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A Century Ago G.K. Chesterton Had an Accidentally Accurate Vision of an Islamic Britain

A Century Ago G.K. Chesterton Had an Accidentally Accurate Vision of an Islamic Britain

29 May sees 150 years since the birth of G.K. Chesterton, the once-famed English writer and Catholic apologist – now a deeply unfashionable figure.

Perhaps the single book which sums up best why Chesterton is not much read on university syllabuses today is his 1914 novel The Flying Inn, also celebrating 110 years in print in 2024. I say “in print”, but no major presses, like Penguin Classics, currently have it in their catalogue. I had to get my copy from a low-budget “print on demand” service. Why? Probably because the novel successfully managed to predict, in several key details, a topic of pressing but often suppressed importance over a century later – the growing Islamisation of the West.

The Flying Inn is a semi-sci-fi novel, set at some indeterminate point in the (then-)near future, in which, thanks to the influence of a degenerate elite, led by the treacherous politician Lord Ivywood, Britain is facing imminent Islamic takeover by stealth. A bizarre new variant of the faith, dubbed “Progressive Islam” is on the verge of replacing Anglicanism as the official state religion. The priggish authoritarian, Lord Ivywood, has pushed a Prohibition Bill through parliament, outlawing the drinking of alcohol: the titular Flying Inn is an illegal pub on wheels set up to defy Ivywood’s new sharia laws.

The book being written in 1914, a time when there were about as many Muslims living in Britain as there are Rastafarians living in Mecca today, Chesterton did not mean his prediction of an Islamised England to be taken literally as a warning of actual things to come. Instead, the imminent Progressive Islamic Caliphate is a generic satirical illustration of the kind of unwelcome dystopias which invariably appear whenever members of a jaded ruling class try conjuring up new political or social utopias of any kind.

Nonetheless, in choosing Islam as his specific agent of civilisational suicide, Chesterton did manage to accidentally predict, with uncanny (if unintended!) accuracy, what life on Britain’s shores would actually end up looking like some 110 years later, thanks to decades of uncontrolled mass immigration from former Ottoman lands. So, let us look more closely at The Flying Inn and see: in what precise ways did Chesterton get things right, or wrong?

Progressive blindness

Lord Ivywood is a classic ruling-class reformer, in that he knows nothing of the actual lives of the ordinary folk whose lives he purports to “improve” via his wholly unneeded and unwanted reforms. According to one drinking-song in the book, his very name is symbolic: “Ivywood, Lord Ivywood, he rots the tree as ivy would”, the tree in question being the stout oak of the typical age-old English character.

And yet, though his attempts at “beneficial” reform invariably end badly, Lord Ivywood arrogantly pursues them to the bitter end nonetheless, even allowing an entire Ottoman Army to establish itself in secret on his private land, to march upon London and seize power for good. “The world was made badly, and I will make it over again,” boasts Lord Ivywood, the characteristic avowal of utopian social reformers throughout history, from Robespierre to Lenin to Tony Blair.

Like so many real-life deracinated progressives of the “QUEERS FOR PALESTINE!” sort today, although always keen to denigrate Christianity and his own historic civilisation, Lord Ivywood is curiously blind when it comes to the many distinctly non-PC aspects of Islam. How can a religion which oppresses women and executes gays ever be labelled “progressive”? Lord Ivywood explains:

Islam has in it the potentialities of being the most progressive of all religions … Not in vain, I think, is the symbol of that religion the crescent, the growing thing. While other creeds carry emblems implying more or less of finality, for this great creed of hope its very imperfection is its pride, and men shall walk fearlessly in [its] new and wonderful oaths, following the increasing curve which contains and holds up before them the eternal promises of the [full-moon’s] orb.

A vegetarian, Lord Ivywood sees Islam’s prohibition upon pork as the ideal symbol of this imperfection-tending-towards-perfection; by placing an embargo upon the most emblematically dirty of farm animals, Islam points the way towards the later complete abolition of the eating of all meat. Therefore, Islam’s “very imperfection is its pride” and a promise of far better things to come, making Lord Ivywood conveniently able to excuse the creed any of its inherent flaws whatsoever.

In charge of peace-talks following some East-West war, he refuses to negotiate the return of kidnapped Greek women from Turkey, so as not to negatively effect “the homes, the marriages, the family arrangements of the great Ottoman Empire”. “Everything from the East is good” is his faction’s key slogan: even mass rape. These days, Lord Ivywood would feel right at home staffing the local police or social services departments in Islamified English towns like Rochdale or Telford, where authorities covered up the industrial-scale abuse of local underage white girls by Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs in order “not to inflame community tensions”. As Chesterton’s Muslim apologists put it, women can’t possibly be abused under Ottoman rule, as in Turkey “they were allowed to wear trousers” – the baggy pantaloons worn by belly-dancers in harems.

Lord Ivywood actually soon sets up a personal harem of his own inside the inner sanctum of his country mansion: as Muslim polygamy is increasingly tacitly condoned by the British state (some Muslims get multiple welfare benefits payments for their multiple wives), perhaps this vision of Chesterton’s too will some day come to pass.

The whole point of the novel is not actually to mock Islam at all, then – it is to satirise progressive idiocy as an eternal vehicle for social disaster.

A very broad church indeed

Most symbolic of the systematic hollowing-out of Britain’s once-oaken institutions by rotten dhimmified quislings like Lord Ivywood is the active collusion of the Church of England in its own replacement. A new, merged form of religion is in the process of being created, at Lord Ivywood’s behest, to be dubbed “Chrislam”: a “mad parson” is even allowed to place an Islamic crescent moon atop St Paul’s Cathedral, merged with the Christian cross.

Again, what Chesterton meant as a mere joke has now literally come true for real. Aided by the fact Jesus is actually already a holy figure in both religions, an actual attempted synthesis between Christianity and Islam named “Chrislam” grew up in Nigeria in the 1970s, and has since been exported Westwards.

St Paul’s Cathedral has not as yet physically erected the joint crescent-and-cross symbol – but it has done so figuratively. In 2019, St Paul’s held its first (but not last) “interfaith iftar” there, iftar being the ritual feast Muslims hold to break fasting after sunset during Ramadan.

How is it possible to have an “interfaith” iftar? It is a specifically Islamic ceremony. It would be like having an “interfaith” Black Mass for Buddhists. How long before St Paul’s goes the way of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople/Istanbul and is forcibly transformed into a mosque outright?

In 2017, meanwhile, as part of what the Archbishop of Canterbury laughably called “a clearly Christian service”, an all-girl Islamic choir sang a nasheed hymn with the equally “clearly Christian” title Insha Allah within the central space of St Paul’s.

When, do you think, Finsbury Park mosque will return the interfaith favour by hosting an all-Christian girl’s choir to sing the “clearly Muslim” song Onwards, Christian Soldiers? As long ago as 2008, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, sparked controversy after proclaiming that, thanks to demographic changes, the adoption of certain aspects of sharia law across Britain in years to come was “unavoidable”, a prospect he appeared to welcome. According to the Arch-Imam:

It’s not as if we’re bringing in an alien and rival system; we already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal law of religious communities is recognised by the law of the land … There is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law as we already do with some kinds of aspects of other religious law.

Straight from the lying mouth of Lord Ivywood.

His story is not history

The most amusing character in Chesterton’s novel is Misysra Ammon, the “Prophet of the Moon”, a loony autodidact engaged by Lord Ivywood to give ridiculous lectures to High Society, arguing England was really always Islamic, so that to embrace Islamisation was simply for the land to re-embrace its historic lost Muslim identity. To “prove” this, Ammon rewrites history shamelessly. Amongst other things …

  • Englishmen eat turkey on Christmas Day in honour of the identically named “Country of the Servant of the Prophet”.
  • The English language contains various words beginning with “Al”, the Arabic language word for “the”, as in Alhambra or algebra: for instance “Alsop’s Beer” and “Albert Memorial”.
  • Horse-shoes are U-shaped in imitation of the crescent moon of Islam, a truth lost during the temporary period when Britain was “oppressed by the passing superstition of the Galileans.”
  • Noughts and Crosses was an Eastern invention, and originally called Noughts and Crescents; likewise, the mathematical “plus sign” was not always a cross, but a crescent moon, a “hygienic curve” soon to be rightfully reintroduced.

Chesterton was having great fun here, but unfortunately his jokes once more later came true. Consider the touring international museum exhibition 1001 Islamic Inventions, which began in Manchester, now an English city with a very large and growing Muslim population, in 2006, with the aim of convincing the world that all wonders actually invented by white Christians were truly invented by black and brown Muslims, even up to and including the Rubik’s Cube (not a joke, the exhibition really said this). As I once wrote elsewhere:

Muslims also invented human flight, rather than the Wright Brothers, because in the ninth century a man named Abbas ibn Firnas strapped a special cloak to himself like Batman and jumped off the top of a tall mosque. He immediately plummeted to the ground and sustained “minor injuries” rather than actually flying but, nonetheless, explained the exhibition’s book-catalogue, “For Muslims, flight has a spiritual dimension,” as in all those stories about magic carpets … Dams, glass, windmills, buildings, medicine, money, maths, geometry, art (albeit perhaps not human portraiture), libraries, bookshops, universities, towns, the countryside, paper, textiles, writing, agriculture, vaccines, clocks, music, cameras, the concept of personal hygiene, even the toothbrush—all were invented by Muslims. Five hundred years later, when white men from Colgate finally developed some toothpaste, this latter creation could at last be used.

Misysra Ammon could not have done any better than that. And yet, despite being even more obviously fictional than the 1001 Nights1001 Islamic Inventions received money from leading British scientific charities like the Wellcome Trust and toured London’s Houses of Parliament, Brussels’ European Parliament and New York’s UN General Assembly buildings. Meanwhile, according to certain other Islamist ideologues, Muslims discovered America and wrote the US Constitution. How come it guarantees freedom of speech and religion, then?  I hold these untruths to be self-evident. What a shame the West’s current ruling class don’t do likewise.

A very interesting Submission

The key thing Chesterton got wrong about the Islamic conquest of Britain was that it would necessitate secret military intervention. Another of Lord Ivywood’s schemes, of allowing voters to place a crescent rather than a cross on their ballot papers at elections so as to avoid causing offence, points towards the true way in which creeping Islamisation will occur: via the demographic conquest of mass immigration. As one character has it, these were to be the four stages of the British Empire: “Victory over barbarians. Employment of barbarians. Alliance with barbarians. Conquest by barbarians.”

To see how Islamic subjugation truly works in 2024 Britain, examine an extraordinary document of blackmail issued by electoral pressure group “Muslim Vote” to the country’s likely next PM, Keir Starmer, following May’s local elections, where Starmer’s Labour Party lost some council seats it had been expected to hold due to Muslim voters withholding support over Labour’s support for Israel. If Starmer wanted Britain’s estimated four million Muslim votes back, besides dropping support for the Jews, he would have to, effectively, adopt blasphemy laws (but only for Islam) through the back door, disingenuously redefine terrorism to Muslims’ specific advantage, spend more taxpayers’ cash on Muslim-populated areas than non-Muslim ones, and even help legally “Ensure insurance quotes don’t cost more for someone called ‘Muhammad’.” Makes Chesterton’s idea of a whole Turkish army hiding out somewhere in the English countryside quaint by comparison …

Far more realistic in this respect is another much more recent sort-of sci-fi novel about Western Islamisation, the French writer Michel Houellebecq’s 2015 book Submission, in which an Islamist President named Mohammed Ben Abbes takes over France simply by virtue of winning an election. Through to a presidential run-off against Marine Le Pen in a near-future ballot, France’s left-wing progressives make common cause with the nation’s millions of Muslims rather than stoop to vote for the supposed “Far-Right” candidate Le Pen.

The odd thing is, that when Ben Abbas does take power, as part of his own personal sharia he introduces a strange new post-capitalist (or, rather, pre-capitalist,) Islam-friendly, form of economic system called Distributism, whose original co-inventor was none other than … G.K. Chesterton!

Like Chesterton, Houellebecq too maintained he was satirising not Islam, but a degenerate progressive ruling class who may one day allow such an alien ideology to take the West over. Unlike Chesterton, however, the post-religious Houellebecq has said that “I would maintain that an alliance between Catholics and Muslims is possible” as a co-religious bulwark against the godless, post-religious, modern entropy that is currently swallowing and killing the West wholesale.

Does Chesterton’s posited fictional Chrislam have some viable real-life future to it after all? Thanks to the spineless Lord Ivywoods currently running Western civilisation into the ground, I fear we might be about to be forced to find out.

This article was originally published on Mercator under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Image credit: public domain

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