Orwell on Chesterton, long (1/3) 

“ Looking through Chesterton's Introduction to Hard Times in the Everyman Edition... I note the typically sweeping statement: ‘There are no new ideas.’ Chesterton is here claiming that the ideas which animated the French Revolution were not new ones but simply a revival of doctrines which had flourished earlier and then had been abandoned...”

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Orwell on Chesterton, long (2/3) 

“...But the claim that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ is one of the stock arguments of intelligent reactionaries. Catholic apologists, in particular, use it almost automatically. Everything that you can say or think has been said or thought before. Every political theory from Liberalism to Trotskyism can be shown to be a development of some heresy in the early Church. Every system of philosophy springs ultimately from the Greeks...”

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Orwell on Chesterton, long (3/3) 

“It is not very difficult to see that this idea is rooted in the fear of progress. If there is nothing new under the sun then the future when it comes will be something familiar... Particularly comforting to reactionary thinkers is the idea of a cyclical universe, in which the same chain of events happens over and over again. In such a universe every seeming advance towards democracy simply means that the coming age of tyranny and privilege is a little bit nearer”

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