Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Was Chesterton a Libertarian?

I'm interested to know people's opinions on this one.

He certainly had some libertarian tendencies. He was opposed to compulsory education, criticized Sunday trading restrictions, opposed social insurance, ridiculed the censorship of the stage, thundered against Prohibition, and carried a gun around him.

In fact, I can't think of many arguments against the thesis-- which doesn't please me that much, since I am rather anti-libertarian myself.


  1. I doubt he was a libertarian in the sense that you mean. Probably, he was mindful of the encroachment of the state and was simply reacting against it, even though in his day it was a much more distant organ than it is today, and one which was considered more benign. But then, GK was nothing if not prescient

  2. I think he believed in direct democracy, which is not a libertarian position; real libertarians fear the tyranny of the majority. He was a populist.