Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sarkozy imitates Chesterton in the worst way

Reading Reuters' account of the French president's praise for Saudi Arabia along with his government's defense of his touting "spiritualities" makes me wonder if G.K. Chesterton foresaw him when creating the character of the nihilistic Islamophile Lord Ivywood in The Flying Inn.

One passage in particular sounds as though it were lifted straight from Chesterton's prophetic 1914 cultural satire:

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie responded by saying the government wanted "to help all spiritualities to express themselves, including those based on atheism".
The Flying Inn's plot, in the words of Touchstone reviewer Addison H. Hart,
has to do with a Britain that is rapidly losing her heritage and identity through the political maneuverings of one Lord Ivywood, a fastidious “New Age” type of convert to a highly nuanced brand of Islam. Lord Ivywood ... through Parliament, has succeeded in having legislation enacted in England that curtails the sale of alcohol, a “politically correct” legal targeting of the ancient institution of the public house and the free men who enjoy it.

The ultimate goal of Ivywood, however, is not mere teetotalism. Rather, he desires a wholesale spiritual transformation—indeed obliteration—of England’s Western and Christian identity.
Substitute France for England and "smoking cigarettes" (now banned in French cafes) with "sale of alcohol," and it begins to sound remarkably familiar.