Selections from G.K. Chesterton’s What’s Wrong with the World

Greetings! This recording features three chapters (“The Emancipation of Domesticity,” “The Free Family,” and “The Wildness of Domesticity”) from What’s Wrong with the World by G.K. Chesterton. I’ve selected these passages not because I agree with Chesterton’s words in the literal sense (I don’t, in a few instances), but rather because I think he ushers forth a profound spirit. He refuses to let historical housewives be victimized by those men and women in power who would seek to treat them as disadvantaged children. In a sense, Chesterton offers a poetic answer to a question I’ve recently become familiar with in economic literature: Why are “liberated” women so unhappy?

Please feel free to read along, or enjoy the entire book, here.

My favorite quote:

To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness (“The Emancipation of Domesticity”).