9.29.2009

What is Wrong with the World?

What's Wrong with the World What's Wrong with the World by G.K. Chesterton


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Again, never disappointed. He has been called "The Apostle of Common Sense" and "The Prince of Paradox" - and rightfully so. What may be maddening for some is that Chesterton does not give a straightforward argument from science or reason. His style is the argument from fairy tales. He draws on things that ring true and smell right.

In this book, he takes on the problems with liberalism and conservatism. Essentially, he argues the problem with both of them is that they lack an "ideal." Without an ideal there is nothing to progress towards, and neither is there anything to conserve.

In the scope of this book, Chesterton takes the ideal of the happy and healthy family, and demonstrates how the collectivism of the liberals and the oppression of the conservatives both work against and undermine the sustainability of the family. But if I continue to try and describe his argument, I will fail miserably because I will describe it with such inferiority that you will lose your motivation to actually read him.

I will only attempt to describe for what he is arguing. It is distributionism. Unlike socialists, he believes in property. He believes in each family working, possessing, and caring their own family and their own property. Unlike the so-called "Capitalists" - and I say so-called because he argues that they are actually the enemies of capitalism - he believes in the distribution of wealth (not state ownership but that each person would be given land and a house to own). He argues that there is no other way to make progress toward this ideal than to redistribute wealth because the poor families will not be able to attain to the ideal under the current inequalities of wealth.

The book is written in 1910 but is still very relevant for today. However, you quickly notice that he lives on the other side of such movements as woman's suffrage and politically correctness. So, you may find a few things uncomfortable, but you need to take him in his context.

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