The Fence


G.K. Chesterton was an English writer who believed political and economic reforms should not be made until the reasoning of the existing state of affairs is well understood.  Here’s a quote referred to as “Chesterton’s Fence” from 1929:

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.

Your Estate Planning War Chest is surrounded by Chesterton’s Fence.  A fence of constitutional private property rights under siege from impetuous egg heads.  Enemy forces are trying to destroy the Fence, as wiser, more powerful warriors defend it.  Property law has evolved since 1066 AD, after the Norman Conquest in England, when our English based land ownership system was established.  Progressive reformers and legal academics often fail to grasp this.

Critical Theory nonsense and Marxists criticisms of capitalism seek to re-arrange law and political economy that have been painstakingly erected by brilliant historical minds over many centuries.   Our free market system has stood the test of time, while socialist regimes caused death and misery, again and again.  Fortunately, there are very strong, well-armed intellectual soldiers protecting Chesterton’s Fence from clueless reformers.  Your wealth is safe.  As Justice Holmes once said, “upon this point, a page of history is worth a volume of logic”.


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