“Jar to all ordered speech”

A very good way of testing sharply a certain cold, wild, un-human quality in many contemporary theories, is to note the fact that they do not even fit into human language; that they give a sort of jar to all ordered speech. They contradict the dictionary more than they do the Bible. The very ideas of them are ungrammatical. For instance, the intelligent objection to Communism and such extreme forms of Collectivism as diminish property to a vanishing point, is one that can be put in many ways. I say the intelligent objection to Communism and Collectivism; the stupid and wicked objection to them is simply that they imply compassion and a twisted sort of Christianity: this is the only objection that is offered in modern politics and literature. But the intelligent objection, the objection that possession should be an individual enjoyment even if it is a universal one, this can be put in many argumentative shapes, from the most delicate emotions about heirlooms, landscapes, sites, and memories to the harshest and plainest statistics of peasant wealth and efficiency.

But perhaps the shortest and most lucid way of putting it is to say that one must be pretty far gone when one abolishes one of the parts of speech; and that Communism abolishes the possessive pronoun. If there is really no such word as “my” or “yours” or “his,” it is apparent that we have come to a pretty queer place, as Nicholas Nickleby said.

— The Illustrated London News, 1 June 1912.

Published in: on January 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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