Brandon's comment on this Paul Krugman post reminds me why I dislike "Victorian values" talk so much. As Brandon points out, Krugman's griping about Gertrude Himmelfarb glosses over the "Victorian pedigree" of Krugman's own economic and political allegiances. "Victorian values" rhetoric, positive or negative, frequently imposes an artificial homogeneity on a very heterogeneous period: after all, there were Victorian feminists critiquing the institution of marriage right next to the conservatives insisting that marriage and motherhood was women's destiny, Victorian socialists next door to the capitalists, Victorian anti-evangelicals next to the evangelicals, and so on. In other words, one could just as easily and accurately--or inaccurately--turn the Victorian period into a Golden Age of left-wing, secular, anti-bourgeois radicalism. It would be just as wrong, to be sure, but perfectly possible. Depending on when and where he looks--we're talking about approximately seven decades and multiple countries, after all--the reader in search of an intellectual ancestry can find just about any representative "Victorian value" to suit his taste.