What I have been trying to do in these three lectures is to focus attention upon one or two points at which civilization itself seems to be threatened by contemporary tendencies—tendencies not in themselves deleterious, tendencies which if restrained within certain limits are actually civilizing tendencies, but which are dangerous if they are carried too far.
First, civilization depends upon the recognition and the cultivation of excellencies and superiorities; the maintenance of a civilized society, therefore, would be made impossible by a thorough-going egalitarianism. Competition in excellence is a civilizing force, and you do not discredit it by calling it a rat-race.
Second, civilization depends upon the maintenance of law and order, and law and order can't be maintained, in an imperfect world, without resort to force. Humanity, in the sense of humaneness, is not self-sustaining. You do not discredit force by calling it brute force.
Finally, civilized society exists for the individual—we can't remind ourselves of that too often in an age when the state has grown top heavy, and seems to crush all individual effort, all individual character, to leave us little room to fulfill ourselves: no wonder there exists today an almost desperate craving for self-expression. But society is pluralistic, and each individual must respect the individuality of his fellow citizens; he must exercise self-restraint, out of respect not only for the rights but for the feelings of his fellow men; self-expression is not self-validating, and affords no sovereign plea in its own defense when it collides with the common feelings and susceptibilities of mankind.
(John Sparrow, Too Much of a Good Thing [Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1977], 90-2)