P. G. Wodehouse once wrote a chapter entitled ‘Almost Entirely About Flower-pots’; and one might be forgiven for suggesting that the last chapter of G. K. Chesterton’s autobiography could be entitled ‘Almost Entirely About Dandelions’ – that apparently insignificant flower forming a sort of leitmotif throughout the greater part of the chapter, as Chesterton discusses his position on Hope : a virtue of which he was always a great advocate.
It’s far too long to quote in toto; but he makes one point which I feel is very apposite today, if only because I’m sure that most of us know people – usually all-too-many people – who think like this : ‘A whole generation has been taught to talk nonsense at the top of its voice about having “a right to life” and “a right to experience” and “a right to happiness”. The lucid thinkers who talk like this generally wind up their assertion of all these extraordinary things by saying that there is no such thing as right and wrong. It is a little difficult, in that case, to speculate on where their rights came from; but I, at least, leaned more and more to the old philosophy which said that their real rights came from where the dandelion came from; and that they will never value either without recognising its source.’
If you haven’t read Chesterton’s Autobiography, do let me encourage you to do so.