G. K. Chesterton was among the few in the West who could see the brewing ideological storms that would soon make landfall, not just in the form of world wars and totalitarianism, but also in the pervasive modern dehumanization that consumes us to this day, in 1910, when both the industrialists and the intelligentsia both promised only "progress."
Chesterton saw the beginnings of "awake capital" and how it coincides with and encourages social progressive more than a century ago. He explains that there is an unwritten partnership between big business and progressives. The one (big business) impoverishes the worker by eviscerating the material conditions of family life, while the other (the progressive) tells him he doesn't need family in the first place. Big business “wants women workers because they are cheaper,” while the progressive “calls the women’s work ‘freedom to live her own life.’ ”
Chesterton also observed how economic individualism eventually led to more intrusive government because of the worker's incapacity to enter into modest ownership of the kind available to his forefathers, leaving him exposed to relying on the State for assistance.
What's Wrong with the World appears astoundingly, almost unbelievably, accurate in examining these challenges to a decent, stable, regular life. Although Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism was still a decade away, his arguments in these pages are unmistakably shaped by Catholic teaching, as he is concerned with the false emphasis on "science," sexual license as "liberating," socialism's fake humanity, and how "faith in the future" is actually a sign of cowardice and fear of our past.
No other book offers such an insightful critique of what is genuinely wrong with our world, and it is as readable today as it was when it was first written.