Chesterton quotations that came to mind on the recent Ebola crisis, the breaking of quarantine to bring two infected patients into the US where no case of Ebola has ever been, the damage control of the CDC who have contradicted themselves several times to the public by means of social media, the complicity of the Department of Defense and business deal press releases about Monsanto paying Tekmira only days before 1.5 million dollars start up fee to develop an Ebola vaccine for the US where we are assured Ebola will not spread and the deafening silence of our leaders over this wild thing taken tamely …
The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.
– G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, The Suicide of Thought, 1908
But whenever we see things done wildly, but taken tamely, then the State is growing insane. For instance, I have a gun license. For all I know, this would logically allow me to fire off fifty-nine enormous field-guns day and night in my back garden. I should not be surprised at a man doing it; for it would be great fun. But I should be surprised at the neighbours putting up with it, and regarding it as an ordinary thing merely because it might happen to fulfill the letter of my license.”
-G. K. Chesterton, The Mad Official, A Miscellany of Men, 1912
“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”
– G. K. Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, April 19, 1924.
“Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern.”
– G. K. Chesterton, The New Name, Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays, 1917
image source: PBS