Fallacies, Fashions, and Fascism, Then and Now
“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions," G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) said in 1930, which both foreshadowed the next 15 years to come on both sides of the Atlantic, but in retrospect, summed up in a single sentence the left in general, the destructive history of the 20th century, and the horrors wrought by collectivism. Friday was the 140th anniversary of Chesterton's birth; as the American Chesterton Society noted:
All the issues we struggle with in the 21st century, Chesterton foresaw, and wrote about, in the early 20th century. Social injustice, the culture of death, statism, assaults on religion, and attacks on the family and on the dignity of the human person: Chesterton saw where these trends, already active in his time, would lead us. He was a witty, intelligent, and insightful defender of the poor, the downtrodden, the weak, and especially of the family. He loved good beer, good wine, and good cigars. He wrote in just about every genre: history, biography, novels, poetry, short stories, apologetics and theology, economic works, and more.
“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions," also applies to the firestorm that the left reigned upon Kevin D. Williamson at NRO last week, when he wrote that recent Time magazine cover story "Laverne Cox Is Not a Woman -- Facts are not subject to our feelings," an article with 563 retweets, 4834 comments at NRO alone, and plenty of rage from his critics. In response, Williamson noted, "The content of the responses on Twitter and elsewhere was a useful reminder that the Left, including its sexual-liberationist faction, is inarguably totalitarian:"
Critics suggested not only that I be fired for my views but that I should be prosecuted for them, and that the government should ensure that such views are not published. Live-and-let-live is not the Left’s way, never has been, and never will be. It is not sufficient that transsexuals should be free to act on their delusions — the rest of us are expected to participate in them with unreserved enthusiasm, and the Left is willing to use the state to compel us to do so. To simply believe otherwise and to share those views in print is in the minds of many on the Left not only a social transgression but something that should be a crime. The belief that members of minority political tendencies should be jailed for their views is very much in vogue for the Left at the moment. Democrats in the Senate are seeking to repeal the First Amendment. All of us — conservatives and whatever traditional liberals there still may be on the left side of the spectrum — should fully appreciate the sobering fact that there is a nascent, popular, authoritarian movement among members of the Left that supports everything from censorship to literal, non-metaphorical gulags in which to imprison people for their political beliefs.
Read the whole thing. To bookend this post, an exit quote from Chesterton: “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.”