Breaches in the Bastions
By Badri Raina, ZNet, Aug 26, 2009
Delicious democracy is loosed upon India.
(With apologies to W.B. Yeats for the distorted third line.)
Ah, how often in human history have bastions of one kind or another sought to thwart the march of the rational, always without success.
Recall that after the leveling tendencies of the Reform Bill of 1832, and the ominous mass assertions that accompanied that zeitgeist, some famous Oxford dons got together to demand that English Christianity return to its Roman roots.
Ostensibly directed against liberalizing movements in theology, Newmanism and Puseyism were at bottom terrified responses to those mass democratic assertions for full realizations of the principle of equality.
The mutely stated assumption was that the Protestant Reformation had broken the embankments of the infallibly centralized authority of the Pontiff, and thereby let loose the demons of anarchy. Thus their call (1833-1845) to reintroduce medieval liturgies into Church doctrine, and to return to Rome. Which Newman did in 1845.
History, nonetheless, carried on, consigning the Tractarians and their many Tracts to a residual past that could have no future.
Same with the Arnoldian prescription that only the classical “best” ( “Culture,” he called it) could salvage the depredations wrought by undeserving little men seeking parity with the elect. Thankfully, over the last century and a half, Culture has been inundated by cultures, and men and women everywhere in the world express themselves severally, freed from the diktats of self-appointed elites.