"Comradeship and serious joy are not interludes in our travel; but that rather our travels are interludes in comradeship and joy, which through God shall endure for ever. The inn does not point to the road; the road points to the inn."
- G.K. Chesterton.
(Charles Dickens - page 212)
Lewis, commenting on G.K.Chesterton, said that he would be properly evaluated only fifty years after his death. June 14 this year was the fiftieth anniversary of that event. Yet, unfortunately for literature, for Nationalism and for society in general, Chesterton has still not come of age.
It is lamentable but nonetheless true that Lewis's prediction that Chesterton's artistic stature would grow with the passage of time was somewhat optimistic. Far from his true stature as a writer and thinker being evaluated fifty years after his death, Chesterton is in fact being largely ignored. In truth, Chesterton's work is not so much enjoying evaluation as enduring devaluation.
Why is this? Why is Chesterton's work, whether it be his poetry, his prose or merely his journalism, not receiving the critical acclaim it so patently deserves?
The answer lies in the philosophy which courses through all his work like an elixir of Life in a world strangled by Death. Quite simply, like the church bell at the beginning of Gray's Elegy, this philosophy "tolls the knell of parting day” for the rotten and wretched society in which we live. As long as Chesterton and his views are ignored society is safe. It is safe in the slumber of sickness. It is oblivious to the oblivion it faces.
However, once it awakes to what Chesterton has to say, society will see immediately, as though by a blinding flash of light, that it is sick. Yet what is more significant, Chesterton did far more than merely recognise the sickness in society; he also recognised the root causes of the sickness and, more important still, he prescribed a cure.
In short, Chesterton saw the problem, he understood the problem, he found the causes of the problem and, of supreme importance, he solved the problem!
There is no room here to discuss the many-faceted philosophy of this man that society ignored. Suffice it to say that his views are in accordance with those of the National Front; or, to put it less impertinently, the NF's views are in accordance with those of G.K. Chesterton.
This being so, there are two general reasons why Chesterton is so very important to the National Front.
Firstly, he is important because he is a genuinely great man of letters who supports our stance and thereby goes a long way towards legitimising it in the public's mind.
Secondly, he is important because his patterns of thought were particularly British and peculiarly English; thus enabling British Nationalists to draw strength and inspiration from our own national roots without the need to take our lead from abroad.
Finally, it is a sobering thought that the evaluation of Chesterton's work, which C.S. Lewis so desired, may now be inextricably bound up with the fate of British Nationalism. It is frightening to contemplate, but his fate may depend on our fate. If we fail he will be forgotten, if we succeed he will, at long last, receive the respect and acclaim which his genius deserves.
G.K. Chesterton, Maurice Baring and Hilaire Belloc in a painting by Sir James Gunn.