Monday, November 21, 2016

Tradition Refuses to Submit to Oligarchy

There is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand.  I have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition.  It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time.  It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record. … If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable.  Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise.  Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors.   It is the democracy of the dead.  Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, pg.40-41

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