Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

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Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Del » Thu May 21, 2020 5:26 pm

I put this in Theology, because I believe this forum is protected from the general public view. I don't know the rules for copyright and all, so let's keep it to ourselves.
I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.

This essay was written by Dale Ahlquist, president of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton.
Published in the June issue of Gilbert! magazine.
Vexation

In his Illustrated London News column on September 18, 1909 (Oct. 2 American edition), G.K. Chesterton wrote the following:
Suppose an Indian said: “I heartily wish India had always been free from white men and all their works. Every system has its sins: and we prefer our own. There would have been dynastic wars; but I prefer dying in battle to dying in hospital. There would have been despotism; but I prefer one king whom I hardly ever see to a hundred kings regulating my diet and my children. There would have been pestilence; but I would sooner die of the plague than die of toil and vexation in order to avoid the plague. There would have been religious differences dangerous to public peace; but I think religion more important than peace. Life is very short; a man must live somehow and die somewhere; the amount of bodily comfort a peasant gets under your best Republic is not so much more than mine. If you do not like our sort of spiritual comfort, we never asked you to. Go, and leave us with it.” Suppose an Indian said that, I should call him an Indian Nationalist, or, at least, an authentic Indian, and I think it would be very hard to answer him.
This was when India was still the Jewel in the Crown. The British Empire was at its height, but it was beginning to totter. Chesterton was no fan of Empire. He considered himself a “Little Englander,” loyal to his country, but a critic of his country ruling other countries.

One of the people who read this column was a young Indian lawyer named Mohandas Gandhi. As Chesterton would do as he has done with so many of readers across the years, he expressed Gandhi’s thoughts better than he could have expressed them himself. How many times have we been “thunderstruck” by something we have read by Chesterton? That was precisely the word used by one of Gandhi’s biographers to describe his reaction to reading Chesterton’s column. His life was changed. He immediately translated the whole article into Gujarati. He then used it as the basis of his book Hind Swaraj, in which he argued for the novel idea of Indians ruling India, an idea otherwise known as democracy. In the decades that followed, he would lead an historic movement to cast off British rule. It was difficult and demanding. It meant millions of people giving up a relative peace and bodily comfort for the sake of something even more important and more dignified than those apparently good things. But they did it. The amazing thing is that the independence of India was achieved by a huge mass of people simply disobeying laws that could not be enforced. They could not be enforced on a practical scale or on a theoretical scale. The former was a matter of numbers, the latter a matter of justice. The British, to their great credit, finally walked away.

Perhaps the line that struck you just now was: “I would sooner die of the plague than die of toil and vexation in order to avoid the plague.”

For the most part, people have behaved pretty well during the COVID Crisis, following the rules, keeping themselves and others “safe.” The Plague took over everything, especially the news. Big Government and Big Business don’t even pretend not to be joined at the hip. Small government is stifled while small business disappears. Millions have lost their jobs and their businesses. The government is printing money and sending it to them, but some would argue that this a system that cannot be sustained. And while a few students are maintaining the discipline of online education, most are simply online for quite other purposes. Little kids are out in the street, enjoying an early summer vacation, while teenagers who are not gaming are working as wage-slaves for those large and incidentally essential gudges. And the churches have been closed because the body is more important than the soul.

The goal of “slowing the spread of the disease” seems to have been achieved but for the fact that the goal is an elusive one and the finish line keeps moving farther away. Sort of like the notion of “progress.”

Other plagues have passed. We believe this one will, too. But we should start thinking right now about the aftermath, and how the structure of our society that is being extensively transformed will still be in place after the crisis. It will involve much greater control over our lives than we have ever known. Health and safety will still be used as the argument to keep us isolated and under control and buying and selling as instructed to do so.

So. When do we decide that it is better to risk dying of the plague than choosing to die of the toil and vexation in avoiding the plague? When do we decide that it is better to die in battle than die in the hospital? When do we decide to disturb the peace? Chesterton had an imaginary Indian saying, “Life is very short. We don’t have to live this way anymore …” and a real Indian made those words his own and changed history.
"If somebody serves you something to eat, and it don't taste good? -- Then it ain't Cajun!" -- Paul Prudhomme

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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by FredS » Thu May 21, 2020 6:21 pm

It's an interesting article, but I wonder what, exactly, the author is calling for? My state is fairly liberal so most folks are following the orders, but there is push back even here. The citizens in more conservative states are pushing back harder and beginning to resume their pre-pandemic routines. I think it's well worth noting that health orders are being driven down as far as they can be, with city and county officials making the calls on whether to stay or go. The feds have rightly taken charge of border and port security, in funding research, and in returning part of their share of our income taxes. If anything, we should be encouraged by how much the feds have stayed out of the way and let the locals lead the way in determining best actions based on local conditions and the desires of their citizens.

Perhaps now more of us will realize the benefits of a strong local government and start to push back at overreach by the federal government. We realize that local public schools have been on their own to figure out how best to serve their students. Why accept federal oversight any more after it's proven there's no value in it when the chips are down? Will we ever again let government decide who's job is essential and who's isn't? I don't think churches will blindly follow orders to close their doors next time, although I expect each congregation will do what's best for their people. I see positive changes coming out of this deal.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by DepartedLight » Thu May 21, 2020 6:49 pm

Gandhi: I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.

NPR Reporter: Chesterton one said ...

Gandhi cutting in: I'd like to amend my statement.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Del » Thu May 21, 2020 8:43 pm

FredS wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 6:21 pm
It's an interesting article, but I wonder what, exactly, the author is calling for?
Chesterton wasn't one to call for a specific course of action.... and neither is Dale Ahlquist.

What Chesterton and friends want is for us to develop our own idea of the final goal. What do we want our lives to look like when we are done with our political projects? -- When does our "progress" arrive at an end? And who decides?

Your observations below would please Chesterton very much! Local rule wins over imperial rule. Let us peasants decide for ourselves how we will live our own lives and families and bits of property. Let's cooperate for the common good.... but let's not let our administrators overrule us.
FredS wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 6:21 pm
My state is fairly liberal so most folks are following the orders, but there is push back even here. The citizens in more conservative states are pushing back harder and beginning to resume their pre-pandemic routines.
This is an interesting thing to see, ain't it?

I am old enough to remember when conservatives were the rule-abiding "establishment," and liberals were the counter-culture rebels.
FredS wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 6:21 pm
I think it's well worth noting that health orders are being driven down as far as they can be, with city and county officials making the calls on whether to stay or go. The feds have rightly taken charge of border and port security, in funding research, and in returning part of their share of our income taxes. If anything, we should be encouraged by how much the feds have stayed out of the way and let the locals lead the way in determining best actions based on local conditions and the desires of their citizens.

Perhaps now more of us will realize the benefits of a strong local government and start to push back at overreach by the federal government. We realize that local public schools have been on their own to figure out how best to serve their students. Why accept federal oversight any more after it's proven there's no value in it when the chips are down? Will we ever again let government decide who's job is essential and who's isn't? I don't think churches will blindly follow orders to close their doors next time, although I expect each congregation will do what's best for their people. I see positive changes coming out of this deal.
Whatever one feels about our current President, it is a blessing that he has refused to wield dictatorial powers during these crises. He has refused to create new government agencies that will endure beyond the crises. He has let the states rule themselves, while providing federal aid as needed.
"If somebody serves you something to eat, and it don't taste good? -- Then it ain't Cajun!" -- Paul Prudhomme

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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by FredS » Thu May 21, 2020 8:58 pm

Del wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:43 pm
. . .Whatever one feels about our current President, it is a blessing that he has refused to wield dictatorial powers during these crises. He has refused to create new government agencies that will endure beyond the crises. He has let the states rule themselves, while providing federal aid as needed.
Yep. I remember when, two months ago, doctors and nurses were all like "The President needs to send us masks! It's his fault there's not enough to go around." I wondered aloud if they really thought the POTUS should be in charge of the supply room at their hospital?
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Roadmaster » Thu May 21, 2020 10:05 pm

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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Del » Fri May 22, 2020 7:05 am

FredS wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:58 pm
Del wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:43 pm
. . .Whatever one feels about our current President, it is a blessing that he has refused to wield dictatorial powers during these crises. He has refused to create new government agencies that will endure beyond the crises. He has let the states rule themselves, while providing federal aid as needed.
Yep. I remember when, two months ago, doctors and nurses were all like "The President needs to send us masks! It's his fault there's not enough to go around." I wondered aloud if they really thought the POTUS should be in charge of the supply room at their hospital?
I had the feeling that was just another fake-news panic.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by tuttle » Fri May 22, 2020 8:31 am

That was a good article. I didn't know Chesterton had impacted Gandhi.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Del » Fri May 22, 2020 9:50 am

tuttle wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:31 am
That was a good article. I didn't know Chesterton had impacted Gandhi.
Chesterton inspired two national revolutions.

Gandhi said that he was first inspired to start a movement toward a free and independent India by reading Chesterton's essays (such as this) in the Illustrated London News.

Michael Collins (founder of the IRA and Sinn Fein) was deeply affected by Chesterton's first novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill. He carried a copy with him at all times as he led the fight for an independent Ireland. Negotiators for the British were given copies to study. They were told, "You will not understand this man until you know this book."

It has been noted that the Irish fight for independence was considerably less non-violent than Gandhi's movement in India.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by John-Boy » Fri May 29, 2020 7:47 am

Del wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:26 pm
I put this in Theology, because I believe this forum is protected from the general public view.
Nope.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by gaining_age » Fri May 29, 2020 8:30 am

John-Boy wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 7:47 am
Del wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:26 pm
I put this in Theology, because I believe this forum is protected from the general public view.
Nope.
oopsie.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by John-Boy » Fri May 29, 2020 8:36 am

gaining_age wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:30 am
John-Boy wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 7:47 am
Del wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:26 pm
I put this in Theology, because I believe this forum is protected from the general public view.
Nope.
oopsie.
:lol: No worries. He's new here.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Del » Fri May 29, 2020 12:50 pm

John-Boy wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:36 am
gaining_age wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:30 am
John-Boy wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 7:47 am
Del wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:26 pm
I put this in Theology, because I believe this forum is protected from the general public view.
Nope.
oopsie.
:lol: No worries. He's new here.
I don't mind being corrected by John-Boy.


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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Thunktank » Fri May 29, 2020 6:53 pm

“Del” wrote:I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by hugodrax » Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 pm

Thunktank wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:53 pm
“Del” wrote:I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.
Image
Could we all just agree that all Del posts go in to the opt in forum?

Please?
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by John-Boy » Sat May 30, 2020 6:23 am

hugodrax wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:53 pm
“Del” wrote:I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.
Image
Could we all just agree that all Del posts go in to the opt in forum?

Please?
There is a forum feature to simulate that.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by hugodrax » Sat May 30, 2020 7:00 am

John-Boy wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 6:23 am
hugodrax wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:53 pm
“Del” wrote:I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.
Image
Could we all just agree that all Del posts go in to the opt in forum?

Please?
There is a forum feature to simulate that.
Hmmm. Which one?
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by Del » Sat May 30, 2020 7:40 am

hugodrax wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:00 am
John-Boy wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 6:23 am
hugodrax wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:53 pm
“Del” wrote:I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.
Image
Could we all just agree that all Del posts go in to the opt in forum?

Please?
There is a forum feature to simulate that.
Hmmm. Which one?
It's the one that assigns a new moniker, every time a guy logs on.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by John-Boy » Sat May 30, 2020 7:41 am

Del wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:40 am
hugodrax wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:00 am
John-Boy wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 6:23 am
hugodrax wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:53 pm
“Del” wrote:I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.
Image
Could we all just agree that all Del posts go in to the opt in forum?

Please?
There is a forum feature to simulate that.
Hmmm. Which one?
It's the one that assigns a new moniker, every time a guy logs on.
Nah, that's not it. It rhymes with Toe.
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Re: Chesterton, Gandhi, & COVID

Post by hugodrax » Sat May 30, 2020 7:53 am

John-Boy wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:41 am
Del wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:40 am
hugodrax wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 7:00 am
John-Boy wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 6:23 am
hugodrax wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:25 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:53 pm
“Del” wrote:I did not post in Opt-In, because I want to share it with everyone on CPS.
Image
Could we all just agree that all Del posts go in to the opt in forum?

Please?
There is a forum feature to simulate that.
Hmmm. Which one?
It's the one that assigns a new moniker, every time a guy logs on.
Nah, that's not it. It rhymes with Toe.
But that wouldnt solve your problem. It would only solve my problem. The proposed solution would solve BOTH our problems.
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