Middlemarch: Opposition and the Vasts of Ignorance

That opposition to the New Fever Hospital which Lydgate had sketched to Dorothea was, like other oppositions, to be viewed in many different lights. He regarded it as a mixture of jealousy and dunderheaded prejudice. Mr. Bulstrode saw in it not only medical jealousy but a determination to thwart himself, prompted mainly by a hatred of that vital religion of which he had striven to be an effectual lay representative—a hatred which certainly found pretexts apart from religion such as were only too easy to find in the entanglements of human action. These might be called the ministerial views. But oppositions have the illimitable range of objections at command, which need never stop short at the boundary of knowledge, but can draw forever on the vasts of ignorance.

—George Eliot, Middlemarch

It seems progress always brings out the wingnuts and conspiracy theorists. Today it’s “death panels.” In Lydgate’s case, it was rumoured that the purpose of his hospital was to collect cadavers to indulge his taste for dissection. Who says the classics aren’t relevant any more?

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3 comments on “Middlemarch: Opposition and the Vasts of Ignorance

  1. Tom says:

    Sylvia, I just wanted to say that your site is as enjoyable as ever. Thanks for all you do. By the way, I finally got a site up – at Typepad (it's working for me so far, we'll see how it goes). You can find it here: http://www.rolltopmanifesto.com. Please pay a visit and tell me what you think. I'd really appreciate your input. Thanks, Tom.

  2. Stefanie says:

    The more things change the more they stay the same eh? The death panels have moved on to abortion now. Heaven forbid a woman covered by the government health plan be allowed to have an abortion. I suppose the Republicans will argue about birth control too but the men will get their viagra. It all makes me crazy!

  3. Sylvia says:

    Thanks, Tom, you're very kind. Congrats on the new blog!

    Stefanie, I fear the latest controversy is just more partisanship. Pro-lifers seem to have no problem with bombing foreign villages and apartment blocks (which undoubtedly contain pregnant women) but they go all consciencey when it comes to funding a legal medical procedure in a supposedly free and secular country as part of providing life-saving health care to their fellow citizens. I guess it's not enough to punish women for having sex, they must punish everyone who doesn't have health insurance too. [And this is why I don't have a political blog…]

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