Matthew Arnold and Perfectionism
Matthew Arnold is known for his well-proposed essay, poetry, and his provocative books. Born in Middlesex in 1822, he began his career as a poet and soon earned recognition at school, Rugby school, and later graduated from Oxford University. Throughout his lifetime Arnold honed interest in poetics and education and soon published his most famous writings. One of his most controversial works was his book: Culture and Anarchy, published in 1869, in which he critiques the view of culture. Arnold describes culture as a desire for doing good and act as a moral compass to make things better than they are or, as he puts it, by seeking perfection. Because of the hue of an idealistic culture and a mission for perfection Arnold fails to recognize the superstructure of an evolving democracy. Where people that are not part of the elite do also play a significant role in the evolution of culture as a whole. Democracy today cannot solely cater to the elite but also needs to cater to the larger populace. For example, Hispanics, Blacks, and other racial groups. Denial of such groups has caused cases of public outrage and hate crimes that are widely prevalent in current media. That which I will also explain in my essay.
Arnold claims that not seeking knowledge, which is central to a perfectionist, would entail barbarism and without regards to a greater good. Arnold here differentiates from the people who got it, and the ones who have not: The elite versus the masses. Consequently, applying a class distinction that detaches the ‘elite’ from the masses. “It is valued either out of sheer vanity and ignorance or else as an engine of social and class distinction, separating its holder, like a badge or title, from other people who have not got it” For example, Donald Trump has echoed hate and ruled on divisive action on immigration of Hispanics and refugees in propagating white supremacy. Current data revealed from the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed an increment in hate crimes since Trump had won the presidency, ten percent of which targeted Latinos. Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas, was indicted with the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that left 22 dead and 24 injured; Officials cite the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime. Prosecutors said that Crusius surrendered after the attack saying, “I’m the shooter,” and that he was targeting Mexicans “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Official documentation reflected President Trump’s divisive rhetoric on Hispanics has made Democrats, protestors, and El Paso residents blame Trump for spurring racial tension in the country. The Arnoldian view here holds; Trump can be seen as the Elitist in his endeavors to eradicate the masses by sprawling bigotry and partiality of the White in conflict with the masses of American immigrants.
Furthermore, Arnold believed that liberal reforms brought society closer to anarchy, “because it regarded the reforms as ends rather than means toward a harmonious totality of human existence”. Arnold’s one-sided belief system, in which authority has to internalized, and since nonconformity leads to anarchy; it is interlinked to his belief on the perfect culture. For example, Donald Trump landed in a vicious brawl with 4 female democrats of color, telling them to “go back to the broken and crime-infested places from which they came”; However, three-fourths of the female was born in the US. Trump’s racial rhetoric provoked them into a response from Capitol Hill in which they claimed that Trump was pushing on white nationalist agenda right from the White House. Nevertheless, Trump has a history of exploiting racial groups for his benefit, experts claim that he is using his presidency title and reelection campaign to appeal to white voters. In essence, Arnold tries to describe a fundamental counterpart of authority that everyone, despite social or religious bias, should follow; or in this case the appraisal of the white nationalist party.
In conclusion, The Arnoldian view compromises culture in the most idealistic terms as something to strive for, by placing an internal condition of seeking knowledge to achieve elitism; However, this ideology of the elitist versus the masses has caused fury by how Arnold’s view echoes with how white supremacy is the dominant race. That of which has caused further divisions than unity.
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Matthew Arnold is known for his well-proposed essay, poetry, and his provocative books. Born in Middlesex in 1822, he began his career as a poet and soon earned recognition at […]