The Essays of G. K. Chesterton

by G. K. Chesterton

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What is your critique of "Patriotism and Sport" by G. K. Chesterton?

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Chesterton, in his short essay "Patriotism and Sport," comprehensively dismantles the belief in the innate superiority of the British when it comes to sport by exposing its lack of intellectual integrity, not to mention its historical ignorance.

Chesterton takes a well-aimed barb at the jingoistic prejudices of his fellow Englishmen. They seem to find it outrageous that the supposedly lesser races (such as the French and the Belgians) should beat the British at sport. They believe that, as the Anglo-Saxon is inherently superior, it's simply not possible for him to lose in sporting competitions with his alleged inferiors. And yet it does happen, and when it does, the "stout" Englishman works himself up into a panic.

Chesterton challenges what he calls this "haughty theory of Anglo-Saxon superiority" by gently pointing out that many of the sports which Englishmen think of as their exclusive domain, such as riding to hounds, were in fact invented by the so-called lesser races. And so it's no surprise that they should prove themselves so good at them and that they should regularly beat their Anglo-Saxon counterparts.

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