We hear of the stark sentimentalist, who talks as if there were no problem at all: as if physical kindness would cure everything: as if one need only pat Nero and stroke Ivan the Terrible. This mere belief in bodily humanitarianism is not sentimental; it is simply snobbish. For if comfort gives men virtue, the comfortable classes ought to be virtuous—which is absurd. Then, again, we do hear of the yet weaker and more watery type of sentimentalists: I mean the sentimentalist who says, with a sort of splutter, “Flog the brutes!” or who tells you with innocent obscenity “what he would do” with a certain man—always supposing the man’s hands were tied. – G.K. Chesterton
‘Tis interesting this beautiful thought of Gilbert. In one in the same statement, he says violent men and passive sentimentalists come from the same tree, namely ignorance of the human person. Man is not merely the sentiment connected with human physical contact, not to deny its power, only to mitigate the popular belief in its power. Nor does man need to be degraded as an ignonmous idiot worth nothing more than torture.
Man is worthy of being contemplated not for his own sake but to see that he is not the root of his existence or the power by which he lives. He is immediately and brokenly contigent. He requires both discipline and loving sentiment to become virtuous, insodoing he moves towards being fully human.