"Chesterton and Belloc had strong ties to FABIAN SOCIALISM, which the Church condemned time and again." - Timothy Gordon
Chesterton quotes to the contrary:
Apparently, some people have credulously believed Mr. Gordon's accusations about Chesterton's alleged Socialism. Below, I'll be providing quotes by Chesterton to help Mr. Gordon understand how GK renounced and repudiated Socialism all throughout his career. Cheers!
"If Socialism means anything, it seems to mean Modernism; in the sociological as distinct from the theological sense. In both senses, it is generally a euphemism for muddle-headedness."
"I consider that in man there is a natural desire to own, and that Socialism, since it fails to gratify that desire, will be intolerable to the mass of men."
"Collectivism is not a word to wake men up. Liberty is. If you want the workingman to fight for progress you must offer him the thing for which he fights best, his own honour and his own home."
"The advantage of Socialism would be that, if the State were supreme everywhere, it could see everybody had enough money & comfort. The disadvantage of Socialism would be that if the State were supreme everywhere, it might easily become a tyrant, as it's been again & again."
"Socialism, like teetotalism, is a desperate remedy; that is, it is only a defensible remedy if it is the only remedy. I do not believe it is the only remedy."
"What it is worthwhile to point out, first & last, is that Socialism is a tyranny; that it is inevitably, even avowedly and almost justifiably, a tyranny. It is the pretense that government can prevent all injustice by being directly responsible for anything that happens."
"If the collective economic power is not strong enough to tyrannize, it is not strong enough to do anything that a Socialist wants it to do. If it has not power enough to commit injustice it has not power enough to prevent injustice."
"I believe there are some people who say that they want Socialism, but do not want bureaucracy. Such persons I leave in simple despair."
"Some people look forward to a splendid transformation of the general human soul. That is a good argument for accepting Socialism — and when one comes to think of it, an even better reason for doing without it."
"Socialism is not polygamous, is not Catholic, and is not democratic. Socialism is simply the proposal that the Government, instead of taxing all property equally or unequally, should secure all property, and distribute it equally or unequally."
"Socialism would not touch co-operation with a barge-pole. Co-operation is a term we use for the voluntary and mostly temporary help between independent agents...Co-operation is a thing almost peculiar to places where many people have private property."
"The Socialist isn't wrong because he realizes things have been lawlessly scattered. The Socialist is wrong because he wants to sweep up all the scattered things into one monstrous heap in the marketplace instead of putting them back in their proper places all over the town"
"The very word Socialist has come very near to meaning merely Sentimentalist. It means a man not bold and logical enough to call himself a Communist."
"The nearest men will ever get to Internationalism is Imperialism; just as the nearest they will ever get to the Socialist State is the Servile State."
"I sometimes fancy every Socialist is a Fabian at heart; or even a Prussian at heart. The Fabian faith is that a worker always has a right to employment. It does not even ask if he ever has a right to unemployment."
"I fancy that even slave-owners only regarded slavery as a necessary evil. But Socialists do not regard property as a necessary evil; indeed, they regard it as the very reverse of a necessary evil. They regard it as an impossible good."
"Distributism may be a dream, but it is not a sleep, or a cause of sleep, like the word Socialism."
"Socialism is the very reverse of social."
"There is no freedom for a man except in some sort of private ownership of things like water and fire. If he owned his own well his water could never be cut off, and while he sits by his own fire his pipe can never be put out. That is the real meaning of property, and the real argument against Socialism; probably the only argument against Socialism."
"The Marxian Socialist says that mental states come only from material conditions. To which I reply that his material conditions are bad by his own account, and therefore his mental conclusions are wrong by his own argument."
"What Nietzsche said of Christianity, what was emphatically not true of Christianity, actually is true of Marxian materialism. It is a slave morality; a protest against particular authorities made by the spirit of slavery, and not by the spirit of liberty."
"Marxian materialism, by its own moral theory, works for enlightenment rather than emancipation. Its enlightenment is not meant to make men free, but to make them realize the impossibility of freedom."
"In short, there cannot admittedly be political equality in the Socialist State, even if there is economic equality. Even if we have abolished aristocracy and plutocracy, there can still be bureaucracy; and perhaps a particularly bullying bureaucracy."
"The Socialist critic commonly proceeds directly to denounce Capitalism without defining property. This is very much as if a man set out to denounce Mormonism without having heard of marriage."
"Socialists assume that private property was never anything but a sort of crude capitalistic luxury; and they are very much startled when they collide with the peasant and find the strongest sense of property is not found in the world of luxury, but in the world of poverty."
"A Socialist State cannot allow opposition, because a Socialist State cannot ALLOW anything. It is the whole point of it that it produces everything, possesses everything, and is directly responsible for everything."
"My objection to a Socialist State is that it would do hurt to certain dignities of human nature which must not be destroyed; that it would certainly rob the peasant; that it would probably persecute the priest; that it would make democracy a dream & government a nightmare."
"What the Socialist does not understand is that there is a field of operations which must be independent, because it is incommunicable. A peasant will not report to a County Council exactly what he going to do with his own house or field, any more than an artist will report exactly what he is going to do with his unfinished story or statue."
"Socialism means that the ordinary man cannot be trusted with private property, because he will waste it or grab too much of it."
"I do not condemn Communism because it is violent and revolutionary. I condemn Communism because it is false. I condemn it because it is an erroneous ethical theory of the normal life of man."
"If Communism were brought about by invisible gradations like the growth of an ancient tree, it would still be false. If it were lawfully established by the King, Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled it would still be false."
"I think Trade Unionism and even Socialism, left to themselves, very likely go to sleep or sing the world to sleep. I think nothing but Distributism is in the least likely to wake it up."
"The worst that can be said of Communism is that it is a possibility. And perhaps the best that can be said for it is that it is an impossibility."
"What the peasant has is exactly what the Individualist never has and the Socialist never has: common sense."
"The Marxian talks as if the only object of saving people from sufferings inflicted by “the blind forces of capitalism” was that those people should have material consumption and material security. It is not; it is that they should have life, and have it more abundantly."
"The evil should not be called Bolshevism but Marxism; or perhaps a particular policy founded on the materialism of Marx."
"We do not primarily resist Communism because we could not have free soup served out to everybody in a large fish-kettle and a long ladle; but because we could not have at the same time free soup and free souls."
"Mr. Bernard Shaw [as a Socialist] proposes to distribute wealth. We [Distributists] propose to distribute power."
"Socialism is as workable a scheme as any other mere scheme that is only meant, in this narrow sense, to work. Socialism is not impossible. Only intolerable. It is intolerable for a reason the Roman poet put in two words: INSTANS TYRANNUS."
"It is not true, as all Socialism assumes it to be true, that the State is the only thing that has moral authority. Even more ultimate & moral than the State, in our view, are 3 things: the Family, the Church, & the sane & normal human conscience, which is the voice of God."
"Nothing has any authority except the State; not even the Soul. That is the heresy of Socialism."
"It is our [the Distributists] whole thesis that, on the day when the State absorbs all normal private property, the State will be a thief….That is the real quarrel between the Distributist and the Communist."
"It is the whole nightmare simplification of Communism to turn humanity into a huge centipede, which can only walk one way; which 'moveth all together, if it move at all.'"
"Communism has not saved Russia; but if it did, it would not save it by letting the workers own the State. Its whole point is exactly the contrary; it would do it by making the State own the workers...exactly as the State owned its own special slaves in Pagan antiquity."
"There is now a false idealism of turning Government into God, by a vague notion that it gives everything to everybody; to the denial of the liberty give by God, which is called life."
"Social idealism is often actually Satanic; in the quite cold and rational sense that it claims to be the Creator."
"We all know that the Socialists, or at least the more solid sort of Socialists who have since hardened into Communists, found their scientific basis in something that was called the Economic Theory of History. I could best sum up my own view of it by saying that I hold the flatly contrary theory; which might fairly be called the Historical Theory of Economics."
"The true, full and final argument against Communism is that private property is much more important than private enterprise. A pickpocket represents private enterprise, but we should hardly say that he supports private property."
Dear Mr. Timothy Gordon, please take a gander at these anti-Socialist, anti-Communist, anti-Fabian, anti-Marxist Chesterton quotes (which flatly contradict your accusations), and then, please, calmly reconsider your opinion on the Socialism of Distributism. —Editor
Belloc Quotes to the contrary:
"It is not an accident that Communism should produce wholesale massacre, arson, torture, and the destruction of all lovely things. A perverse theory produces perverse acts. The story has been told over and over again but it can never be told too often."
"I say that men attempting to achieve Collectivism or Socialism as the remedy for the evils of the Capitalist State find themselves drifting not towards a Collectivist State at all, but towards a Servile State."
"Socialism cannot possibly succeed, because it is founded upon nonsense. Its fundamental doctrine — the doctrine that men do not desire to own and do not normally own and are not more thoroughly men when they own — is a contradiction of basic human experience."
"The short-cut to the relief of humanity from Industrial Capitalism is Socialism, that is, the denial of Private Property, especially in the means of production. So the short-cut out of an unhappy marriage is divorce. So the short-cut out of an unhappy life is suicide."
"The attitude of the Socialist, or, as he's logically become, the Communist, with his well-worn argument of inevitability, is rooted in a wrong conception of what men are, supported by a wrong conception of the historical process reached by putting events in the wrong order."
"Communism, even as a theory, denies the most elementary right of mankind: the right of choice, the right of ordering one's own life."
"Communism is wicked in its action because IT IS EVIL IN ITS MOTIVE & DRIVING POWER. Behind the whole thing is hatred of human traditions, chief of which is the tradition of worship of God, and of revealed morals & natural religion, which are the best inheritance of mankind."
"Communism, I say, began with massacre! That must be carefully remembered. IT BEGAN WITH MASSACRE. Massacre was not an unfortunate outburst, the result of its establishment; it was the preliminary and most heartfelt spontaneous expression of its spirit."
"Communism BEGAN with massacre in Russia, in Hungary, and quite recently in Spain. The 2nd point is this: the massacre was not primarily nor mainly a massacre of those who exploited the proletariat. It was mainly, as a beginning, a massacre of men & women devoted to religion."
"But Communism did not only begin everywhere with massacre, it does not only begin everywhere by drawing up a list of victims to be murdered wholesale & without trial, it CONTINUES the habit; it lives by terror & by mass-killing. It reposes upon the terror of blind violence."
"The connection between the Communist theory and vast indiscriminate bloodshed, torture, burning and the rest, is this: that Communism proposes an imposition by force of something repulsive to the spirit of man."
"To take up a remedy for a disease, which remedy is worse than the disease itself, is mere folly. To settle your anger at an injustice by committing a murder is a moral insanity. To fly to Communism as a cure for Capitalism is an action of that kind."
"Communism is a false remedy to the evils Capitalism has brought upon us. We've seen it's a false remedy; but there are two other things about it all important for us to understand. The first is that it's evil—not a mere economic theory, but a moral theory & wicked one."
"The one barrier to the spread of Socialism (Communism) over Christendom from its Russian centres has been the Catholic Church."
"The Socialist ideal, in conflict with and yet informing the body of Capitalism, produces a third thing very different from the Socialist ideal — to wit, the Servile State."
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