This forum was closed on October 1st, 2010. However, the archives are open to the public and filled with vast amounts of good reading and information for you to enjoy. If you wish to meet some Wardrobians, please visit the Into the Wardrobe Facebook group.

Article on Chesterton

Plato to MacDonald to Chesterton, Tolkien and the Boys in the Pub.

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby rusmeister » 19 Jun 2009, 03:04

Stating facts is not, unfortunately, a particularly good defense - anybody can cherry-pick the facts they like and ignore the ones they don't.

I think it necessary to say something about 'isms'. A lot of 'isms' today are rhetorical in nature - they are used to assume one attitude and at the same time, prevent further thought on what exactly is meant by the term, whether it be "racism", "sexism", or in this case "anti-semitism".

As soon as the word is invoked, we are supposed to (have been trained to) stop thinking, respond like Pavlov's dogs, and just respond "discrimination - bad!" "tolerance - good!" much in the manner of Orwell's sheep (Animal Farm). The rhetorical term works to bend one to a particular ideological position while circumventing thought. These widely-used rhetorical terms very often perform a 'bait and switch', whereby, upon hearing the term, we have been trained that whatever is being talked about is an unqualified good or evil, without any thinking actually occurring as to whether it is or not. The 'thinking' has already been done for us and the ideological position assumed - and we, growing up in an environment that we did not create, are molded to that environment and accept that thought and position without being aware that we have been indoctrinated. See my post here for more detailed treatment: viewtopic.php?p=197593#p197593

(to believers:) There is a spiritual war going on, and we are all under the influence of the Enemy, whether we realize it or not.
(to unbelievers:) It is possible to have had your thinking formed for you, and your assumptions drilled into you so that they are unquestioned. They are your dogmas, whether you realize it or not. It's done to children all the time. Why should any of us think that we are an exception to that?
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
User avatar
rusmeister
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Russia

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby JRosemary » 19 Jun 2009, 11:47

Bulgakov wrote:I mean nothing against Jewish people, but the double-standard is annoying. When the Talmud says, Jesus is in hell where His punishment is "boiling in hot semen." (Talmud, Gittin 57a; Exhibit 202) The subject is identified as Jesus in a footnote, also in the Jewish Encyclopedia under "Balaam." (Exhibit 275), how is that not unacceptable.


There's no double-standard. Jews can take criticism of the few anti-Christian sentiments found in the Talmud (which are so peripheral that few Jews or Christians know they exist unless they go out of their way to find them.) It comes up in the dialogue--in fact, I didn't know about them until a Jewish professor involved in the dialouge made me aware of them; he wanted me to know that we've had our share of prejudices too--just as the disturbing attitude toward Jews in the New Testament and Church fathers, Luther, etc. comes up.

No double-standard--but one enormous difference that no thoughtful Christian I've ever known denies: historically, Christians had the power to back up their antogonism. Jews did not.

For almost the whole Christian era, the Jewish story is one of pogrom following pogrom (a pogrom is when your Christian neighbors or passing crusaders go on a murderous rampage against you), of being locked up in ghettos (it was Napolean Bonaparte who tore many of the ghettos down--and many Jews were forced right back into them after his defeat), of being forced at sword point or under torture to convert, of persecutions, of expulsions (from England, Spain, etc.) and, of course, more persecution from the Inquisition. (The victims of the Spanish Inqisition, for example, were over 90% Jewish...most were 'converso' Jews--Jews who had converted to Christianity to avoid the expulsion. The Inquisition persecuted, tortured and killed them for retaining Jewish practices.)

(The survival of Judaism under these circumstances seems nothing short of miraculous.)

And that history includes all the libels, lies and crazy misrepresentations of Jews which was one factor in making the Shoah possible. Ultimately--though it took a good twenty years or so--it was the horror of the Holocaust that caused the Roman Catholic Church and mainline Protestant churches to review and/or rethink their teachings about Jews and Judaism, to stop missionizing to Jews as a whole and to extend their hand in dialogue.

So again, no double standard. These statements in the Talmud are open to critique, as is the New Testament and the church fathers, etc. There was prejudice on both sides--the difference is power: Christians had the numbers and power to put their prejudice into action; Jews suffered the consequences.
User avatar
JRosemary
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 1332
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: New Jersey

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby Dan65802 » 19 Jun 2009, 12:48

Kudos John.

- Dan -
"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King
User avatar
Dan65802
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 2666
Joined: Feb 2007

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby Adam Linton » 19 Jun 2009, 13:25

Dan65802 wrote:Kudos John.

- Dan -


Let me add my own word of appreciation here, John.
we have not loosely through silence permitted things to pass away as in a dream
User avatar
Adam Linton
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 981
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Orleans, MA

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby Adam Linton » 19 Jun 2009, 13:30

JRosemary wrote:So again, no double standard. These statements in the Talmud are open to critique, as is the New Testament and the church fathers, etc. There was prejudice on both sides--the difference is power: Christians had the numbers and power to put their prejudice into action; Jews suffered the consequences.


Thank you for your post; well put and much that needed to be said.
we have not loosely through silence permitted things to pass away as in a dream
User avatar
Adam Linton
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 981
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Orleans, MA

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby rusmeister » 19 Jun 2009, 18:03

I completely disagree - at the very least I get a strong sense that no one got what I said at all.
If you use the word "racism", while completely failing to define what that is, you are simply stopping thought and assuming that you know what the thought you are shutting down is and stands for - when that is quite often not the case. The same goes for all other "isms" and buzzwords.
It's one thing to correctly identify hate and unreason and condemn it (something I support). It is altogether another thing to incorrectly identify reason as hate and unreason - which is itself unreason. But that's how the buzzwords are so often used, usually unwittingly.
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
User avatar
rusmeister
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Russia

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby Dan65802 » 19 Jun 2009, 18:11

Perhaps (like obsenity), racism is difficult to define since it is a matter of degrees as well as varying cultural acceptance. However (also like obsenity) it's one of those cases where "I know it when I see it " (Justice Potter Stewart).

- Dan -
"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King
User avatar
Dan65802
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 2666
Joined: Feb 2007

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby rusmeister » 20 Jun 2009, 03:41

Dan65802 wrote:Perhaps (like obsenity), racism is difficult to define since it is a matter of degrees as well as varying cultural acceptance. However (also like obsenity) it's one of those cases where "I know it when I see it " (Justice Potter Stewart).

- Dan -

Lewis would say that simply allows you to apply it to anything you want - essentially to refuse to define a thing.

How about "enemy of the state?" I know one when I see one...
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
User avatar
rusmeister
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Russia

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby Dan65802 » 20 Jun 2009, 18:17

I think even Lewis would have realized that words change meanings with cultures and times. What was considered racist was different in the 1850s than it was in the 1920s and than it is in 2009. What's considered racist in a culture of predominantly one race is different that what's considered racist in a multi-ethnic culture.

Perhaps the definition remains the same but the application changes.

- Dan -
"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King
User avatar
Dan65802
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 2666
Joined: Feb 2007

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby rusmeister » 21 Jun 2009, 04:12

Dan65802 wrote:I think even Lewis would have realized that words change meanings with cultures and times. What was considered racist was different in the 1850s than it was in the 1920s and than it is in 2009. What's considered racist in a culture of predominantly one race is different that what's considered racist in a multi-ethnic culture.

Perhaps the definition remains the same but the application changes.

- Dan -

Dan, this again misses my point - that people can perceive (take) something as racist because they have a presupposed (meaning essentially unexamined/poorly defined) idea of what "racism" is, and therefore they do not carefully examine the idea to see if something really wrong/un-Christian is being done here; they accept the label automatically and do not think further. Chesterton, in particular, requires a good deal of careful reading to get his context. That's why, from time to time, people raise these charges, the defenders (who have read more, and more thoroughly, take the trouble to disprove the charges and then you have quiet for another decade or so. Let's face it, most people are unwilling to invest extensive time into reading without special motivation - most prefer soundbites.

So the charge I make is that the term and idea of racism has been used with that limited thinking. The difference really is between having a surface impression and really knowing a person (or a person's context). I do claim to really know Chesterton's context - I have read him extensively over the past several years - and the people who simply accept these claims based on their surface reading just don't get it - they have, once again, misunderstood this great thinker, and I do believe that it is the modern indoctrination of schooling and media/mass culture that has taught us this stop-thought, of which the buzzwords and concepts are a good example.

BTW, Lewis DID realize that words change meanings, and he condemned the type of change I am referring to, one that blurs the lines of definition until a word actually loses meaning altogether; means only what a person wants it to mean - I particularly remember his taking "gentleman" as an example, but can't remember where.
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
User avatar
rusmeister
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Russia

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby Sven » 21 Jun 2009, 11:40

rusmeister wrote:.. Chesterton, in particular, requires a good deal of careful reading to get his context. That's why, from time to time, people raise these charges, the defenders (who have read more, and more thoroughly, take the trouble to disprove the charges and then you have quiet for another decade or so. Let's face it, most people are unwilling to invest extensive time into reading without special motivation - most prefer soundbites.

So the charge I make is that the term and idea of racism has been used with that limited thinking. The difference really is between having a surface impression and really knowing a person (or a person's context). I do claim to really know Chesterton's context - I have read him extensively over the past several years - and the people who simply accept these claims based on their surface reading just don't get it - they have, once again, misunderstood this great thinker, and I do believe that it is the modern indoctrination of schooling and media/mass culture that has taught us this stop-thought, of which the buzzwords and concepts are a good example.



Anyone who agrees with you has read deeper and with true understanding, anyone who disagrees with you has only done "surface reading".

This is why I don't bother to participate in most of these discussions. You can't have a honest discussion with a gnostic who considers themselves in sole possession of the truth.
User avatar
Sven
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 2873
Joined: Aug 1996
Location: Greenbelt, MD, near Washington DC

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby john » 21 Jun 2009, 15:27

Sven wrote:Anyone who agrees with you has read deeper and with true understanding, anyone who disagrees with you has only done "surface reading".

This is why I don't bother to participate in most of these discussions. You can't have a honest discussion with a gnostic who considers themselves in sole possession of the truth.


Yes, exactly. As a former Mormon, I've had my fair share of run-ins with such people, and the end result is always the same -- you either agree with them, or you're wrong. There is no in between.
john (aka DrZeus)
Chief Wardrobian
User avatar
john
Chief Wardrobian
 
Posts: 6462
Joined: Jul 1996
Location: near seattle

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby Tuke » 21 Jun 2009, 21:08

rusmeister wrote:.... BTW, Lewis DID realize that words change meanings, and he condemned the type of change I am referring to, one that blurs the lines of definition until a word actually loses meaning altogether; means only what a person wants it to mean - I particularly remember his taking "gentleman" as an example, but can't remember where.
This is not clear to me. Philologists document the change in semantics over time and culture, but only condemn sin.
Studies in Words and Language in Thought and Action by Professors CS Lewis and SI Hayakawa, respectively, are worthwhile examples.
"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

2 Corinthians IV.17 The Weight of Glory
User avatar
Tuke
 
Posts: 966
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Florida

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby rusmeister » 22 Jun 2009, 01:48

John wrote:Yes, exactly. As a former Mormon, I've had my fair share of run-ins with such people, and the end result is always the same -- you either agree with them, or you're wrong. There is no in between.


Sven wrote:
rusmeister wrote:.. Chesterton, in particular, requires a good deal of careful reading to get his context. That's why, from time to time, people raise these charges, the defenders (who have read more, and more thoroughly, take the trouble to disprove the charges and then you have quiet for another decade or so. Let's face it, most people are unwilling to invest extensive time into reading without special motivation - most prefer soundbites.

So the charge I make is that the term and idea of racism has been used with that limited thinking. The difference really is between having a surface impression and really knowing a person (or a person's context). I do claim to really know Chesterton's context - I have read him extensively over the past several years - and the people who simply accept these claims based on their surface reading just don't get it - they have, once again, misunderstood this great thinker, and I do believe that it is the modern indoctrination of schooling and media/mass culture that has taught us this stop-thought, of which the buzzwords and concepts are a good example.



Anyone who agrees with you has read deeper and with true understanding, anyone who disagrees with you has only done "surface reading".
This is why I don't bother to participate in most of these discussions. You can't have a honest discussion with a gnostic who considers themselves in sole possession of the truth.


Hi, guys!
I really don't mean to come across as gnostic. But if I ask anyone here how many books or essays by Chesterton they have read, the average wardrobian (at best) will say, three or four - maybe - and that is actually complimentary to wardrobians vis-a-vis the average person. If there are more than three or four people on this whole site who have read a great portion of his work (70-odd books, thousands of essays, etc) I'll eat my words. I've become one of them. (We're called "Chestertonians". Get those people in here and threads like this will die.)

The problem here is that in this forum format, we can only post bite-size ideas. Reading and research, to be able to say that you know more on a subject, has to be done outside of this format - and even outside of the 'New Yorker'. If I take any example where a surface reading gives one impression and research reveals a completely different answer, perhaps you would get my meaning - and would realize that it is not gnosticism. It's accessible to all - but it takes the kind of work most don't want to/aren't prepared to do. (I'm thinking of the surface readings of the Bible that give the impression that Jesus had brothers (in the English sense of the word) and other texts that suggest that Mary could not have been ever-Virgin (again, as translated into English).

I do think that things said earlier on this thread by myself, Stanley and others are reasonable, do bear examination (which takes work and time), and if true, refute the racism and anti-semitism charges - which still badly need definition - I think the charges and assumptions in people's minds are based here on surface readings and "I know it when I see it", things that an intelligent and critical mind ought to object to.
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
User avatar
rusmeister
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Russia

Re: Article on Chesterton

Postby rusmeister » 22 Jun 2009, 02:02

Tuke wrote:
rusmeister wrote:.... BTW, Lewis DID realize that words change meanings, and he condemned the type of change I am referring to, one that blurs the lines of definition until a word actually loses meaning altogether; means only what a person wants it to mean - I particularly remember his taking "gentleman" as an example, but can't remember where.
This is not clear to me. Philologists document the change in semantics over time and culture, but only condemn sin.
Studies in Words and Language in Thought and Action by Professors CS Lewis and SI Hayakawa, respectively, are worthwhile examples.

This seems to be going off on a tangent from what I was saying, Tuke. Documenting changes in meaning is one thing, condemning sin is something else. I'm talking about condemning uses that either change the meaning or broaden it, and make it less precise, sometimes this is done deliberately for ideological reasons (like much of the language of political correctness). This can and sometimes does result in the justification of sin.
I have no idea whether Lewis addressed that problem in the book you mentioned.
I can't remember the references that I did get from Lewis, except for the 'gentleman' one.
Chesterton's "On Evil Euphemisms" is a direct treatment of the topic, and is short and entertaining (that is, if we haven't written off everything he said as 'racist').
http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/boo ... misms.html
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
User avatar
rusmeister
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Russia

PreviousNext

Return to Inklings & Influences

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered members and 1 guest