April 19, 2016

Chesterton's Gate

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

- - - Frost, Mending Wall

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox.

There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton

Posted by gerardvanderleun at April 19, 2016 7:48 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

To which I ask:
Did any of the "Gay Marriage" crowd ever consider why there is the institution of marriage between one man and one woman?
Now that "Gay Marriage" is the 'law of the land', by fiat of 5 robed rulers, what of the polygamy and polyandry crews? What of those who wish to marry their horse, their cow, their dog, or their favorite sheep? Why should they be denied 'marriage to the one they love'? Is that FAIR?
Personally, I have no problem with pairings of any sort but feel that there IS a reason for the original version of 'marriage' though beyond the trio of self-help partnership through life, raising a family and lineage recording, and religious aspects along with government interest in peaceful co-existence... Make up your own.
I don't claim to know the answer, but know that changing something that dates back thousands of years(?) willy-nilly at the behest of the Hollywood know-nothings is a fools errand. /rant off

Posted by: tomw at April 19, 2016 10:57 AM


We're older now, but still running against the wind.

Posted by: pbird at April 19, 2016 11:48 AM

Where, in the constitution, is the gov't given the specific authority to have any say about marriage?

The first person to say the *general welfare clause* gets punched right in the face.

Posted by: ghostsniper at April 19, 2016 1:58 PM

Well, 'sniper, why in H did the SCOTUS robed rulers stick their nose into a state discussion?
The FedGov has stuck their nose under the rug in the area of taxation and inheritance. Maybe they should sneak out...
To answer my own question, I think it is the alphabet soup of sexual flavors that instigated the whole thing in their search to be 'the same' as a married couple, I assume. At least in the eyes of some levels of government, if not some of organized religion.

Posted by: tomw at April 19, 2016 3:42 PM

The wisest of reformers will approach the gate, produce a key, unlock the gate and throw it open. Recognizing that the gate may very well serve a purpose again in the future even if that purpose is simply to stand as a memorial to the folly of those that erected it in the first place.

Posted by: Old Salt at April 21, 2016 10:48 PM