Clearing the Mind of Cant

G.K. Chesterton’s concluding words in his earnest 1936 essay “About Voltaire” were forcefully compact and sudden and yet, at first, a little too compressed for my immediate understanding, even though I had read those words more than once before: namely, “nothing is so anarchical as discipline divorced from authority; that is, from right.”1
Almost twenty years earlier, soon after World War I in 1919, G..K. Chesterton had also characteristically spoken of “the stark anarchies and rending negations which rage against”2 the world again and again, unceasingly. In his 1936 essay on Voltaire, he also foresaw, although he would not live to know its full desolating actuality, what was all too likely to come: another war in Europe and beyond.

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