Culture and Order
For some reason, the following exchange of viewpoints, across a span of about a century, came to mind when reading the threads on the Wall Street protests. Arnold was writing about the protests in London of the (18)60s. Williams was commenting on Arnold’s essays in the (19)60s.
Matthew Arnold: “For us, who believe in right reason, in the duty and possibility of extricating our best self, in the progress of humanity towards perfection, for us the framework of society, that theatre on which this august drama has to unroll itself, is sacred; and whoever administers it, and however we may seek to remove them from their tenure of administration, yet, while they administer, we steadily and with undivided heart support them in repressing anarchy and disorder; because without order there can be no society; and without society there can be no human perfection.”
Raymond Williams: “Excellence and humane values on the one hand; discipline and where necessary repression on the other. This, then as now, is a dangerous position; a culmination of the worst kind of liberalism, just as Mill, (for) as far as he went, was a culmination of liberalism of the most honest kind”.