Sunday, May 22, 2016

Belloc, Orwell, Fernandez

I have known Hillaire Belloc only by reputation.  He was friends with GK Chesterton, both Roman Catholic intellectuals of the early 20th C, and his outlook was similar enough to GKC that frequent-opponent George Bernard Shaw referred to the two of them together as the Chesterbelloc, a monstrous Catholic beast that proposed Distributism as an alternative to the (obviously holy) strict socialism that Shaw approved of.

His time has come and gone, apparently.  In the George Orwell discussion embedded in Richard Fernandez's article "Greetings, Slaves" about the Servile State it is clear that Belloc was much in the mind of thinkers about economics and society at the time Orwell was writing 75 years ago.  He is little known now. Fernandez is Wretchard over at Belmont Club and known to some of you, a writer who unearths much that is in danger of disappearing and brings it forth to today. He points out where Belloc was prescient about the alliance between crony capitalism and socialism, though they went about in different costumes a century ago.

In what is nearly a throwaway line, Fernandez also points out that the Davos conferences are not gatherings of the like-minded, but a meeting between the coalition groups who hope to rule us: virtue-signallers with little obvious virtue, nods to scientism with just a smattering of actual science,  wealthy capitalists who are rent-seekers and exploiters rather than free-marketers. All very CS Lewis, especially That Hideous Strength, God In The Dock, the Abolition of Man, and The Magician's Nephew.

Note, however, that Lewis did not mention Belloc, though one would absolutely expect it.  I don't know what to make of that.

3 comments:

Edith Hook said...

Fernandez also points out that the Davos conferences are not gatherings of the like-minded, but a meeting between the coalition groups who hope to rule us: virtue-signallers with little obvious virtue, nods to scientism with just a smattering of actual science, wealthy capitalists who are rent-seekers and exploiters rather than free-marketers.

Spot on, I think. I'd just add that they are indifferent to the consequences. It is driven, abetted, or exacerbated in part by technology. The multinationals that drive growth do not seem to create mass employment in the USA.

Dried Peanuts said...

Belloc is a good stylist, readable. With some of the stuff yoy get the feeling he is writing about now.

Texan99 said...

Lewis often took swipes at Shaw, but at few other philosophers by name.