Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chesterton's Political "Party"?

People often wonder what Chesterton's political party was - or would be. There are times when he is very "conservative" - others where he is very "liberal"... as we now use those terms. But this is not that kind of a post. It is really very short, and not even argumentative. You see, when I was hunting up some details about word use for my previous posting about semicolons, I found I had done another little study of "proper names"... and I happened to stumble on a very long series of words, and wondered what it meant. It turned out to be Chesterton's name for his own political party, and you will enjoy learning what it is:
...the sort of expression which it would be necessary for the happy crowd to cry with one voice, if it elected me to Parliament. I am a Radical Nationalist Anti-Imperialist Anti-Collectivist Distributivist Christian Social Democrat. I am all that; and there are about three more of me. But my party, though of a wisdom and virtue vastly superior to all others, has not reached the stage which distracts it with the temptations of power and patronage. And my revolutionary movement has at present no axe to grind, not even the axe of the guillotine.
[GKC ILN July 16 1921 CW32:205]
This is a nice little tricky tongue twister to memorise, and once you have mastered GKC's famous poem called "Plakkopytrixophylisperambulantiobatrix" (to be found in The Coloured Lands) you can go for this one next.

Note: I typed that word in from memory - it was NOT cut-and-pasted. It also can be sung to that "Poppins" song, if you like that sort of thing. It is also four letters longer, and you will sound even more precocious if you learn to say it. Hee hee. Tea parties on the ceiling, I tell you.... Innocent Smith having picnics on the roof!

1 comment:

  1. It's a pity Chesterton never DID sit in parliament. I'm sure he would have graced Hansard with some of its most memorable speeches. And have got about a hundred one-liners into the Oxford Book of Political Put-Downs.

    I can say with great confidence, however, that nobody would ever have described him as a proponent of antidisestablishmentarianism. (Look it up!)

    May I do a plug for my new blog, the Irish Chestertonian? A place for the "great Gaels of Ireland" (and anyone else) to chatter on about GKC...well, that's the intention!


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