Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chesterton On The Fear of the Past

Excerpt from G.K. Chesterton's 'What's Wrong With The World'

The last few decades have been marked by a special cultivation of the romance of the future. We seem to have made up our minds to misunderstand what has happened; and we turn, with a sort of relief, to stating what will happen--which is (apparently) much easier. The modern man no longer presents the memoirs of his great grandfather; but is engaged in writing a detailed and authoritative biography of his great-grandson. Instead of trembling before the specters of the dead, we shudder abjectly under the shadow of the babe unborn. This spirit is apparent everywhere, even to the creation of a form of futurist romance.

Sir Walter Scott stands at the dawn of the nineteenth century for the novel of the past; Mr. H. G. Wells stands at the dawn of the twentieth century for the novel of the future. The old story, we know, was supposed to begin: "Late on a winter's evening two horsemen might have been seen--." The new story has to begin: "Late on a winter's evening two aviators will be seen--."

The movement is not without its elements of charm; there is something spirited, if eccentric, in the sight of so many people fighting over again the fights that have not yet happened; of people still glowing with the memory of tomorrow morning. A man in advance of the age is a familiar phrase enough. An age in advance of the age is really rather odd.

The task of modern idealists indeed is made much too easy for them by the fact that they are always taught that if a thing has been defeated it has been disproved. Logically, the case is quite clearly the other way. The lost causes are exactly those which might have saved the world. If a man says that the Young Pretender would have made England happy, it is hard to answer him. If anyone says that the Georges made England happy, I hope we all know what to answer.

That which was prevented is always impregnable; and the only perfect King of England was he who was smothered. Exactly because Jacobitism failed we cannot call it a failure. Precisely because the Commune collapsed as a rebellion we cannot say that it collapsed as a system. But such outbursts were brief or incidental. Few people realize how many of the largest efforts, the facts that will fill history, were frustrated in their full design and come down to us as gigantic cripples. I have only space to allude to the two largest facts of modern history: the Catholic Church and that modern growth rooted in the French Revolution...Read it all...

--->International Monetary Fund (IMF) article "predicts New World Order" "The world needs a central bank and the IMF is ready to be one". How has the IMF operated? It is not pretty...

--->Pentagon: Only Elements in Pakistani Intelligence Supporting Terror...

--->Guardian: Barack Obama accused of exaggerating terror threat for political gain...

--->POV: God and Woman at Harvard...

--->Don Nicola Bux on Assisting a New Liturgical Movement...

--->On the Size of altars...by Matthew Alderman...

--->Er, "Survive the end of the world for just $5,000 down..."

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