January 20th 2007

  Buy Issue 2747

Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Bushfire crisis: a state of denial

AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION: High Court strikes blow against states' rights

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd - a more formidable Opposition leader?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Government's challenges over AWB-Iraq saga

QUARANTINE: Government to permit NZ apples into Australia

SCHOOLS: Trojan horse in Classical Studies curriculum

STRAWS IN THE WIND: South Pacific blues / Diamonds are an African's worst friend / Modern Madama Melbas / Putin's gambit / The Balibo Five and all that

FILM CLASSIFICATION: Australia's pornography industry suffers setback

ABORTION: Suffering in silence no more

CINEMA: Faithful re-telling of the Christmas story

Pope's back-flip on Turkey (letter)

Lack of Darfur coverage (letter)

Discarding safeguards to pursue human cloning (letter)

BOOKS: GENOCIDE: A History, by William D. Rubinstein


Books promotion page

A MISCELLANY OF MEN, by G.K. Chesterton

by Michael Daniel (reviewer)

News Weekly, January 20, 2007
A sage and prophet

by G.K. Chesterton,
with an introduction by Dale Ahlquist
(Norfolk, Virginia: IHS Press)
Paperback: 182 pages (incl. notes)
Rec. price: $25

First published in 1912, this interesting anthology of essays by G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) - originally written for newspaper publication - has been re-released with a foreword by Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society.

Some of Chesterton's essays, written as they were almost a century ago, reflect the thinking of his time, for example, his personal opposition to female suffrage; however, the vast bulk of the ideas contained therein are still very applicable to our own age. Chesterton's observations cover a broad spectrum of social trends and human behaviour, from "new" theologians to democracy or Cecil Rhodes.

In these essays, Chesterton acutely observes certain modern trends, such as the marginalisation of the ordinary man by political and economic forces. He also reiterates the point that, although Britain may be a democracy, the ordinary person has little influence over the policies of the major parties, and is presented with comparatively few options from which to choose when voting in an election.

Chesterton also expresses opposition to aspects of the women's movement that seek to remove, and/or fail to recognise, the distinctions between men and women that complement each other.

Although this anthology was published a decade before Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism, one can discern the intellectual path that would eventually lead to his conversion.

For example, inherent in his worldview is the belief that Christianity provides the best moral framework for the flourishing of society, and that societies which have an official Christian religion, such as England, are the most tolerant societies.

Chesterton also saw clearly the folly of liberal Christianity, which sought to downgrade or deny doctrine. Chesterton's rejoinder was that one cannot have Christianity without the Creed.

This anthology is not everyone's idea of light reading: each essay must be read through at least twice and reflected upon to do it justice. Nevertheless, as Dale Ahlquist argues in his preface, the testament to their value is not only that these essays, originally published as ephemeral pieces for a newspaper, were republished in book form shortly after their composition, but also that they have been republished almost a century later.

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