Chesterton (As Usual) Hits the Nail on the Head

Remember that post I wrote about the Winter Soldier and Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal? Well guess who just so happened to say what I said in that about idealism and realism, except he only used half the words?

G. K. Chesterton and his hair in all its glory.

G. K. Chesterton and his hair in all its glory.

This is the excerpt from Orthodoxy, Chapter 4: the Ethics of Elfland, which describes precisely what I was trying to get at in my post:

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 Armaggedon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother’s knee a 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.

Cap and Kenshin have lost their faith in specific human organizations, like S.H.I.E.L.D or the Ishin-shishi, but they haven’t lost their faith in the goodness of men, or the peaceful worlds that they look to create. They have simply found that, in the final analysis, they cannot merely depend on human organizations to achieve their goals.

And notice, Chesterton says, “It is the reality that is often a fraud.” Cap and Kenshin see that what people label as “reality” isn’t truly reality; it is only what people have settled for because they are unwilling or unable to see how one must live in order to have the world we should have. 

So read Chesterton, if you haven’t, and read him instead of me, because he very succinct and interesting and witty all at the same time.

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