oh, I forgot c) switched sides and dropped their own loads faction…best we can say about that is at least they got off the pot.

    Okay, so maybe potty metaphors isn’t quite up to Chesterton’s level (tho I’m sure hoping I made ya laugh a little or I may be banned to PPPO – Permanent Pit Posting Only), but there is a lot that stinks about “the current state of affairs in the United States”.

    • #4
    • November 28, 2020, at 10:17 AM PST
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  5. Bob Thompson Member

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    No wonder there are an increasing number of independents, and they decide elections. They must be thoroughly disgusted by all the pooping up the place on the one side while the other can’t seem to get off the pot to do much about it.

    Voters brought in a rough-n-tumble pooper scooper and what did many of the pot-sitters do? Decided they’d a) remain mostly silent in their constipation or b) critique rough-n-tumble’s scooping technique from their porcelain throne rather than get down to business and start shovelin’. Oh, I forgot c) switched sides and dropped their own loads faction…best we can say about that is at least they got off the pot.

    Okay, so maybe potty metaphors isn’t quite up to Chesterton’s level (tho I’m sure hoping I made ya laugh a little or I may be banned to PPPO – Permanent Pit Posting Only), but there is a lot that stinks about “the current state of affairs in the United States”.

    I think you did good. I don’t need any explanations from the Marxists – I know where they stand and what they will support doing. For just my own edification I would like to hear from the pot-sitters exactly what they think they got in terms positions on the issues they say they support while they were posturing about the President’s behavior and character. 

    • #5
    • November 28, 2020, at 11:55 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Mim526 Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    No wonder there are an increasing number of independents, and they decide elections. They must be thoroughly disgusted by all the pooping up the place on the one side while the other can’t seem to get off the pot to do much about it.

    Voters brought in a rough-n-tumble pooper scooper and what did many of the pot-sitters do? Decided they’d a) remain mostly silent in their constipation or b) critique rough-n-tumble’s scooping technique from their porcelain throne rather than get down to business and start shovelin’. Oh, I forgot c) switched sides and dropped their own loads faction…best we can say about that is at least they got off the pot.

    Okay, so maybe potty metaphors isn’t quite up to Chesterton’s level (tho I’m sure hoping I made ya laugh a little or I may be banned to PPPO – Permanent Pit Posting Only), but there is a lot that stinks about “the current state of affairs in the United States”.

    I think you did good. I don’t need any explanations from the Marxists – I know where they stand and what they will support doing. For just my own edification I would like to hear from the pot-sitters exactly what they think they got in terms positions on the issues they say they support while they were posturing about the President’s behavior and character.

    Not sure, Bob. Don’t remember an example where someone who was strongly criticizing POTUS even acknowledged an affinity with the Left which is partly why I was left to conclude those self-identified conservatives felt Donald Trump worse than the Left.

    As far as members of Congress, they may feel like they got a reprieve with their increase in GOP House numbers and hopeful Senate majority. If they retain their pot-sitting ways and nothing is done to prevent another election mess like 2020, I could see that reprieve ending with fewer voters showing up at the polls for midterms.

    Point is, more than a few Americans are fed up with the stink.

    • #6
    • November 28, 2020, at 12:56 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. Randy Webster Member

    The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.

    P. J. O’Rourke

    • #7
    • November 28, 2020, at 1:37 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    So, my fellow “conservatives” who are OK with premarital sex, and adultery, and divorce, and illegitimacy, and homosexuality — I think that Chesterton is talking to you.

    • #8
    • November 28, 2020, at 2:12 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge

    Or as comedian Lewis Black once decried: “Every four years Americans vote for their elected officials.

    “Some years their vote goes for the Republicans. And once elected, they don’t really know what to do so they dump a load of *expletive deleted* on the national stage.

    “So then four years later there is another election. And voters, sick and tired of the big stink, vote in Democrats. And then those elected officials get out some big brooms and sweep that *expletive deleted* around from one end of the national stage to the other. For four full years.”

    However, I do think right now things are different. If we don’t do something to hammer home the fact that this election was stolen, we will never have a two party nation again.

    • #9
    • November 28, 2020, at 3:02 PM PST
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… Member

    Ok, this isn’t really aimed at this post. (Though I do think GKC is unfair to conservatives. Our errors have the distinction of not up to now having brought the sky down around our heads.)

    Chesterton is the perfect example of a writer whose works have spawned a brood of Twitter “intelectuals” who don’t seem to have read anything else, at least not outside a very narrow tradition, and pass around the author’s quotations as if his having stated it makes it true. 

    I admire Chesterton. The Everlasting Man was instrumental in bringing me back to the church after my mandatory Objectivist phase. But he wasn’t an Oracle. Distributivism is hot garbage no matter what school of economics you favor.

    I take the same approach to Rand that I do to Chesterton, and due to whom I follow my feed is populated with as many Randbots as Chesterbots. Both are equally chained to the tyranny of one idea.

    Why is it so hard for people to think for themselves?

    • #10
    • November 28, 2020, at 3:41 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  11. Bob Thompson Member

    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… (View Comment):

    Ok, this isn’t really aimed at this post. (Though I do think GKC is unfair to conservatives. Our errors have the distinction of not up to now having brought the sky down around our heads.)

    Chesterton is the perfect example of a writer whose works have spawned a brood of Twitter “intelectuals” who don’t seem to have read anything else, at least not outside a very narrow tradition, and pass around the author’s quotations as if his having stated it makes it true.

    I admire Chesterton. The Everlasting Man was instrumental in bringing me back to the church after my mandatory Objectivist phase. But he wasn’t an Oracle. Distributivism is hot garbage no matter what school of economics you favor.

    I take the same approach to Rand that I do to Chesterton, and due to whom I follow my feed is populated with as many Randbots as Chesterbots. Both are equally chained to the tyranny of one idea.

    Why is it so hard for people to think for themselves?

    I liked your comment until the last sentence so I’ll just ignore it. But I’d like your view on something I was trying to express in comment#5. I know you are a conservative who I gather detests Donald Trump. Did anything get accomplished during these four years of which you approve? I think there was a significant resistance to Trump’s presidency that reduced his effectiveness. Knowing the things he was trying to get done, do you think he would have done better without that resistance? 

    • #11
    • November 28, 2020, at 3:59 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… (View Comment):

    Ok, this isn’t really aimed at this post. (Though I do think GKC is unfair to conservatives. Our errors have the distinction of not up to now having brought the sky down around our heads.)

    Chesterton is the perfect example of a writer whose works have spawned a brood of Twitter “intelectuals” who don’t seem to have read anything else, at least not outside a very narrow tradition, and pass around the author’s quotations as if his having stated it makes it true.

    I admire Chesterton. The Everlasting Man was instrumental in bringing me back to the church after my mandatory Objectivist phase. But he wasn’t an Oracle. Distributivism is hot garbage no matter what school of economics you favor.

    I take the same approach to Rand that I do to Chesterton, and due to whom I follow my feed is populated with as many Randbots as Chesterbots. Both are equally chained to the tyranny of one idea.

    Why is it so hard for people to think for themselves?

    I liked your comment until the last sentence so I’ll just ignore it. But I’d like your view on something I was trying to express in comment#5. I know you are a conservative who I gather detests Donald Trump. Did anything get accomplished during these four years of which you approve? I think there was a significant resistance to Trump’s presidency that reduced his effectiveness. Knowing the things he was trying to get done, do you think he would have done better without that resistance?

    I have plenty to say about that naturally. I don’t, however, understand this to be a “Trump post” and I’m trying to follow what I think should be the norm of resisting the temptation to make every thread one about him and our disagreements over his political career.

    And I don’t see what could have bothered you about my last sentence. People do think for themselves, it just seems to be a lot harder than it ought. 

    • #12
    • November 28, 2020, at 4:07 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Bob Thompson Member

    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… (View Comment):
    And I don’t see what could have bothered you about my last sentence. People do think for themselves, it just seems to be a lot harder than it ought. 

    I agree with that but I don’t associate it with those who admire Chesterton’s thinking, that’s all. Maybe you could post something separately in response to my question, I really am interested. 

    • #13
    • November 28, 2020, at 4:12 PM PST
    • Like
  14. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… (View Comment):

    Ok, this isn’t really aimed at this post. (Though I do think GKC is unfair to conservatives. Our errors have the distinction of not up to now having brought the sky down around our heads.)

    Chesterton is the perfect example of a writer whose works have spawned a brood of Twitter “intelectuals” who don’t seem to have read anything else, at least not outside a very narrow tradition, and pass around the author’s quotations as if his having stated it makes it true.

    I admire Chesterton. The Everlasting Man was instrumental in bringing me back to the church after my mandatory Objectivist phase. But he wasn’t an Oracle. Distributivism is hot garbage no matter what school of economics you favor.

    I take the same approach to Rand that I do to Chesterton, and due to whom I follow my feed is populated with as many Randbots as Chesterbots. Both are equally chained to the tyranny of one idea.

    Why is it so hard for people to think for themselves?

    Chesterton has high points aplenty, but what I learned when I read “What I Saw in America” is that advertisements preyed upon his mind. The idea that someone selling 5¢ cigars would want to tell people about the 5¢ cigars was an affront to his sensibilities. Lighten up, Gilbert. If that was the worst that you experienced over here, you had a pretty good trip.

    • #14
    • November 28, 2020, at 4:28 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Cliff Hadley Thatcher

    “I think the Red Sox were right to trade Ruth for cash.” — G.K. Chesterton’s lone stupid comment

    • #15
    • November 28, 2020, at 4:44 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  16. Bob Thompson Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… (View Comment):

    Ok, this isn’t really aimed at this post. (Though I do think GKC is unfair to conservatives. Our errors have the distinction of not up to now having brought the sky down around our heads.)

    Chesterton is the perfect example of a writer whose works have spawned a brood of Twitter “intelectuals” who don’t seem to have read anything else, at least not outside a very narrow tradition, and pass around the author’s quotations as if his having stated it makes it true.

    I admire Chesterton. The Everlasting Man was instrumental in bringing me back to the church after my mandatory Objectivist phase. But he wasn’t an Oracle. Distributivism is hot garbage no matter what school of economics you favor.

    I take the same approach to Rand that I do to Chesterton, and due to whom I follow my feed is populated with as many Randbots as Chesterbots. Both are equally chained to the tyranny of one idea.

    Why is it so hard for people to think for themselves?

    Chesterton has high points aplenty, but what I learned when I read “What I Saw in America” is that advertisements preyed upon his mind. The idea that someone selling 5¢ cigars would want to tell people about the 5¢ cigars was an affront to his sensibilities. Lighten up, Gilbert. If that was the worst that you experienced over here, you had a pretty good trip.

    What stopped most of my watching tv was ads by lawyers and drug companies. That’s not a good trip. 

    • #16
    • November 28, 2020, at 4:49 PM PST
    • Like
  17. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge

    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… (View Comment):

    Ok, this isn’t really aimed at this post. (Though I do think GKC is unfair to conservatives. Our errors have the distinction of not up to now having brought the sky down around our heads.)

    Chesterton is the perfect example of a writer whose works have spawned a brood of Twitter “intelectuals” who don’t seem to have read anything else, at least not outside a very narrow tradition, and pass around the author’s quotations as if his having stated it makes it true.

    I admire Chesterton. The Everlasting Man was instrumental in bringing me back to the church after my mandatory Objectivist phase. But he wasn’t an Oracle. Distributivism is hot garbage no matter what school of economics you favor.

    I take the same approach to Rand that I do to Chesterton, and due to whom I follow my feed is populated with as many Randbots as Chesterbots. Both are equally chained to the tyranny of one idea.

    Why is it so hard for people to think for themselves?

    Yes it does seem like many people cannot think for themselves. Then it also seems like those who have tied themselves into an orthodoxy will filter the free thinker into some orthodoxy the free thinker doesn’t consider that valid.

    The idea of moderation in all things should apply to philosophy as well. For instance I liked those writers who focused on libertarianism until they started saying that public monies should not even be spent on fire departments. Because anyone who thinks we should not have public support for fire departments must be an actual incinerationist, as that is what happens without fire departments.

    • #17
    • November 28, 2020, at 5:32 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Randy Webster Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So, my fellow “conservatives” who are OK with premarital sex, and adultery, and divorce, and illegitimacy, and homosexuality — I think that Chesterton is talking to you.

    I have to say that, back in the day, I was pretty much OK with #1, not so much with #’s 2, 3, 4, and 5. ‘Course, I’ve been married 41 years, so all that is a long time in the past.

    • #18
    • November 28, 2020, at 5:56 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Larry3435 Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Knowing the things he was trying to get done, do you think he would have done better without that resistance? 

    Everyone would do everything better without resistance. If we all thought and behaved exactly like “me,” a lot more would get done in the world; and it doesn’t matter who “me” is. 

    Happily, though, everyone doesn’t. Some people are going to disagree with their President. Want proof? Just watch me for the next four years.

    • #19
    • November 28, 2020, at 6:13 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Larry3435 Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So, my fellow “conservatives” who are OK with premarital sex, and adultery, and divorce, and illegitimacy, and homosexuality — I think that Chesterton is talking to you.

    I have to say that, back in the day, I was pretty much OK with #1, not so much with #’s 2, 3, 4, and 5. ‘Course, I’ve been married 41 years, so all that is a long time in the past.

    I’m ok with all but #2 and, under the right circumstances, I think that #1 and 3 are net positives. Conservatives would win a lot more elections if they didn’t rail against this stuff. Except adultery, because adultery hurts someone you are supposed to love; and, besides, Democrats do it a lot.

    • #20
    • November 28, 2020, at 6:20 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Bob Thompson Member

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Knowing the things he was trying to get done, do you think he would have done better without that resistance?

    Everyone would do everything better without resistance. If we all thought and behaved exactly like “me,” a lot more would get done in the world; and it doesn’t matter who “me” is.

    Happily, though, everyone doesn’t. Some people are going to disagree with their President. Want proof? Just watch me for the next four years.

    I’m probably not expressing my thought properly. The resistance I wanted to address was generated by dislike of Donald Trump. Another resistance is related to what Donald Trump was trying to get done, i.e. political issues. My question was what if we didn’t have the resistance related to dislike would he have gotten more things done that you favor.

    • #21
    • November 28, 2020, at 6:34 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… Member

    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker (View Comment):

    Dennis A. Garcia (formerly Gai… (View Comment):

    Ok, this isn’t really aimed at this post. (Though I do think GKC is unfair to conservatives. Our errors have the distinction of not up to now having brought the sky down around our heads.)

    Chesterton is the perfect example of a writer whose works have spawned a brood of Twitter “intelectuals” who don’t seem to have read anything else, at least not outside a very narrow tradition, and pass around the author’s quotations as if his having stated it makes it true.

    I admire Chesterton. The Everlasting Man was instrumental in bringing me back to the church after my mandatory Objectivist phase. But he wasn’t an Oracle. Distributivism is hot garbage no matter what school of economics you favor.

    I take the same approach to Rand that I do to Chesterton, and due to whom I follow my feed is populated with as many Randbots as Chesterbots. Both are equally chained to the tyranny of one idea.

    Why is it so hard for people to think for themselves?

    Yes it does seem like many people cannot think for themselves. Then it also seems like those who have tied themselves into an orthodoxy will filter the free thinker into some orthodoxy the free thinker doesn’t consider that valid.

    The idea of moderation in all things should apply to philosophy as well. For instance I liked those writers who focused on libertarianism until they started saying that public monies should not even be spent on fire departments. Because anyone who thinks we should not have public support for fire departments must be an actual incinerationist, as that is what happens without fire departments.

    Well, I like your first paragraph!

    There’s nothing about fire prevention/response that’s immune from market logic. The fire departments might not be much different, just better run and paid by insurance companies. If the value of fire insurance to individuals owners wouldn’t be enough to prevent negative externalities, then that’s a problem with the size of the market participant that the market can also solve. Home values go down, a developer buys up the whole lot and puts in covenants requiring insurance.

    I’d argue that one of libertarianism’s virtues is that properly understood (I’m a real libertarian unlike all those fake libertarians) it applies only to a small and in the grand scheme of things pretty boring set of questions about the use of legitimized force and is therefore uniquely resistant to one-thing-ism.

    Rand’s problem was that she was trying to make it into a philosophy of everything with all the virtue of selfishness stuff. Same goes for the people at Reason and all their hipster lifestyle libertarianism. (fake libertarians, I told you.)

    • #22
    • November 28, 2020, at 7:07 PM PST
    • Like
  23. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Knowing the things he was trying to get done, do you think he would have done better without that resistance?

    Everyone would do everything better without resistance. If we all thought and behaved exactly like “me,” a lot more would get done in the world; and it doesn’t matter who “me” is.

    Happily, though, everyone doesn’t. Some people are going to disagree with their President. Want proof? Just watch me for the next four years.

    I will treat President Biden with all the respect President Trump was shown for four years.

    In other words, I’m gonna beat Slow Joe like a rented set of bongos.

    • #23
    • November 28, 2020, at 7:21 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  24. Bob Thompson Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Knowing the things he was trying to get done, do you think he would have done better without that resistance?

    Everyone would do everything better without resistance. If we all thought and behaved exactly like “me,” a lot more would get done in the world; and it doesn’t matter who “me” is.

    Happily, though, everyone doesn’t. Some people are going to disagree with their President. Want proof? Just watch me for the next four years.

    I will treat President Biden with all the respect President Trump was shown for four years.

    In other words, I’m gonna beat Slow Joe like a rented set of bongos.

    Biden’s Presidency certainly must be viewed as illegitimate for as long as he manages to survive. Maybe AG Barr should appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the Biden Family relationship with the CCP. What else can be done to insure that we get better results than could otherwise be expected?

    • #24
    • November 28, 2020, at 7:28 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Randy Webster Member

    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker (View Comment):
    The idea of moderation in all things should apply to philosophy as well. For instance I liked those writers who focused on libertarianism until they started saying that public monies should not even be spent on fire departments. Because anyone who thinks we should not have public support for fire departments must be an actual incinerationist, as that is what happens without fire departments.

    Where I live, public monies aren’t spent on fire departments. Fire protection is by subscription. I’m not saying that the Volunteer Fire Department would watch your house burn down if you didn’t subscribe, but you’d get a hefty bill for their service.

    • #25
    • November 28, 2020, at 10:09 PM PST
    • Like
  26. I Walton Member

    He had other things to say about Fascists, now more relevant. Most of the folks we wrongly call liberals aren’t.

    • #26
    • November 30, 2020, at 5:43 AM PST
    • 1 like