22 November 2017

From the Blog, G.K. Chesterton: The Fear of the Past

"THE really courageous man is he who defies tyrannies young as the morning and superstitions fresh as the first flowers. The only true free-thinker is he whose intellect is as much free from the future as from the past. He cares as little for what will be as for what has been; he cares only for what ought to be. And for my present purpose I specially insist on this abstract independence. If I am to discuss what is wrong, one of the first things that are wrong is this: the deep and silent modern assumption that past things have become impossible. There is one metaphor of which the moderns are very fond; they are always saying, "You can't put the clock back." The simple and obvious answer is "You can." A clock, being a piece of human construction, can be restored by the human finger to any figure or hour. In the same way society, being a piece of human construction, can be reconstructed upon any plan that has ever existed."

~G.K. Chesterton: What's Wrong With the World, Part One, Chap. IV.


  1. Interesting thought to consider. Why can we not go back. On a small scale, a person can order their life in such a way as to hearken back to an earlier time when things were better. Let's face it, it was better. So in our home we watch 70's or earlier tv programs, because they are actually entertaining. Maybe people say we can't go back because some people want only the next progressive thing. They seem afraid if we go back it will ruin their fun.

  2. It's the fallacy that every new thing is an improvement on the old. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. The problem is the blind acceptance of 'progress' as a positive good.

    Another problem is that people have been brainwashed with the idea that if we were to reconstruct society on the pattern of an earlier age, we would have to give up everything since that period, like modern medicine. There is, of course, no valid basis to this idea.

  3. Dear Sir,
    May the Lord Jesus bless you with one to whom you may pass the torch, in whom the answered clarion call may resound for another generation. I am grateful for your witness and your writing, and I hope one day to meet you in the presence of Christ.

    ~L. Declan M.


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