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Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions. Options
Daemon
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM
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Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions.

Gilbert Chesterton (1874-1936)
kitten
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 2:06:16 AM
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Daemon wrote:
Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions.

Gilbert Chesterton (1874-1936)



The above quote is in the book entitled, Heretics--1905--chapter xx.

I started this two paragraphs above the quote as he is referring to the writers considered important in his day. Some may have shaped some of our views, be it with the stories and poems taught is schools or anything that was made into a movie. Mr. Chesterton is one very interesting man. But this is just my opinion.



There is, indeed, one class of modern writers and thinkers who cannot altogether be overlooked in this question, though there is no space here for a lengthy account of them, which, indeed, to confess the truth, would consist chiefly of abuse. I mean those who get over all these abysses and reconcile all these wars by talking about "aspects of truth," by saying that the art of Kipling represents one aspect of the truth, and the art of William Watson another; the art of Mr. Bernard Shaw one aspect of the truth, and the art of Mr. Cunningham Grahame another; the art of Mr. H. G. Wells one aspect, and the art of Mr. Coventry Patmore (say) another. I will only say here that this seems to me an evasion which has not even had the sense to disguise itself ingeniously in words. If we talk of a certain thing being an aspect of truth, it is evident that we claim to know what is truth; just as, if we talk of the hind leg of a dog, we claim to know what is a dog. Unfortunately, the philosopher who talks about aspects of truth generally also asks, "What is truth?" Frequently even he denies the existence of truth, or says it is inconceivable by the human intelligence. How, then, can he recognize its aspects? I should not like to be an artist who brought an architectural sketch to a builder, saying, "This is the south aspect of Sea-View Cottage. Sea-View Cottage, of course, does not exist." I should not even like very much to have to explain, under such circumstances, that Sea-View Cottage might exist, but was unthinkable by the human mind. Nor should I like any better to be the bungling and absurd metaphysician who professed to be able to see everywhere the aspects of a truth that is not there. Of course, it is perfectly obvious that there are truths in Kipling, that there are truths in Shaw or Wells. But the degree to which we can perceive them depends strictly upon how far we have a definite conception inside us of what is truth. It is ludicrous to suppose that the more sceptical we are the more we see good in everything. It is clear that the more we are certain what good is, the more we shall see good in everything.

I plead, then, that we should agree or disagree with these men. I plead that we should agree with them at least in having an abstract belief. But I know that there are current in the modern world many vague objections to having an abstract belief, and I feel that we shall not get any further until we have dealt with some of them. The first objection is easily stated.

A common hesitation in our day touching the use of extreme convictions is a sort of notion that extreme convictions specially upon cosmic matters, have been responsible in the past for the thing which is called bigotry. But a very small amount of direct experience will dissipate this view. In real life the people who are most bigoted are the people who have no convictions at all. The economists of the Manchester school who disagree with Socialism take Socialism seriously. It is the young man in Bond Street, who does not know what socialism means much less whether he agrees with it, who is quite certain that these socialist fellows are making a fuss about nothing. The man who understands the Calvinist philosophy enough to agree with it must understand the Catholic philosophy in order to disagree with it. It is the vague modern who is not at all certain what is right who is most certain that Dante was wrong. The serious opponent of the Latin Church in history, even in the act of showing that it produced great infamies, must know that it produced great saints. It is the hard-headed stockbroker, who knows no history and believes no religion, who is, nevertheless, perfectly convinced that all these priests are knaves. The Salvationist at the Marble Arch may be bigoted, but he is not too bigoted to yearn from a common human kinship after the dandy on church parade. But the dandy on church parade is so bigoted that he does not in the least yearn after the Salvationist at the Marble Arch. Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions. It is the resistance offered to definite ideas by that vague bulk of people whose ideas are indefinite to excess. Bigotry may be called the appalling frenzy of the indifferent. This frenzy of the indifferent is in truth a terrible thing; it has made all monstrous and widely pervading persecutions. In this degree it was not the people who cared who ever persecuted; the people who cared were not sufficiently numerous. It was the people who did not care who filled the world with fire and oppression. It was the hands of the indifferent that lit the faggots; it was the hands of the indifferent that turned the rack. There have come some persecutions out of the pain of a passionate certainty; but these produced, not bigotry, but fanaticism—a very different and a somewhat admirable thing. Bigotry in the main has always been the pervading omnipotence of those who do not care crushing out those who care in darkness and blood.



Heretics--1905


I told someone many years ago who was anti-Catholic that in order for them to believe in black magick, be anti-Catholic they had to believe that christianity existed. They did not understand me Not talking and I could not say it plainer. But, Mr. Chesterton, explains it wonderfully well. Again, this is just my opinion.


Please thank, wikiquotes for giving the hint that led to Project Gutenberg for the story, Heretics to read at your leisure.


peace out, >^,,^<
GabhSigenod
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 7:42:28 AM

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A valid conclusion you have, kitten.
MTC
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 8:51:19 AM
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Later in the same passage of Chapter XX of Heretics entitled "Concluding Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy" Chesterton express his key idea about bigotry: "In real life the people who are most bigoted are the people who have no convictions at all." Thus, Chesterton turns on its head the conventional concept of a bigot as one whose beliefs are too strong and intolerant. It is those without conviction, mere Skeptics, who in Chesterton's opinion are the greatest bigots, not those with "extreme convictions" as is commonly held. Instead, bigotry "is the resistance offered to definite ideas (translate Orthodoxy) by that vague bulk of people whose ideas are indefinite to excess (translate Skeptics)." Today, conservative moralists like William Bennett are the natural heirs of Chesterton.

While Chesterton receives high marks for verbal legerdemain, and for putting critics of Orthodoxy on the defensive, I still find his argument about bigotry none too convincing.

Thanks to kitten for unearthing the quotation.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 10:03:56 AM
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Thank you both, KItten and MTC, for your explanations and added insights.
marcuslavernicus
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 3:00:43 PM
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Would it be prudent to say that it is also could be defined as the ingnorance of men that have no education.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 6:08:49 PM
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In my personal opinion, bigotry and prejudice are closely related. With prejudice one believes no one has a 'right'--[i]any [/i ]right, even to exist. With bigotry, one believes and does not care about any other person's opinion.
excaelis
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 9:55:26 PM

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Etymologically the words seem to be separated by religion, ' bigot ' ( Fr.) having a quasi-religious root and ' prejudice ' ( L.) a legal one. The latter seems mutable, the former not so.
tootsie
Posted: Monday, December 12, 2011 8:13:39 PM

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I bow down to your higher knowledge - but why does it always result in religious beliefs ??

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