Hilaire Belloc (1870 – 1953) was a controversial figure in his day: a man of many talents but also apparent contradictions too. In this timely assessment of Belloc’s career, Chris Hare examines Belloc’s attitude towards religion, politics, war, the natural environment, and old age and dying. He also looks into the claims that Belloc was anti-Semitic.
Here was a man, who, one hundred years ago, was suggesting that the West ignored religious belief (especially Islam) at its peril, that its politics risked becoming ‘a circus’ and that real power was transferring to the banks and financial institutions. Belloc was also a very humorous man, with a dry wit, famous for his comic verses that lampooned the rich and powerful.
He speaks to us very powerfully today at a time when the future appears increasingly uncertain. We may not agree with all he said and believed, but we cannot fail to be impressed by his insights and foresight.
“It is always worth while, I think, to hammer at truths which one knows to be important, even those which seem, to others, at their first statement mere nonsense. For though you may die under the imputation of being a man without a sense of proportion, or even a madman, yet reality will in time confirm your effort.”
Hilaire Belloc, writing in 1925.
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