Forster, writing just before the outbreak of the second world war, was arguing in his Bloomsbury way that the modern state was in itself opposed to personal relations. And it was personal relations which should form the basis of a good life.
I won't bore you with a re-hash of my 1968 critique of the philosopher G.E. Moore's Principia Ethica, from which Forster's statement is derived; suffice it to say, I don't agree. But the proposition is relevant to the l'affaire Murdoch, because most of the major players are 'friends' and Cameron himself made great play of the fact that Coulson 'is a friend and remains a friend', adding that he would have to be a particularly 'unpleasant sort of person' were he to renege on his offer of a 'second chance'.
That dinner party in Chipping Norton about which I've been banging on all year (David Cameron, James Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks) was not a meeting between a prime minister, a chairman of News International and an editor of the News of the World. It was, Cameron told us and Parliament, just a few friends having dinner: the subject of the BSkyB shares was never mentioned.
But that was then. Once the sluice gates had been opened, Cameron was forced to make the choice. And he made the choice that one would expect. He was going to have to be precisely the 'unpleasant sort of person' he wished not to be. His friend Rebekah Brooks should go. Andy Coulson should go. No more weekends at Chequers for these guys.
It is 60 years since Jeremy Thorpe summarised MacMillan's sacking of most of his senior collagues in the cabinet: 'Greater love hath no man that this, that he lays down his friends for his life'. Cameron followed his Tory predecessor's example.
This generation of Tories - the Eton/Bullingdon Club generation - has some history here. Remember the behaviour of the egregious Osbourne, when in his eagerness to score points against Peter Mandelson back in October '08, he broke an unwritten law of friendship (what happens on millionaires' boats stays on millionaires' boats) and provoked a damning response from Nat Rothschild in - appropriately, you may now think - The Times.
Cameron's decision clearly came as a shock to the Murdoch camp. Rebekah Brooks, for one, is reported as being 'upset' by the behaviour of her 'old friend'. She, of course, could turn on so-called friends for the sake of an election or even a cheap headline; they could not.
But they do. All of them. Sooner or later.
Murdoch's grand gesture of friendship - closing a 168 year old newspaper in order to protect Brooks - appears to be his last in that direction. And Cameron is now showing a new ruthlessness in culling his friends, treating long-established relationships as if he were de-friending on Facebook.
Cicero had it right. "The alliance of wicked men should not only not be protected by a plea of friendship, but rather should be visited with summary punishment of the severest kind ..."
Today's listening: more Glenn Gould playing more Bach.