Chesterton: Heir of All Ages

“If the modern man is indeed the heir of all ages, he is often the kind of heir who tells the family solicitor to sell the whole damned estate, lock, stock, and barrel, and give him a little ready money to throw away at the races or the night clubs. He is certainly not the kind of heir who ever visits his estate: and, if he really owns all the historic lands of ancient and modern history, he is a very absentee landlord. He does not really go down the mines on the historic property, whether they are the Caves of the Cave-Man or the Catacombs of the Christians, but content with a very hasty and often misleading report from a very superficial and sometimes dishonest mining expert.  He allows any wild theories, like wild thickets of thorn and briar, to grow all over the garden and even the graveyard. He will always believe modern testimony in a text-book against contemporary testimony on a tombstone. He sells the family portraits with much more than the carelessness of Charles Surface, and seldom eve knows enough about the family even to save a favorite uncle from the wreck. For the adjective ‘fast,’ which was a condemnation when applied to profligates, has become a compliment when applied to progressives.”

– G.K. Chesterton, in his essay “On Man: Heir of All Ages”

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