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Islam, Immigration, and the Alienists Among Us

The Breadth of the Battlefield

In his Introduction to Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith, G.K. Chesterton casts himself as a man on a yacht seeking the world and finding home.  The seeker, he writes, may have entertained us with his efforts to find “in an anarchist club or a Babylonian temple what I might have found in the nearest parish church.”  Chesterton had desired to be “in advance of the age,” but found, instead, that he was “eighteen hundred years behind it.”  He had uncovered nothing new.  The “romance of faith,” he discovered, could be found in Christian orthodoxy.

Chesterton had thought of turning the seeker’s tale into a “romance” in which the “English yachtsman” discovers what he takes as “a new island in the South Seas,” planting a British flag on a “barbaric temple” that turns out to be the “Pavilion at Brighton.”  The seekers I am addressing here, however, are not those who traverse the globe (literally or figuratively) to land at home, either slaking a youthful wanderlust and returning to their native lands or, having become disillusioned after “seeing the world,” realizing that “the world” is contained in the ordinary lives they left behind.  The seekers who concern us are those who reject home, spiritually or intellectually, finding an elusive sense of identity in the barbarian...

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