Chesterton’s Fence

The topic of Chesterton’s Fence came up on some blog, I think Ace, but not sure… Interesting concept, doubly so because progressives, even in small numbers and many in larval states, have been annoying their surroundings for at least 90-ish years. To wit:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

Note that Mr Gay Reformer is required to give a reason for why the “fence” *is* in place before the discussion is opened on why it should be removed.

Update (20160422): More here (h/t to Maetenloch).

Curiously, if you go to the Wiki link above, you will see that Wiki not only defines the fence/gate, but also recommends that Wiki participants keep it in mind when working on Wikipedia. Thus, proving Conquest’s First of Politics.

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