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.




Sunday, February 24, 2013

"There is something charming about this man who is so dogmatic that he can do without dogma."

An element of confusion is introduced into many modern arguments...by a refusal to recognise the real scope and significance of the word "dogma." People constantly put the argument in the form of saying: "Shall we teach the child dogma?" Of course we shall. A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching. This leaves quite untouched, of course, the question of what dogmas he shall teach, large or small, universal or sectional. And it also leaves on one side another important question. Those who say that we should not teach dogma to children really have an intelligent meaning, though they do not know what it is. What they really mean is this, that one does not commonly, in dealing with children, state the dogma in its elaborate metaphysical form. We do not, perhaps, even define the dogma. But, if we do not define the dogma, it is only because we do assume the dogma. Take, for instance, the case of ethics. It is true that we do not say to a child: "All men are morally equal and have reciprocal obligations." We do say to a child: "Why shouldn't Tommy have a piece of cake too?" In short, one does not recite the dogma of equality; we assume the dogma of equality. We do not say to a child: "There is a human sentiment of property, which is the impress of personality upon matter." We do say to a child: "You have taken Eliza's doll." That is, we do not recite the dogma of property; we assume the dogma of property. We do not say to a child: "Man has a will and is therefore responsible." We do say to a child: "Why did you do this?" We do not recite the dogma of Free Will; we assume the dogma of Free Will. This is the real meaning, an intelligent and respectable meaning, which exists in the mind of those who call themselves undenominationalists in education. The denominationalists say in effect: "What dogmas can we teach?" The undenominationalists say in effect: "What dogmas can we take for granted?"

Now there is something that is really wholesome and attractive in this latter point of view. There is something pleasing about the man who has certain verities sunk so deep into his mind that he hardly even knows that they are there. There is something charming about this man who is so dogmatic that he can do without dogma. This man, the sub-conscious dogmatist, is sometimes a positive pillar of sanity; and it is just in so far as non-dogmatism and undenominationalism, and modern rationalism generally, do represent this type of man, that they really have the power to make men do the two things most worth doing: to live good lives and fight. The French Revolution, for instance, was made of these men. They believed that their service to mankind lay in the things that they questioned. We look back at them now, and see that their service to mankind really lay in the things they did not question: the equality of men, for instance. They praised themselves for doubting the authority of the King. We praise them for not doubting the authority of the State. Exactly that equality of man which they regarded as a truism, they have bequeathed as an eternal challenge. In the noonday of their intellectual summer, they regarded themselves as merely expressing common sense. But, against their sunset, they appear dark and mystical, and take on all the colours of a cloud of martyrs.

 The Independent Review, volume IX, April-June 1906

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