by John Kenneth Press

There was some worry on the BNN list that his book might be racist of some sort and I can report that there is not a hint of racism anywhere in this book. In fact it goes to great length to decry racism in all its forms. Which as one might imagine is a good thing. About the only good about this book to be honest.

First of all the author praises the Puritans. Yes that lot of evil zealots who were so bad that they were driven out of England after Cromwell & Co killed the King and plunged the nation first into two bloody civil wars and a wave of cultural destruction not seen in England ever again. It rivalled the Taliban in Afganistan once they took over. The Puritans executed whomever they didn’t like, were misogynistic, barbaric in their punishments and about as authoritarian as one could imagine. The Puritans are not be admired but scorned as the evil they were. The US nation grew out of the settlers in the 13 colonies not thanks to the Puritans but despite that branch of Protestant lunacy.

It is this cultural authoritarianism that Press admirers so much in Puritans and those that followed them in American history. He adds the Abolionists to those who were inspired by the Puritans; however that does not save the rest of those who the author admires. In addition to the Puritans he admires those zealots that managed to persuade the nation to ban alcohol in the early 20th century. Funny he fails to mention that organised crime and drug smuggling as it now constitutes itself was born during Prohibition. There was no such thing as organised crime before that era and we never got rid of it.

The other fails to distinguish between those that use & abuse the power of the state to control people’s behaviour ala the Puritans and praise-worthy organisations like “Friendly Societies”. It seems groups of people getting together to force everyone how they see fit is all good.

This is new face on paternalistic authoritarianism. While the word freedom is mentioned in this book very often; there are more calls for the limitation of it. The author believes that individualism is a bad thing and that the culture should dominate all aspects of life. Hence his praise for the Puritans.

Ironically the Conservative Party of the UK would find much to like in this book as this is the approach they are taking currently under Cameron’s leadership. Like all paternalists, the author believes that individuals are incapable of making correct decisions for themselves and thus the hammer of the state to make it for them.

Once could even see what Press is proposing as a cultural fascism. The scary thing is that he has written this book as a “text-book” of sorts. You know one of those text books that makes the same point over and over again?

Yes, American culture is worth defending but not at the cost of everything that makes America a great country to hail from. Mark this idea down as one of the many bad isms out there.

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