Chesterton vs the Anarchist

An excerpt from G.K. Chesterton’s account of meeting and losing patience with a philosophic anarchist. (From “The Anarchist” which can be found in Alarms and Discursions.)

I stood up in a sort of daze. “I think you remarked,” I said feebly, “that the mere common populace do not quite understand Anarchism”--

“Quite so,” he said with burning swiftness; “as I said, they think any Anarchist is a man with a bomb, whereas--”

“But great heavens, man!” I said; “it’s the man with the bomb that I understand! I wish you had half his sense. What do I care how many German dons tie themselves in knots about how this society began? My only interest is about how soon it will end. Do you see those fat white houses over in Park-lane, where your masters live?”

He assented and muttered something about concentrations of capital.

“Well,” I said, “if the time ever comes when we all storm those houses, will you tell me one thing? Tell me how we shall do it without authority? Tell me how you will have an army of revolt without discipline?”

— G.K. Chesterton
``The Anarchist''