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Chesterton on newspapers, soldiers, sects, and barbarism

Glenn Reynolds and the Anchoress have been talking about GK Chesterton. As long ago as World War I, Chesterton warned that if Germany was not forced to reform, the first world war would be followed by another and more horrible war.

Alas, no one listened to Chesterton then. He wrote prolifically and was eerily prophetic about the world we live in -

It is hard to make government representative when it is also remote.

Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men.

Modern man is staggering and losing his balance because he is being pelted with little pieces of alleged fact which are native to the newspapers; and, if they turn out not to be facts, that is still more native to newspapers.

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

From time to time, as we all know, a sect appears in our midst announcing that the world will very soon come to an end. Generally, by some slight confusion or miscalculation, it is the sect that comes to an end.

Bigotry is an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.

The real argument against aristocracy is that it always means the rule of the ignorant. For the most dangerous of all forms of ignorance is ignorance of work.

The position we have now reached is this: starting from the State, we try to remedy the failures of all the families, all the nurseries, all the schools, all the workshops, all the secondary institutions that once had some authority of their own. Everything is ultimately brought into the Law Courts. We are trying to stop the leak at the other end.

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

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.

The only defensible war is a war of defence.

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