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.




Friday, November 16, 2012

I will confess that I attach much more importance to men's theoretical arguments than to their practical proposals. I attach more importance to what is said than to what is done; what is said generally lasts much longer and has much more influence. I can imagine no change worse for public life than that which some prigs advocate, that debate should be curtailed. A man's arguments show what he is really up to. Until you have heard the defence of a proposal, you do not really know even the proposal. Thus, for instance, if a man says to me, "Taste this temperance drink," I have merely doubt, slightly tinged with distaste. But if he says, "Taste it, because your wife would make a charming widow," then I decide. I would be openly moved in my choice of an institution, not by its immediate proposals for practice, but very much by its incidental, even its accidental, allusion to ideals. I judge many things by their parentheses.

-January 4, 1908, The New Age

3 comments:

coffee pot curve said...

:) well put and a different point of view. Many times debate is dead and to the detriment of good ideals.
"Taste this temperance drink," I have merely doubt, slightly tinged with distaste. But if he says, "Taste it, because your wife would make a charming widow," then I decide. I would be openly moved in my choice of an institution, not by its immediate proposals for practice, but very much by its incidental, even its accidental, allusion to ideals. I judge many things by their parentheses." I don't know what this means. Can you explain it?

Mike said...

Probably not. lol. But I'll try. The way I interpreted it is as a commentary on the part that precedes it:

A man's arguments show what he is really up to. Until you have heard the defence of a proposal, you do not really know even the proposal.

Basically, whatever may be the merits of the "immediate proposals" of a movement (which may change soon enough, as circumstances may dictate), in the long run what matters is the ideals that it is aiming at, and which are by their nature more permanent. And you discover it's ideals, the permanent substance behind a movement, precisely through the types of arguments that are made by a group much more than through the "immediate proposals". The latter may be something simply forced by the necessity of the moment, and which may be discarded as soon as the circumstances necessitating them has passed.

coffee pot curve said...

Thanks that explains it. Those acts people do a lot of time even lose there meaning as time goes on but the thoughts are still there.