The Ugliness of Utopia - At the Sign of the World's End - G
"The really swift and simple mode of attack on Marxian materialism and collectivism is simply pointing out that it is ugly, not proving that it is unpractical."
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"Suppose a man knocks at the door with a proposition for providing everybody with a pair of stilts, so that they can henceforth all walk a bout undefiled by mud and breathing a purer air on a level with the tops of trees. It would take a long time to prove to him that he cannot provide everybody with stilts. You might spend many happy hours with him in your library, looking up encyclopedias and covering papers with calculations, before you had proved to him from the census or the reports of the timber trade or the blue books on afforestation that the thing was impossible...."
"If you want to get rid of the gentlemen selling stilts at the door, it is much quicker to tell him that you don't want any stilts, that you don't like stilts, that he has aroused no stilt motif like music in your mind, or in short that walking on stilts forms no part of your ideal. In short the idealistic answer is short, sharp, and practical; whereas the practical answer is long-winded, elaborate and tiresome..."
"In the same way the really swift and simple mode of attack on Marxian materialism and collectivism is simply pointing out that it is ugly, not proving that it is unpractical. "
Newspaper column written by G.K. Chesterton for "The New Witness", under the heading "At the Sign of the World's End".
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic. He has been referred to as the "prince of paradox". Time magazine observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."
Chesterton created the fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and wrote on apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an "orthodox" Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and John Ruskin.
On his contributions, T. S. Eliot wrote:
"He was importantly and consistently on the side of the angels. Behind the Johnsonian fancy-dress, so reassuring to the British public, he concealed the most serious and revolutionary designs—concealing them by exposure ... Chesterton's social and economic ideas...were fundamentally Christian and Catholic. He did more, I think, than any man of his time—and was able to do more than anyone else, because of his particular background, development and abilities as a public performer—to maintain the existence of the important minority in the modern world. He leaves behind a permanent claim upon our loyalty, to see that the work that he did in his time is continued in ours."
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