The Best Chance of Peace…

Unity and peace are achieved when respecting boundaries…

Or put another way, how did Chesterton feel about an “Open Border” policy?

“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of [a]their number.” ( 2 Kings 2:23-24 )

You might say this in another way, Elisha was going his own way, *minding his own business*, when he is attacked by 42 boys who begin persecuting him, first with name-calling and then their sheer number implying a physical threat. One older man against 42 young robust boys, overwhelming him. There is a lesson there for our day about human nature, about doing the very thing that threatens peace and unity of those trying to mind their own business. It is a lesson that Chesterton reminds us about: our propensity to quarrel when we crowd each other.

“A queer and almost mad notion seems to have got into the modern head that, if you mix everybody and everything more or less anyhow, the mixture may be called unity, and the unity may be called peace. It is supposed that, if you break down all doors and walls so that there is no domesticity, there will then be nothing but friendship. Surely somebody must have noticed by this time that the men living in a hotel quarrel at least as often as the men living in a street… These foolish people trace all the chances of war to the very thing which will always be the best chance of peace — men’s habit of dwelling in their own boundaries and minding their own business. The only hope of attaining amity lies, not in ignoring boundaries, but, on the contrary, in respecting them.” – G. K, Chesterton, The Illustrated London News, September 8, 1917.

image source: The Prophet Elisha curses the children who mocked him. Painting by Willem Willemsz van den Bundel; original in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

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