Past Words on Today's Dilemmas - Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton
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Past Words on Today’s Dilemmas

The Education System
“The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense.”
– Illustrated London News, Sept. 7, 1929

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

“We are learning to do a great many clever things…The next great task will be to learn not to do them.”
– “Queen Victoria,” Varied Types

“We are learning to do a great many clever things…The next great task will be to learn not to do them.” Click To Tweet

Absentee Fathers
“What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible.”
– “Professors and Prehistoric Men,” The Everlasting Man

Back To Nature
“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.”
– The Chesterton Review, Aug., 1993

“Bigotry is an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.”
– “The Bigot,” Lunacy and Letters

Capital Punishment
“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.
– Illustrated London News, Feb. 13, 1909

Condom Distribution
“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.”
– GK’s Weekly, Jan. 17, 1931

Credibility of the Media
“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.”
– Illustrated London News, April 7, 1923

The Cult of Fame
“America has a genius for the encouragement of fame.”
– The Father Brown Omnibus

A Litigious Society
“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.”
– Illustrated London News, March 24, 1923

September 11
“The architecture of New York chiefly consists of buildings being destroyed.”
– G.K.’s Weekly, Jan. 16, 1926

Police Authority
“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.”
– “Fads and Public Opinion,” What I Saw In America

“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.”
– Illustrated London News, June 23, 1928

Reproductive Rights
“Let all the babies be born. Then let us drown those we do not like.”
– “Babies and Distributism,” GK’s Weekly, Nov. 12, 1932

Separation of Church and State
“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.”
– “The Shadow of the Sword,” Autobiography

Urban Planning
“The whole structural system of the suburban civilization is based on the case for having bathrooms and the case against having babies.”
– G.K.’s Weekly, July 6, 1929

“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.”
– William Blake

Z.Z. Top
“You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion.”
– “How I Met the President,” Tremendous Trifles