glyph 467: the value of knowledge that has no immediate or obvious use ... politeness and restraint replaced by increasing vulgarity of thought and behaviour ... distinction: educated men and women or skilled barbarians? ... Theodore Dalrymple, Euclid, George Orwell, Norbert Elias ..... concludes with an intriguing speculation on a potentially beneficial result of the Shiite revolution in Iran


"The Value of Education", by Sean Gabb, 9th April 2003

an article on the essence of civilization

I went yesterday evening to a seminar arranged in London by the Social Affairs Unit. This began with a brief lecture by Theodore Dalrymple, a doctor who writes an occasional column for The Spectator. His theme was "The Proletarianisation of British Culture". He explained how notions of politeness and restraint were vanishing from the middle classes, being replaced by an increasing vulgarity of thought and behaviour; and that this was not a vulgarity copied from the working classes, but was part of a general decline also affecting them. It was a brief lecture, and was intended as no more than a summary of the problem. The discussion was then thrown open for others to supply answers or other pertinent comments.

These seminars, I think, have been arranged to allow free discussion in private; and so I will not report the discussion, or even say who else was there. Instead, I will give my own thoughts on the problem. I believe that much of the vulgarity of thought and behaviour can be traced to a failure throughout the English speaking world, since about 1960, to understand the meaning and value of education.

The full article will be found at the above link, or on the Free Life Commentary site.

Free Life Commentary — Issue 1, 1st September 1997 to the latest as of 18 May 2009, Issue 181

Sean Gabb
May 18, 2009

a list of all glyphs