Chesterton’s Wisdom: “Little things please great minds.”

I do not claim to have a “great mind” (far from it – like “Winnie-ther-Pooh,” I can be a “Bear of Very Little Brain” at times. Many times! But I do enjoy the little things in life…

“Why Feminism Is Never The Answer” | Make Womanhood Biblical Again

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“Christian women… if you’re going to make anything your gospel, make it THE gospel.” – by Christiana

Source: Why Feminism Is Never The Answer – Make Womanhood Biblical Again

Whether or not one agrees with every point in this essay (and I agree with most of them) or all the views of its author (she seems pretty based to me), it seems to me that this critique is square on, and one which our “woke” and “progressive” world (which, having largely abandoned the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, has set up instead an idol of left-wing sociopolitical ideologies – the “Golden Calf” of the 21st century) needs to hear:

“Feminism can never put a stop to sex trafficking, because it cannot stop greed, loneliness, and depravity.

“Feminism can never eradicate domestic violence, because it cannot instill in men a passion to love and lead their families well.

“Feminism can never put an end to pornography, because it cannot satiate lust, addiction, and emptiness.

“Feminism can never cut down the divorce rate and improve marriages, because marriage is not about “equality,” fairness, or sameness; and all the role reversal in the world cannot change the fact that we are daughters of Eve and sons of Adam.

“Feminism can never bring women fulfillment, because true fulfillment is only found in Jesus Christ.

“Feminism can never force men to genuinely respect women by removing sexual distinction…

“Feminism exalts women but can never truly empower them; promotes women, but can never pacify the innate desire to control. It insults women and men alike by insisting that the only real difference between the sexes is physical.”

Amen.

This is not to say that all women should do nothing but stay at home and raise children; some are not suited to that vocation, and some do indeed have gifts that can benefit society most effectively if expressed in the worlds of industry or academia. Furthermore, few traditional women – throughout the centuries and millennia of human history – did nothing but stay a home: they were always active in their local communities.

But that does not change the fact that motherhood is the first and greatest vocation of womankind as a whole; nor that, in the words of the great G.K. Chesterton,

Chesterton - feminism

N.B. The videos alluded to in the tags are found at the link, so please click through. Thank you!

 

 

Small Beer: Raising a Glass for Freedom | The Imaginative Conservative

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Distributism is the only practical solution to the problem of rampant corporatism and the globalism which is its inevitable consequence. Next time we raise a glass of craft-brewed ale, we should not merely enjoy its flavor, we should also raise a toast to the political and economic freedom that it represents. (essay by Joseph Pearce)

Source: Small Beer: Raising a Glass for Freedom ~ The Imaginative Conservative

It doesn’t take the proverbial rocket-scientist to perceive the perils and pitfalls of socialism. Tens of millions of dead, and untold misery among the living, over the last century provide more than ample reason to view socialism as what it is: a tried-and-failed vision of political economy, a utopian ideal in the worst sense of the word (“utopia” means, literally, “no place” – a vision that is by its very nature impossible to achieve), a shipwreck foundered upon the shoals of its own misunderstanding of human nature.

What is less obvious – especially among many on the conservative side of the political aisle – is that capitalism doesn’t exactly enjoy a shining historical record, either. As a useful ally to Western liberal democracies (back when “liberal” meant something close to its original definition) during the long struggle against totalitarian Communism, being seen as the antithesis to Marxism, capitalism acquired something of a luster that it may not entirely deserve.

While capitalism has not (so far, at least) sent anyone to the gulags, that does not mean its effects have been entirely benign, either.

Continue reading “Small Beer: Raising a Glass for Freedom | The Imaginative Conservative”

Chesterton: Education, the soul of society

Chesterton – Education, the soul of society

One of the great failings – indeed, bitter tragedies – of our present age is that today’s education is not passing on the soul of society from one generation to another, but rather bludgeoning it to death, or at least, into unrecognizability.

Chesterton – the “special mark of the modern world”

Chesterton – Special mark of the modern world.jpg

Full quote:

“The special mark of the modern world is not that it is sceptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it. It says, in mockery of the old devotees, that they believed without knowing why they believed. But the moderns believe without knowing what they believe – and without even knowing that they do believe it. Their freedom consists in first freely assuming a creed, and then freely forgetting that they are assuming it. In short, they always have an unconscious dogma; and an unconscious dogma is the definition of a prejudice. They are the dullest and deadest of ritualists who merely recite their creed in their subconsciousness, as if they repeated their creed in their sleep. A man who is awake should know what he is saying, and why he is saying it – that is, he should have a fixed creed and relate it to a first principle. This is what most moderns will never consent to do. Their thoughts will work out to most interesting conclusions; but they can never tell you anything about their beginnings. They have always taken away the number they first thought of. They have always forgotten the very fact or fancy on which their whole theory depends.”

— G.K. Chesterton​, March 15, 1919, Illustrated London News

And, ironically, in our present age it is often those who believe themselves to be the most “liberal,” the most “tolerant,” the most open-minded, who are, in fact, among the most dogmatic – and sometimes, the most repressive.

Chesterton and Belloc on the nature of democracy

Chesterton and Belloc - nature of democracy

Source: The Wrath of Gnon – Twitter feed

The author of the “Wrath of Gnon” blog quotes G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc on the nature of democracy. Some interesting concepts, and worth considering, in my opinion! Reminds me of hagiographer James Kiefer’s reflection on the English King Charles I, who for his defense of the historic episcopate and the Book of Common Prayer is accounted by many Anglicans a martyr:

“On the scaffold, he said (I quote from memory and may not have the exact words):

“No man in England is a better friend to liberty than myself, But I must tell you plainly that the liberty of subjects consists not in having a hand in the government, but in having that government, and those laws, whereby their lives and their goods may be most their own.”

“That is to say, one may reasonably ask of a government that it establish justice in the land; so that judges do not take bribes, so that innocent men are not convicted of crimes, while the guilty are convicted and punished, so that honest men need fear neither robbers nor the sheriff. One may further ask that taxes be not excessive, and that punishments be not disproportionate to the crime. Charles would have said, ‘Do not ask whether the laws were made by men whom you elected. Ask whether they are reasonable and good laws, upholding justice and the public weal.’

“He would have invited comparison of his record in this respect with that of the Long Parliament (which sat for twenty years without an election, and whose members came to think of themselves as rulers for life, accountable to no one) and Cromwell (who eventually dissolved Parliament and ruled as a military dictator, under whose rule the ordinary Englishman had far less liberty than under Charles).”

There is much truth in the above. Both the ancients and our own Founders knew that democracy is inherently unstable, since it depends upon popular sentiment that can be easily swayed by a demagogue, and the closer it is to “pure” democracy, the thinner the line dividing it from demagoguery and dictatorship.

While I am not sure I would be entirely happy under the sort of absolute monarchy Charles I favoured, I do tend to agree both with King Charles I, as quoted above, and with the “Wrath of Gnon” author – who writes, referring to Chesterton and Belloc’s comments on democracy,

“Give me a Council of Elders to govern me, and a King to protect me.”

Chesterton on Christianity and barbarism

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Wise words from the great G.K. Chesterton:

“If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch.

“In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it. How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages? The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them.”

— G.K. Chesterton: “Orthodoxy,” Chap. IX – Authority and the Adventurer | http://bit.ly/2s1FelS

“Do you think the word ‘feminism’ can be rehabilitated?”

I recently came across a post with the above title, on a social media site not typically noted for its preponderance of thoughtful, reflective posts, and it caught my attention. The person posting, who happens to be female, and with a background in law, noted that

Although I applaud women like these [see image, below] for making a valiant effort… I’m afraid that — like the term “conservatism” — the word “feminism” has been abused, misused and propagandized beyond reclamation.

Bruner on feminism

As I responded, this issue is far from a new one! The late great G.K. Chesterton wrote this back in the late 19th or early 20th century:

Chesterton - feminism

His point remains valid today, in my opinion.

If “feminism” means according women their proper due – that is to say, recognizing them as equal in intrinsic value / inherent worth with men, not necessarily identical in role but equal in importance and honour – then I am all for it.

If it means lowering, as the meme she posted points out, the standards for women to the abysmally low standards to which men are often held, or if it means either feminizing men or masculinizing women, as seems too often the case – or if, as one commentator described the “third wave” feminism of today, it is about “fighting for the right of women to engage in self-destructive behavior and get away with it while making sure men do not” – it is in my estimate a detriment rather than a benefit to society.

She further noted in response,

The always perceptive Chesterton was making a similar point to what I was making this morning:

“Why are millions of women taking the day off work today? To draw attention to a world where the shackles of the Patriarchy have been cast off — giving them the opportunity to be wage-slaves too — and as waves of liberation have swept further through the economy and society many women have now realized the dream of having two or even three unfulfilling jobs necessary in order to keep their family afloat.”

It is rarely mentioned that just as liberation was kicking into gear in 1973 (the same year, not so coincidentally, that Nixon closed the gold window) the economy started to warp; and one of those warps was fewer “breadwinner” jobs — jobs that pay a sufficient salary to support a family — and that is a trend which continues to this day.

Socially and culturally this stuff ended up not just dragging women down to the worst flaws of men, but dragging men even lower. Feminism incorporated the Sexual Revolution (which should no longer be called a revolution, because they won and are now the establishment). This aspect of feminism became increasingly central and more disgusting in Third Wave. Former Cosmo editor Sue Ellen Browder wrote a good book on this: Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.

But there has been a backlash among younger women to this trash. Millennials (especially the younger tier) really are the “Pro-life Generation” — polls consistently show them to be pro-life — they are Planned Parenthood’s greatest nightmare. And there is a repulsion to the “hook-up culture” and all that among younger women — which is not surprising, that is just not the metaphysical nature of women.

The pendulum nearly always swings, thankfully, as I commented in my follow-up post. And as I wrote there, I, too, have seen the beginnings of a shift back, in the younger generation, to a more traditional — and, in my view, healthier and saner — approach to sexuality and procreation. Encouraging! But it is unquestionable that the connection between morality and economics is a closer (and, likely, less coincidental) one than most people realize.

It is ironically interesting, although sad, to track the way in which the breakdown of what are often considered “traditional family values” has marched practically in lock-step with the breakdown in the traditional family itself — in part, at least, due to the fact that, as my interlocutor commented, it is now much more rare for a single “breadwinner” to be able, economically, to support a family, meaning that both partners need to work.

This in turn tends to fragment family ties and devolve “child care” (which used to be called parenting) onto paid professionals, who may or may not share the parents’ values, background, and intentions for their children. It is difficult indeed to maintain a close, cohesive family structure, and engage in focused, intentional child-rearing, when both parents work outside the home!

A vicious downward spiral, which will likely take much more time and effort to arrest and reverse than it did to initiate. That, sadly, is the recurring pattern! Good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created… or re-created, once lost.

Chesterton on the limits of democracy

Chesterton Democracy Plutocracy

Chesterton, as usual, makes a good point. At the very least, democracy devolves into plutocracy and oligarchy, absent the “eternal vigilance” which we are reminded is “the price of liberty.” And sadly, here in America, that vigilance has long been quiescent, lulled to sleep by the modern equivalent of “bread and circuses”: cheap food, cheap consumer goods, and cheap entertainment, on TV and the internet.

With the downfall of the Constitutional, representative republican form of government bequeathed to us by our Founders (“What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” “A Republic, madam — if you can keep it!”), we are finding the ancient and inevitable decline into “pure democracy,” resulting in the aforementioned plutocracy and oligarchy, which is likely to yield demagoguery and dictatorship (perhaps following a brief descent into anarchy).

Sadly, save for our time as part of the British Empire under the British Monarch, we have no native tradition of monarchy to fall back upon…

(See earlier posts in this blog as to why that would be a good thing!)