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Were Chesterton & Maritain both Leftists and Pro-French Revolutionist following “the Gospel of Rousseau" ?

"Jean Jacques Rousseau, taken by Maritain as the quint-essential philosopher of the political left" - Maceij Sobiech

Polish scholar Maceij Sobiech presents evidence that G.K. Chesterton and Jacques Maritain were both leftist and pro-French Revolutionists:

And,  to  end  our  enumeration  here,  the  result  is  of course  such that the image of “Chesterton the rightist” penetrates to the public view, where – in the immortal words of Jacques Maritain from his Letter on Independence (1935) – passing through “the opinions of men, the evil commerce of appearance and blood, the terrors and hatreds” it becomes a parody of itself – but a telling parody indeed; and let us say here for the moment only as much as that it is emphatically not an accident  that  Adam  Gopnik,  in  his  famous  article  from The New Yorker, published when the first talks about the possibilities ... [of Chesterton being] “a medievalising reactionary [who] dreamed of an anti-capitalist agricultural state overseen by the Catholic Church and governed by a military.”...

... William Oddie, to whom I owe this information, is quite right in calling these accusations “grotesque” – but it is all the more suggestive tha t   he is able to to this, and to repel them almost effortlessly, because he himself is one of the pioneering researchers that acknowledge the “leftist” leaning in Chesterton’s political  attitude ...  [and] “[His] enthusiasm for red revolution,”...
... Maritain’s perspective, as we have said, is as simple as it is illuminating...  Primarily: the “physiological” or “temperamental” disposition of the subject, with “Left” signifying the general desire to change the status quo...
...  Thus, the revolutionary question enters Chesterton’s writings as soon as in his youth, namely: when he was eighteen; as Oddie reports, he wrote a long and emotional poem about the death of Danton effectuated by Robespierre... It is, therefore, quite unsurprising that the topic returns, even in quite unpolitical works, such as the famous Orthodoxy (1908), where Chesterton could not refrain from remarking about “the French Revolution that created the peasant wealth of France” Or his study of the English literature of the Victorian period (1914), in which book we read, in connection with the problem of the French Revolution, about “the Gospel of Rousseau, glorious truisms that refreshed the souls of the nations” [his] unpolitical works seems to me extremely telling and only proves that for Chesterton the French Revolution was as if a “pivot” of history, a central occurrence, around which history revolved. Yet it is the political books, of course, that serve here as the main sources of data. Thus, for example, in his article from the The Daily News (4 May 1907) cited by Oddie, we find a passage relating to the 1905-07 Revolution in Russia... " revolution of kind going on in Russia; and that ought to be enough to make any healthy man happy. Revolution is certainly the divine part of man; ‘Behold, I make all things new’”... Finally, in What I Saw in America (1922) he explicitly expresses his sympathy with the revolutionary heritage in history...
... It is quite unsurprising that from this “pre-political,” emotionalo-moral (so to speak) structure of character there followed corresponding political ideas, also fitting in the left- wing frame of thinking. “Primary” (if I might say so) political ideas in greater bulk stemming from the thought of Jean Jacques Rousseau, taken by Maritain as the quint-essential philosopher of the political left (and, as Bronisław Baczko...
[demonstrated] .... Chesterton had an extensive knowledge of Rousseau – he
rarely made it known (for reasons that are in themselves interesting but about which we have no time to speak here), but in an article “A Note on Rousseau” from 1930 issue of
G.K.’s  Weekly...  he calls his a “genious” and openly reveals a connection between Rousseau’s thought and his own views – especially Distributism.
It is thus unsurprising that Chesterton declared his support for such political ideas of the Swiss philosopher as, predominantly, the general will. The shadows and traces of its presence in Chesterton’s
thought... Chesterton quasi-personialities under the name of “the Mob”; with this “Mob” being endowed with a common will – [Rousseau's socialist] a General Will, which (as we learn again by the means of metaphorical personiification – not the similarity with the case of the Revolution...
... And let me be well-understood: I am not denying, by any means, the differences that occur between Chesterton’s thought and socialism, especially Marxist socialism... There is the tremendous difference as to the concept of man (Chesterton was emphatically not a materialist). It is all true. Yet  it  is  also  quite  obvious  that  both  light and right wing of the political scene constitute certain spectra: they include many different options and nuances. It simply means that Chesterton’s “leftism” was much different than the “leftism” of Marx or Shaw. Indeed – it was very, very
original... But the fact that is was a form of “leftism” seems to me quite undeniable – and  one  of the  most fundamental  reasons  of the general failure to notice it is a terrible habit. [(PDF) Gilbert Keith Chesterton -- a Leftist | Maciej Sobiech -]


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