Banner
    Gladstone and Macaulay
    By Robert H Olley | January 16th 2012 06:14 AM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Robert H

    Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

    I would describe myself

    ...

    View Robert H's Profile
    William Macaulay, in a review (1839) about the recently-published book by William Gladstone, The State in its Relations with the Church, wrote:




        Mr Gladstone conceives that the duties of government are paternal; a doctrine which we shall not believe till he can show us some government which loves its subjects as a father loves his children, and which is as superior to its subjects in intelligence as a father to his child.

        He tells us in lofty though somewhat indistinct language that ‘Government occupies in moral the place of to pan [“the everything”, if my Greek is correct] in physical science’. If government be indeed to pan in moral science, we do not understand why rulers should not assume all the functions which Plato assigned to them.

        Why should they not take away the child from the mother, select the nurse, regulate the school, overlook the playground, fix the hours of labour and of recreation, prescribe what ballads shall be sung, what tunes shall be played, what books shall be read, what physic shall be swallowed? Why should they not choose our wives, limit our expenses, and stint us to a certain number of dishes of meat, of glasses of wine, and cups of tea?

    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Why should they not take away the child from the mother, select the nurse, regulate the school, overlook the playground, fix the hours of labour and of recreation, prescribe what ballads shall be sung, what tunes shall be played, what books shall be read, what physic shall be swallowed? Why should they not choose our wives, limit our expenses, and stint us to a certain number of dishes of meat, of glasses of wine, and cups of tea?
    Were nineteenth century fathers really expected to do all that? Nowadays, many of the fathers in western societies are often divorced, pay alimony, have no control over the mothers and their children and are lucky if they even get to see the children once a week let alone decide which school they attend, what they eat, read or sing or who they marry. Consequently the mother and children often no longer enjoy (or suffer) the protection, presence, guidance and role model of their genetic father.

    Powerful men in non-western, patriarchal and/or dictatorial societies probably look on the western world in horror and are understandably reluctant to relinquish their power. If only we could find a better balance in both our global familial and political hierarchies, which always do seem to directly reflect and be a parody of each other.

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    rholley
    look on the western world in horror
    And not just powerful men.  Over the decades, I have mixed a lot with people coming to our university from overseas, particularly Arabs and Chinese, and received more than an earful of what they think about the West. 
     
    I have been, in effect, an inverse traveller.  Reluctant to visit the world, I let the world come to me.  Regarding the things I have learned, I could a tale unfold, but it’s cocoa time right now.  In the meantime, though, I will leave you with this ....
    In short, we all know that the real pleasures of the tripper are those that are not supposed to be part of the trip; the small, touching, humanizing sights that really do tell us that all human beings are parts of one humanity; such as the domestic scene I beheld in the most Moslem part of Palestine, the episode of a Moslem woman shouting and yelling abuse of her husband across the breadth of a small lake, while the husband stood helpless and evidently unable to think of any repartee. This made me feel, with a warm touch of sentiment, that home is home everywhere, and is not so very much altered even where a home may be a harem. Now, you cannot arrange a tour with a view to little things like that. I could no more have planned that this particular woman should boil over at this particular moment than I could pay a few _lire_ to obtain an eruption of Vesuvius. But it was immeasurably more forcible and impressive than Vesuvius. For it is the little things and not the large things that touch this tricky international nerve which reminds us that we are all made on the same anatomical plan and that the Image of God is everywhere.

    (from As I Was Saying, by G.K.Chesterton, ca. 1930.)

    Afterthought: this reminds me of a woman in a supermarket car park not far from Reading, shouting at her “useless **** of a husband”.  This was, I guess, much more public that the incident described above.  I wonder how that would have gone down in an Arab country.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England