Personal Discipline and Social Survival

Personal Discipline and Social Survival - 152 The World We...

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152 The World We Have Lost Personal discipline and social survival Chapter 7 Once having begun to respond to them, we are only just beginning to recognize the implications of such queries for human association altogether, and that not only of the Engli:•• people in their pre-industrial past. fVith notes on the history of bastardy and ,'of sexual nonconformism in England .Prone as we are to be sentimental about our ancestors, we seem quite prepared to believe that they were often wicked .people,at least on the standards which they set for themselves. 'When bastardy comes into the conversation it is sometimes 'said that country people, and our forefathers in general, were more likely than we are to bring illegitimate children into the ;'~.-orld,and more tolerant of bastardy as a condition. It is ;':widelysupposed too that no shrewd, hard-working peasant or ;craftsman, to whom strong, hard-working sons and daughters .:werea tangible asset, would ever undertake to marry a girl unless he knew from his own sexual experience that she was capable of bearing children. If she did prove barren (this .. plies) no marriage would take place, and the poor girl would "lveout her life as a reject. This element of suspicion in our attitude to the world we ........... ve lost is probably complicated in its origins. So sudden and 2·romplete has been the desertion of the countryside for the (,dties in our recent history, that it was perhaps natural for '.peopleto assume that those who remained behind were, and e, the inferior people - in aptitude and intelligence, and resumably therefore in what has been called moral calibre. uch an unsympathetic attitude could perhaps be supposed to have had something in the way of justification from surveys fJf the condition of rural communities in recent times.' It has -been shown, moreover, that the English village has been rather .\p:!ore likely to be marked by the presence ofillegitimates than 'the town. In the 1950s a French scholar went so far as to put forward .he view that the crises which concerned us in our last chapter ere also interludes of moral collapse. At these times, so the
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154 The World We Have Lost suggestion went, the peasantry broke free to some extent fro the strict rule of sexual continence outside marriage which t church universal and established opinion prescribed for every body at all times. Hence a dangerously large number 0 children with no hope of survival, leading to infanticide a$/: well as to a sudden growth in numbers of children not within;; the familial system." In the 1980s it is far more difficult to think of those who. live in the countryside as a backward remnant, sunk in the rural idiocy of early Marxist dogma. For one thing a proportion; of the well-provided-for, .cornmuting professional and business- men, and above all the retired, have begun to move back into the villages, which are tending to become embourgeoisifies, as the French would say, at least in certain areas. Furthermore", the moralistic
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2010 for the course ECON 4514 taught by Professor Shuie during the Spring '08 term at Colorado.

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Personal Discipline and Social Survival - 152 The World We...

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