"It was merry in England before this new learning came up," said the Third Duke of Norfolk. (He was referring to the rise of general literacy, a new thing in his time.) "I would have all things as they were in times past." That could not be. With the invention of printing, the wood had been made into a boat. The same can be said of G. K. Chesterton's fantasy of Britain returning to a feudal condition, jolly squires gazing on benignly as their plump tenants swilled mugs of ale, tonsured monks in the back ground to answer life's hard questions when required. Attitudes like this go beyond conservative. Standing athwart History crying "Stop!" is conservative; hopeless longing for what is irreversibly gone (if it ever actually existed in the imagined form) is reactionary.
Introduction to "A Christmas Carol"
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