The Puritan punching-bag

In the never-ending discussion about Puritanism and its supposed effects which continue to this day in our American society, at the OD blog, Hunter Wallace quotes Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, from her book American Nietzsche: an Icon and His Ideas.

“While today it is commonplace to bewail the puritanical prudery and provincialism of American culture, the Puritans didn’t always have such a bad reputation. Only when early twentieth-century critics like Goldman, Mencken and [Randolph] Bourne started to excavate the past for the historical conditions conspiring against the free intellect did the modern conception of the Puritan develop. The radicals collapsed Nietzsche’s analysis of Christian asceticism and sentimentalism into a critique of the lingering effects of Puritan psychology and piety. While the philistines treated ideas as if they were merely decorative, the Puritan viewed them as disciplinary. In their efforts to find a usable past to critique what they regarded as a culture of rigid moralizing, the radicals discovered the wrathful “Puritan” who policed free thought, hounded liberated spirits, and damaged the free play of personality. …

Once the impressionistic archetype of the austere, self-righteous premodern Puritan began to take shape, it was relatively easy to survey American society – from the vice campaigns of the Progressive Era through the wartime hysteria to the postwar return to “normalcy” – and discover modern Puritans incapable of free thought and eager to police those who weren’t.”

It’s little wonder that the Puritan has such an unfavorable reputation in America these days, given that the people who have given so much attention to fashioning the image of the Puritan through their own lenses of resentment and contempt: H.L. Mencken, with his profoundly anti-Christian ax to grind, for example. His own popularity amongst young males who see in him a symbol of rebellion against ‘repression’ says something about our society, which has become mostly libertine, anti-Christian, libertarian, focused on the individual — of course the Puritans will be seen as the enemy.

Randolph Bourne, however, though he was part of this circle of ”intellectuals” who were very anti-Puritan and anti-Christian, was willing to look at Puritans through a slightly different lens, and considered that the conflict with Puritan principles of ‘repression’ or tyranny was a conflict within the Self. Here we enter into the speculative nature of psychology, which purports to have all the answers when it comes to human behavior.

Most of the negative things I have read about Puritans amount to juvenile whinings about ‘repression’, which seems to be the standard Freudian reading of human nature: all our problems are due to sexual repression and the lack of opportunity to be a ‘free spirit’ who makes up his or her own rules, complete autonomy supposedly being a good thing. These are all adolescent preoccupations. They are not the hallmark of a mature adult.

But then what do I know? I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist; only experts understand human behavior, right? I have a friend who is degreed in psychology and who counsels people. She informs me that Freud is passe, he’s old hat and nobody takes Freudian ideas seriously. But those ideas do live on, because, in Christian terms, they appeal strongly to the ‘flesh’, and we are all susceptible to that pull.

Almost everybody believes in the validity of psychology despite the obvious fact that it hasn’t improved our society in any visible way, in fact it has produced more people who love to be victims and who accept anything found in a pop psychology book.

And let’s face it: psychology is a rival belief system, counter to Christianity. Our Puritan ancestors believed the Biblical teachings, and today’s people, “wise in their own estimation” scoff at those Puritans for believing in Calvinism. Calvinism is little understood and is one of those belief systems that is highly unpopular now; the ‘scholarly’ sources written about Puritanism sneer at the idea of predestination — though it is explicitly in the Bible, in more than one place. People tend to cherry-pick, and grasp onto those things which please them. Our Puritan forefathers chose a serious, austere form of Christianity not because they were all naturally prone to those habits — but because they wanted to be true to the Bible. Nowadays that’s neither popular nor ‘cool.’

The Puritans were the ancestors of only some of us; the latecomers to this country had no act nor part in Puritanism. I suppose naturally it feels alien to them. Fine; they have their right to worship in a way that they ‘enjoy’ more if that’s how they see it.

What with recent events we ought to wonder if any form of Christian worship will be allowed in public. History may repeat. Our ancestors proved that they were stoic and strong and that their faith could tide them over. If we are true to our forefathers maybe we will have an advantage in situations where religious freedom is curtailed. Our ancestors will be our inspiration, then, I hope.

I suppose those who find some outlet in vilifying Puritans will continue to use our ancestors as their punching-bag. Can’t they find some real threat to be incensed about in this world? One would think there is no lack of targets for animus or suspicion.
The mature people will turn their attention to something more urgent than fighting against people who are gone to the grave centuries ago. And Puritans are no threat to anybody, insofar as any Puritanical people still survive in this sex-and-corruption-obsessed world.

I’m reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis, who was a Christian but not a Puritan:

“We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under.

Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm at the very moment when they are all really becoming worldly and lukewarm; a century later, when we are really making them all Byronic and drunk with emotion, the fashionable outcry is directed against the dangers of mere ‘understanding.’ Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism.”

The Screwtape Letters

Horatio Nelson born, 1758

Lord Horatio Nelson was born, 29 September 1758, in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk. He died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in the midst of his victory there.

Nelson is known to the English-speaking world, surely, as one of the great English heroes. As history itself is under attack, and our great men as part of it, I think it’s good to commemorate the lives and accomplishments of the great men our forefathers’ civilization has produced.

‘IDEA’: Dialects of the English language

The English language always interests me, especially in its many different dialects.

Some of you may be familiar with the IDEA website. I’ve blogged about it before, but I thought it might be of interest for readers here to check out the IDEA site. The acronym stands for ‘International Dialects of English Archive.‘ If you follow the link you will see the page which contains sound files of American dialects, with the voices of people from various parts of the U.S.. The participants are given material to read aloud, and thus we get some idea of their regional or local dialect.

On the IDEA website there are people from every region of the U.S., and if you find the drop-down menu at the top left of the page you can find voice samples from other English-speaking countries.

This is fascinating to me; I love our language, though I do get the impression that all our regional or local American dialects are fading away and being leveled out, so that the dialects become less distinct and more similar to each other. It seems the younger the speaker, the more generic is the accent or dialect. Some exceptions exist, of course. People from rural areas tend to retain more of an accent though even they are affected by ‘media English’, (the sort of non-accent, or more accurately, mid-American accent) which usually overpowers the natural accent.

I wonder if those of you reading this blog find that the accents on the recordings are like those of the average native of your area, or not? I thought the New England speech samples were identifiable as such.

But speaking for myself, it seemed many of the speakers from Texas didn’t sound as though they are Texans or even from the South, whereas in the past, accents were very noticeable and well-defined.

Most of the recordings are from several years back, and even in that length of time, people’s speech can change, especially as our society is undergoing so many changes.

No WASPs need apply

Now that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed on, it looks like we are in for a lot of agitation and rampaging from the malcontents on the left. They are making threats about ‘burning it all down’ if Trump replaces Ginsburg on the Court. It may be all talk — but judging by past and current behavior from those people I don’t think they will quiet down and be civilized.

The talk is that Trump has a female candidate to take RBG’s place. That’s Trump being politically correct again, as if a female candidate will placate the obstructionist left. If she is a POC (and I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump chose that way, hoping to appease) well, even that wouldn’t satisfy the left. Then there’s the ‘never-Trump’ fake conservatives.

But why, since there is only one on the Supreme Court who can be called a WASP, can’t we have one nominated? Or a few nominated? It seems to be some kind of unwritten law of Political Correctness that once a position is filled by POCs it can never, ever revert to an Anglo-Saxon-descended person. That would be regressing to the evil past, I suppose.

In the above picture of the SCOTUS justices from 1920, most of the justices were of old-stock WASP origins. In the photo we see Brandeis (who was of course Jewish), Pitney, Reynolds, and Clarke (on the top row, L-R), then the seated men in the front row are Day, McKenna, White, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Van Devanter.

Already we see how changing demographics, and the 19th century immigrant wave, were affecting institutions. The Court then had one Jewish justice, as well as McKenna, the son of Irish Catholic immigrants, and then Van Devanter is of Dutch ancestry. However Dutch were often considered sort of ‘honorary WASPs’ as they had as long a tenure in America as those of the early English stock, and they had fully assimilated by this time. Genetically, too, the Dutch and the English are seen as close kindred. In addition they were of the Protestant fold.

So most of the men on the Court, except for McKenna, the Irish Catholic, and Brandeis, were Protestant by faith, fitting the ‘WASP’ definition.

As people have pointed out, the majority faith in this country is still Protestant, though that includes Protestants of disparate denominations. But why should the majority population be subordinate to those of other origins and faiths? Why should we as the core people not have more input and representation? This country has made ‘diversity’ and antiracism the center of any ‘religion’ this country has.

It’s not likely to happen; there will be no resurgence of WASP influence, much less a return to dominance. It does not look as though common sense or fair play will ever make a comeback. For now we are stuck with the victimhood sweepstakes, and the truckling attitudes — to think we were once pre-eminent in this society.

I trust Trump to make the politically correct choices in this business, and I expect the left to oppose him at every step nonetheless.

The future of Anglo-Americans

At the Identity Dixie blog I came across a good piece discussing the predicament in which Anglo-Americans, especially Southrons, find themselves amid the current upheavals.

“The originating class of Heritage America that discovered and built the United States is being destroyed by their own kindness. Unfortunately, the reality of the future is far darker than at any time in world history. Unlike previous periods of time, we now live in a world that offers no opportunity to move, resettle, and rebuild. The fact is, Heritage America now faces an existential threat and few options are available. This piece is an exploration of the death of Anglo America and the limited options of her descendants.”

The piece, titled Aeneas Cannot Abandon Troy, is unusually fair-minded towards Anglo-Americans. Whenever I come across a piece on this subject I automatically steel myself for the usual snide or scornful remarks about English-descended Americans. This piece was surprisingly free of that kind of thing.

The writer references the book Albion’s Seed, and some of my readers, if you’ve read here long enough, may know that I maintain some skepticism towards Professor Fischer’s book, but mostly because it seemed as if many readers came away from that book with over-simplified notions of the four ‘folkways’ and the various Anglo or British migrations. Otherwise I agree with the writer of the blog piece here in that Anglos do seem to have an innate drive to ‘make things better’ where they are, to improve the spot where they settle. And there is some truth that Anglo-Saxons are sometimes ‘victims of their own unique empathy’ as the writer of the piece says.

The piece also discusses the fate of the Anglo-Saxon element in the South. My paternal family have lived in the South since the founding era of Jamestown, in the early 1600s. They’ve not become absorbed by the waves of new peoples coming to settle the South lately. Some people scoff at the idea that the Anglo-Americans in the South could possibly have remained ethnically the same as they’ve always been; the fact is, with immigration being pretty rare until the latter part of the 20th century in the South, many people actually have retained their ethnic/genetic identity, believe it or not.

The colonial-stock people of the South used to identify more as Southrons than as just ‘generic Americans’ as some say. That was more of a product of the ‘civic nationalist’ trope of the last century. But with the arrival of people from many other states in the mid-to-late 20th century, there was more of that ‘just American’ identity. But when you consider what it means, it’s empty. What does ‘just American’ mean?

As of now I seem to see that at least some Southrons will re-discover, or strengthen, their earlier roots and the unique culture of the South, and this is because so many Northerners are becoming more hostile toward the South. A lot of uninformed people have spread erroneous ideas about what happened in the 19th century — the abolitionists’ long siege on the South, the lead-up to the War Between the States, and so on. History is not being taught in our schools, or worse, falsehoods are being fed to the students, creating a generation that has been taught that the people of the South are evil and our cause was morally wrong. This may lead to a desire to discover some pride in our origins and our sense of identity.

Despite the fact that America as we knew it may be gone forever, and that the South and its unique ways are to be destroyed, I don’t foresee the old-stock Southrons migrating; they settled and created the South as we’ve known it, and they are, or always were, a determined people, a tough people — yes, even those ‘Cavaliers’ that some people disparage. I would like to believe that the people of the South inherited those ‘bulldog’ traits attributed to our English ancestors, and the ”hearts of oak.”

I like to believe that ‘blood will tell’, that we are our parents’ children, made of sterner stuff than what our present crisis indicates.

‘Rogue’ Britain

Yesterday’s post was about English independence, among other things, and it seems that the UK is now the object of efforts to prevent the implementing of Brexit. Will the UK ever break loose from the EU?

Obviously the EU never wanted Brexit to happen, both for economic reasons, as this article at Cambrian Dissenters mentions, and because the EU is pretty obviously meant to form the nucleus of a united Europe, a stepping-stone to the global government that we have heard about over the years. And their plans would be incomplete unless they succeed in absorbing the UK.

I might have guessed that Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden would be involved in this effort to prevent Brexit.

“Not wishing to be upstaged by the Speaker of the House, Presidential candidate, and world renown plagiarist, Joe Biden, announced in words not of his choosing that due to breaking international law Great Britain will be at the back of the queue for a trade deal.

This pair of long serving, senile geriatric swamp dwellers from across the water have joined forces with a treacherous cabal of British politicians, civil servants and an assortment of other establishment figures to frustrate and reverse Brexit or keep the British people shackled to the hated EU with a Brexit in name only deal.”

Cambrian Dissenters blog

The Brexit plan has been troubled by obstacles and roadblocks all along the way, during the years it was awaiting approval through referendum.

This kind of thing reflects very badly on the EU and its apparatchiks, as well as ”our” politicians here in the U.S., with their attempts to influence British politics.

The issue of English independence

Alex Niven wrote a piece in The Guardian recently on the controversy over English independence. It was titled Why it’s time to stop talking about English identity. Not a very promising title for an honest or open discussion of the subject.

The ‘entertainer’ Billy Bragg has written a book called The Progressive Patriot. That is an oxymoron in our era; precious few if any of the ‘progressives’ (read: leftists or communists) are patriotic in the traditional sense of the term ‘patriot’.

Bragg’s contribution to the discussion was the idea that a “new vision” of England had to be developed, and the vision would have to be rescued, as it were, from the clutches of the conservatives of England, who still had memories of the days of Empire, or of a monocultural England; such could not be tolerated in an ‘England’ or more accurately, a UK comprising many many disparate ethnicities, races, and religions. The ”diversity” must be preserved and increased at any cost, it seems. This seems to be the priority in all of former Christendom.

But the issue of English identity is a confused one, as the government of the UK/Britain has adopted policies that have deliberately weakened English identity, all but erasing it from the country which was (and is) the core of what is now the UK.

The Campaign for an English Parliament website has a response to this piece by Niven, and to the assertions made about England. As to English identity — I wonder how many people, especially young people, remember when the name of the nation under discussion was usually ‘England’, and the people labeled as ‘English’, while today it’s always ‘The UK’ or ‘Britain’ maybe, and the people are ‘British.’ However a recent poll, according to the article, says, surprisingly that

“…61% of the population in England considered themselves English, and 9.9% considered themselves English first and British second. That is 70% of the population of England considered themselves English.”

The Campaign for an English Parliament

There is a problem in that the media in the United Kingdom seem to avoid or stifle any real discussion about English patriotism or identity. It seems to be a conscious policy. The CEP says that most of its press releases are ignored by the British media:

“Between 2013 and 2018 the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) sent out over 3000 Press releases. Very few were published, 10/15-minute radio interviews were reduced to three second soundbites.”

The Campaign for an English Parliament, Sep 4, 2020

The idea seems to be that by ignoring any talk or discussion of English identity or independence, the sentiment in favor of Englishness will be stifled and forgotten. Niven, in his Guardian piece, seems to deny that England, being a confusing entity (is it Britain? England? both? neither? What are the people — English, British, or their various ethnicities?) is really a nation and its people distinct.

But it is mostly the governmental class who have created this confusion in trying to remake the UK, in part by ‘demoting’ the dominant English people to a second-class status. If there is anything the ‘progressives’ hate it is dominance, strength, or hierarchy. With all their cant about ‘equality’ the progressives usually only reverse the places of the ‘dominated’ (”victims”) and the dominant.

The effort to submerge the native English identity, people, and culture under the burgeoning ‘diversity’ population recently implanted in the UK seems to be more of the usual leftist social engineering and troublemaking. But it has become a complicated issue.

England itself does not count as a ‘region’ in the European Union. England lacks a Parliament exclusive to the English; people from Scotland and Wales, though they do have their own parliaments, are not excluded from the Parliament in England.

It’s not surprising that there is a weakening of the English identity when there is an ongoing effort to efface it.

It also appears as though the Powers-That-Be are afraid of allowing any room for dreaded Nationalism or national identity to re-develop in England. English nationalism has in recent decades been described in unpleasant terms, as ”ugly” and other such pejoratives. Apparently there is fear that the English are still a ‘threat’ somehow to those sitting in power or those who dominate the media. I think that sentiment is at work here in the U.S. whenever Anglo-Saxons are mentioned; there is a fear that those WASPs or Anglos will ‘take control’ .

The CEP article is very thorough and well worth reading.

Video: ‘Robinson Crusoe and the Anglo-Saxon Spirit of Self-Mastery’

I haven’t had a chance to watch this video, but it promises to be interesting. It’s an interview with Ricardo Duchesne via The Council of European Canadians blog. I hope to have a chance to watch (and listen to) the video soon. I hope some of you might find the subject interesting.

Sorry I can’t embed it but you can click over there to watch.

The interview was livestreamed to YouTube but now it has been archived on Bitchute because of censorship.”

Talk of a ‘new name’, cont.

A few posts back, I brought up the suggestion another blogger made; the idea was that ‘we’, that is the Posterity of the founders, need a new name for a resurrected America. This is all theoretical of course, as the fate of our country seems to be hanging in the balance.

Most of the right, or at least the realist right, sees America as already expired, or at best, on life support. As for me, I haven’t given up on this country. I think a country, or more precisely, a nation (of kindred people) is alive as long as its people still exist, even though they may be decreasing as a percentage of the population.

A nation is people. A nation is not merely a piece of territory populated by whoever, which is what America is becoming, rapidly.

Over at TOO, “John Q. Publius”, in a piece called “Is Civil War Inevitable?” mentions the name ‘New Albion’ in passing. I gather that this is a suggested new name for the U.S., or is he speaking of a hypothetical new configuration of the U.S.? I think he implies that it’s supposed to be a new name for a location on the Atlantic Coast, although the name ‘New Albion’ was the name chosen by Sir Francis Drake for territory he claimed for England back in the 16th century. That territory was in Northern California, far from New England. has a little book recounting Drake’s story of his landing.

To return to the idea of a new name for a hypothetical nation, I like the name New Albion, but I know it would not sit well with a lot of people in today’s U.S. And we can only wonder what would have been, had Drake or other English explorers made definite claims to more of North America, and actually founded more colonies.

I can’t help thinking, too, of the Drake’s Drum poem and the legend that Sir Francis Drake will awaken and return in time of England’s need to defend his nation. That same promise is made for King Arthur, who is also to be a defender in time of England’s crisis.

We seem to have no such folk-heroes here in this land, and as fewer people believe in the God of our Fathers and his return, it’s no wonder that our folk seem so passive and demoralized.

I suppose we have to comfort ourselves by believing that something of our country can be salvaged from the wreckage. Man can’t live without hope. And a revitalized country is something to hope for, along with a new name for it. We have to hope and dream, even if our foes oppose all that we stand for.

The success of North America: why?

At the Isegoria blog, there is a link to an excerpt quoting the geographer Jared Diamond. In that excerpt he is discussing how North America became more successful economically; in his opinion the main factor is a temperate climate. He also credits the fact that North America “inherited” a system of government. This ‘legacy’ from Britain ensured that our country had a successful “democracy.”

{Almost universally, people who should know better refer to our government system as ”democracy”, when the Founding Fathers gave us a representative republic. At this moment we are in such disarray I don’t know whether we can call our government that.
But that question is for another time.}

There are other factors that Diamond credits for the greater success of North America versus Latin America; he apparently believes that when our country achieved independence from Britain, it was a more ”radical” break from the mother country, as all the loyalists supposedly fled to Canada, or back to Britain, or they were killed. I am not sure it was as clear-cut as that, but I’ll go along with it for now.

Diamond’s arguments don’t convince me; I remember when his book Guns, Germs, and Steel was published. His ideas amounted to geographical determinism; no people could claim credit or take blame for their success or failure. It was all due to climate and geography, or some external factor — in this discussion, it’s about ”inheriting” a government system, or the English colonists just having the good luck of a shorter sailing distance from the home country.

It’s all chance, fate, serendipity if you accept Diamond’s HBD-denying rationale.

Our fault lies not in ourselves, but in our stars, it’s more or less luck that governs our fate.

At the time of Diamond’s first book I concluded he was just trying to counter the idea that HBD, human bio-diversity, innate differences accounted for what he credits to ‘luck’ or chance, good or bad fortune. ‘Pay no attention to human differences’, seems to be his message.Success? It’s all a roll of the dice, and White folk obviously had the luck and seemed to succeed more often than chance alone would dictate.

For egalitarians, or those who pretend to be egalitarian, this is a hard pill to swallow, especially when the “scientific” orthodoxy denies the reality.

Meanwhile I read that Diamond is now fretting over the ‘climate disaster’ bogeyman, and preaching that people should develop a planetary consciousness in this ‘globalized’ world.

A comment on the original blog post points out that the other Anglosphere countries, the former Commonwealth, lacked the basic liberties which our Bill of Rights (once) guaranteed us. The idea, of course, was that these rights were God-given; not ‘granted’ to us by any government or document or bureaucracy, but endowed by our Creator. God giveth and governments take away, it seems.

“The current crisis may help us develop a global identity by making it obvious that we are all in the same boat, all people everywhere in the world.”

Jared Diamond, Noema Magazine, July 28, 2020

I don’t agree that the other English-speaking countries had no such rights; England once had such rights and freedoms, perhaps not as fully as we once had them, but speaking one’s mind was allowed; Englishmen once even had the right to bear arms. Our very ideas about freedom and liberty were a product of our English heritage. It’s been said that liberty as we understand it was an idea peculiar to the British and their colonist descendants. Judge William Blackstone famously spoke of the “absolute rights of Englishmen.” When our colonist ancestors were seeking independence they too invoked their “rights of Englishmen” as justification. Some of our history books downplay the English influence on our history but our secession from the British Empire was not a repudiation of our identity as some histories imply.

It’s only been the onslaught of the crypto-leftist ideologues over the decades who slowly and insidiously eroded our rights and freedoms. And too many people were asleep or unwilling to believe what was happening.

England/the UK and Canada, as well as Australia and New Zealand seemed to succumb more quickly than this country; why, I don’t know precisely. I don’t believe it’s because of our geographical circumstances, Jared Diamond notwithstanding. Since when are geographers experts on socio-political matters, anyway? Geography is interesting but it can’t explain human differences in ability and in mindset — which are very real.