Welcome to Part Six of the latest audio entertainment in our series Tales for Our Time. For this season of anarchy, we're enjoying a tale of anarchy from the Edwardian era - The Man Who Was Thursday by G K Chesterton. Mark Steyn Club member Gary Alexander is impressed by the author's prescience:
My oh my, is Chesterton ahead of times or what? Even as I am listening to tonight's episode, Tucker Carlson is airing an opening segment on "Elites cheering on the rioters." Biden's boys and Hollywood cowards are bailing out rioters. Professors are instructing kids on defacing or destroying artwork or statues representing our evil past.
All this resonates with GKC's enlightened copper lecturing Syme: "We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher.... Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to destroy the very idea of personal possession."
That's the same today, Gary. The looter steals the Nikes and burns the store; the cable-news guys and the professors and the celebs provide the rationale for his act - and that's far more destructive: They're torching the very foundations of society.
In tonight's episode, our undercover agent reflects on the six anarchists round the breakfast table:
Each figure seemed to be, somehow, on the borderland of things, just as their theory was on the borderland of thought. He knew that each one of these men stood at the extreme end, so to speak, of some wild road of reasoning... These figures seemed to stand up, violent and unaccountable, against an ultimate horizon, visions from the verge. The ends of the earth were closing in.
These days the visions from the verge are verging on the insane - yet go without challenge from "mainstream" figures. And, as we discussed yesterday, the verge visionaries can hide in plain sight:
Talk had been going on steadily as he took in the scene; and not the least of the contrasts of that bewildering breakfast-table was the contrast between the easy and unobtrusive tone of talk and its terrible purport. They were deep in the discussion of an actual and immediate plot. The waiter downstairs had spoken quite correctly when he said that they were talking about bombs and kings. Only three days afterwards the Czar was to meet the President of the French Republic in Paris, and over their bacon and eggs upon their sunny balcony these beaming gentlemen had decided how both should die.
Across most of the world apart from party-town Wuhan, there are still no shows, films, concerts, sporting events... So, unless you dig rioting, there's not much to do of an evening. That being so, we hope you'll be back here tomorrow for Part Seven of The Man Who Was Thursday. You can listen to our tale episodically twenty minutes before you lower your lamp, or save it up for an almighty binge-listen on a long car journey as you flee your looted downtown.
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