In his delicious essay “The Ethics of Elfland,”Â G.K. Chesterton wrote:
Â Â Â This is the first principle of democracy: that the essential things in men are the things they hold in common, not the things they hold separately. And the second principle is merely this: that the political instinct or desire is one of these things which they hold in common. Falling in love is more poetical than dropping into poetry. The democratic contention is that government (helping to rule the tribe) is a thing like falling in love, and not a thing like dropping into poetry. It is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum, discovering the North Pole (that insidious habit), looping the loop, being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing oneâ€™s own love-letters or blowing oneâ€™s own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly. I am not here arguing the truth of any of these conceptions; I know that some moderns are asking to have their wives chosen by scientists, and they may soon be asking, for all I know, to have their noses blown by nurses. I merely say that mankind does recognize these universal human functions, and that democracy classes government among them. In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselvesâ€”the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state. This is democracy; and in this I have always believed.
Hear, hear. But the practicing democrats here, it seems to me, are liberals. We’re the ones who want the mating of the sexes to be left to ordinary people, not the State. Conservatives are the ones who want to tell Anderson Cooper that he must choose a wifeâ€”and Christine Quinn that she’s not allowed to.