September 11, 2009

'Standardization by a low standard'

To put it shortly, the evil I am trying to warn you of is not excessive democracy, it is not excessive ugliness, it is not excessive anarchy. It might be stated thus: It is standardisation by a low standard.

~ Gilbert Keith Chesterton, “Culture and the Coming Peril” (lecture delivered at the University of London, reprinted in the “Chesterton Review,” Vol. 18, No. 2, August, 1992).


  1. So true, living in a age where mediocrity is exalted.

  2. Education in France was hit by this phenomenon, and probably still is. It became 'politically incorrect' to award children 'good points' for working well. Competition was/is considered 'unsociable'. This naturally reduced the level of progress. Throughout the past 45 years or so the French baccalaureate has become gradually less difficult for the majority to obtain, so much so that passing it no longer represents a great accomplishment, thus it's no longer the reference that it should be.

    It's basically the difference between a healthy democratic society thriving through regulated commercial competition (to avoid the word that has become taboo) as advocated by Adam Smith, which should constantly raise standards and should be the stimulus for technological evolution and progress, and die hard Marxist ideas. It might also explain why IPod technology etc., isn't Russian technology.