The Paradox of Labour, contained in Irish Impressions
by G.K. Chesterton
In Ireland even the industrialism is not industrial. That is what I mean by saying that Irish Labour is the exception that proves the rule. That is why it does not contradict my former generalisation that our capitalist crisis is on the English side of the road.
The Irish agricultural labourers can become guildsmen because they would like to become peasants. They think of rich and poor in the manner that is as old as the world; the manner of Ahab and Naboth.
It matters little in a peasant society whether Ahab takes the vineyard privately as Ahab or officially as King of Israel. It will matter as little in the long run, even in the other kind of society, whether Naboth has a wage to work in the vineyard, or a vote that is supposed in some way to affect the vineyard. What he desires to have is the vineyard; and not in apologetic cynicism or vulgar evasions that business is business, but in thunder, as from a secret throne, comes the awful voice out of the vineyard; the voice of this manner of man in every age and nation : * The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.'