Chesterton: Still Fresh as a Daisy

Chesterton: Still Fresh as a Daisy August 16, 2014

‘The eugenical opportunity I have described is but an ultimate analysis of a whole drift of thoughts in the type of man who does not analyse his thoughts. He sees a slouching tramp, with a sick wife and a string of rickety children, and honestly wonders what he can do with them. But prosperity does not favour self-examination; and he does not even ask himself whether he means “How can I help them?” or “How can I use them?”—what he can still do for them, or what they could still do for him. Probably he sincerely means both, but the latter much more than the former; he laments the breaking of the tools of Mammon much more than the breaking of the images of God. It would be almost impossible to grope in the limbo of what he does think; but we can assert that there is one thing he doesn’t think. He doesn’t think, “This man might be as jolly as I am, if he need not come to me for work or wages.”‘

— The Prophet G.K. Chesterton on both Left Wing Abortionists and Right Wing Screamers at Central American Children, both relying on the same Malthusian arguments for dooming undesirable children, both castigating the other as heartless, both right, and both horribly wrong.

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  • Mike Blackadder

    Love it.

    “The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists. It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air. A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.”

    Fresh as a daisy!

  • Raoul Duke

    AFAIK, runnin’ around declarifyin’ that others are bad people doesnt get anyone to Heaven. ‘specially the one doin’ the runnin’ and declarin’

    • Benjamin2.0

      Does that apply to those who declarify that others are bad people for declarifying that others are bad people? Perhaps it only applies to specifying who isn’t going to heaven?

      I’d rather think that admonishing sinners, when done mercifully, is an act of mercy – that the ends and means both are relevant. It’s really the only way to embrace both “judge not” and “… will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

      • The problem here is that Mark is attempting to confuse the situation by glossing over a series of sins and selectively complaining about the last one in the line.

        The economic situation in the source countries? Sinful
        The decision to encourage emigration to reduce population? Sinful
        The decision to send your kid thousands of miles alone in order to take advantage of a legal loophole to commit further legal violations? Sinful
        The decision of transit countries to not enforce their own laws so long as these migrants don’t settle locally? Sinful
        The decision not to enforce our own laws? Sinful
        The decision to scare and threaten kids? Sinful

        There’s an awful lot of “mote in your eye, what beam in my eye” work going on in Mark Shea’s immigration discussion. That too is sinful.

        • Dan F.

          As a quick take:

          Not necessarily
          Not necessarily
          In this case unlikely

      • Raoul Duke

        “Does that apply to those who declarify that others are bad people for declarifying that others are bad people?”

        Well, I certaily didn’t name anyone as bad people; I only spoke of actions of a particular type, and the foolishness of ’em.

        “Perhaps it only applies to specifying who isn’t going to heaven?” Maybe you could tell me who’s sayin’ who’s goin’ to Heaven and who ain’t? I sure didn’t. I just said that crowin’ about how bad othrr folk are ain’t gettin’ anyone there. Some Pharasees might have different notions on that, though.

        “I’d rather think that admonishing sinners, when done merciful….”

        Wull…. that sure would be a fancy trick, “admonishing” unnamed folks you never met, by postin’ stuff to the internet, bad-mouthin’ ’em to others.

  • The applicability to abortionists is obvious enough. Surplus children are to be killed. This isn’t a hard construct to understand. The normal behavior is you love, birth, and raise your children. The abortionist violates that directly and profoundly.

    The “screamers at children” is a bit more complicated because the normal behavior is more complicated. The normal thing to happen is that we stay in our communities by and large, working and building a good life that has its own local culture and customs, part of a universal brotherhood of humanity but distinct in what we build and offer to God. When we travel, or have travelers come to us we greet them, love them as brothers and sisters, and if they fall in love with our way of doing things, make room for as many as we may safely take. If they need temporary refuge because of a danger, welcome them and help them to get home as the danger passes.

    It’s important to remember what is normal.

    Open borders advocates mean to depress laboring class wages by increasing the supply of labor and mobilize them into a numerous enough voting class that they can create a durable majority to fundamentally transform us into something we are not at present. This is not normal and not the position of the Church.

    They use children, alone and isolated to try to break us of the absolutely normal position that we do not take everybody who shows up. The violent, the contagious, the wreckers in our own community are not to be shoved across the border to be somebody else’s problem nor is some other community legitimate when they shove theirs over to us. Children are enticed into a dangerous journey in order to get us to stop thinking.

    Recently a Jain prayer meeting in Houston Texas ended with 50 sent to local hospitals. They didn’t think:

    Too many people accepted into the house but nobody thought what the design tolerances of the system were and what would happen when they were exceeded.

    They could have had their meeting on a ground floor and done it safely. They could have gone to another property. They could have reinforced the structure and held it in the same room. But they didn’t think and dozens were hurt.

    This country has been a high immigration country. It’s also been a country with a pretty extensive welfare state. You can be one or the other and not crash the system. You can’t be both without courting ruin. The welfare state significantly lowers the number of immigrants you can safely take without crashing the system.

    • Alex

      Open borders advocates mean to depress laboring class wages by increasing the supply of labor and mobilize them into a numerous enough voting class that they can create a durable majority to fundamentally transform us into something we are not at present. This is not normal and not the position of the Church.

      It’s interesting that libertarians are often as enthusiastic advocates of open borders as ultra-liberals.

      • Yes, you are correct. Read further to the last paragraph where I say that you can have broad immigration but not at the same time as a broad government safety net. The libertarian position is very little public spending of all types and broad immigration. It’s a viable position and one that parts company with liberals on government expenditures.

    • Alma Peregrina

      “It’s important to remember what is normal.”


      … it’s NOT normal to scream at children, EVEN IF you think they’re being used as pawns by the grown-ups to something you disagree. Or ESPECIALLY if you think they’re being used like that.

      I can think of an abortionist doing exactly the same rationalizations you did.

      Case in point: it’s normal behaviour to love, birth and raise children, not kill them or scream at them or hate them because of your political ideology, be it pro-choice or anti-immigration.


      Anything more, comes from the Devil.

      • No, not period. Sometimes you take kids away from those who birthed them but are now abusing them. Sometimes you throw those parents in jail. Is putting your kid on the hobo express from Guatamala to California child abuse in your book? It is in my book.

        Neither side, administration or protestors is doing what is normal, yet only one side is being taken to task by Mark Shea. I find this selective critique wrongheaded and not authentically Catholic.

        The protesters, do not have the power to do what is right because they have no police powers so they stomp their feet and try to shame things into being done properly. That’s the difference between a protest and a mob. If I had a better strategy for them to embrace, I would enthusiastically endorse it. You haven’t supplied a better alternative. Do you have one?

        • Alma Peregrina

          “You haven’t supplied a better alternative. Do you have one?”

          Yes, I do.

          Don’t scream at children for their parent’s sins.

          Stop justifying what the “protesters, not the mob” did.


          Anything more comes from the Devil.

          PS: And do you have an alternative to all those children that are now being aborted? Wouldn’t they crash the welfare system as well? Wouldn’t they increase the supply of labour as well? Wouldn’t they, being majorly from lower classes and minorities, create a voting class as well? What’s your alternative for those children that you say should not be aborted?

          • You seem to be justifying sending kids unaccompanied on freight cars. Since I already am on record as considering that child abuse and your solution does absolutely nothing to address this abuse but just makes it more likely that more parents choose to abuse their kids this way, we really don’t have much more to discuss.

            You are very much part of the problem. You don’t even have the guts to directly deny that sending kids alone on freight cars is a child abuse problem. You just want to condemn the only people discouraging that form of child abuse by, yes, unpleasantly yelling at the far end of the trip for these kids. You’re an enabler for a form of child abuse that risks their lives but are outraged that the kids are getting yelled at.

            I don’t like that the kids are being yelled at. I’d much rather change the 2008 law that’s causing this flood of unaccompanied minors. But if the choice is between more kids getting hurt and killed in latin america riding the rails and not getting yelled at when they arrive in the US and fewer kids getting hurt and killed in latin america because all the yelling has a minor deterrent effect. I’ll take fewer crippled and dead kids please. You seem to favor the other alternative. That disgusts me.

            • Alma Peregrina

              Yep, that’s right.

              I’m “part of the problem”…

              I’m “condemning people that discourage child abuse”…

              I’m “justifying sending kids unacompanied in freight cars”…

              I’m “favoring the other alternative”…

              … because…

              … I said that children should not be screamed at.

              Bravo. Impecable logic. I never thought of that.

              It’s incredible how something so simples as, like, you know, not screaming at children, makes me a child abuser that will disrupt America’s delicate balance.
              Why can’t I just be mercifull at those children and scream at them? No one likes screaming at children, but that is the mercifull thing to do to have less crippled children around. I have seen prochoice people advocate the same kind of “mercy” for not having so much crippled children around… but they’re wrong and you’re right. Because.
              After all, you’ve proven that you have so much alternatives to children being aborted.

              PS: Thank you for confirming my resolution to abandon the Right Wing and become a real Catholic. Someone that doesn’t need to find convoluted justifications to scream at vulnerable children in a lamentable situation through no fault of their own. If that makes me part of the problem, so be it.

              • Pearl clutching blue stocking logic isn’t particularly Catholic. But neither was Mark’s original post so you’re fitting right in.

                Riding on multiple freight trains for days as an unaccompanied minor risking life, limb, and freedom does not concern you, not even a little bit. Real Catholics all up and down those train lines are worried about these dangerous rides, but not you.

                You’re not particularly concerned that the US is setting itself up as an attractive nuisance for these kids. You just want people to stop unpleasantly shouting at the kids to get out. Because it’s the optics that are important.


                Yes, you’re part of the problem, and it’s a problem that is there irrespective of ideology. The Cornyn-Cuellar immigration bill would solve the problem by getting rid of the accidental creation of this attractive nuisance. Cornyn’s a Republican and Cuellar is a Democrat. But you’re not focused on that. You just want the optics to not disturb you. You just want the public shouting to stop and if a few kids die when they fall asleep on a freight car and roll off on the way to the promised land of America, it’s not what you’re concerned about.