Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chesterton on Sincerity

What convinces mankind of a man's sincerity is this: that every now and then he should go with his principle and against his feelings. Sincerity can be shown in surrender, if it is self-surrender. For instance, a despotist is not necessarily honest because he praises the King; but he probably is honest if he blames the King--and obeys him. He shows that it is for his theory he cares, and not for himself. Or, again, a man is not necessarily democratic because he can call up the people to support him. But he is democratic if he calls up the people to oppose him. A man who gives votes to a class that will probably vote against him certainly believes in popular government. A vegetarian who hates meat is not so serious as a vegetarian who loves meat.

Illustrated London News, 12 October 1907.


  1. Brian6:25 AM

    This is particularly timely considering all the negative press being given for the republicans who vote for candidates who oppose the entitlements they receive.  It is no secret that the lower 47% income bracket is largely republican in many southern states.

    But somehow this is seen as insincere by our media.  As Chesterton points out, it looks quite the opposite.

  2. Brian6:27 AM

    (btw, I'm too Libertarian to endorse either presidential candidate - my previous comment was not intended to be political)

  3. branemrys9:36 AM

    That is an interesting case, and you're right that it fits: if someone votes for X even though X's winning the election could very well make things harder them, that is a pretty clear indicator that they really do think that what X offers is important.


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