Back to Fundamentals

When the business man rebukes the idealism of his office-boy, it is commonly in some such speech as this: “Ah, yes, when one is young, one has these ideals in the abstract and these castles in the air; but in middle age they all break up like clouds, and one comes down to a belief in practical politics, to using the machinery one has and getting on with the world as it is.” Thus, at least, venerable and philanthropic old men now in their honoured graves used to talk to me when I was a boy. But since then I have grown up and have discovered that these philanthropic old men were telling lies. What has really happened is exactly the opposite of what they said would happen. They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother’s knee at the mere mention of it. No; the vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud. As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals.

By Liberalism Chesterton means the doctrine of self-governance.

Armageddon, indeed.

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Iconoclasts

Why is it that I can’t stand bureaucracies? Oh, that’s right, now I remember. Red tape destroys a World War II monument in Normandy because a farmer did not have the money to prune his trees. Government is so efficient.

I guess nothing really matters except the present generation: no past, no future. Now, us: that’ all that matters. Right?

Hats off also to the majority in the Supreme court who once again have decided to rewrite the Constitution by finding a new right somewhere in invisible ink. Boumediene v. Bush is precious. This sounds like a good plot for another National Treasure sequel.

I am sure the founding fathers hid every right imaginable on that parchment. We have until the end of the world to find them all.

Perhaps the purgatory of the said Supreme Court justices could be to write “I will not rewrite the Constitution” a thousand times in invisible ink without the fires of Purgatory heating up the ink to reveal the words (See National Treasure for details). St. Peter will only let them out when their work is cool enough to be invisible.

But if one is going to invent Constitutional rights out of thin air, it’s worth asking: What moral universe do Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, Stephens, and Souter inhabit when they are willing to manufacture constitutional rights for unlawful enemy combatants who want to slit the throats and watch innocent Americans bleed and die while at the same time uphold manufactured constitutional rights that allow people to abort innocent unborn children?

Oh, the dishonor of it all. Where did all the heroes go?