Monday, January 25, 2010
And after thinking about how Shaw and Stalin and Hitler and Sanger were eugenicists, and wondering how in the world Chesterton could have remained friends with Shaw knowing this awful thing about him.
And I think Chesterton's secret is that he could always see people as people first.
I mean that he could see through all the layers of labels. Conservative, liberal, pessimist, optimist, socialist, republican, Marxist, vegetarian, etc. He saw under all that to the person themselves.
And so he could deal with people as people first, and not as a label.
I think our country has moved more and more towards labeling, don't you think? It's so easy to stick a label on someone, and think we know all about them then, and how they think and who they are. It safely puts people in a category, in a box, on a shelf where we don't have to deal with them as people. And then we don't have conversations because they're [fill in the blank] protestant, or liberal, or progressive, or ultraconservative, or Catholic, or a Fabian, or an environmentalist, or whatever, and we couldn't possible converse with someone like that because we aren't like that.
Chesterton saw under that and could converse with anyone because he saw them as people first, a human like himself, and so he connected on a very elemental level with anyone and everyone.
I think we need to learn from that secret of his, so we can re-connect with humanity. The humanity in our own families first, then our neighbors, and certainly our community leaders.
Let's take up this challenge and see if we can live this way.