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Idealism and the Matter at Hand

8

Ralf Dahendorf, quoted in Musgrove, op. cit.

9

R. K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure
The Free Press, 1968

10

Basil Bernstein, ‘Sociological Aspects of
Classifying and Framing Educational Knowledge’,
quoted in Musgrove, op. cit.

11

C. Wright Mills, op. cit.

12

Ibid.

13

Anthony Ryle, Student Casualties, The Penguin
Press, 1969.

14

Brian Jackson and Denis Marsden, Education and
The Working Class, Routledge and Kegan Paul,
1962.

Idealism
aDd Ihe malle__
alhaDd
George Berkeley and the Prevention
of Ruin in Great Britain

Thus did one of the great architects of Tory
Anglicanism respond to any who might harbour
anarchistical doubts.

Corrupt
Sensible that Obedience without Industry does not
suffice to render a nation prosperous, the good
Berkeley enjoins both civil and religious authorit~es
to so move (in their respective ways) their flocks to
promote industry among them. Thus, in the Essay
Toward Preventing the Ruin of Great Britain (1721)
he urges on governments the work-house as an alternative to the wasteful and corrupting influence of poorrelief. Thus, in his Exhortation to the Roman Catholic
Clergy of Ireland (as Anglican Bishop of,~loyne, in
1749), he vividly impresses on Catholic priests the
need to convert their slothful parishioners to industry.

To illustrate the Bishop’s wisdom and concern is perhaps
a better means of communicating it than to describe it.

Indolence in dirt is a terrible symptom whi~h
shows itself in our lower Irish more, perhaps,
than in any people on this side of the Cape of
Good Hope … our poor Irish are wedded to dirt
on principle.

Mark an Irishman at work in the field; of a
coach or horseman go by, he is sure to suspend
his labour and stand staring until they are
out of sight. A neighbour of mine made it his
remark in a journey from London to Bristol that
all the labourers of whom he enquired the road
constantly answered without looking up, or
interrupting their work, except one who stood
staring and leaning on his spade and him he
found to be an Irishman.

Anthony Tremblington-Sporus Lusty
From Ulster to Grenada, Britain and her colonies are
plagued with unhappiness and strife. It is therefore
all the more regrettable that few are alive today
possessed of the charitable wisdom of George Berkeley,
to whom Alexander Pope himself ascribed ‘every virtue
under heaven’. Nonetheless, although the good bishop
is no longer able to address himself aloud to the
times, his deathless (though in no way abstract)
prescriptions are with us in written form, such that
one would earnestly wish that every British subject,
whether Englishman or Ulsterman or Bermudan, would
purchase Volume IV of Mr Fraser’s Works of George
Berkeley.

Berkeley’s non-medical remedies for our troubled
times are as simple as they are today ignored. They
are: Industry, Obedience, and Piety.

While philosophers today peddle the whiggish wares
of a Locke or a Mill, it would be wise for them to
peruse and promulgate the doctrine of Passive Obedience as enjoined.by the young Berkeley in his 1712
Trinity College address. There Berkeley proves, to
any who can follow a deductive procedure, the
absolute and unconditional obligation of subjects to
obey the supreme power of the land on pain of disobeying the Supreme Power of the universe itself.

Patiently, Berkeley deals with any objection that
might be brought to bear against his doctrine:

But (it will be urged), though it should be
acknowledged that; in the main, submission
and patience ought to be recommended, yet,
men will be apt to demand whether extraordinary cases may not require extraordinary
measures; and therefore, in case the oppression
be insupportable and the prospect of
deliverance sure, whether rebellion may not
be allowed of? I answer, by no means.’

(etc)

20

It is a shameful thing, and peculiar to this
nation, to see lusty vagabonds strolling about
the country, and begging without any pretence
to beg ••• A sore leg is an estate to such a
fellow .•.

In England, when the labour of the field is
over, it is usual for men to betake themselves
to some other labour of a different kind •••
instead of closing the day with a game of
greasy cards or lying stretched before the
fire •..

It will be alleged in excuse of their idleness
that the country people want encouragement to
labour, as not having property in the lands.

There is small encouragement, say you, for them
to build or plant upon another’s land wherein
they have only a temporary interest. To which
I answer that life itself is but temporary •.•
Raise your voices, Reverend Sirs, exert your
influence, shew your authority over the
multitude, by engaging them to the practice of
honest industry •.• inveigh against the crying
sin of your country .•. co-operating with the
public spirit of the legislature and the men
of power.

Erection
Can it be denied today that these diseases
of irreligion, sloth and rebellion are choking the
heart, not only of our Irish offspring but of our
very mother England herself? Can it be denied today,
even by those who mock the power of tar-water, that
were George Berkeley’s advice heeded our nation would
not be in decay? Certainly our present Government
has acted to limit the rewards of idleness; but can
any claim that their actions have been sufficient?

Certainly our present governments have made some use
of the Roman Church’s authority over its Irish

flock; but can any claim their exertions have sufficed?

Nor was it only with England and her white colonies
that Berkeley was concerned.

His benevolence spread
to all people of the earth, and especially to the
savage natives of America. At a time when these
savages are showing such a want of civic or spiritual
virtue; at a time, moreover, when the darker races
throughout the world are, with honourable exceptions,
a manifest disturbance and threat to Christian
civilization; at a time, finally, when in Berkeley’s
beloved Bermuda pound and piety are in contempt, we
can do no better than turn to Berkeley’s own excellent
recommendations for civilizing the savages of this
world.

Thus we turn to A Proposal for the Better Supplying
of Churches in Our Foreign Plantations, and for
Converting the Savage Americans to Christianity, by
a College to be Erected in the Isle of Bermuda (1725).

The scapegoal
Sartre on the constitution
1
and embodiment of evil
Roger Waterhouse
The scapegoat is a widespread, perhaps universal,
phenomenon in human societies. He may be a
black, a criminal, a Jew; he may be an individual
cast out by family or workteam: but he always
emerges out of and in relation to a social group.

He is a chosen victim: he fulfils a sdcially
constituted role. The scapegoat can only be understood in relation to a set of beliefs about the
nature of human beings and society.

In the West
the dominant ideology has been well articulated;
within it the scapegoat is constituted as essentially
evil – he is irredeemably bad because it is in his
nature to be so.

If we look critically at this ideology we shall
begin to see why the scapegoat is needed, why he
has to be evil and worthy of punishment, and how
these ideas relate to more fundamental beliefs.

It is my contention that the necessity for having
a scapegoat in this ideology is symptomatic of its
failure to give an adequate account of human nature
and society.

The account that I shall give derives from
Sartre, and part of my purpose in this article is
to draw attention to that section of his book on
Genet 2 which describes the initial constitution of
Genet as a scapegoat.

Sartre’s prose is difficult
to come to terms with, but it repays the effort.

Sartre emphaSises (I think rightly) the crucial
importance of the dominant ideology in mediating
between the individual and society, and in determining the ways in which the individual can understand
himself. 3
This article falls into four parts. Th~ first
two are expositions of Sartre’s analysis; (1) of
the case of Genet, and (2) of the place of the
scapegoat in the dominant ideology. Section (3)
is a reduction of Sartre’s account to ordinary
language showing how the ideology generates
commonly expressed prejudices about the scapegoat.

Section (4) is my re-constitution and extension of
the argument at a philosophical level, in terms
slightly different from those of Sartre.

Berkeley’s proposal was widely acclaimed, and
supported by Royalty and Parliament Charter, and was
to train people of the savage race, ‘to a life of
civility and religion’, that they might then go
among their kinfolk and spread the doctrine and
practice of Christian civil society. Their countrymen

would be less apt to suspect and readier to
embrace a doctrine recommended by neighbours
or relations, men of their own blood and
language, than if it were proposed by
foreigners, who would probably be thought to
have designs on the liberty or property of
their converts.

(Berkeley, as we have perceived, was sensible of
the analogous role of the Popish hierarchy in
Ireland as a potentially civilizing influence on
its flock).

The young Americans necessary for this purpose
may … be procured either by peacable methods
or by taking captive the children of our
enemies.

••• young Americans, educated in an island at
some distance from their own country, will be
more easily kept under discipline .•. than on
the continent; where they might … run away
to their countrymen and return to their
brutal customs .••

Saucy
Clearly, were such a policy to be energetically
practised in the territories over which we have
dominion or influence, it would render superfluous
the expensive and impolitic recommendations of Mr
Powell and his supporters.

It is unfortunate that in his otherwise excellent
little book on Berkeley (I hear echo that fine
Englishman John Austin), Mr Geoffrey Warnock should
have missed a fine opportunity to enlighten that
nation of which he is such an avid servant to the
contemporary spiritual and civil relevance of
Berkeley’s thought. The good bishop himself, after
all, makes perspicuous in his Preface that The
Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), to which the
modern reader is generally restricted, is pointed

1.The case of Genet

Sartre was involved in a case study of Jean Genet.

The following is that part’ of his account of
Genet’s early history which is relevant to the
present argument.

Genet was born a bastard, abandoned by his
mother to the Assistance Publique (a state agency
for the care of orphans), and eventually given into
the foster care of a peasant family in the Morvan.

At about the age of ten he was caught stealing by
this family, and accused of being a thief. This
experience, or perhaps series of experiences, was
traumatic for Genet (though not repressed): it
particularly to those who are tainted with
marked a break, says Sartre, between his childhood
Scepticism, or want a demonstration of the
innocence and his subsequent consciousness of
Existence and Immateriality of God, or the
himself.

Natural Immortality of the Soul.

I
Stealing is a socially constituted act.

It
At a time when the sceptical cancer of materialist
presupposes the institution of private property, a
rationalism condemns humble piety, diligence, and
legal code, and an ethical system of relationships
respect with a virulence far in excess of that with
between people. A child, for example, may steal
which Berkeley contended while on earth, it is nothing ‘unintenticn~lly’ if h~ deliberately takes,and
short of m.onstrous that the import of his wise and
‘ keeps someth1ng belong1ng to another, but 1S unwide thought is not energetically promulgated by
aware of the social meaning of his act.

those teachers and I believe they are not few, who
Before the experience of being called a thief
consider their obligations to consist in more than
Genet took things in order to possess them.

He
the coy handing on of the saucy and subversive
took without asking so as to avoid the perpetual
scissors of sophistical skill.

gratitude which was expected of him, particularly

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