Today, I was interrupted by G.K Chesterton

My two favorite people in the world (well, I have lots of favorites, but for the sake of brevity and prose, we'll say they're my only favorites) have both recommended G.K. Chesterton to me and both times I have fallen in love.  Once with the suggester and twice with the suggestion. This time its "Orthodoxy" ... I am surprised how many have read it and who in particular has not - I am astonished it has not been required reading for all seminarians and equally astonished that I had never heard of it and how many I know who haven't either.  So weird. Anywho, the quote (err, paragraph) that has stopped me in my mental tracks and caused me to dawdle (k, def didn't know how to spell that word!) and smell the proverbial roses is this:

image via here

"But there is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand. I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record...It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad. Those who urge against tradition that men in the past were ignorant may go and urge it at the Carlton Club, along with the statement that voters in the slums are ignorant. It will not do for us. If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable.

 Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father. I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. The ancient Greeks voted by stones; these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official, for most tombstones, like most ballot papers, are marked with a cross."