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A new book by Anton Howes about the Royal Society of Arts is coming out soon

Yes, I learn from a tweet by Anton Howes, a young academic whom I greatly admire, that his first book, entitled Arts & Minds: How The Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation will be out on May 12th. It is already available on Kindle.

I will start reading this book with the prejudice in my head that the Industrial Revolution was not only “industrial”; it also resembled what we more usually mean by a “revolution”, in the sense that it was also an ideological event. People didn’t just do this, for their own private and selfish reasons. They believed in doing it. They told each other, and anyone else who would listen, that what they were doing would do good, on a huge scale.

But unlike with almost all other “revolutions”, the ideologists of the Industrial Revolution were completely and triumphantly right. This triumphant rightness has been such an elephantine presence in the room of history, and is so very counter-intuitive (“Ideologists are all nutters!”), that the ideological nature of this revolution has now become nearly invisible.

The concluding paragraph of the Amazon blurb …:

Informative and entertaining, Arts and Minds reveals how a society of public-spirited individuals tried to make their country a better place, and draws vital lessons from their triumphs and failures for all would-be reformers today.

… together with the title of the book, arts and minds, suggest to me that the above prejudices will be confirmed and strengthened.

3 comments to A new book by Anton Howes about the Royal Society of Arts is coming out soon

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Looking forward to this.

  • Shirley Knott

    Allow me to recommend The Busiest Man in England: The Life of Joseph Paxton, Gardener, Architect, and Victorian Visionary by Kate Colquhoun. An outstanding man who accomplished outstanding things. He was responsible for The a Crystal Palace and, arguably, the fascination for gardening embedded in the British psyche. The tales of designing and building the Crystal Palace alone make the book worthwhile, but he did so much more. A very rewarding and uplifting read. Highest recommendation.

  • Paul Marks

    Men such as Josiah Wedgwood were as as much artists as they were scientists. They did not see paid labour as “slavery” – indeed they devoted their time and money to OPPOSING slavery.

    And even the most practical factory (such the shoe factories of Kettering) were clearly built by men who were PROUD of what they were doing.

    It disturbs me that modern industrial buildings are clearly ordered by people who have no belief in their industries – they either do not care, or are actually hostile to “capitalism”.

    As ever the education system and the culture are at the foundation of this.

    Whereas people were once taught to be proud of production (to see it as the result of the wonders of human minds – and honest work), now people are taught to see “business” as despicable (evil) and having to “justify itself” by endless support for far left causes.

    This view now seems to dominate “Big Business” itself.

    Compare (for example) the Disney company under Walt Disney – who was clearly in love with his business, with what it produced. And the Disney Corporation today.

    The Disney Corporation is clearly ashamed of its own “evil” money making – and (like most of the other Corporations) endless pushes a leftist cultural and political agenda.

    So it is not just long dead industrialists such as Josiah Wedgwood – as Walt Disney did not die till 1966.

    I think it is in fairly modern times that “capitalists” came to hate “capitalism”.

    Now I dread it whenever most modern “capitalists” (including founders of companies such as Bill Gates) opens their mouth – I know the sort of excrement political opinions that is going to pour out of the mouth

    Even those “capitalists” who KNOW what the left is saying is nonsense, still push it.

    The obvious example is Jeff Bezos (the richest man in the world) – he knows that everything in his “Washington Post” is nonsense, but he pushes it anyway.

    “I am so sorry I am rich, I am ashamed of the business I have created – long live the agenda of the Frankfurt School of Marxism!” may be written on the tombstone of civilisation – if we get a tombstone.

    I am not sure that the “Central Office” types (who have sold out “capitalist” civilisation) even deserve a grave.