A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

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"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"For it seems strangely forgotten that the unique authority of man is as much asserted in insisting on his mercy as in insisting on his mastery."

A short time ago the two first and most famous writers of our language to-day contradicted each other flatly, not for the first time, on a question of right and wrong. Mr. H.G. Wells wrote a defence of Vivisection, which was rather, perhaps, an attack on Anti-Vivisectionists. And Mr. Bernard Shaw wrote something which certainly could not possibly be mistaken for anything but an attack on Vivisectionists. I am not myself debating that matter in detail, because the chief mark of it, it seems to me, is a curious way which modern debaters have of debating against themselves. They do not seem to see the real inference from their own ideas....

...Neither Mr. Shaw nor Mr. Wells believes, as I do, in a mystical boundary between men and beasts. And yet that mystical boundary is really the only reason for either of the two men upholding either of the two moralities. The one thing in which they agree is the one thing which they do not admit. Mr. Wells claims the moral right to sacrifice all the other animals to man; and yet he would say that man is only a more or less accidental variety of the other animals. He assumes the very distinction that he denies. Mr. Shaw demands of man a moral magnanimity utterly unknown in all the rest of nature; and yet he would say that man is only a passing product of nature. He assumes the very distinction he denies. For it seems strangely forgotten that the unique authority of man is as much asserted in insisting on his mercy as in insisting on his mastery. If he is merely at one with nature, as all the other creatures are at one with nature, there is no more obligation for him than for them; and they certainly are not at one with each other. If he is only the brother of the wolf in the sense in which the wolf is the brother of the lamb, there seems nothing against the indefinite repetition of the brotherhood of Cain and Abel. If he is only to imitate the solidarity of a dog-fight or the natural affinities of a cannibal fish, there is no possible reason for asking him to disapprove of vivisection or of anything else. We do not expect the dog to be fond of the cat or the cat to be fond of the mouse. If we do expect the man to be fond of all of them, we are, in fact, treating him not only as a unique figure, but as a universal lord. We are, in fact, treating him exactly as he was treated in the old theological dogma which both Mr. Wells and Mr. Shaw would reject, and not in the least as he is treated by the new scientific dogma which both Mr. Wells and Mr. Shaw would accept. Even while each is arguing against the other, each is arguing against himself.

-October 15, 1927, Illustrated London News

2 comments:

Madeleine Durand said...

Beautiful! I'm sitting over here praying that God give me just 1% of the talent with words that he gave Chesterton. I would be so very happy!

Mike said...

I find myself thinking the same thing all the time. lol.