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The Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you....

The Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you.  He will inform you of your ignorance; he will not enlighten your ignorance. G.K. Chesterton, The illustrated London News, July 17, 1920, quoted in Dale Ahlquist, Common Sense 101, p....

posted on: Oct 26, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

They cannot convince the mind, but they do cloud it....

Just as it is the latest fad [of Freudian psychoanalysis] to prove that everything is sexual, so it was the last fad [of Marxism] to prove that everything was economic.  . . .  These fads fade very fast, and it may seem hardly worthwhile to prick bubbles that will burst of themselves.  Nevertheless, there is one consideration that makes it worthwhile.  It is a character of all these manias [from Darwin, Marx, and Freud] that they cannot really convince the mind, but they do cloud it.  Above all, they do darken it.  All these tremendous and rather temporary discoveries have had the singular fascination that they were not merely degrading, but were also depressing.  Each in turn leaves...

posted on: Oct 25, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

Know-it-all agnostics

Speaking of Darwin, Marx, and Freud, G.K. Chesterton quipped: It is yet another mark of this sort of agnostic that he is ready to assert his absolute knowledge of everything to the verge of a contradiction in terms.  Just as he will always try to write a history of prehistoric man, so he will always struggle to be conscious of his own unconsciousness . . . . “The Game of Psychoanalysis”, Century Magazine, May 1923, quoted in Dale Ahlquist, Common Sense 101, p....

posted on: Oct 21, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

Tossing out Darwin, Marx, and Freud

As noted in a previous post, Chesterton said our real task today is uneducating the educated.  We could make a good start of it, in G.K.’s estimation, by tossing out Darwin, Marx, and Freud.  Their problem was not that they had no truth, but that they turned a sliver of truth into the whole of it. Each of them took not so much a half-truth as a hundredth part of a truth, and then offered it not merely as something, but as everything.  Having never done anything except split hairs, [each of them] hangs the whole world on a single hair. G.K. Chesterton, “The Game of Psychoanalysis,” Century Magazine, May 1923, quoted in Dale Ahlquist, Common Sense 101,...

posted on: Oct 20, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

Uneducating the educated

[Our primary public duty] is not to educate the uneducated but to uneducate the educated. G.K. Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, November 8, 1913, quoted in Common Sense 101, p....

posted on: Oct 15, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

Unenthusiastic educators

It is rare to come across anyone enthusiastic for our system of elementary instruction.  It is not common to find anyone who is even free from grave misgivings about it.  Nobody seems very keen about education — least of all the educators.  I have a huge personal respect for the teachers in the Church and State schools, in regard to their untiring cheerfulness, industry, and courage.  But I never met one of them who seemed at all certain that the system was doing any good. G.K. Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, August 24, 1912, quoted in Common Sense 101, p....

posted on: Oct 14, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

Dealing with nonsense

There are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world.  One way is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes.  The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes. G.K. Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, October 15, 1921, quoted in Common Sense 101, p....

posted on: Oct 12, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

The parent, the person in charge of education

In the case of comparative poverty, which is the common lot of mankind, we come back to a general parental responsibility, which is the common sense of mankind.  We also come back to the parent as the person in charge of education . . . .  Private education really is universal.  Public education can be comparatively narrow.  The mother dealing with her own daughters in her own home does literally have to deal with all sides of a single human soul. G.K. Chesterton, Fancies Versus Fads, quoted in Common Sense 101, p. 106...

posted on: Sep 21, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

The school is only preparation for the home

Just now there is a tendency to forget that the school is only a preparation for the home, and not the home a mere jumping off place for the school.  (Fn1.)  The human house is a paradox for it is larger inside than out.  (Fn2.) So, Chesterton observes, most modern people want to leave the larger, harder domestic mission for the smaller, easier commercial one.  They would rather be in the work-a-day world serving the minor needs of thousands than in the domestic world serving all the major needs of a few.  Better to teach trigonometry to a hundred than wrestle with the whole human character of one. (Fn3.) [Anyone] who makes himself responsible for one small baby,...

posted on: Sep 3, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

Every education teaches a worldview

The modern world has committed itself to two totally different and inconsistent conceptions about education.  It is always trying to expand the scope of education; and always trying to exclude from it all religion and philosophy.  But this is sheer nonsense.  (Fn1.)  Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere.  Every part of that education has a  connection with every other part.  If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not an education at all.  (Fn2.) Footnotes: 1.  G.K. Chesterton, The Common Man, p. 167 (for an e-text version, go here ), quoted in Dale Ahlquist, Common Sense 101, pp. 104-05. 2. ...

posted on: Aug 30, 2010 | author: Alan Burrow

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