You should know this one thing about me: I'm a sucker for books that touch upon 19th century and turn-of-the-century reform movements. It doesn't need to be the main topic of the book, it doesn't even need to be portrayed in a positive light, the simple mention of your typical socialist circle will have my ears perk up. I confess I don't know enough about these movements, either from a historical or from a theoretical perspective, and that's something I always promise myself I'll fix and never do. But, from the low perch of my knowledge, I feel that these people's questions are like my questions, and that exploring them will teach me something valuable.
What that something will be, I don't know, I haven't reached it yet. But here's an example of the kind of discussion that gives me a jolt of recognition. You might have encountered variations of its modern version on the internet. How should we help poor people? Should we give homeless people money or just stuff we bought for them with that money? Should we impose restrictions on money people get from the government and, if so, what kind of restrictions? Should we force a set of values on them, along with our money? And now here is a scene from Howards End: a discussion at the group frequented by the progressive Schlegel sisters. (The quote is long, but read it through, the last sentence alone makes it worth it. All random bolding my own.)