the perennial struggle between radicals and conservatives
"The richness and variety, and indeed the advance,
of our culture depend upon the continuation of this conflict [between
conservatives and radicals], which is deeply rooted in human nature."
Conservative scholar in our age of radical scholarship.
"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing
can go against it."
G. K. Chesterton
"This books is intended for the use of those
who can still be charmed by books and who have an irreducible interest
in the depiction of love. Books about love inform and elevate the fantasy
of their readers and actually become part of their eros while teaching
them about it... They are living expressions of profound experiences...
In itself and immediately this transports us out of our dreary times.
I hope that by this book I may touch at least a few potential friends
who can love literature in spite of the false doctors [radicals] who
try to cure them of it... This book bears witness to a confrontation
between the two greatest philosophical teachings about eros, another
chapter in the quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns."
introduction of "Love & Friendship"
Who is right and who is wrong in the culture wars?
The perennial struggle between radicals and conservatives.
THE CULTURE WARS
"As a historian I have become increasingly fascinated by the perennial
culture conflict, at its sharpest in advanced societies, between radicals
and conservatives: between, that is, those who believe the world can be
reshaped by their own unguided intelligence and those who distrust reason
in isolation and think it should be anchored in prescriptive wisdom, natural
law and other restraints. This conflict is conducted mainly in books but
powerful echoes are to be found on the stage, in music, in art and architecture
and not least in public life itself. What is absorbing is to follow the
generational swings in national (and also international) culture, in which
first radicals, than conservatives, get the upper hand, and especially
the way in which the balance is tipped by the shift of a great writer from
one camp or the other - Coleridge and Victor Hugo are excellent examples,
in different directions. The richness and variety, and indeed the advance,
of our culture depend upon the continuation of this conflict, which is
deeply rooted in human nature. If you believe in the Hegelian dialectic,
this is an example of its powerful spirit in action."
"By 'radical' I understand one who goes too far; by 'conservative'
one who does not go far enough; by 'reactionary' one who won't go at
speech in New York City
January 29, 1911
"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
G. K. Chesterton
"There is danger in reckless change; but greater danger in blind conservatism."
"Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They
look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back... Tradition
means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It
is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant
oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around."
G. K. Chesterton
Is Jesus a radical or conservative?
Both claim him; both have a point.
"In the best sense of the word, Jesus was a radical...
His religion has so long been identified with conservatism...
that it is almost
startling sometimes to remember that all the conservatives of his
own times were against him; that it was the young, free, restless,
sanguine, progressive part of the people who flocked to him."