In G.K. Chesterton’s day, it was not necessary to qualify the word “Liberal” with “Classical.”
Culture and political designations have changed. Verities, by definition, have not.
Five score and seventeen years after it was published, this resonates. It requires a careful reading:
“Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion. And the scepticism of our time does not really destroy the beliefs, rather it creates them; gives them their limits and their plain and defiant shape. We who are Liberals once held Liberalism lightly as a truism. Now it has been disputed, and we hold it fiercely as a faith. We who believe in patriotism once thought patriotism to be reasonable, and thought little more about it. Now we know it to be unreasonable, and know it to be right. We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us. The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is a reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them. It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake. Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. We shall look on the impossible grass and the skies with a strange courage. We shall be of those who have seen and yet have believed.”
― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, 1905
It is indeed strange that by 2022 courage is required contend that 2+2 is 4. The idea has been declared racist and patriarchal. We’re told simple arithmetic is an artifact of white privilege.
One may speculate that the hue of the impossible grass has been excluded from Progressive contempt only because that color is ‘green.’ And/or because neither white nor asian heterosexual males have mentioned it lately.
As to strange courage… How can it require courage to oppose those who declare men to be women?
Why is courage needed to suggest government profligacy tends toward inflation?
From whence could courage be summoned to contest those who think human life begins only after a full 9 months gestation?
In what reality does the idea that self-defense is a natural right become a courageous position?
What’s even stranger… these ideas have public support. In ‘safe’ districts hoary politicians run on these these ideas. Their wannabe successors echo the themes. Many of them are elected in spite of it. In fact, because of it.
What we can conclude is that our practice of democracy has proved Tocqueville right, and Benjamin Franklin’s fears accurate.