Monday, November 27, 2006

Chesterton University


1. Chesterton University is the University which resides in Chesterton, Indiana.
2. Chesterton University is still organizing and will exist somewhere in the United States, providing students with an in depth study of all things Chesterton, at all levels of the academic scale (from BA to PhD--Doctorate in Chestertonian Studies)
3. Chesterton University is a real University which has no physical place to call home, where students devote time and energy to studying the works of Chesterton. No degrees are actually conferred, but the knowledge gained is invaluable.
4. Chesterton University is a figment of someone's overactive imagination.


  1. Sara Bowen writes:

    "I have actually been in Chesterton, Indiana, on Gilbert research. I think the picture of me hanging over the granite high school marker made it into the resulting article, but I’ve got a basement corner that has to be cleaned for another furniture shift on this “minor” renovation project so I can’t check it out for, oh, the next 2 weeks. "

    I hope this means proof of the Real Chesterton University. But we shall have to wait two weeks to see.

    Meanwhile, get your votes in.

  2. Chesterton University is a real University
    - it has not physical boundries
    - it exists among a community of Chestertonphiles

    From John Henry Cardinal Newman's Idea of a University:

    "A UNIVERSITY may be considered with reference either to its Students or to its Studies"

    We have both Students and Studies

    "Hence it is that his education is called "Liberal." A habit of mind is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are, freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom; ... a philosophical habit. This then I would assign as the special fruit of the education furnished at a University, as contrasted with other places of teaching or modes of teaching. This is the main purpose of a University in its treatment of its students."

    Our Student Union is the "Flying Inn"

  3. ... our student union is the Flying Inn and our Dean is Innocent Smith. To reach his office, which is down the hall, you must travel around the world.

  4. TJP,

    Both Cardinal Newman and Chesterton must be turning in their graves about the abuse and perversion of the word “liberal.” It has become a dirty word and no Chestertonian should call himself a liberal any more.

    Wild Goose

  5. You are right they would be turning in their graves...

    I intend to reclaim the term....
    On their behalf

    Even GKC defends the term from the modern usage....
    -- Orthodoxy Chapter 8
    A confusion quite as unmeaning as this has arisen in connection with the word "liberal" as applied to religion and as applied to politics and society. It is often suggested that all Liberals ought to be freethinkers, because they ought to love everything that is free. You might just as well say that all idealists ought to be High Churchmen, because they ought to love everything that is high. You might as well say that Low Churchmen ought to like Low Mass, or that Broad Churchmen ought to like broad jokes. The thing is a mere accident of words. In actual modern Europe a freethinker does not mean a man who thinks for himself. It means a man who, having thought for himself, has come to one particular class of conclusions, the material origin of phenomena, the impossibility of miracles, the improbability of personal immortality and so on. And none of these ideas are particularly liberal. Nay, indeed almost all these ideas are definitely illiberal, as it is the purpose of this chapter to show.

  6. TJP,

    Why don’t you try to reclaim the word “gay”? If we lived in a "more normal" world, I would wish you a good luck with reclaiming the words liberal, gay, and many other words, and I would join your effort.

    It is true that Chesterton claimed to be a liberal:

    “We who are Liberals once held Liberalism lightly as a truism. Now it has been disputed, and we hold it fiercely as a faith.” (Heretics)

    As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals. (Orthodoxy)

    The reason was:

    “When the old Liberals removed the gags from all the heresies, their idea was that religious and philosophical discoveries might thus be made.” (Heretics)

    But, even Chesterton 100 years ago knew that:

    “Liberalism has been degraded into liberality.” (Orthodoxy)

    And he held it only in one specific sense:

    “I was brought up a Liberal, and have always believed in democracy, in the elementary liberal doctrine of a self-governing humanity.”

    I think that before reclaiming any of these perverted modern words, they must be first destroyed and blown into pieces. It will be much easier this way.

    Wild Goose

  7. Wild Goose,

    I regret to have struck a sensitive cord.

    As you suggest...

    I dare say that in many forums I would be wary to use the term "liberal" in it's "classical sense".

    However, among us Chestertonians I would choose to use the term as GKC would have prefered it used.

    Certainly, you are right that in the popular forums these terms need to be "revolutionized" as you have previously described.

    there is no Revolution that is not a Restoration
    (What's Wrong with the World)

    I shall take aim at the modern common definition of "liberal" and attempt to "blow it to bits" only to restore it.

    On which side shall you stand ?
    Which side of th revolution will you fight for ?


    Thanks for the fun.....

    This is one of the Courses of Study at GKC University



  8. Indeed, TJP, that war was constantly on GKC's mind. Almost the last words he ever said:

    "The issue is now quite clear. It is between light and darkness and every one must choose his side."

    And yes, that is one of the courses; CU teaches ALL things, being a true university. See Newman and GKC for more details. Or stop by anytime for a campus ... er... tour. Hee hee.

  9. TJP,

    You have struck a sensitive cord, but don’t regret it, I am gald you have brought it up. I really think this is an important issue that needs to be dicussed, generally, and within the Chestertonian community. For example, take this description of Chesterton:

    “He is one of the few Christian thinkers who are admired and quoted equally by liberal and conservative Christians, and indeed by many non-Christians. Chesterton's own theological and political views were far too nuanced to fit comfortably under the "liberal" or "conservative" banner.”

    ( )

    I don’t think that this is a good representation of Chesterton. If words evolve and change meaning, (as they do in any living language), one cannot simply equate Newman’s meaning with the modern meaning of liberalism, such as the one criticized in Ann Coulter’s new book.

    It would be truer to say that Chesterton was a conservative in the modern sense, such as in the sense of Russell Kirk. Paraphrasing what Chesterton wrote about socialists -- “We are all conservatives now.”

    Wild Goose


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