What’s Wrong With The World PDF

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What’s Wrong With The World By G.K. Chesterton PDF Free Download


A BOOK of modern social inquiry has a shape that is somewhat sharply defined.

It begins as a rule with an analysis, with statistics, tables of population, a decrease of crime among Congrega nationalists, growth of hysteria among policemen, and similar ascertained facts; it ends with a chapter that is generally called “The Remedy.”

It is almost wholly due to this careful, solid, and scientific method that “The Remedy” is never found. For this scheme of medical question and answer is a blunder; the first great blunder of sociology.

It is always called stating the disease before we find the cure. But it is the whole definition and dignity of man that in social matters we must actually find the cure before we find the disease.

The fallacy is one of the fallacies that come from the modern madness for biological or bodily metaphors.

It is convenient to speak of the Social Organism, just as it is convenient to speak of the British Lion. But Britain is no more an organism than Britain is a lion.

The moment we begin to give a nation the unity and simplicity of an animal, we begin to think wildly.

Because every man is a biped, fifty men are not a centipede. This has produced, for instance, the gaping absurdity of perpetually talking about ‘young nations” and “dying nations,” as if a nation had a fixed and physical span of life.

Thus people will say that Spain has entered a final senility; they might as well say that Spain is losing all her teeth.

Or people will say that Canada should soon produce literature; which is like saying that Canada must soon grow a mustache.

Nations consist of people; the first generation may be decrepit, or the ten thousandths may be vigorous.

Similar applications of the fallacy are made by those who see in the increasing size of national possessions, a simple increase in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

These people, indeed, even fall short in the subtlety of the parallel of a human body. They do not even ask whether an empire is growing taller in its youth, or only growing fatter in its old age.

But of all the instances of error arising from this physical fancy, the worst is that we have before us: the habit of exhaustively describing a social sickness, and then propounding a social drug.

Now we do talk first about the disease in cases of bodily breakdown, and that for an excellent reason.

Because, though there may be doubt about the way in which the body broke down, there is no doubt at all about the shape in which it should be built up again.

No doctor proposes to produce a new kind of man, with a new arrangement of eyes or limbs. The hospital, by necessity, may send a man home with one leg less: but it will not (in a creative rapture) send him home with one leg extra.

Medical science is content with the normal human body and only seeks to restore it.

Mr. Belloc once said that he would no more part with the idea of property than with his teeth ; yet to Mr. Bernard Shaw property is not a tooth, but a toothache.

Lord Milner has sincerely attempted to introduce German efficiency ; and many of us would as soon welcome German Measles.

Dr. Saleeby would honestly like to have Eugenics ; but I would rather have rheumatics.

This is the arresting and dominant fact about modern social discussion ; that the quarrel is not merely about the difficulties, but about the aim.

We agree about the evil ; it is about the good that we should tear each other’s eyes out.

We all admit that a lazy aristocracy is a bad thing.

We should not by any means all admit that an active aristocracy would be a good thing.

We all feel angry with an irreligious priesthood ; but some of us would go mad with disgust at a really religious one.

Everyone is indignant if our army is weak, including the people who would be even more indignant if it were strong.

The social case is exactly the opposite of the medical case.

We do not disagree, like doctors, about the precise nature of the illness, while agreeing about the nature of health. On the contrary, we all agree that England is unhealthy,

Author G.K. Chesterton
Language English
No. of Pages292
PDF Size11.5 MB

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