Jun 4, 2007

How about a little Chesterton?

Chesterton on the press:
"So again, we have almost up to the last instant trusted the newspapers as organs of public opinion. Just recently some of us have seen (not slowly, but with a start) [published in 1908! - w.c.] that they are obviously nothing of the kind. They are, by the nature of the case the hobbies of a few rich men… There is no fear that a modern king will attempt to override the constitution; it is more likely that he will ignore the constitution and work behind its back; he will take no advantage of his kingly power; it is more likely that he will take advantage of his kingly powerlessness, of the fact that he is free from criticism and publicity."
Thankfully, we have the "New Media" to criticize and shine a light on the MSM. For example, I heard Joe Klein on Hugh Hewitt yesterday calling Victor Davis Hansen, Bernard Lewis and others "silly" and "absurd" on the Iraq War and Middle East situation. Whew! Let me just say I have never – ever – heard more arrogance and foolishness on the part of a single person. Of course, if the Democrats have their way, talk radio will be silenced through the Fairness Doctrine and we'll never have to listen to the likes of Joe Klein again. If you're for freedom of speech, you're not a Democrat. And if you're part of the MSM, you're not a Republican.

Here is Chesterton on the anti-democratic democrats (or Democrats):

"I have listened to scientific men (and there are still scientific men not opposed to democracy) saying that if we give the poor healthier conditions vice and wrong will disappear. I have listened to them with a horrible attention, with a hideous fascination… If these happy democrats could prove their case, they would strike democracy dead. If the poor are thus utterly demoralized, it may or may not be practical to raise them. But it is certainly quite practical to disfranchise them."
Doesn't this remind you of the excuses given for Islamic terrorists? They're from these poor and oppressed cultures, and therefore not held to the same moral standards as the rest of us. And doesn't it also make clear the ugly elitism that the Left has concerning the American voter? I remember my attitude (which was widely reflected on the Left) when Reagan was elected: Americans are a bunch of buffoons to vote for that idiot actor; clearly they don't know what is in their own best interest! It has been quite a humbling lesson for me to realize that the common American was much wiser than I, who voted for Carter! Liberal elites believe they have all the answers that commoners just can't comprehend. So, just leave the important stuff to the ruling elite in the government (assuming you'll elect Democrats) and we'll create Utopia. The rich will give their money
to the poor (through the tax code) and the poor will show their gratitude by re-electing Democrats!

And finally, Chesterton on why Christianity gets democracy right:

"The mere machinery of voting is not democracy, though at present it is not easy to effect any simpler democratic method. But even the machinery of voting is profoundly Christian in this practical sense – that it is an attempt to get at the opinion of those who would be too modest to offer it. It is a mystical adventure; it is specially trusting those who do not trust themselves. That enigma is strictly peculiar to Christendom… But there is something psychologically Christian about the idea of seeking for the opinion of the obscure rather than taking the obvious course of accepting the opinion of the prominent."

I'll be the first to admit that I wish fewer Americans voted every time I hear the turn-out complaints. I believe that a turn-out over 70% occurs either shortly before a civil war or immediately after a dictatorial coup. The candidate races aren't my concern so much, but the issues and unintended consequences (concerning taxes and distribution) are so complicated that I don't consider myself "educated and informed" enough to decide (even though I think I pay more attention than 90% of the population) . This is why I generally vote against any new initiatives, unless the idea is to reduce the government. But, as far as who is voting, I'd still much rather have the "common man" casting votes over university professors and students, media elites, Hollywood stars and the Ninth Circuit court of appeals. In this I agree with Chesterton: there is much more wisdom in "common sense" than elite opinion.


Tom said...

Is there any answer to the proposition that those who have had the best
opportunities will probably be our best guides? Is there any answer to the
argument that those who have breathed clean air had better decide for those
who have breathed foul? As far as I know, there is only one answer, and
that answer is Christianity. Only the Christian Church can offer any rational
objection to a complete confidence in the rich. For she has maintained from
the beginning that the danger was not in man's environment, but in man.
Further, she has maintained that if we come to talk of a dangerous
environment, the most dangerous environment of all is the commodious
environment. I know that the most modern manufacture has been really
occupied in trying to produce an abnormally large needle. I know that the
most recent biologists have been chiefly anxious to discover a very small
Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 110
camel. But if we diminish the camel to his smallest, or open the eye of the
needle to its largest--if, in short, we assume the words of Christ to have
meant the very least that they could mean, His words must at the very least
mean this-- that rich men are not very likely to be morally trustworthy.

The Western Chauvinist said...

I think I agree with you, Tom. However, I would only add that, in their way, the poor need Christ as much as the rich. In this we are all equal.