Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Democrascifi

Chesterton has a neat rhetorical trick for turning respect for democracy into old-Tory traditionalism, and it goes like this: you cannot be a democrat if you despise the will of the majority, howsoever reactionary it might seem to you. Only consider: put into the balance the opinion of all the people alive and all who have ever lived, and you'll find that democracy is in favour of Tradition, God and so on.

But this doesn't go far enough. Let's assume that we're not at the end of something, but rather at the beginning of something. Why disregard all the people who will ever live? They have more say, surely, than the dead; because the dead no longer exist, where the unborn will exist. And they outnumber the living and the dead. Naturally, they're democratic opinions will be more Progressive.

4 comments:

mckie said...

Because while the future has the advantage that you can change it, the past has the advantage that you can know it. We don't know that our children will not hold more traditionalist views than we do (as did the Victorians, compared with the late 18th & early 19th Century). Remember that the Napoleon of Notting Hill is set in 1984.
Political progressiveness means nothing, unless it is defined tautologically to mean that any future political action is automatically an improvement. Besides, Chesterton was a Liberal and then a Social Credit Distributist. He's very scathing about Tories.

E.T. said...

Adam, "they're"?!?! Shouldn't it be "their"?!

E.T. said...

Or is it possibly a neat rhetorical trick itself, telling about but at the same time implying a part of the Progressive Democratic Opinion, that spelling is somehow not that big a deal perhaps? :D

mahendra singh said...

For shame, sirs, do we not have the political courage, nay, the moral decency even, to extend the right to vote to the as-yet unseen ranks of the Unborn?

And for that matter, why not reverse directions and extend the franchise to the Unliving in a sort of electoral Mormonism which would certainly liven up the election season …