George Dunlap, September 30, 2020. Two Catholic writers I really enjoy, Brad Miner, alive and kickin’ it, and G.K. Chesterton, a man for all ages. This awesome article by Brad Miner is about Chesterton’s…… Blue Tigers and today’s lack of clear understanding.
Brad Miner Monday, September 28, 2020
Do you know about G.K. Chesterton’s example of the blue world? He writes in Orthodoxy of a reformer whose passion is to make the world blue – not in the sense of unhappy, mind you, but actually the color blue.
“He could have heroic adventures,” GKC writes, “the putting of the last touches to a blue tiger. He could have fairy dreams; the dawn of a blue moon. But if he worked hard, that high-minded reformer would certainly (from his own point of view) leave the world better and bluer than he found it.” It’s a silly example of reforming, he admits, but therefore simple to grasp.
However, “if he altered his favourite colour every day, he would not get on at all. . .there would be nothing to show except a few blue tigers walking about.”
Chesterton’s famous summary is this:
So it does not matter (comparatively speaking) how often humanity fails to imitate its ideal; for then all its old failures are fruitful. But it does frightfully matter how often humanity changes its ideal; for then all its failures are fruitless.
This seems to me a paraphrase of Edmund Burke’s sage counsel that:
it is with infinite caution that any man ought to venture upon pulling down an edifice which has answered in any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes of society, or on building it up again without having models and patterns of approved utility before his eyes.
2020 is the Year of the Iconoclasts, and it remains to be seen if it ushers in an Era of Iconoclasm – a sorrowful period during which not just stores continue to be looted by rioters but more of our history and culture too: library shelves stripped, and bonfires built. I doubt it will come to that, but even less likely is that a phoenix would rise from the ashes if it does.
When Girolamo Savonarola set ablaze the “vanities” on February 7, 1497, his intention was to cleanse the Catholic morals of Florence, not to destroy Florence itself. This is clearly not true of our contemporary iconoclasts: Antifa, Black Lives Matter (BLM), and the rest of the neo-totalitarian mob, whose lawlessness and seditiousness have only rarely been condemned or suppressed, even in the cities they’ve besieged. Indeed, they’ve often been praised by local officials – so much so, in fact, that some mayors have marched in solidarity with them, unmasked against COVID-19, even as they have imposed draconian measures against church attendance in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
If I recall correctly, it was in the aftermath of the death of the career criminal George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, that the basketball player LeBron James popularized the hashtag “#Kap was right” – “Kap” referring to Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling at NFL games was in protest to what Kaepernick asserted is an extreme number of racist murders by white police of black suspects.
But Mr. Kaepernick is wrong. It is the heart of his argument (and of Black Lives Matter) that white police apply fatal force to black suspects at a rate and frequency that “proves” systemic racism. But if that’s so, why do the facts say otherwise?Continue reading