View Full Version : G K Chesterton on the proposed invasion of Iraq

Mike Field
03-02-2003, 09:37 PM
Dennis Marshall's thread on Chesterton prompted some browsing here (http://www.chesterton.org/discover/quotations.html), from which these quotations were extracted --

"It is the mark of our whole modern history that the masses are kept quiet with a fight. They are kept quiet by the fight because it is a sham-fight; thus most of us know by this time that the Party System has been popular only in the sense that a football match is popular."

"I would rather a boy learnt in the roughest school the courage to hit a politician, or gained in the hardest school the learning to refute him - rather than that he should gain in the most enlightened school the cunning to copy him."

"The professional soldier gains more and more power as the general courage of a community declines."

"The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right."

"I have formed a very clear conception of patriotism. I have generally found it thrust into the foreground by some fellow who has something to hide in the background. I have seen a great deal of patriotism; and I have generally found it the last refuge of the scoundrel."

"Big Business and State Socialism are very much alike, especially Big Business."

"It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong."

"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it."

"There is a case for telling the truth; there is a case for avoiding the scandal; but there is no possible defense for the man who tells the scandal, but does not tell the truth."

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."

"I never could see anything wrong in sensationalism; and I am sure our society is suffering more from secrecy than from flamboyant revelations."

"It is terrible to contemplete how few politicians are hanged."

"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism."

"You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution."

"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."

"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."

"Anyone who is not an anarchist agrees with having a policeman at the corner of the street; but the danger at present is that of finding the policeman half-way down the chimney or even under the bed."

Sam F
03-02-2003, 10:09 PM
Chesterton is not here to ask but at least some Catholics view the possible war's motives with some skepticism.

Pope Calls for Prayer, Fasting for Peace on Ash Wednesday


By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
(From the issue of 2/27/03)

VATICAN CITY -- Warning that the world was drifting toward the "logic of war," Pope John Paul II called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday.

The pope announced the move Feb. 23 as he appealed once again against war in Iraq. He said armed conflict in the Persian Gulf state could throw the entire Middle East into turmoil and raise tensions across the globe.

A peaceful future for the world cannot be won by terrorism or by war, the pontiff said from his apartment window above St. Peter's Square.

"For months the international community has lived in great anxiety over the danger of a war that could upset the entire region of the Middle East and aggravate tensions which unfortunately are already present at the start of the third millennium," he said.

"Believers, whatever their religion, should proclaim that we will never be able to be happy opposing each other, and that the future of humanity can never be assured by terrorism and the logic of war," he said.

He said Christians in particular are called to be "sentinels of peace" in the places where they live and work and to help make sure people do not give in to selfish interests, lies and violence.

Therefore, the pope said, he was asking Catholics in every country to fast and pray for peace -- especially in the Middle East -- on Ash Wednesday, March 5, the start of the Lenten season.

"We will above all implore from God the conversion of hearts and the wisdom of just decisions to resolve with peaceful and adequate means the disagreements that hinder humanity's pilgrimage in our time," he said.

He said particular attention should be given that day to praying the rosary -- in families, parishes and Marian sanctuaries around the world.

The pope said fasting on Ash Wednesday this year should be an "expression of penitence for the hatred and violence that pollute human relations."

He pointed out that Christians share the ancient practice of fasting with men and women of other faiths.

"With them, Christians want to strip themselves of all pride and prepare themselves to receive from God the greatest and most necessary gifts, in particular the gift of peace," he said.

In praying for Mary to guide the prayer and fasting initiative, the pope quoted from the beatitudes, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." He said that invocation needs to resound with new force in today's world and find practical application.