Friday, August 14, 2009

Ring a Bell?

G. K. Chesterton's What’s Wrong with the World although non-fiction contains three fictional characters, Hudge, Gudge, and Jones. Hudge is the "energetic progressive," a socialist. Gudge is the "obstinate conservative," an industrialist-capitalist. Hudge is Big Government. Gudge is Big Business.

And who is Jones? Jones is a common man. He married for love. Considers home the only place of real liberty. And he hopes to live long enough to become a great-grandfather one day.

The trouble is, says Chesterton, Hudge and Gudge both conspire to unhinge Jones by taking away his property, his dignity, and his independence. Remember:
What's Wrong with the World was written in 1910 - it might have been written today.

Chesterton says Hudge and Gudge have led western man Jones to accept industrialism and collectivism not as ideals, but as "necessities". It is "the huge modern heresy of altering the human soul to fit its conditions, instead of altering human conditions to fit the human soul."

Madison Avenue pushing the goals of Gudge and special interests pushing the goals of Hudge have left poor Jones twisting in the wind by loss of religion, of home, of family. He does not even know what he wants any more.

Which, of course, is precisely what Hudge and Gudge want.

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