Commentary on social and moral issues of the day

G.K. Chesterton on Morality and Truth

G.K. Chesterton

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Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.
Illustrated London News (ILN), 10/23/09

It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them.
ILN, 3/14/08

There is a case for telling the truth; there is a case for avoiding the scandal; but there is no possible defense for the man who tells the scandal, but does not tell the truth.
ILN, 7/18/08

The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice.
ILN, 6/11/10

Truth is sacred; and if you tell the truth too often nobody will believe it.
ILN, 2/24/06

Civilization has run on ahead of the soul of man, and is producing faster than he can think and give thanks.
Daily News, 2/21/02

It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.
The Catholic Church and Conversion

There'd be a lot less scandal if people didn't idealize sin and pose as sinners.
The Father Brown Omnibus

All men thirst to confess their crimes more than tired beasts thirst for water; but they naturally object to confessing them while other people, who have also committed the same crimes, sit by and laugh at them.
ILN 3/14/08

Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.
ILN 9/11/09

I say that a man must be certain of his morality for the simple reason that he has to suffer for it.
ILN 8/4/06

To the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sun is really a sun; to the humble man, and to the humble man alone, the sea is really a sea.
Heretics, CW I, p128

Great truths can only be forgotten and can never be falsified.
ILN 9-30-33

The voice of the special rebels and prophets, recommending discontent, should, as I have said, sound now and then suddenly, like a trumpet. But the voices of the saints and sages, recommending contentment, should sound unceasingly, like the sea.
T.P.'s Weekly, Christmas Number, 1910

All science, even the divine science, is a sublime detective story. Only it is not set to detect why a man is dead; but the darker secret of why he is alive.
The Thing. CW. III 191

Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.
What's Wrong With the World

If we want to give poor people soap we must set out deliberately to give them luxuries. If we will not make them rich enough to be clean, then empathically we must do what we did with the saints. We must reverence them for being dirty.
What's Wrong with the World

The world will very soon be divided, unless I am mistaken, into those who still go on explaining our success, and those somewhat more intelligent who are trying to explain our failure.
Speech to Anglo-Catholic Congress 6-29-20

What we call emancipation is always and of necessity simply the free choice of the soul between one set of limitations and another.
Daily News12-21-05

There are some desires that are not desirable. Orthodoxy In the struggle for existence, it is only on those who hang on for ten minutes after all is hopeless, that hope begins to dawn.
The Speaker 2-2-01

Modern broad-mindedness benefits the rich; and benefits nobody else.
"The Church of the Servile State" Utopia of Usurers

It is the main earthly business of a human being to make his home, and the immediate surroundings of his home, as symbolic and significant to his own imagination as he can.
The Coloured Lands

Posted: 23-Jan-07

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