10/26/15

Chesterton on politicians and government:

● "Representative government has many minor disadvantages, one of them being that it is never representative." ─in Charles Dickens.

● "The trouble with modern England is not how many or how few people vote. It is that, however many people vote, a small ring of administrators do what they please." ─quoted in The Colonist, Oct. 27, 1909.

● "I know that most politicians are engaged in trying to imitate the other politicians, which cannot be considered as a school of virtue." ─Illustrated London News, July 9, 1910.

● "The modern representative not only does not represent his constituents—he does not even represent himself." ─Illustrated London News, Aug. 31, 1912.

● “When a politician is in opposition he is an expert on the means to some end; and when he is in office he is an expert on the obstacles to it.” Illustrated London News, March 6, 1918.

● “It is the mark of our whole modern history that the masses are kept quiet with a fight. They are kept quiet by the fight because it is a sham-fight; thus most of us know by this time that the Party System has been popular only in the sense that a football match is popular.” A Short History of England.

“It is hard to make government representative when it is also remote.”
Illustrated London News, August 17, 1918.

● "The men whom the people ought to choose to represent them are too busy to take the jobs. But the politician is waiting for it. He’s the pestilence of modern times. What we should try to do is make politics as local as possible. Keep the politicians near enough to kick them. The villagers who met under the village tree could also hang their politicians to the tree. It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." ─Cleveland Press interview, March 1, 1921.

● "Politicians have to live in the future, because they know they have done nothing but evil in the past." Illustrated London News, June 10, 1933.

● "He was very public, as public men go; but they all seem to become hazier as they mount higher. It is the young and unknown who have decisive doctrines and sharply declared intentions. I once expressed it by saying, I think with some truth, that politicians have no politics." ─Autobiography.

● "Everybody is familiar with jeers against politicians, jokes about political payments, journalistic allusions to the sale of honours or the Secret Party Fund; above all, nobody is now shocked by them. Perhaps it would be better if they were shocked, or in other words shamed by them. If they were ashamed of them, they might possibly make some attempt to alter them." ─Autobiography.

● "The worst sort of politicians could play any game they liked with the honour of England and the happiness of Europe, if they were backed and boomed by some vulgar monopolist millionaire; and these insolent interests nearly brought us to a crash in the supreme crisis of our history; because Parliament had come to mean only a secret government by the rich." ─Autobiography.