Thomas DiLorenzo on Puritan Moral Fervor

Thomas DiLorenzo’s recent columns at are well worth reading (“Glenn Beck’s Lincoln Contradictions”; “ see also, How the Lincoln Myth Was Hatched”). They emphasize Puritan religious fanaticism aimed at using the government to create the morally perfect society.

As explained by Murray Rothbard in “America’s Two Just Wars: 1775 and 1861” (in John Denson, ed., The Costs of War, Transaction Publishers, 1997, p. 128):

The North, in particular the North’s driving force, the “Yankees” – that ethnocultural group who either lived in New England or migrated from there to upstate New York, northern and eastern Ohio, northern Indiana, and northern Illinois – had been swept by a new form of Protestantism. This was a fanatical and emotional neo-Puritanism driven by a fervent “postmillennialism” which held that, as a precondition for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, man must set up a thousand-year Kingdom of God on Earth.

To the Yankees, their “kingdom” was to be a “perfect society” cleansed of sin, the principal causes of which were slavery, alcohol, and Catholicism. Furthermore, “government is God’s major instrument of salvation,” Rothbard wrote. This is why the Yankees never seriously considered ending Southern slavery how THEY had ended it in their own states – peacefully through some kind of compensated emancipation. They were not so concerned about the welfare of the poor slaves. Indeed, even Tocqueville noticed that “the problem of race,” as he phrased it, was worse in the North than it was in the South. Instead, as Rothbard continues:

The Northern war against slavery partook of fanatical millennialist fervor, of a cheerful willingness to uproot institutions, to commit mayhem and mass murder, to plunder and loot and destroy, all in the name of high moral principle and the birth of a perfect world. The Yankee fanatics were veritable Pattersonian humanitarians with the guillotine: the Anabaptists, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, of their era.

This analysis of the Puritans also reflects David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed (1989) and Kevin Phillips’ The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo-America (1999), and I used it in trying the fathom the depths of WASP pathology (e.g., here; academic version). The fact is that all of the Jewish intellectual movements discussed in The Culture of Critique were fundamentally aimed at some kind of moral perfection — exactly the weak spot of WASP America. DiLorenzo points out that the neocons have used this weapon in order to rationalize wars (KM: on behalf of Israel) but framed as great moral crusades: “The neocon establishment, which is influential in both major political parties, believes in just the opposite: ‘entangling alliances’ and endless military interventionism with as many nations as possible, all in the name of some undefinable Great Moral Cause, in the tradition of Dishonest Abe.”

Charles Krauthammer is a perfect example of an American Jewish intellectual who cynically exploits the tendency among Whites for moral idealism and universalism in order to advance his narrow ethnic intererts. Here he is pushing war against the entire Muslim world:

Beyond power. Beyond interest. Beyond interest defined as power. That is the credo of democratic globalism. Which explains its political appeal: America is a nation uniquely built not on blood, race or consanguinity, but on a proposition—to which its sacred honor has been pledged for two centuries…. Today, post-9/11, we find ourselves in an…existential struggle but with a different enemy: not Soviet communism, but Arab-Islamic totalitarianism, both secular and religious. … At some point, you have to implant something, something organic and self-developing. And that something is democracy.  (Democratic Realism)

Here is U.S. District Court of Appeals Judge Simon Rifkind testifying in 1951 on behalf of pretty much the entire organized Jewish community on how America should approach immigration:

We conceive of Americanism as the spirit behind the welcome that America has traditionally extended to people of different races, all religions, all nationalities.  [!] Americanism is a tolerant way of life that was devised by men who differed from one another vastly in religion, race background, education, and lineage, and who agreed to forget all these things and ask of a new neighbor not where he comes from but only what he can do and what is his spirit toward his fellow men.

Rifkind, whose remarks were quite famous at the time, defines Americanism in moral terms as implying tolerance and positive feelings toward others. Like Krauthammer, the national interest of the United States is not the critical issue. We should pursue Rifkind’s multi-racial utopia without concern for economic benefits to the US:

Looking at [selective immigration] from the point of view of the United States, never from the point of view of the immigrant, I say that we should, to some extent, allow for our temporary needs, but not to make our immigration problem an employment instrumentality. I do not think that we are buying economic commodities when we allow immigrants to come in. We are admitting human beings who will found families and raise children, whose children may reach the heights—at least so we hope and pray. For a small segment of the immigrant stream I think we are entitled to say, if we happen to be short of a particular talent, “Let us go out and look for them,” if necessary, but let us not make that the all-pervading thought. (p. 570) [see Culture of Critique, Chap. 7, pp. 278-279.]

DiLorenzo points out that Puritan publicists created the mythic Abe Lincoln out of thin air, and those who defied the duty to deify Lincoln did so at their peril–quite reminiscent of what happens to people who contravene the current standards of political correctness.

Jews are remarkably immune to moral crusades when it comes to Israel. Then it’s ethnic politics with a vengeance, and lofty ideals about multi-racial immigration are non-starters. The New England WASPs seem particularly disposed to such behavior, although other Whites seem predisposed as well. “Ideas worth fighting for,” as Justice John Paul Stevens had it. No non-White group seems inclined in this direction.

In my view, this proclivity stems ultimately from Western individualism as an ethnic trait: In individualist societies where relatedness beyond the immediate family is not important, ideas with great emotional appeal have a group-binding function, resulting in cohesive, emotionally motivated ingroups willing to mete out punishment to outgroups defined not on the basis of kinship but on the basis of their beliefs. On the other hand, in collectivist societies like Judaism cohesion is ultimately a matter of kinship relatedness, and ingroups and outgroups are defined ethnically.

It is worth noting that the 19th-century Puritan intellectuals loved the German idealist philosophers. One of Willhem Marr’s most interesting observations is his proposal that

Germans formed idealistic images of Jews during the Enlightenment when others had more realistic and negative views. Jews are realists, accepting the world as it is and advancing their interests based on their understanding of this reality. Judaism is characterized by particularlst morality (Is it good for the Jews?). Germans, on the other hand, tend to have idealized images of themselves and others — to believe that the human mind can construct reality based on ideals that can then shape behavior. They are predisposed to moral universalism — moral rules apply to everyone and are not dependent on whether it benefits the ingroup.

In large part the problem confronting Whites stems from our psychology of moralistic self-punishment exemplified at the extreme by the Puritans and their intellectual descendants, but also apparent in a great many other Whites. As Fischer noted, “New England …  had the lowest relative rates of private crime (murder, theft, mayhem), but the highest rates of public violence—’the burning of rebellious servants, the maiming of political dissenters, the hanging of Quakers, the execution of witches’” (p. 189). These people will eagerly use government against the politically incorrect, morally reprobate ne’er-do-wells in their midst.

The best strategy for a collectivist group like the Jews for destroying Europeans therefore is to convince the Europeans of their own moral bankruptcy. A major theme of [The Culture of Critique] is that this is exactly what Jewish intellectual movements have done. They have presented Judaism as morally superior to European civilization and European civilization as morally bankrupt and the proper target of altruistic punishment. The consequence is that once Europeans are convinced of their own moral depravity, they will destroy their own people in a fit of altruistic punishment. The general dismantling of the culture of the West and eventually its demise as anything resembling an ethnic entity will occur as a result of a moral onslaught triggering a paroxysm of altruistic punishment. Thus the intense effort among Jewish intellectuals to continue the ideology of the moral superiority of Judaism and its role as undeserving historical victim while at the same time continuing the onslaught on the moral legitimacy of the West. (see here)

The main difference between the Puritan New Jerusalem and the present multicultural one is that the latter will lead to the demise of the very White people who are the mainstays of the current multicultural Zeitgeist. Unlike the Puritan New Jerusalem, the multicultural New Jerusalem will not be controlled by people like themselves because the non-White ethnic actors will act on the basis of narrow ethnic interest, not high principle. The ultimate irony is that without altruistic Whites willing to be morally outraged by violations of multicultural ideals, the multicultural New Jerusalem is likely to revert to a Darwinian struggle for survival among the remnants. But the high-minded descendants of the Puritans won’t be around to witness it.

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