Hvilket ikke er til hindre for mer sitater.
Og hva er da bedre enn å starte med hva Chesterton skrev i anledningen kroningen av Kong Haakon i 1906, i essayet som i Collected Works har fått den interessante sammenstilte tittelen Revival of Small Nation/The True Middle Ages.
Når essayet er en fornøyelse å lese er det ikke bare fordi det er om Norge, men enda mer fordi det er av Chesterton.
Etter noen tanker om at kroninger er den beste skjebne for alle konger, med unntak av det ikke å bli kronet, "a burst of rebellion for which the majority of monarchs are much too weak", og om hvorvidt man feiret på skandinavisk vis ved å kaste beinrestene på hverandre etter måltidet (noe som ikke er omtalt, men i følge GKC gjør man jo ikke det med selvfølgeligheter som at man skålte i champagneglass og ikke fra flasken), kommer han til kjernen:
But there really is in the Norwegian incident an interest of a much more real kind. It is a sort of small picture of the tendencies of Europe as a whole. This independency of Norway is the success of a cause that has been quietly working in Europe for a very long time past; but it is the success of a cause which everyone has long been in the habit of regarding as futile, unpractical, sentimental, hopeless. It is the success of the unsuccessfull.Og det nettopp i en tid der sosialdarwinisme og imperialisme lenge hadde gått hånd i hånd.
Throughout the whole of our time and generation it has been the fashion to say that the age of small nationalities is over; that the passion of Poland and Hungary is only the afterglow of of an idle but irrevocable sunset. Sosiologists tell us that these nation had, in two senses of the phrase, been destroyed for ever, and that they had been destroyed for their own benefit. The great Empires were strong; the little nations they absorbed were weak; Nature had spoken. But within the last few years Nature has spoken and said some very unexpected things.For Chesterton er Norge et kroneksempel på en liten nasjon som har vært underlagt store i århundrer, men som viser at små nasjoner kan lykkes bedre - og skape mer lykke - enn erobrerende og annekterende nasjoner som har en tendens til å gå til grunne eller ende i anemi.
There is something odd in the fact that when we reproduce the Middle Ages it is always some such rough and half-grotesque part of them that we reproduce. I do not wish to compare the Mysteries of Chester with the Mystery of a Hansom-Cab. Both are popular mysteries; but, as is commonly the case, the medieval is the more intellectual. But why is it that we mainly remember the Middle Ages by absurd things? We remember Henry I not by the First Charter, but by the dish of lampreys. We forget that Henry VIII was intellectual, but we remember that he was fat.
I do not mean that the miracle plays are merely absurd: they sometimes were. But I mean that we neglect the rest. Few modern people know what a mass of illuminating philosophy, delicate metaphysics, clear and dignified social morality exists in the serious scholastic writers of mediaeval times. But we seem to have grasped somehow that the ruder and more clownish elements in the Middle Ages have a human and poetical interest. We are delighted to know about the ignorance of mediaevalism; we are contented to be ignorant about its knowledge.
When we talk of something mediaeval, we mean something quaint. We remember that alchemy was mediaeval, or that heraldry was mediaeval. We forget that Parliaments are mediaeval, that all our Universities are mediaeval, that city corporations are mediaeval, that gun-powder and printing are mediaeval, that half the things by which we now live, and to which we look for progress, are mediaeval. We remember the Philosopher’s Stone, but we forget the philosopher" (Illustrated London News, 14. juli 1906).Hvilket på enkelte felter minner om et innlegg jeg nylig så i Dagbladet. Denne Chesterton må snarest slutte å stjele stoff.