Are We Puritans?

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Are We Puritans?

Post by TexasBlue on Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:32 pm

Are We Puritans?

Bill O'Reilly
Thursday, Nov 15, 2012


With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it is time to talk about Puritans. But not the crew who fled England for the New World, establishing the Massachusetts Bay Colony back in the 17th century. No, let's talk about the modern Puritans: We, the American people.

The United States is considered a puritanical society by many Western nations. For example, they can't believe we hassle public servants like General David Petraeus because he had a mistress. In France, if a powerful man doesn't have a mistress he's considered a wimp. In Italy, they elected Silvio Berlusconi who allegedly puts together old-fashioned Roman-type orgies and brags about it.

You may remember the outcry in Western Europe over the impeachment of President Clinton. They couldn't believe it over there. Lying about sex? In some countries, that's the national pastime.

So the question is this: are we Americans basically puritanical? Throwbacks to the days when Cotton Mather was hunting down witches in Salem?

The answer, surprisingly, is yes - to some degree. While it's true that secular forces are whittling away traditional standards of behavior, we Americans still expect some decorum from our elected officials.

If you're a rock or film star, or play professional sports, we expect you to cat around and do self-destructive things. But, if we count on you to protect us, like we did General Petraeus, we want your full attention. Part of the outcry over President Clinton's behavior was that it took place in the Oval Office; right beneath portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Turning the most powerful room in the world into a Motel Six is not acceptable to most Americans.

The truth is that many powerful guys have fooled around while working for the people. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Warren Harding to name just a few. Grover Cleveland even fathered a child outside of marriage. We all know these things happen. But we don't want them to happen - at least most of us don't. I can't speak for San Francisco.

That may be because American tradition is based on Judeo-Christian philosophy, and that tradition has served us well. Honesty and loyalty are still esteemed values in most parts of this country. When the defenders of Bill Clinton wailed that it was "just about sex", they were wrong. In cases where powerful people get caught in compromising situations, there is always more to it than a physical act.

I am deeply saddened that General David Petraeus is no longer protecting this nation. He is a patriot and a brilliant warrior in the cause of freedom. Frankly, I don't care what the General does on his personal time. It is a damn shame he had to resign.

We are all sinners but here's what comes along with that: you always pay for the sin. Unfortunately, all of us will suffer along with the General and that is why he had to go. If the folks trust you, don't burn them.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Are We Puritans?

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:13 am

I wouldn't say Americans were Puritan because (for me at least) that implies far more than simply the rigid Christian beliefs it has come to mean these days. It also meant minimalist, shunning culture, xenophobic to a certain degree, an obsession with seeing anything pleasurable as being sinful and a primary adherence to religion, shunning most of the material world.

Undoubtedly, your culture has grown out of Puritanism but it is not Puritan. There are some notable attitudes that still hang over from that though, especially in American attitudes toward sex and nudity, alcohol and gambling and how society attempts to demonise all of those things. You might look at Europe as being loose because we have a far more liberal attitude to all of those things but overall, we grew out of Puritanism (in England at least) for very good reason after a two revolutions and bloody Civil War in the space of 40 years.

I sometimes feel that some Americans would love to have their own Oliver Cromwell; believe me, you don't.
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Re: Are We Puritans?

Post by TexasBlue on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:40 pm

I think many people (of all political stripes) frown on spouses fooling around. That really doesn't fall into an ideological category per se. When it's people in power, we expect them to lead with higher standards. Just the way it is over here.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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