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)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

There is no such thing as fighting on the winning side: one fights to find out which is the winning side.

-What's Wrong With the World (1910)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

..no man of the world believes all he sees in the newspapers; and no journalist believes a quarter of it.

-The Appetite of Tyranny (1915)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Many writers who do not believe in Christianity praise clerical diplomacy with extraordinary passion. They say it is no wonder that a system was accepted as divine when managed with so much sagacity and cunning. I do believe in Christianity, and my impression is that a system must be divine which has survived so much insane mismanagement.

-October 6, 1906, Illustrated London News

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The greatest miracle is the fact that politicians are tolerated.

-December 22, 1906, Illustrated London News

H/T to this G.K. Chesterton Facebook page

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The disease called aphasia, in which people begin by saying tea when they mean coffee, commonly ends in their silence. Silence of this stiff sort is the chief mark of the powerful parts of modern society. They all seem to be straining to keep things in rather than to let things out… Even the newspaper editors and proprietors are more despotic and dangerous by what they do not utter than by what they do. We have all heard the expression ‘golden silence’. The expression ‘brazen silence’ is the only adequate phrase for our editors. If we wake out of this throttled, gaping, wordless nightmare, we must awake with a yell.

-A Miscellany of Men (1912)

H/T to a poster on this G.K. Chesterton Facebook page 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Humility is the mother of giants. One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.

-The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Our grounds for gratitude are really far greater than our powers of being grateful."

Our grounds for gratitude are really far greater than our powers of being grateful. It is in the mood of a noble sort of humility, and even a noble sort of fear, that new things are really made. We adorn things most when we love them most. And we love them most when we have nearly lost them.

-January 3, 1920, Illustrated London News

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

...progress should be something else besides a continual parricide

-The Defendant (1901)

Monday, July 22, 2013

What has most harmed modern government, including what we call representative government, is a certain quality that is seldom mentioned, though I think I have mentioned it, for I think it very serious. It is the loss of the old ideal which associated a love of liberty with a scorn of luxury. The first and best of the democratic idealists were always definite on this point. They demanded that a republican senator should show a republican simplicity. It was that which was to distinguish the senator from the courtier...
-The Glass Walking Stick (collection of essays published posthumously in 1955)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Now, Mr. Kipling is certainly wrong in his worship of militarism, but his opponents are, generally speaking, quite as wrong as he. The evil of militarism is not that it shows certain men to be fierce and haughty and excessively warlike. The evil of militarism is that it shows most men to be tame and timid and excessively peaceable. The professional soldier gains more and more power as the general courage of a community declines. Thus the Pretorian guard became more and more important in Rome as Rome became more and more luxurious and feeble. The military man gains the civil power in proportion as the civilian loses the military virtues. And as it was in ancient Rome so it is in contemporary Europe. There never was a time when nations were more militarist. There never was a time when men were less brave. All ages and all epics have sung of arms and the man; but we have effected simultaneously the deterioration of the man and the fantastic perfection of the arms. Militarism demonstrated the decadence of Rome, and it demonstrates the decadence of Prussia.

-Heretics (1905)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"...a sentimentalist is simply a man who has feelings and does not trouble to invent a new way of expressing them."

The philanthropist can never forget classes and callings. He says, with a modest swagger, 'I have invited twenty-five factory hands to tea.' If he said 'I have invited twenty-five chartered accountants to tea,' everyone would see the humour of so simple a classification. But this is what we have done with this lumberland of foolish writing [penny dreadfuls]: we have probed, as if it were some monstrous new disease, what is, in fact, nothing but the foolish and valiant heart of man. Ordinary men will always be sentimentalists: for a sentimentalist is simply a man who has feelings and does not trouble to invent a new way of expressing them. These common and current publications have nothing essentially evil about them. They express the sanguine and heroic truisms on which civilization is built; for it is clear that unless civilization is built on truisms, it is not built at all. Clearly, there could be no safety for a society in which the remark by the Chief Justice that murder was wrong was regarded as an original and dazzling epigram.

-The Defendant (1901)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"...things must be loved first and improved afterwards."

At first sight it would seem that the pessimist encourages improvement. But in reality it is a singular truth that the era in which pessimism has been cried from the house-tops is also that in which almost all reform has stagnated and fallen into decay. The reason of this is not difficult to discover. No man ever did, and no man ever can, create or desire to make a bad thing good or an ugly thing beautiful. There must be some germ of good to be loved, some fragment of beauty to be admired. The mother washes and decks out the dirty or careless child, but no one can ask her to wash and deck out a goblin with a heart like hell. No one can kill the fatted calf for Mephistopheles. The cause which is blocking all progress today is the subtle scepticism which whispers in a million ears that things are not good enough to be worth improving....things must be loved first and improved afterwards.

-The Defendant (1901)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The whole people can make bad mistakes; but so can all the separate people, by whatever process you select them. Select the smallest and most instructed coterie on earth, and, left to itself, it will exhibit every vice that could be exhibited by the vastest of human mobs....There is one perfectly certain rule, which, when understood, disposes of all these anti-democratic arguments. Whenever the uneducated men are mad, the educated men are madder....Take any crime alleged of any crowd, and you will find the most cultured men of the age shaken like reeds by the same passions...There has never been a case in which the democracy was wrong when the aristocracy was not wrong too. There was a somewhat famous occasion when the democracy was very wrong indeed; when the mob cried first "Hosanna!" and then "Crucify!" But in that instance, again, there was not a shade of difference between the learned scribes and the world-travelled warriors, the sublime priest of Jehovah and the master of the eagles of Rome. Or, rather, there was a difference. The difference is that the princes and priests had never cried "Hosanna!" at all.

-July 12, 1913, Illustrated London News

Sunday, July 7, 2013

"On the contrary, stumbling on that rock of scandal is the first step."

Above all, would not such a new reader of the New Testament stumble over something that would startle him much more than it startles us? I have here more than once attempted the rather impossible task of reversing time and the historic method; and in fancy looking forward to the facts, instead of backward through the memories. So I have imagined the monster that man might have seemed at first to the mere nature around him. We should have a worse shock if we really imagined the nature of Christ named for the first time. What should we feel at the first whisper of a certain suggestion about a certain man? Certainly it is not for us to blame anybody who should find that first wild whisper merely impious and insane. On the contrary, stumbling on that rock of scandal is the first step. Stark staring incredulity is a far more loyal tribute to that truth than a modernist metaphysic that would make it out merely a matter of degree. It were better to rend our robes with a great cry against blasphemy, like Caiaphas in the judgement, or to lay hold of the man as a maniac possessed of devils like the kinsmen and the crowd, rather than to stand stupidly debating fine shades of pantheism in the presence of so catastrophic a claim. There is more of the wisdom that is one with surprise in any simple person, full of the sensitiveness of simplicity, who should expect the grass to wither and the birds to drop dead out of the air, when a strolling carpenter's apprentice said calmly and almost carelessly, like one looking over his shoulder: 'Before Abraham was, I am.'

-The Everlasting Man (1925)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"Perhaps it would be best to say very emphatically (with a blow on the table), 'There is an Is.' That is as much monkish credulity as St. Thomas asks of us at the start."

Without pretending to span within such limits the essential Thomist idea, I may be allowed to throw out a sort of rough version of the fundamental question, which I think I have known myself, consciously or unconsciously since my childhood. When a child looks out of the nursery window and sees anything, say the green lawn of the garden, what does he actually know; or does he know anything? There are all sorts of nursery games of negative philosophy played round this question. A brilliant Victorian scientist delighted in declaring that the child does not see any grass at all; but only a sort of green mist reflected in a tiny mirror of the human eye. This piece of rationalism has always struck me as almost insanely irrational. If he is not sure of the existence of the grass, which he sees through the glass of a window, how on earth can he be sure of the existence of the retina, which he sees through the glass of a microscope? If sight deceives, why can it not go on deceiving? Men of another school answer that grass is a mere green impression on the mind; and that he can be sure of nothing except the mind. They declare that he can only be conscious of his own consciousness; which happens to be the one thing that we know the child is not conscious of at all. In that sense, it would be far truer to say that there is grass and no child, than to say that there is a conscious child but no grass. St. Thomas Aquinas, suddenly intervening in this nursery quarrel, says emphatically that the child is aware of Ens. Long before he knows that grass is grass, or self is self, he knows that something is something. Perhaps it would be best to say very emphatically (with a blow on the table), "There is an Is." That is as much monkish credulity as St. Thomas asks of us at the start. Very few unbelievers start by asking us to believe so little. And yet, upon this sharp pin-point of reality, he rears by long logical processes that have never really been successfully overthrown, the whole cosmic system of Christendom.

  -St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox (1933)


I apologize for having been quite scarce as of late...I hope to start posting again regularly now.