The Corner

A Disagreement with TSE on Chesterton

 

In that same work, by the way, Eliot does get off a memorable zinger at the expense of G. K. Chesterton: “Mr. Chesterton’s brain swarms with ideas; I see no evidence that it thinks.” I must object that Eliot’s definition here of what constitutes thinking is rather too narrow for practical purposes. It’s true that Chesterton’s writing is not of the kind that syllogistically “proves” important conclusions; but neither, for that matter, are the works of most of the apologists (atheist, Christian, or other) who pride themselves on their mastery of logic. The most important truths are not often vivified in the mind by syllogism; they are made present, much more often, by insight. And the flashes of insight in Chesterton are frequently brilliant: They have helped illuminate the minds of hundreds of thousands — if not, by now, millions — of people. I am not an uncritical admirer of Chesterton — he was, in religion, something of what in sports broadcasting would be called a “homer” — but he was not only a great stylist, he also communicated some very important truths. He used his intellect in the service of truth, as best he could discern what the truth was; and that’s “thinking,” by any reasonable definition.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Media Fell for Elizabeth Warren’s Spin

Do you want to know what media bias looks like? Earlier today, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that confirmed that she misled employers, students, and the public about her Native American heritage for years. Bizarrely, all too many members of the media treated the results as ... Read More
PC Culture

‘White Women’ Becomes a Disparaging Term

Using “white men” as a putdown is no longer extreme enough for the Left. Now it is moving on to doing the same for “white women.” How rapidly this transpired. It was less than two years ago that the approximately 98.7 percent of white women working in media who were openly rooting for Hillary Clinton ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World Keeps Not Ending

We were not supposed to have made it this far. George Orwell saw night descending on us in 1984. Orwell was, on paper, a radical, but in his heart he was an old-fashioned English liberal. He dreamed of socialism but feared socialists. He feared them because he knew them. I was in the sixth grade in 1984, but I ... Read More
Culture

A Free People Must Be Virtuous

Dear Reader (Even those of you who didn’t seem to notice or care that I failed to file this “news”letter on Friday), So I’m sitting here at Gate C6 at O’Hare waiting for my flight home. I am weary, pressed for time, in desperate need of a shower, and filled with a great sense of dread for the work ... Read More