Thursday 13 June 2024

This dazed and floundering opportunism


Plaque on a stone building in Matlock which
housed a Victorian charity school until the 
1870 Elementary Education Act

There is nothing that so much prevents a settlement as a tangle of small surrenders. We are bewildered on every side by politicians who are in favour of secular education, but think it hopeless to work for it; who desire total prohibition, but are certain they should not demand it; who regret compulsory education, but resignedly continue it; or who want peasant proprietorship and therefore vote for something else. It is this dazed and floundering opportunism that gets in the way of everything.

G. K. Chesterton - What’s Wrong with the World? (1910)

I've used this quote before, but it’s an interesting one now the general election seems to have highlighted Chesterton’s link between compulsory education and what he calls this dazed and floundering opportunism.

Educated people and socialists do seem to be floundering around in their frantic attempts to take advantage of every opportunity offered by events and the unstable sands of political fashion.

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