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)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"...the practical result of our bureaucracy is something very near to anarchy."

...the modern notion of universal official organisation is a physical impossibility, and almost a contradiction in terms.....There are only a certain number of officials to go round; and, if we insist of using some of their energies for small and senseless objects, there will obviously be less for large and serious objects. If one of the officials is engaged in preventing people from buying chocolates after half-past eight, he has the less attention to give to people who send poisoned chocolates to other people whom they have the misfortune to dislike. If a policeman is engaged in preventing a man from standing treat to an old friend in a public-house, he cannot at the same moment be preventing another man from stabbing an old enemy in another public-house. The common sense of this consideration was as obvious as daylight to our fathers, and was embodied in the old legal tag of "De minimis non curat lex." [Latin for the law does not concern itself with trifles]. But that maxim has certainly been entirely reversed and repudiated in modern social legislation. Our officials are so much occupied in controlling diet and details of medical theory, and disputed points of decorum in the arts, that such a trifle as a corpse on a doorstep or an assassination a few yards from a lamp-post appears almost in the nature of an irritating and unexpected addition to their daily toils. They cannot be expected to concentrate on anything so barbaric and elementary. "De maximis non curat lex."

It is therefore the very opposite of the truth to say that the police fail through lack of organisation. It is much nearer the truth to say that they fail because society is being far too much organized. A scheme of official control which is too ambitious for human life has broken down, and broken down exactly where we need it most. Instead of law being a strong cord to bind what it is really possible to bind, it has become a thin net to cover what it is quite impossible to cover. It is the nature of a net so stretched to break everywhere; and the practical result of our bureaucracy is something very near to anarchy.

-April 1, 1922, Illustrated London News

No comments: