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GK Chesterton on the grand theorists of the EU; local governments and empires

Chesterton lived before the EU, of course, but like most great thinkers, he had already seen what was to come.

“A strange coldness and unreality hangs about their love for men. If you ask them whether they love humanity they will say, doubtless sincerely, that they do. But if you ask them touching on any of the classes that go to make up humanity, you will find that they hate them all. They hate kings, they hate priests, they hate soldiers, they hate sailors. They distrust men of science, they denounce the middle classes, they despair of working men, but they adore humanity” (The Patriotic Idea, page 596).

The people who "adore humanity" want to force Britain into the EU without the democratic consent of the British people. They have decimated the rights and responsibilities of British towns to make local decisions and to provide local accountability. Chesterton sees this as the question that confronted the European of his day. It is, unfortunately, the question that also confronts the Briton of today -

"The danger of small communities is narrowness, but their advantage is reality. Now, at any specific stage in the world’s history we ought to ask ourselves whether humanity is in greater danger from the narrow arrogance of small people, or from the phantasmal delusions of empires. That is the question which confronts the European of to-day, and the answer is not very difficult. It is idle to tell him that nationalism is sometimes an evil in the confusion of a heptarchy, when the fact that stares him in the face that the modern evils arise from remoteness, from unreality, from the circulation of wealth far from its producers, from the waging of wars far from the seat of action, from the wild use of statistics, from the crude use of names, from the investor and the theorist, and the absentee landlord" (Patriotic Idea, page 614).

Quotes courtesy Maggie's Farm and Patrick Deneen.