Quotations by Chesterton, Gilbert Keith


Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

Chesterton - cheese - wist_info quote

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“Cheese,” Alarms and Discursions (1911)
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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 or other normal amusements of mankind.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“Child Psychology and Nonsense” (15 Oct 1921)
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The modern world seems to have no notion of preserving different things side by side, of allowing its proper and proportionate place to each, of saving the whole varied heritage of culture. It has no notion except that of simplifying something by destroying nearly everything.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“Holding on to Romanticism,” The Illustrated London News (2 May 1931)
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An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“On Running After One’s Hat” (1908)
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Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“Our Note Book,” Illustrated London News (5 May 1928)

Often misattributed to Oscar Wilde (and as "Morality, like art ..."). For more info, see here.
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People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“The New Generations and Morality,” The Illustrated London News (9 Mar 1929)
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Father Brown laid down his cigar and said carefully: “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“The Point of a Pin,” The Scandal of Father Brown (1925)
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It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“The Point of a Pin,” The Scandal of Father Brown (1935)
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We have all heard enough to fill a book about Dr. Johnson’s incivilities. I wish they would compile another book consisting of Dr. Johnson’s apologies. There is no better test of a man’s ultimate chivalry and integrity than how he behaves when he is wrong; and Johnson behaved very well. He understood (what so many faultlessly polite people do not understand) that a stiff apology is a second insult. He understood that the injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“The Real Dr. Johnson,” The Common Man (1950)
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You can only find truth with logic if you have already found it without it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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It’s not the world that’s gotten so much worse, but the news coverage that’s gotten so much better.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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The whole order of things is as outrageous as any miracle which could presume to violate it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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Never invoke the gods unless you really want them to appear. It annoys them very much.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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For religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value in any of them is that they bear the image of the king.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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It is the test of a good religion whether you can make a joke about it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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A businessman is the only man who is forever apologizing for his occupation.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
(Attributed)
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Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
A Miscellany of Men (1912)
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The doctrine of human equality reposes on this: that there is no man really clever who has not found that he is stupid.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
A Miscelleny of Men, “The Angry Author: His Farewell (1912)
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To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
A Short History of England (1917)
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To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
A Short History of England (1917)
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All government is an ugly necessity.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
A Short History of England (1917)
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All government is an ugly necessity.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
A Short History of England (1917)
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We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
All Things Considered, “Limericks and Counsels of Perfection” (1908)
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It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke — that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of human souls.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
All Things Considered, “Oxford from Without” (1908)

Full text.

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It is so easy to be solemn; it is so hard to be frivolous.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
All Things Considered, “The Case for the Ephemeral” (1908)
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The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
All Things Considered, “The Methuselahite” (1908)
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There are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogmas and know it, and those who accept dogmas and don’t know it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
As I Was Saying: A Chesterton Reader, ch. 17 [ed. R. Knille] (1985)
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Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Autobiography (1936)
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Bowing down in blind credulity, as is my custom, before mere authority and the tradition of the elders, superstitiously swallowing a story I could not test at the time by experiment or private judgment, I am firmly of the opinion that I was born on the 29th of May, 1874, on Campden Hill, Kensington ….

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Autobiography (1936)
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A man has been lucky in marrying the women he loves. But he is luckier in loving the woman he marries.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Brave New Family

ed. Alvaro de Silva (1990)
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When anyone goes about on his hands and knees looking for a great man to worship, he is making sure that one man at any rate shall not be great.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Charles Dickens, ch. 1 (1906)
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Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Charles Dickens, Ch. 11 (1906)
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The wise old fairy tales never were so silly as to say that the prince and the princess lived peacefully ever afterwards. The fairy tales said that the prince and the princess lived happily, and so they did. They lived happily, although it is very likely that from time to time they threw the furniture at each other. Most marriages, I think, are happy marriages; but there is no such thing as a contented marriage. The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Chesterton on Dickens (1911)
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The dispute that goes on between Macbeth and his wife about the murder of Duncan is almost word for word a dispute which goes on at any suburban breakfast table about something else. It is merely a matter of changing ‘Infirm of purpose, give me the daggers’ into ‘Infirm of purpose, give me the postage stamps.’

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Chesterton on Shakespeare

ed. Dorothy Collins (1972)
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The new school of art and thought does indeed wear an air of audacity, and breaks out everywhere into blasphemies, as if it required any courage to say a blasphemy. There is only one thing that requires real courage to say, and that is a truism.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
G.F. Watts (1906)
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I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Generally Speaking, ch. 20 (1929)
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Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics (1905)

See Twain.
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It is foolish, generally speaking, for a philosopher to set fire to another philosopher in Smithfield Market because they do not agree in their theory of the universe. That was done very frequently in the last decadence of the Middle Ages, and it failed altogether in its object. But there is one thing that is infinitely more absurd and unpractical than burning a man for his philosophy. This is the habit of saying that his philosophy does not matter, and this is done universally in the twentieth century, in the decadence of the great revolutionary period.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 1 (1905)
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Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 12 “Paganism and Mr. Lowes Dickenson” (1905)

Full text.
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Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in earthquake and, eclipse. It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. For practical purposes it is at the hopeless moment that we require the hopeful man, and the virtue either does not exist at all, or begins to exist at that moment. Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 12 (1905)
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A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.

chesterton-good-novel-truth-bad-novel-truth-wist_info-quote

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 15 “On Smart Novelists and the Smart Set” (1905)
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As enunciated today, “progress” is simply a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 2 (1905)
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Religious and philosophical beliefs are, indeed, as dangerous as fire, and nothing can take from them that beauty of danger. But there is only one way of really guarding ourselves against the excessive danger of them, and that is to be steeped in philosophy and soaked in religion.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 20 (1905)
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Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are least dangerous is the man of ideas. He is acquainted with ideas, and moves among them like a lion-tamer. Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are most dangerous is the man of no ideas. The man of no ideas will find the first idea fly to his head like wine to the head of a teetotaller.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 20 (1905)
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Bigotry in the main has always been the pervading omnipotence of those who do not care crushing out those who care in darkness and blood.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 20 (1905)
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The modern world … holds certain dogmas so strongly that it does not know that they are dogmas.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 20 (1905)
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There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Heretics, ch. 3 (1905)
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The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (11 Jun 2010)
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The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (14 Jan 1911)
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It’s not that we don’t have enough scoundrels to curse; it’s that we don’t have enough good men to curse them.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (14 Mar 1908)
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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.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (19 Apr 1924)
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Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (19 Apr 1930)
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Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (19 Apr 1930)
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Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (23 Oct 1909)
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War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (24 Jul 1915)
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There is something to be said for every error; but, whatever may be said for it, the most important thing to be said about it is that it is erroneous.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (25 April 1931)
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The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (28 Oct 1922)
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I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (3 Jun 1922)
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The true technical genius has triumphed when he has made himself unnecessary. It is only the quack who makes himself indispensable.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News, “Civilization and Progress” (30 Nov 1912)
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For us who live in cities Nature is not natural. Nature is supernatural. Just as monks watched and strove to get a glimpse of heaven, so we watch and strive to get a glimpse of earth. It is as if men had cake and wine every day but were sometimes allowed common bread.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News, “The Silly Season and Serious Discussion” (31 Aug 1907)
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War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News, column (24 Jul. 1915)
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CONJURER: Doctor, there are about a thousand reasons why I should not tell you how I really did that trick. But one will suffice, because it is the most practical of all.
DOCTOR: Well? And why shouldn’t you tell me?
CONJURER:”Because you wouldn’t believe me if I did.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Magic (1913)
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This man’s spiritual power has been precisely this, that he has distinguished between custom and creed. He has broken the conventions, but he has kept the commandments.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Manalive (1912)
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One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, “The Logic of Elfland” (1908)
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It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, ch. 3, “The Suicide of Thought” (1909)
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But the only real reason for being a progressive is that things naturally tend to grow worse. The corruption in things is not only the best argument for being progressive; it is also the only argument against being conservative. The conservative theory would really be quite sweeping and unanswerable if it were not for this one fact. But all conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, ch. 7 “The Eternal Revolution” (1908)

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The man who cannot believe his senses, and the man who cannot believe anything else, are both insane, but their insanity is proved not by any error in their argument, but by the manifest mistake of their whole lives. They have both locked themselves up in two boxes, painted inside with the sun and stars; they are both unable to get out, the one into the health and happiness of heaven, the other even into the health and happiness of the earth.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, ch. 2 (1908)

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Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, ch. 3 (1909)
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Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, Ch. 4, “The Ethics of England” (1908)
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A man who says that no patriot should attack the Boer War until it is over is not worth answering intelligently; he is saying that no good son should warn his mother off a cliff until she has fallen over it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, ch. 5 (1908)
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You will hear everlastingly, in all discussions about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, ch. 7 “The Eternal Revolution” (1908)
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There is one thing that Christ and all the Christian saints have said with a sort of savage monotony. They have said simply that to be rich is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to crown the rich as convenient rulers of society. It is not certainly un-Christian to rebel against the rich or to submit to the rich. But it is quite certainly un-Christian to trust the rich, to regard the rich as more morally safe than the poor.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Orthodoxy, ch. 7 “The Eternal Revolution” (1908)
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JACKSON: Truth is one’s own conception of things.
CHESTERTON: The Big Blunder. All thought is an attempt to discover if one’s own conception is true or not.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Platitudes Undone

commentary on Holbrook Jackson's Platitudes in the Making (1997)
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America has never been quite normal.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Sidelights on New London and Newer York (1932)
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It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, “Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,” or “Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.” They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complete picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Ball and the Cross, ch. 4 “A Discussion at Dawn” (1909)

Full text.
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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.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Catholic Church and Conversion
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It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Cleveland Press (1 Mar 1921)
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It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Cleveland Press (1 Mar 1921)
Added on 12-Sep-11 | Last updated 12-Sep-11
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For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Coloured Lands (1938)
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There are some people who state that the exterior, sex, or physique of another person is indifferent to them, that they care only for the communion of mind with mind; but these people need not detain us. There are some statements that no one ever thinks of believing, however often they are made.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Defendant, “A Defence of Ugly Things” (1901)
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“My Country, right or wrong” is a thing no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Defendant, ch. 16 “A Defence of Patriotism”
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Silence is the unbearable repartee.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Illustrated London News (30 Sep 1933)
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The one really rousing thing about human history is that, whether or no the proceedings go right, at any rate, the prophecies always go wrong. The promises are never fulfilled and the threats are never fulfilled. Even when good things do happen, they are never the good things that were guaranteed. And even when bad things happen, they are never the bad things that were inevitable. You may be quite certain that, if an old pessimist says the country is going to the dogs, it will go to any other animals except the dogs; if it be to the dromedaries or even the dragons. … It was as if one weather prophet confidently predicted blazing sunshine and the other was equally certain of blinding fog; and they were both buried in a beautiful snow-storm and lay, fortunately dead, under a clear and starry sky.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Illustrated London News, column (17 April 1926)
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We’re all really dependent in nearly everything, and we all make a fuss about being independent in something.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1922)
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The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Man Who Was Thursday (1907)
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You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
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If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1906)
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The obvious effect of frivolous divorce will be frivolous marriage. If people can be separated for no reason they will feel it all the easier to be united for no reason.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Superstition of Divorce (1920)
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The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Tremendous Trifles, “The Advantages of Having One Leg” (1909)
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What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Tremendous Trifles (1909)
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The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it — because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Tremendous Trifles, “The Red Angel” (1909)
Added on 29-Oct-14 | Last updated 29-Oct-14
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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.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Twelve Types, “Charles II” (1902)
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We are learning to do a great many clever things. … The next great task will be to learn not to do them.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Varied Types (1908)
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Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
What’s Wrong with the World (1910)
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Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
What’s Wrong With The World (1910)
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I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Column, Illustrated London News (3 Jun 1922)
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