Food for Thought: Chesterton 101
From The American Chesterton Society web site, a series of lectures. An excerpt:
Chesterton does not write merely to amuse; he amuses to make a point. And the point is never as light and airy as it first appears. It doesn't seem like much to learn that the purpose of lying in bed is that it should have no purpose. There should be no excuse for it, no reason, no justification. So? So this: our simple pleasures should not be connected to a regimen or some scheme, or worst of all, to a habit. Moreover, our simple pleasures - like lying in bed - should not be denied for something over-rated like excessive wealth or even excessive health. These are secondary things. They are not the primary things. It is the primary things which have been ignored, and the secondary things which have been emphasized all out of proportion. "If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals," says Chesterton, "it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics. Cleanliness is not next to godliness nowadays, for cleanliness is made an essential and godliness is regarded as an offence." Chesterton can see from a century ago that the world was headed to a time when smoking a cigar would be considered more offensive than performing an abortion.