G. K. Chesterton Quotes

  • “The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.”
    by G. K. Chesterton A Defense of Humilities, The Defendant, 1901
  • “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 4/19/30
  • “Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.”
    by G. K. Chesterton A Miscellany of Men
  • “I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 6-3-1922
  • “The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN 10-28-1922
  • “Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it.”
    by G. K. Chesterton “Charles II” Twelve Types
  • “Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”
    by G. K. Chesterton What's Wrong With The World, 1910
  • “Comforts that were rare among our forefathers are now multiplied in factories and handed out wholesale; and indeed, nobody nowadays, so long as he is content to go without air, space, quiet, decency and good manners, need be without anything whatever that he wants; or at least a reasonably cheap imitation of it.”
    by G. K. Chesterton Commonwealth, 1933
  • “War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 7/24/15
  • “The only defensible war is a war of defense.”
    by G. K. Chesterton Autobiography, 1937
  • “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 1/14/11
  • “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”
    by G. K. Chesterton The Cleveland Press, 3/1/21
  • “All government is an ugly necessity.”
    by G. K. Chesterton A Short History of England. 63
  • “Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN 9-11-09
  • “The first two facts which a healthy boy or girl feels about sex are these: first that it is beautiful and then that it is dangerous.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN 1/9/09
  • “There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 1/13/06
  • “The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”
    by G. K. Chesterton Introduction to the Book of Job, 1907
  • “The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN 1-3-20
  • “These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN 8-11-28
  • “It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 3/14/08
  • “The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 6/11/10
  • “Truth is sacred; and if you tell the truth too often nobody will believe it.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN, 2/24/06
  • “Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN 9/11/09
  • “Great truths can only be forgotten and can never be falsified.”
    by G. K. Chesterton ILN 9-30-33
  • “Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.”
    by G. K. Chesterton What's Wrong With the World
  • “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”
    by G. K. Chesterton The Uses of Diversity, 1921
  • “Because a girl should have long hair, she should have clean hair; because she should have clean hair, she should not have an unclean home; because she should not have an unclean home, she should have a free and leisured mother; because she should have a free mother, she should not have an usurious landlord; because there should not be a usurious landlord, there should be a redistribution of property; because there should be a redistribution of property, there shall be a revolution.”
    by G. K. Chesterton What's Wrong with the World


3 Responses to G. K. Chesterton Quotes

  1. Jennifer Barket says:

    To which work does “ILN” refer? I can’t find a reference anywhere. Thank you.

  2. It refers to the the Illustrated London News to which Chesterton was such a prodigious contributor that the complete works of GK Chesterton contain several volumes devoted to his ILN essays.

  3. Tony Gassner says:

    G.K. must have had pretensions as a reformer; “The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”

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