Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Support the Spear-Danes

‘Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.’

‘So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns.’

It seems the Spear-Danes have made their way back into the news. The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has recently published a number of depictions of the prophet Mahomet following a Danish author’s failed attempts to find an artist willing to illustrate his children’s book on the Islamic prophet. Although one cartoon depicted him with a bomb as a turban, the subject of the collection was clearly free speech. The illustrations were later republished in Norway. It seems this illustration has caused quite an uproar in the middle east, where images of the prophet are banned. Danish flags were burned in Palestine (stockpiles of American and Israeli flags were running low) and the Kuwaiti and Saudi governments have issue protests, while retailers pulled Danish products from their shelves. In fact, retailers are even advertising this fact.
Arab governments are now calling on the UN to pass a resolution banning attacks on religious beliefs. A deputy secretary-general of the Arab League explained:

"Consultations are currently taking place at the highest level between Arab countries and the OIC to ask the UN to adopt a binding resolution banning contempt of religious beliefs and providing for sanctions to be imposed on contravening countries or institutions.”

Wait, I though it was the Islamic countries that don’t allow rival religions to evangelize in their countries, that blow up ancient monuments built by other faiths, and whose media regularly publishes anti-Jewish cartoons and literature (Arabs are a Semitic people and it’s a bit of a misnomer to call Islamic Jew-hatred anti-Semitism.) It seems the first area of enforcement of such a law would be the Arab nations now pushing for it. Just imagine the effects of such world-wide censorship: Richard Dawkins could be imprisoned and the United Kingdom place under sanctions for his documentary savaging all religious beliefs as the root of all evil, American Jewish organizations banned for their criticism of the Passion while Mel Gibson is imprisoned for anti-Semitism, the US removed from the Security Council for playing reruns of South Park.
For a brief history of depictions of Mahomet put together by another blogger, including some made recently and sold openly in Iran to a Norwegian scientist, as well as the ones published in Denmark, look here. And remember to drink a Carlsberg, eat some Havarti cheese, and buy the kids some Legos. Here’s to Denmark’s ‘courage and greatness’ – may it survive their honour killings.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Swing votes and Ideologues

Sen. John Kerry, who lost his 2004 bid for the US presidency despite his service in Vietnam, has recently echoed the thoughts of many Democrats (synonyms: progressives, socialists, the mainstream media, etc.) in stating “We can't afford to see the court's swing vote, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, replaced with a far-right ideologue like Samuel Alito.” Their argument is that you cannot replace a ‘swing’ vote with a partisan one, and that we must somehow retain the current ideological or philosophical balance of the court. I suspect that had Sen. Kerry - highly acclaimed for his steadfast consistency - been elected to the presidency, he would have replaced the strict-constructionist Chief Justice Rehnquist with a similarly-minded Sam Alito or John Roberts, and would currently be pursuing a ‘swing’ vote for the O’Connor vacancy.

Such concern for the ideological balance of the court was displayed by the last Democrat president, Bill Clinton. During his administration, Clinton made two additions to the court. He replaced Harry Blackmun, a Nixon appointee. Blackmun authored the majority opinion on Roe v. Wade in 1973, beginning a drift to the left as he gradually betrayed expectations that he would interpret the Constitution conservatively. Clinton’s pick for this conservative-turned-liberal seat was Stephen Breyer, one of the liberal justices on the court today. Breyer was confirmed by a vote of 87 to 9. Clinton’s other appointment was for the Byron White seat. White and Rehnquist were the only dissenters from the original Roe decision and Tim LaHaye, author of the popular rapture fiction series, called White the only true conservative justice to serve during his lifetime. Clinton thus had no qualms about replacing one of the most conservative justices with a liberal – and probably in the superlative – justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When the Senate performed its ‘Advice and Consent’ function for Justice Ginsburg, she avoided most questions on her personal views. She was confirmed by a 96 to 3 vote to a formerly conservative seat.

When we compare this with the recent Republican nominees, we find a trend developing following the borking of Robert Bork in 1987. Scalia had been nominated the year before by a vote of 98-0. The Bork debacle appears to have changed the dynamics of court appointments. Moderate nominees such as "stealth justice" David Souter or Reagan’s compromise candidate for the Bork position, Anthony Kennedy, have passed the Senate by a vote of 90 to 97, respectively. The liberal nominees mentioned above passed by 87 to 96 votes. The problem is with the conservative nominees, which is to say with the liberal senators. Clarence Thomas was subjected to the same media prostate examination as Bob Bork, narrowly beating back his accusers – groups whose mission statement is the advancement of people his ancestry - to pass 52-48. G.W. Bush’s first nominee, John Roberts, passed with a high 78-22 due to the opening of a second seat. This switched the controversy from the Rehnquist seat, which Roberts now holds, on the O’Connor seat to which Samuel Alito is expected to be confirmed by no more than 60 votes.

Why is it that Democrat senators have opposed strict-constructionist nominees by Republican presidents while Republican senators have consented to loose-constructionist nominees by Democrat presidents? Is it because the Republicans have more respect for the constitutional process of judicial appointments? The president does have the power to appoint judges. Presidential candidates normally make explicit what judicial philosophy they would look for in their nominees. The Senate’s ‘Advice and Consent’ should be little more than approving or disapproving a Supreme Court nominee’s character, not blocking one’s opponents in the arena of ideas. Or perhaps the Republican senators are just wimps compared to the Democrats. Let’s hope that it is the former: at least the evidence reveals which tent houses the real radical ideologues.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Quotations - Love, Marriage, and Family

"Love means loving the unlovable - or it is no virtue at all." - G. K. Chesterton, Heretics, 1905

"The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis." – G. K. Chesterton, "David Copperfield," Chesterton on Dickens, 1911

"A good man's work is effected by doing what he does, a woman's by being what she is." - G. K. Chesterton, Robert Browning

"Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline." - G. K. Chesterton, Manalive

"The first two facts which a healthy boy or girl feels about sex are these: first that it is beautiful and then that it is dangerous." - G. K. Chesterton, ILN 1/9/09

"I have little doubt that when St. George had killed the dragon he was heartily afraid of the princess." - G. K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature

"I might inform those humanitarians who have a nightmare of new and needless babies (for some humanitarians have that sort of horror of humanity) that if the recent decline in the birth-rate were continued for a certain time, it might end in there being no babies at all; which would console them very much." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 5-24-30

"The whole structural system of the suburban civilization is based on the case for having bathrooms and the case against having babies." - G.K. Chesterton, G.K.'s Weekly 7-6-29

"Let all the babies be born. Then let us drown those we do not like." - G.K. Chesterton, Babies and Distributism, GK's Weekly, 11/12/32

"Our materialistic masters could, and probably will, put Birth Control into an immediate practical programme while we are all discussing the dreadful danger of somebody else putting it into a distant Utopia." - G.K. Chesterton, GK's Weekly, 1/17/31

"What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible." - G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, CW II, p.186

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Quotations - Economics

"[No society can survive the socialist] fallacy that there is an absolutely unlimited number of inspired officials and an absolutely unlimited amount of money to pay them." - G.K. Chesterton, The Debate with Bertrand Russell, BBC Magazine, 11/27/35

"A citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that the fine is generally much lighter." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 5/25/31

"Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists." - G.K. Chesterton, The Uses of Diversity, 1921

"Price is a crazy and incalculable thing, while Value is an intrinsic and indestructible thing." - G.K. Chesterton, Reflections on a Rotten Apple, The Well and the Shallows, 1935

"Business, especially big business, is now organized like an army. It is, as some would say, a sort of mild militarism without bloodshed; as I say, a militarism without the military virtues." - G.K. Chesterton, The Thing

"Our society is so abnormal that the normal man never dreams of having the normal occupation of looking after his own property. When he chooses a trade, he chooses one of the ten thousand trades that involve looking after other people's property." - G.K. Chesterton, Commonwealth10-12-32

"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." - G.K. Chesterton, NY Sun 11-3-18

"I would give a woman not more rights, but more privileges. Instead of sending her to seek such freedom as notoriously prevails in banks and factories, I would design specially a house in which she can be free." - G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong World

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Quotations - Art and Literature

"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 5/5/28

"By a curious confusion, many modern critics have passed from the proposition that a masterpiece may be unpopular to the other proposition that unless it is unpopular it cannot be a masterpiece." - G.K. Chesterton, "On Detective Novels," Generally Speaking

"And all over the world, the old literature, the popular literature, is the same. It consists of very dignified sorrow and very undignified fun. Its sad tales are of broken hearts; its happy tales are of broken heads." - G.K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens

"The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. The aim of good poetical words is to mean what they do not say." - G.K. Chesterton, Daily News.4-22-05

"The sort of man who admires Italian art while despising Italian religion is a tourist and a cad." - G.K. Chesterton, "Roman Converts" Dublin Review, Jan-Mar. 1925

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Quotations - Morality and Truth

"The vast mass of humanity, with their vast mass of idle books and idle words, have never doubted and never will doubt that courage is splendid, that fidelity is noble, that distressed ladies should be rescued, and vanquished enemies spared. There are a large number of cultivated persons who doubt these maxims of daily life, just there are a large number of persons who believe they are the Prince of Wales; and I am told that both classes of people are entertaining conversationalists." - G. K. Chesterton, A Defense of Penny Dreadfuls

"Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 10/23/09

"It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 3/14/08

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 6/11/10

"Truth is sacred; and if you tell the truth too often nobody will believe it." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 2/24/06

"Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks." - G.K. Chesterton, Daily News, 2/21/02

"It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong." - G.K. Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion

"There'd be a lot less scandal if people didn't idealize sin and pose as sinners." - G.K. Chesterton, The Father Brown Omnibus

"All men thirst to confess their crimes more than tired beasts thirst for water; but they naturally object to confessing them while other people, who have also committed the same crimes, sit by and laugh at them." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 3/14/08

"Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 9/11/09

"I say that a man must be certain of his morality for the simple reason that he has to suffer for it." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 8/4/06

"To the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sun is really a sun; to the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sea is really a sea." - G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, CW I, p128

"Great truths can only be forgotten and can never be falsified." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 9-30-33

"The voice of the special rebels and prophets, recommending discontent, should, as I have said, sound now and then suddenly, like a trumpet. But the voices of the saints and sages, recommending contentment, should sound unceasingly, like the sea." - G.K. Chesterton, T.P.'s Weekly, Christmas Number, 1910

"All science, even the divine science, is a sublime detective story. Only it is not set to detect why a man is dead; but the darker secret of why he is alive." - G.K. Chesterton, The Thing. CW. III 191

"Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities." - G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong With the World

"If we want to give poor people soap we must set out deliberately to give them luxuries. If we will not make them rich enough to be clean, then empathically we must do what we did with the saints. We must reverence them for being dirty." - G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World

"What we call emancipation is always and of necessity simply the free choice of the soul between one set of limitations and another." -G.K. Chesterton, Daily News 12-21-05

"There are some desires that are not desirable." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy "In the struggle for existence, it is only on those who hang on for ten minutes after all is hopeless, that hope begins to dawn." - G.K. Chesterton, The Speaker 2-2-01

"Modern broad-mindedness benefits the rich; and benefits nobody else." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Church of the Servile State" Utopia of Usurers

"The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice." - G.K. Chesterton, A Defense of Humilities, The Defendant, 1901

"Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance." - G.K. Chesterton, The Speaker, 12/15/00

"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 4/19/30

"I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 6-3-22

"When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 11-7-08

"The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 10-28-22

"Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal invented anything so bad as drunkeness - or so good as drink." - G.K. Chesterton, "Wine when it is red" All Things Considered

"A thing may be too sad to be believed or too wicked to be believed or too good to be believed; but it cannot be too absurd to be believed in this planet of frogs and elephants, of crocodiles and cuttle-fish." - G.K. Chesterton, Maycock, The Man Who Was Orthodox

"There are two kinds of paradoxes. They are not so much the good and the bad, nor even the true and the false. Rather they are the fruitful and the barren; the paradoxes which produce life and the paradoxes that merely announce death. Nearly all modern paradoxes merely announce death." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 3-11-11

"There are two kinds of charlatan: the man who is called a charlatan, and the man who really is one. The first is the quack who cures you; the second is the highly qualified person who doesn't." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 2-15-08

"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." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 4/7/23

"Bigotry is an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition." - G.K. Chesterton, Lunacy and Letters

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Quotations - Religion and Faith

"One of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we are created." – G.K. Chesterton, The Boston Sunday Post, 1/16/21

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 7/16/10

"If there were no God, there would be no atheists." - Where All Roads Lead, 1922

"There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 1/13/06

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." - G.K. Chesterton, Chapter 5, What's Wrong With The World, 1910

"When people ask me, or indeed anybody else, "Why did you join the Church of Rome?" the first essential answer, if it is partly an elliptical answer, is, "To get rid of my sins." For there is no other religious system that does really profess to get rid of people's sins. It is confirmed by the logic, which to many seems startling, by which the Church deduces that sin confessed and adequately repented is actually abolished; and that the sinner does really begin again as if he had never sinned." G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography

"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man." - G.K. Chesterton, Introduction to the Book of Job, 1907

"It has been often said, very truely, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary." - G.K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens

"Theology is only thought applied to religion." - G.K. Chesterton, The New Jerusalem

"The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 1-3-20

"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 8-11-28

"Puritanism was an honourable mood; it was a noble fad. In other words, it was a highly creditable mistake." - G.K. Chesterton, Blake

"Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate." - G.K. Chesterton, The New Jerusalem, Ch. 5

"The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and some day suddenly wake up and discover why." - G.K. Chesterton, "On Christmas," Generally Speaking

"Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point and does not break." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

"There are two ways of renouncing the devil," said Father Brown; "and the difference is perhaps the deepest chasm in modern religion. One is to have a horror of him because he is so far off; and the other to have it because he is so near. And no virtue and vice are so much divided as those two virtues." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Secret of Flambeau"

"There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there." - G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

"There are only two kinds of people, those who accept dogmas and know it, and those who accept dogmas and don't know it." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Mercy of Mr. Arnold Bennett" Fancies vs. Fads

“I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.” - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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Quotations - Islam

"A good Moslem king was one who was strict in religion, valiant in battle, just in giving judgment among his people, but not one who had the slightest objection in international matters to removing his neighbour's landmark." G.K. Chesterton, ILN Nov. 4, 1911

"I do not know much about Mohammed or Mohammedanism. I do not take the Koran to bed with me every night. But, if I did on some one particular night, there is one sense at least in which I know what I should not find there. I apprehend that I should not find the work abounding in strong encouragements to the worship of idols; that the praises of polytheism would not be loudly sung; that the character of Mohammed would not be subjected to anything resembling hatred and derision; and that the great modern doctrine of the unimportance of religion would not be needlessly emphasised." G.K. Chesterton, ILN Nov. 15, 1913

"A man making the confession of any creed worth ten minutes' intelligent talk, is always a man who gains something and gives up something. So long as he does both he can create; for he is making an outline and a shape. Mohamet created, when he forbade wine but allowed five wives: he created a very big thing, which we have still to deal with." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Victorian Compromise and Its Enemies" The Victorian Age in Literature

"To do Mohammed justice, his main attack was against the idolatries of Asia. Only he thought, just as the Arians did and just as the Unitarians do, that he could attack them better with a greater approximation to plain theism. What distinguishes his heresy from anything like an Arian or Albigensian heresy is that, as it sprang up on the borders of Christendom, it could spread outwards to a barbaric world." - G.K. Chesterton, "A Note on Comparative Religion" Where All Roads Lead

"When people talk as if the Crusades were nothing more than an aggressive raid against Islam, they seem to forget in the strangest way that Islam itself was only an aggressive raid against the old and ordered civilization in these parts. I do not say it in mere hostility to the religion of Mahomet; I am fully conscious of many values and virtues in it; but certainly it was Islam that was the invasion and Christendom that was the thing invaded." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Way of the Desert" The New Jerusalem

"The effort of the Crusades was sufficient to stop the advance of Islam, but not sufficient to exhaust it. A few centuries after, the Moslem attacked once more, with modern weapons and in a more indifferent age; and, amid the disputes of diplomatists and the dying debates of the Reformation, he succeeded in sailing up the Danube and nearly becoming a central European Power like Poland or Austria. From this position, after prodigious efforts, he was slowly and painfully dislodged. But Austria, though rescued, was exhausted and reluctant to pursue, and the Turk was left in possession of the countries he had devoured in his advance." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN Oct. 10, 1914

"Islam was something like a Christian heresy. The early heresies had been full of mad reversals and evasions of the Incarnation, rescuing their Jesus from the reality of his body even at the expense of the sincerity of his soul." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Age of the Crusades" A Short History of England

"Now a man preaching what he thinks is a platitude is far more intolerant than a man preaching what he admits is a paradox. It was exactly because it seemed self-evident, to Moslems as to Bolshevists, that their simple creed was suited to everybody, that they wished in that particular sweeping fashion to impose it on everybody. It was because Islam was broad that Moslems were narrow. And because it was not a hard religion it was a heavy rule. Because it was without a self-correcting complexity, it allowed of those simple and masculine but mostly rather dangerous appetites that show themselves in a chieftain or a lord. As it had the simplest sort of religion, monotheism, so it had the simplest sort of government, monarchy. There was exactly the same direct spirit in its despotism as in its deism. The Code, the Common Law, the give and take of charters and chivalric vows, did not grow in that golden desert. The great sun was in the sky and the great Saladin was in his tent, and he must be obeyed unless he were assassinated. Those who complain of our creeds as elaborate often forget that the elaborate Western creeds have produced the elaborate Western constitutions; and that they are elaborate because they are emancipated." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Fall of Chivalry" The New Jerusalem

"There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy out of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. It affirms, with no little sublimity, something that is not merely the singleness but rather the solitude of God. There is the same extreme simplification in the solitary figure of the Prophet; and yet this isolation perpetually reacts into its own opposite. A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet produces an endless procession of Mahomets. Of these the mightiest in modern times were the man whose name was Ahmed, and whose more famous title was the Mahdi; and his more ferocious successor Abdullahi, who was generally known as the Khalifa. These great fanatics, or great creators of fanaticism, succeeded in making a militarism almost as famous and formidable as that of the Turkish Empire on whose frontiers it hovered, and in spreading a reign of terror such as can seldom be organised except by civilisation…" - G.K. Chesterton, Lord Kitchener

"…but out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Romance of Orthodoxy" Orthodoxy

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Quotations - Atheism

"Atheism is indeed the most daring of all dogmas . . . for it is the assertion of a universal negative." - G.K. Chesterton, "Charles II" Twelve Types

"It is still bad taste to be an avowed atheist. But now it is equally bad taste to be an avowed Christian." - G.K. Chesterton, "Introductory Remarks" Heretics

"There is no bigot like the atheist." - G.K. Chesterton, Magic

"The atheist is not interested in anything except attacks on atheism." - G.K. Chesterton, "Frozen Free Thought" The Well and the Shallows

"An interesting essay might be written on the possession of an atheistic literary style. There is such a thing. The mark of it is that wherever anything is named or described, such words are chosen as suggest that the thing has not got a soul in it. Thus they will not talk of love or passion, which imply a purpose and a desire. They talk of the "relations" of the sexes, as if they were simply related to each other in a certain way, like a chair and a table. Thus they will not talk of the waging of war (which implies a will), but of the outbreak of war - as if it were a sort of boil. Thus they will not talk of masters paying more or less wages, which faintly suggests some moral responsibility in the masters: they will talk of the rise and fall of wages, as if the thing were automatic, like the tides of the sea. Thus they will not call progress an attempt to improve, but a tendency to improve. And thus, above all, they will not call the sympathy between oppressed nations sympathy; they will call it solidarity. For that suggests brick and coke, and clay and mud, and all the things they are fond of." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 12-7-12

"Progress is Providence without God. That is, it is a theory that everything has always perpetually gone right by accident. It is a sort of atheistic optimism, based on an everlasting coincidence far more miraculous than a miracle." - G.K. Chesterton, "Wells and the World State" What I Saw in America

"There are arguments for atheism, and they do not depend, and never did depend, upon science. They are arguable enough, as far as they go, upon a general survey of life; only it happens to be a superficial survey of life." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 1-3-31

"I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification." - G.K. Chesterton, "Babies and Distributism" The Well and the Shallows

"Even in an empire of atheists the dead man is always sacred." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Meaning of Dreams" Lunacy and Letters

"Somehow one can never manage to be an atheist." - G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross

"If there were no God, there would be no atheists." - G.K. Chesterton, Where All Roads Lead

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Quotations - Politics and Government

“My friends, I must tell you that a socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom. Although it is now put forward in the main by people who have a good grounding in the liberalism and radicalism of the early part of this century, there can be no doubt that socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State. It is not alone that property, in all its forms, is struck at, but that liberty, in all its forms, is challenged by the fundamental concept of Socialism.” – Sir Winston Churchill

"The only object of liberty is life." - G.K. Chesterton, Irish Impressions. 219

"Liberty is the very last idea that seems to occur to anybody, in considering any political or social proposal. It is only necessary for anybody for any reason to allege any evidence of any evil in any human practice, for people instantly to suggest that the practice should be suppressed by the police." - G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News, June 5, 1920

"Without authority three is no liberty. Freedom is doomed to destruction at every turn, unless there is a recognized right to freedom. And if there are rights, there is an authority to which we appeal for them." - G.K. Chesterton, G.K.'s Weekly, April 28, 1928

"The man of the true religious tradition understands two things: liberty and obedience. The first means knowing what you really want. The second means knowing what you really trust." - G.K. Chesterton, G.K.'s Weekly, August 18, 1928

"Comradeship is quite a different thing from friendship. . .For friendship implies individuality; whereas comradeship really implies the temporary subordination, if not the temporary swamping of individuality. Friends are the better for being two; but comrades are the better for being two million." - G.K. Chesterton, "A Case of Comrades" The Apostle and the Wild Ducks

"The professional soldier gains more and more power as the general courage of a community declines." - G.K. Chesterton, Heretics 1905

"I would rather a boy learnt in the roughest school the courage to hit a politician, or gained in the hardest school the learning to refute him - rather than that he should gain in the most enlightened school the cunning to copy him." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 8-31-12

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." - G.K. Chesterton, Christendom in Dublin

"America is the only country ever founded on a creed." - G.K. Chesterton, What I Saw In America, 1922

"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." - G.K. Chesterton, Chapter 19, What I Saw In America, 1922

"The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed." - G.K. Chesterton, What I Saw In America, 1922

"When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws." - G.K. Chesterton, Daily News, 7/29/05

"He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative." - G.K. Chesterton, Varied Types

"You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution. - G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles, 1909

"When a politician is in opposition he is an expert on the means to some end; and when he is in office he is an expert on the obstacles to it." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 4/6/18

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." - G.K. Chesterton, The Cleveland Press, 3/1/21

"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."- G.K. Chesterton, Outline of Sanity

"All government is an ugly necessity." G.K. Chesterton, A Short History of England.

"It is a good sign in a nation when things are done badly. It shows that all the people are doing them. And it is bad sign in a nation when such things are done very well, for it shows that only a few experts and eccentrics are doing them, and that the nation is merely looking on." - G.K. Chesterton, "Patriotism and Sport," All Things Considered

"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." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 4/19/24

"Self-denial is the test and definition of self-government." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Field of Blood" Alarms and Discursions

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it." - G.K. Chesterton, A Short History of England

"There are only two ways of governing: by a rule and by a ruler." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Queen and the Suffragettes" What's Wrong with the World

"There are two kinds of revolutionists, as of most things - a good kind and a bad. The bad revolutionists destroy conventions by appealing to fads - fashions that are newer than conventions. The good do it by appealing to facts that are older than conventions." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 4-30-10

"Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it." - G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography, 1937

"Anyone who is not an anarchist agrees with having a policeman at the corner of the street; but the danger at present is that of finding the policeman half-way down the chimney or even under the bed." - G.K. Chesterton, What I Saw In America, 1922

"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." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 3/24/23

"Though the academic authorities are actually proud of conducting everything by means of Examinations, they seldom indulge in what religious people used to describe as Self-Examination. The consequence is that the modern State has educated its citizens in a series of ephemeral fads." - G.K. Chesterton, Nash's Pall Mall Magazine. April, 1935

"The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 9/7/29

"For my part, I would have no executions except by the mob; or, at least, by the people acting quite exceptionally. I would make capital punishment impossible except by act of attainder. Then there would be some chance of a few of our real oppressors getting hanged. - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 2/13/09

"Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions… . Despotism may govern without faith but liberty cannot. Religion is much more necessary in the republic … than in the monarchy … ; it is more needed in democratic republics than in any others. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened as the political tie is relaxed? " - Alexis de Tocqueville

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Quotations - Modernity

"We are learning to do a great many clever things...The next great task will be to learn not to do them.- G.K. Chesterton, "Queen Victoria" Varied Types "A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it." - G.K. Chesterton, Everlasting Man, 1925

"Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative." - G.K. Chesterton, Chapter 2, Heretics, 1905

"Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

"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." - G.K. Chesterton, New York Times Magazine, 2/11/23

"Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back." - G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong With The World, 1910

"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." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

"The modern world is a crowd of very rapid racing cars all brought to a standstill and stuck in a block of traffic." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 5/29/26

"Comforts that were rare among our forefathers are now multiplied in factories and handed out wholesale; and indeed, nobody nowadays, so long as he is content to go without air, space, quiet, decency and good manners, need be without anything whatever that he wants; or at least a reasonably cheap imitation of it." - G.K. Chesterton, Commonwealth, 1933

"A detective story generally describes six living men discussing how it is that a man is dead. A modern philosophic story generally describes six dead men discussing how any man can possibly be alive." - G.K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men

"None of the modern machines, none of the modern paraphernalia. . . have any power except over the people who choose to use them." - G.K. Chesterton, Daily News 7-21-06

"The whole curse of the last century has been what is called the Swing of the Pendulum; that is, the idea that Man must go alternately from one extreme to the other. It is a shameful and even shocking fancy; it is the denial of the whole dignity of the mankind. When Man is alive he stands still. It is only when he is dead that he swings." - G.K. Chesterton, "The New House" Alarms and Discursions

"This is the age in which thin and theoretic minorities can cover and conquer unconscious and untheoretic majorities." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 12/20/19

"The past is not what it was." - G.K. Chesterton, A Short History of England

"There is not really any courage at all in attacking hoary or antiquated things, any more than in offering to fight one's grandmother. The really courageous man is he who defies tyrannies young as the morning and superstitions fresh as the first flowers. The only true free-thinker is he whose intellect is as much free from the future as from the past." - G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World

"There are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world. One way is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes. The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 10-15-21

"A modern vegetarian is also a teetotaler, yet there is no obvious connection between consuming vegetables and not consuming fermented vegetables. A drunkard, when lifted laboriously out of the gutter, might well be heard huskily to plead that he had fallen there through excessive devotion to a vegetable diet." - G.K. Chesterton, William Blake

“There are two kinds of peacemakers in the modern world; and they are both, though in various ways, a nuisance. The first peacemaker is the man who goes about saying that he agrees with everybody. He confuses everybody. The second peacemaker is the man who goes about saying that everybody agrees with him. He enrages everybody. Between the two of them they produce a hundred times more disputes and distractions than we poor pugnacious people would ever have thought of in our lives." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 3-3-06

"Properly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as a return to nature, because there is no such thing as a departure from it. The phrase reminds one of the slightly intoxicated gentleman who gets up in his own dining room and declares firmly that he must be getting home." - G.K. Chesterton, Chesterton Review, August, 1993

"The modern city is ugly not because it is a city but because it is not enough of a city, because it is a jungle, because it is confused and anarchic, and surging with selfish and materialistic energies." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Way to the Stars" Lunacy and Letters

"Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 9-11-09

"A great curse has fallen upon modern life with the discovery of the vastness of the word Education." - G.K. Chesterton, "A Grammar of Shelley" A Handful of Authors

"A strange fanaticism fills our time: the fanatical hatred of morality, especially of Christian morality." - G.K. Chesterton, "The Moral Philosophy of Meredith" A Handful of Authors

"It is not merely true that a creed unites men. Nay, a difference of creed unites men - so long as it is a clear difference. A boundary unites. Many a magnanimous Moslem and chivalrous Crusader must have been nearer to each other, because they were both dogmatists, than any two agnostics. "I say God is One," and "I say God is One but also Three," that is the beginning of a good quarrelsome, manly friendship." - G.K. Chesterton, "The New Hypocrite" What's Wrong with the World

"A queer and almost mad notion seems to have got into the modern head that, if you mix up everybody and everything more or less anyhow, the mixture may be called unity, and the unity may be called peace. It is supposed that, if you break down all doors and walls so that there is no domesticity, there will then be nothing but friendship. Surely somebody must have noticed by this time that the men living in a hotel quarrel at least as often as the men living in a street." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN September 8, 1917

"These are the things which might conceivably and truly make men forgive their enemies. We can only turn hate to love by understanding what are the things that men have loved; nor is it necessary to ask men to hate their loves in order to love one another. Just as two grocers are most likely to be reconciled when they remember for a moment that they are two fathers, so two nationals are most likely to be reconciled when they remember (if only for a moment) that they are two patriots." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN June 4, 1921

"Moderns have not the moral courage, as a rule, to avow the sincere spiritual bias behind their fads; they become insincere even about their sincerity. Most modern liberality consists of finding irreligious excuses for religious bigotry. The earlier type of bigot pretended to be more religious than he really was. The later type pretends to be less religious than he really is. He does not wear a mask of piety, but rather a mask of impiety - or, at any rate, of indifference." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 12-27-19

"A fad or heresy is the exaltation of something which even if true, is secondary or temporary in its nature against those things which are essential and eternal, those things which always prove themselves true in the long run. In short, it is the setting up of the mood against the mind." - G.K. Chesterton, William Blake

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Quotations - Other

"Psychoanalysis is a science conducted by lunatics for lunatics. They are generally concerned with proving that people are irresponsible; and they certainly succeed in proving that some people are." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 6/23/28

“ I know that I shall never see
A poem lovely as Skippy’s peanut butter." - William F. Buckley

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Quotations - Scepticism

"The questions of the sceptic strike direct at the heart of this our human life; they disturb this world, quite apart from the other world; and it is exactly common sense that they disturb most. There couldnot be a better example than this queer appearance, in my youth, of the determinist as a demagogue; shouting to a mob of millions that no man ought to be blamed for anything he did, because it was all heredity and environment. Logically, it would stop a man in the act of saying "Thank you" to somebody for passing the mustard. For how could he be praised for passing the mustard, if he could not be blamed for not passing the mustard?" - G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography

"It is assumed that the sceptic has no bias; whereas he has a very obvious bias in favour of scepticism." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 5-4-07

"Pride consists in a man making his personality the only test, instead of making truth the test. The sceptic feels himself too large to measure life by the largest things; and ends by measuring it by the smallest thing of all." - G.K. Chesterton, The Common Man

"It is the decisive people who have become civilised; it is the indecisive, otherwise called the higher sceptics, or the idealistic doubters, who have remained barbarians." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 11-30-12

"Latter-day scepticism is fond of calling itself progressive; but scepticism is really reactionary. Scepticism goes back; it attempts to unsettle what has already been settled. Instead of trying to break up new fields with its plough, it simply tries to break up the plough." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 2-6-09

"No sceptical philosopher can ask any questions that may not equally be asked by a tired child on a hot afternoon." - G.K. Chesterton, George Bernard Shaw

"The sceptics, like bees, give their one sting and die." - G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions

"It is quite an old-fashioned fallacy to suppose that our objection to scepticism is that it removes the discipline from life. Our objection to scepticism is that it removes the motive power. Materialism is not a thing which destroys mere restraint. Materialism itself is the great restraint." - G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

"It is ludicrous to suppose that the more sceptical we are the more we see good in everything. It is clear that the more we are certain what good is, the more we shall see good in everything." - G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

"Liberty has produced scepticism, and scepticism has destroyed liberty. The lovers of liberty thought they were leaving it unlimited, when they were only leaving it undefined. They thought they were only leaving it undefined, when they were really leaving it undefended." - G.K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils

"The sceptic ultimately undermines democracy (1) because he can see no significance in death and such things of a literal equality; (2) because he introduces different first principles, making debate impossible: and debate is the life of democracy; (3) because the fading of the images of sacred persons leaves a man too prone to be a respecter of earthly persons; (4) because there will be more, not less, respect for human rights if they can be treated as divine rights." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN 1-13-12

"The average businessman began to be agnostic, not so much because he did not know where he was, as because he wanted to forget. Many of the rich took to scepticism exactly as the poor took to drink; because it was a way out." - G.K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils

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Quotations - War and Conflict

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

"War is not 'the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 7/24/15

"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G.K. Chesterton, ILN, 1/14/11

"No country has ever profited from protracted warfare. Those who do not thoroughly comprehend the dangers inherent in employing the army are incapable of truly knowing the potential advantages of military actions.” - Sun Tzu, Art of War.

“…attaining one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of excellence. Subjugating the enemy’s army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence.” - Sun Tzu, Art of War.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Wedding Website

If you are interested in keeping any of the videos from our wedding website, you may wish to do so now. They will only be hosted online for a few more days. After that, the site should convert to a free site and while the pictures will remain online, all video will be available only upon request.

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Happy New Years! Morag and I couldn't come up with anything we wanted to do this year, so we spent the evening speaking with people in the States and working on this puzzle that Andrew and Sarah gave us as a wedding present. Hope your evening was more exciting than ours. Here we come, 2006!

Garden of Prayer by Thomas Kinkade

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