Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chesterton, right again

Chesterton wrote the definitive portrait of the Boomer generation, way back in 1921. These are the people who now own the Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Church in Canada, and this is why it is vain to hope for wisdom and maturity among them, no matter how many years they're given:
“A generation is now growing old, which never had anything to say for itself except that it was young. It was the first progressive generation - the first generation that believed in progress and nothing else…. [They believed] simply that the new thing is always better than the old thing; that the young man is always right and the old wrong. And now that they are old men themselves, they have naturally nothing whatever to say or do. Their only business in life was to be the rising generation knocking at the door. Now that they have got into the house, and have been accorded the seat of honour by the hearth, they have completely forgotten why they wanted to come in. The aged younger generation never knew why it knocked at the door; and the truth is that it only knocked at the door because it was shut. It had nothing to say; it had no message; it had no convictions to impart to anybody…. The old generation of rebels was purely negative in its rebellion, and cannot give the new generation of rebels anything positive against which it should not rebel. It is not that the old man cannot convince young people that he is right; it is that he cannot even convince them that he is convinced. And he is not convinced; for he never had any conviction except that he was young, and that is not a conviction that strengthens with years.”

- G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News of July 9, 1921

3 Comments:

Blogger Phil said...

So, I guess the Boomers don't even get the (one remaining) distinction of having been the "first progressive generation".

11:23 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I know. And if they read anything written before the '60s, they'd know that. But as it is, they'll go to their graves in placid ignorance that they're not even very original.

7:16 am  
Blogger Ellie M said...

Yup, the suffragettes, flappers, and Bright Young Things were waaay ahead of 'em.

Those who don't study history, etc...

11:42 am  

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