Reading Chesterton is like having literary fireworks go off in your face. His style is so very distinctive, and his ideas come so fast and furiously (to borrow a phrase that’s much in the news recently), not to mention that they are so original, that you have to stop and really think about what it is he’s saying. It’s very easy to be blinded by the fireworks. Here’s a mild example:
Spiritual doctrines do not actually limit the mind as do materialistic denials. Even if I believe in immortality I need not think about it. But if I disbelieve in immortality I must not think about it. In the first case the road is open and I can go as far as I like; in the second the road is shut. But the case is even stronger, and the parallel with madness is yet more strange. For it was our case against the exhaustive and logical theory of the lunatic that, right or wrong, it gradually destroyed his humanity. Now it is the charge against the main deductions of the materialist that, right or wrong, they gradually destroy his humanity; I do not mean only kindness, I mean hope, courage, poetry, initiative, all that is human.
The materialist, rationalist view that is being so actively promoted these days as the only “reasonable” way to look at the world, with those who dare to disagree being branded mean spirited or even fascist or racist, is really a very closed way of looking at things. It absolutely cannot tolerate dissent, all in the name of rationality and diversity. It’s nonsense, and only the fact that it has so pervaded and weakened our educational system allows this view to go on so unchallenged. People are, tragically, no longer educated to think these kinds of things through, much less think in a way contrary to the herd.
Anyway, back to Chesterton and my ice pack.