I find this very difficult to believe, given Chesteron's brilliant ability to see and explain true historical causes and effects of events and movements. Would you provide proof for this assertion? I'm fairly certain you either missed his point or some distinction which great minds are apt to make.
Moving on past the masterfully veiled insult ( my mind isn't subtle enough to comprehend GK Chesterton, which may be true, then again it isn't subtle enough to comprehend a lot of Vatican II "theologians" either like Hans urs von Balthasar )...
You didn't know he was pro-French Revolution? Maybe he changed his mind sometime during his life, but from the available evidence, he was relentless in this stance. It's the same with Hilaire Belloc, as roscoe, for once accurately, points out.
An Internet search will prove what I'm saying, it's no secret. This is from an essay called "The Red Reactionary."
"If the French democracy
actually desired every detail of the mediaeval monarchy, they could have
it. I do not think they will or should, but they could."
There's a beauty for you. He continues, in his proto-Vatican II way, to mix up concepts into his own peculiar blend of pompous and circumstancial witticisms ( note the reference to Elgar, since both men had a very strange, very bloated, and very English take on the Catholic religion ).
Dauphin were actually crowned at Rheims; if another Joan of Arc actually
bore a miraculous banner before him; if mediaeval swords shook and.
blazed in every gauntlet; if the golden lilies glowed from every tapestry;
if this were really proved to be the will of France and the purpose of
Providence--such a scene would still be the lasting and final
justification of the French Revolution.
For no such scene could conceivably have happened under Louis XVI"
That's like saying praising Satan as the "lasting and final justification" for Christ's death on the Cross, for no such scene could have conceivably happened in the Garden of Eden... It is so backwards that it is mind-boggling.
It sounds clever, like so much of Chesterton, in the same way that a stand-up comic's jokes sound clever while really being gassbaggy and hollow... But in reality it makes no sense whatsoever. Joan of Arc "happened" under Charles VII, a Catholic king just like Louis XVI.
So a Joan of Arc figure could have easily happened under Louis XVI, if such were God's will, He could have raised a "Joan of Arc of the Vendee" who would have fought off the Revolutionary mob.
Here is something from a blog called First Principles --
"Surprisingly for the Catholic he was well on his way toward becoming, Chesterton also remained an apologist for the French Revolution. It was the great shining example of a patriotic spirit that could throw off the shackles of money and privilege, delivering common people from their bondage, granting them a social and political liberty theretofore unknown. Despite the carnage and blasphemy of the Reign of Terror, Chesterton hailed the French people for recovering a fundamental teaching of the Church that the Church itself had often neglected. By way of a triple theological, political, and visual pun—it occurs in his splendid book on his literary hero, Charles Dickens—Chesterton vividly stated the Christian premise undergirding democracy: “All men are equal as all pennies are equal, because the only value in any of them is that they bear the image of the King.”
This is to try to reconcile irreconciliables. I realize that no one is perfect, but to defend the French Revolution crosses the line HUGELY.
Granted, if you interviewed pretty much any American Catholic at that time they would have said the same thing, democracy was seen as an advance, it was in the air back then. The problem is that, as you say Caminus, Chesterton had the reputation of someone who was more perceptive about the real springs and motors of history. He wasn't supposed to follow the same shibboleths as everyone else. In this case, he did.
Lest you think this was a sin of youth, like The Man Who Was Thursday, I believe he maintained this position to the end, or at least I've never seen any proof that he retracted it. You can research it further if you're so inclined.