Scratch God from Puritanism and Voila! You Have the Modern Left

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“De Lawd he sho’ do work in mysterious ways”.

You’ve heard me repeat that old southern refrain several times.

But in a book I’ll never live long enough to write, about the “Devil’s History of the United States”, and Scratch’s constant attempts to derail anything that bears God’s fingerprint (and the Founding of America was his worst defeat since that Easter morn, circa 31 AD), his ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory are legion.

I can cite several examples in the Revolutionary War alone. If you take the time to look at things that way.

Consider the quaint notion that as much as Satan hates America, it was he who secured America’s liberation in the Revolution by detouring the Scotch-Irish immigrants who secured that victory from Cornwallis at Yorktown, from their preferred ports of entry in Boston, to a more welcoming landing in Quaker Pennsylvania. Had they all come through Massachusetts, and fanned west they’d have all ended up speaking Yankee and have little impact on the War for Independence.

You see, it was the Puritans who first settled Massachusetts Bay. You learned their story as a kid in 3rd Grade, along with the Thanksgiving story. And like the Sunday School stories you learned at the same age about the mysterious miracles of the first chapters of Genesis; Creation in 6 days, a Garden of Evil, the forbidden fruit, and the inevitable questions about where did Cain and Seth find wives?, the 3rd and 4th grades were about as deep as kids delved into the Puritans in elementary school.

You see, the Puritans weren’t easy to get along with no matter where they lived. It wasn’t their religion but their insufferable holier-than-thou ass-holery. And because they controlled the Bay Colony for the first century, they could “cancel” anyone who didn’t agree with them or play by their rules. They had already been run out of England even by broader-minded Puritans and Anglicans, and then Holland. Impossible to coexist with no matter where moved, they came to the New World in 1620 and settled Massachusetts.

All that has changed there, except for an influx of Irish into Boston beginning with the potato famine in the 1830, is that most non-Catholic Massachucks (Massachites? Massachuttens?) dropped God altogether by the 1960s…but retaining all the others visible and disagreeable aspects of Puritanism. You may recall, they even burned witches there.

So when people of other versions of the Protestant faith came along, they were quickly invited to move on. So the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who were a little rough around the edges, by 1700, instead of coming through Boston and settling Maine and Vermont, chose to come through the port of Philadelphia, where the Quakers took to them more kindly. Moving, one ship load at a time, across the Delaware River, then the Susquehanna and Cumberland valleys, then south through the Shenandoah Valley, and then, finding no easy pass thru west through the Appalachians (Daniel Boone finally took settlers through Cumberland Gap to Kentucky in 1775) they struck eastward, filling up the Carolinas, a process of about 60 years.

You can follow the towns down I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley and just search the date each was founded to see how quickly that great farm country was settled by mostly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, from 1718 to 1776, a few hundred at each stop.

Back to Satan’s busted plans; These were the backbones of the militias that defeated the British by bottling up Cornwallis at Yorktown, where he surrendered.

“De Debbil, he sho’ do work in mysterious ways too, cuz every time he gets close to a win, he let de Lawd snatch it away”… because of some characteristic vain oversight or miscalculation characteristic to Satan’s chosen on this earth.

But since Satan’s war against God is never-ceasing, Clootie just went onto Plan C, knowing the Puritans’ core values were only superficially religious. There were several Puritan sects who were able to co-exist with the Church of England, Cromwell included.

Some strong social-religious beliefs common to Puritans had direct impact first, on New England culture, but now America’s elite society itself, both as to how it see itself and through that, others. Mark Twain would have said, “It is Un-American”.

“It is French.”

Puritans believed it was their “government’s” responsibility to enforce moral standards and ensure true religious worship was established and maintained. Therefore they claimed the right to pry, even unto the most private of marital relationships. In current English, puritan often means “against pleasure”.

They had political power in America because, of course, they founded the colony, and made the rules. But in England they had also prospered commercially, upper middle class I think you’d call them, believing they were better than anyone else because of that wealth, as a sign of God’s approval. (As we know first hand today, their 2nd and 3rd generation inherited more of the cultural arrogance and privilege and none of the religious fire. As a religious force they had faded by the end of the 17th Century in America, as witnessed by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 The Scarlett Letter, which most every American school girl read in the 1960s.

So of course they looked down their noses on southern hick farmers even as those farmers saved their new American Republic for them. Long after they kicked God out of their world view, their down-the-nose, not like us sense of the world outside their world…vain, self-righteous, self-loving, condescending, prune-faced and humorless except when amongst themselves in the faculty lounge

Do they even know that “sour-puss” is an 17th C word?

Just a fleeting consideration you may want to include in your thought process, when you begin asking “How things work” on the other side of the cultural line.

 

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