G. K. Chesterton is a favorite among many of Dr. Boli’s readers. No more excuse is needed for this announcement that Serif Press, an enterprise intimately associated with Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Publishing Empire, has put together a fat book of Chesterton writing that most of Chesterton’s fans have probably never read—more than 400 pages with 55 different pieces taken from newspapers, magazines, and introductions to other people’s books (one of Chesterton’s most characteristic forms of writing). But if a further excuse were requested, Dr. Boli might point out that the volume also includes a new introduction by H. Albertus Boli.
If you have been wondering what to get your crotchety old aunt for Christmas, The Miscellaneous Chesterton is the perfect gift to make her even more crotchety. It works equally well for uncles. University libraries will need to order the book in bulk. Members of one political party (it makes no difference which) will want to hand out copies at rallies to prove that Chesterton predicted the errors of the other party (it makes no difference which) a century ago. Survivalists will want to stock up on a book that not only will provide precious entertainment when the apocalypse comes, but also will provide precious fuel when the wood runs out. In short, every class of person and institution needs this book, and needs it in large quantities.
But perhaps the ones who need it most of all are the people who enjoy reading Chesterton and wish they had more Chesterton to read. Here is a small collection of quotations culled from the pieces in the book, just to show that, no matter what the occasion, Chesterton is always Chestertonian.
A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching.
While order would make the Cabinet Minister appear as automatic as the cow, literature would, on the other hand, make the cow appear as disturbing and incredible as the Cabinet Minister.
I am concerned here only with urging that aristocracy is in its essence anarchic. It is a mere trend towards that vague victory of the fortunate over the unfortunate which would occur more completely if there were no government at all.
Aristocracies in a state mean simply the strength of Nature and the weakness of the state; just as weeds in a garden mean the strength of Nature and the weakness of the gardener.
Political equality grows greater by being remembered, like the words of the American Declaration. But political inequality grows greater by being forgotten, like the power of the American Trusts.
Capitalism is not at present even a practical success, far less a moral or artistic one.
Art exists solely in order to create a miniature universe, a working model of the universe, a toy universe which we can play with as a child plays with a toy theatre.
A great drama of the past does not consist of one sincerity. A great drama consists often of twenty sincerities, all colliding with each other.
When chaos overcomes any moral or religious scheme, it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are let loose and wander and do terrible damage. But the virtues are let loose even more; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage.
A seven-headed dragon is, perhaps, a very terrifying monster. But a child who has never heard about him is a much more terrifying monster than he is. The maddest griffin or chimera is not so wild a supposition as a school without fairy-tales.
Our historians lie much more than our journalists; our fashionable conceptions of the past change with every fashion; and like most fashions, are fantastic and hideous.
The first use of good literature is that it prevents a man from being merely modern.
Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.
In dealing with the arrogant asserter of doubt, it is not the right method to tell him to stop doubting. It is rather the right method to tell him to go on doubting, to doubt a little more, to doubt every day newer and wilder things in the universe, until at last, by some strange enlightenment, he may begin to doubt himself.
Now, when you are in the proper Chestertonian frame of mind, would be the perfect time to dash on over and order the book. You might also like to mention it to your Chesterton-loving friends, if you have any friends left after quoting so much Chesterton at them.