Opinion Politics

Chesterton: ‘The Politician Is The Pestilence of Modern Times’

Keep the politicians near enough to kick them.
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G.K. Chesterton has been described as one of the most prolific, provocative, and well-loved English writers of the twentieth century.

Born in Kensington on May 29, 1874, Gilbert Chesterton, also known as the “Prince of Paradox,” went on in his lifetime to author over 100 books and contribute to 200 others.

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936).

He’s said to have penned hundreds of poems, five plays, five novels, some 200 short stories, and over 4,000 newspaper essays, “including 30 years worth of weekly columns for The Illustrated London News, and 13 years of weekly columns for The Daily News.

Understandably, he’s also been regarded as one of the most quotable English writers of all time. Chances are, you’ve probably heard some of his quotes before without even realising it.

In 1921, during his travels to the United States, Chesterton was interviewed by the Cleveland Press. It was in this interview that Chesterton, in a brief and pithy paragraph offered his view of politicians, and underscored a major problem with modern-day government.

Chesterton said:

“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.”

How different things might be if our so-called representatives were more accountable to the people they supposedly represented, rather than the noisy minorities they’re endlessly trying to appease.


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