Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things that have made me smile today

Chesterton on babies and distributism.

But there is a third, reason for my contempt, much deeper and therefore much more difficult to express; in which is rooted all my reasons for being anything I am or attempt to be; and above all, for being a Distributist. Perhaps the nearest to a description of it is to say this: that my contempt boils over into bad behaviour when I hear the common suggestion that a birth is avoided because people want to be "free" to go to the cinema or buy a gramophone or a loud-speaker. What makes me want to walk over such people like doormats is that they use the word "free." By every act of that sort they chain themselves to the most servile and mechanical system yet tolerated by men. The cinema is a machine for unrolling certain regular patterns called pictures; expressing the most vulgar millionaires' notion of the taste of the most vulgar millions. The gramophone is a machine for recording such tunes as certain shops and other organisations choose to sell. The wireless is better; but even that is marked by the modern mark of all three; the impotence of the receptive party. The amateur cannot challenge the actor; the householder will find it vain to go and shout into the gramophone; the mob cannot pelt the modern speaker, especially when he is a loud-speaker. It is all a central mechanism giving out to men exactly what their masters think they should have.

Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them, and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or ijingling jazz tunes turned out bv the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilisation. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world.

Discovered at The Dawn Patrol

That most wonderful and fantastic page which every man of my acquaintance should read every single day, not because they're not manly enough but as affirmation of their splendid choices to reject the modern culture and be real men -- The Art of Manliness

"If you’re over 18 and you’re still using Facebook applications to let someone know you’re interested in them, you need to be punched in the face." Article here.

Not that I know anybody who does that. It just amused me. It also made me ashamed of myself, though, not because I chase prospective mates on Facebook, but because I neglect friendships under the assumption that I can catch up with them on Facebook. And then of course I don't, except for the occasional peek at photo albums to see if anyone has recently taken an exciting trip. And I could finish up by apologizing en masse to all the friends I've neglected, but that's a cop-out. I think I'm just going to write a million emails instead. A million. Because that's how many people I love and want to keep up with, and don't because I'm too lazy.

1 comment:

Rosie X said...

MC Oh my goodness, that is a beautiful excerpt. I think I know why people like Hanssen fall in love with him. If neither you nor Chesterton mind, I think I am going to paste a big chunk of that on my own facebook. Not having a wall there, I have a lot of space.

Hey, if DH sent you a roll of pro black and white film, would you use it? He could develop it here and scan it for you. He has developers and chemicals that are hard to find, and I promise everything will look wonderful. It might be a nice little gift for you to take to Rome with you! I never got to go to Rome, you know, so I need good photos.