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Personal ideals

Sir Edwin Arnold, like most Englishmen of conservative proclivities, thinks that we should be better off if we had in this country a better supply of ‘class distinctions.’ He thinks that these distinctions supply to Englishmen ‘respect for authority and certain personal ideals which they follow devotedly.’ There is, no doubt, something to be said in defence of respect for authority, but everything depends upon the selection of the source. As a rule, the rich, the contented, the prosperous, think that the authority should be their own or that of their friends. The poor, the obscure, the discontented, are less satisfied with this assignment. Now it is useless to say that authority in itself is a good thing without reference to its origin or its quality. It is like saying that scales and weights are a good thing, without reference to the question who fixed their value. If you weigh by the

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