Wednesday, 1 August 2007

What Society needs to be happy

Ed: Had he not been an atheist (by his own admission), Simon Heffer might have spotted that "Be ye therefore perfect" is from the Bible.

[...] A society needs to encourage not just the wealth and physical well-being of its members, but needs also to have a care for their intellectual development, too. It is what Matthew Arnold, writing 140 years ago in Culture and Anarchy, called the need for "sweetness and light". It is the civilising process. We used to be good at it. We were especially good from about the time Arnold wrote - the Education Act, with compulsory schooling for children, was introduced three years later - up until the 1960s. Then something went wrong. Arnold superscribed his book with the Latin tag Estote ergo vos perfecti: "Be ye therefore perfect". Perfection, and the ambition that went with it, have slipped from the agenda. And they have gone because of a hatred and a fear of elitism. Read more

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