"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." – G. K. Chesterton

Archive for December, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the day when the Japanese bombed a naval base in Hawaii killing thousands and drawing the United States into the Second World War.

I’ve written several posts commemorating historical events, but usually in a spirit of fun and frivolty.  In real life, I do my humble best to take history seriously when appropriate.  Ours is not an age that pays much attention to history.  Anniversaries of major events in our history go past and we barely notice.  The media barely mentions them, if at all.  I’d wager that the majority of Americans will not even note that today is Pearl Harbor Day.

But history matters.  The attitude that we take towards past events shapes how we deal with present and future events.  Keeping ourselves aware of history helps us to remember what sort of things guided civilization to its present state, and what will continue to guide us in the future.

Please take some time today to remember those who died at Pearl Harbor and all those who fought in the Second World War, or any other war.

Chesterton offers more advice

Don’t use secondary words as primary words. “Happiness” (let us say) is a primary word. You know when you have the thing, and you jolly well know when you haven’t. “Progress” is a secondary word; it means the degree of one’s approach to happiness, or to some such solid ideal. But modern controversies constantly turn on asking, “Does Happiness help Progress?” Thus, I see in the New Age this week a letter from Mr. Egerton Swann, in which he warns the world against me and my friend Mr. Belloc, on the ground that our democracy is “spasmodic” (whatever that means); while our “reactionism is settled and permanent.” It never strikes Mr. Swann that democracy means something in itself; while “reactionism” means nothing—except in connection with democracy. You cannot react except from something. If Mr. Swann thinks I have ever reacted from the doctrine that the people should rule, I wish he would give me the reference.

– G. K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men

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