Saturday, January 08, 2005

Americanism—and Its Enemies

David Gelernter writes in Commentary Magazine about Americanism as a religion which is opposed by anti-Americanism.
Anti-Americanism has blossomed frantically in recent years. Nearly the whole world seems to be pock-marked with lesions of hate. Some of this hatred focuses on George W. Bush, but much of it goes beyond the President to encompass the supposed evils of America and Americanism in general. In its passionate and unreasoning intensity, anti-Americanism resembles a religion—or a caricature of a religion. And this fact tells us something important about Americanism itself.

It boils down to the Puritan founders of the American Republic. Puritanism disappeared into Unitarianism, which has degenerated so totally that it is the only church in which you would never hear the word "God," and Trinitarian Presbyterianism, about which I know nothing. Gelernter claims, and I can buy what he's selling, that Puritanism morphed into Americanism, the idealistic engine that powers and invigorates the American society.

1/8/05 EDIT: see my comments at Joe Carter's contest here.

WRT the comments in the original article about Gnosticism and Americanism...

Gnosticism teaches that the world of material things is evil, the prison created by the Evil Demi-Urge to imprison the divine Spirit created by God, and that only God and the fragments of Spirit He created are good. I can't see this as a mainstream American belief, but it resonates with certain movements like Primitive Baptists, the Amish, some New Agers, and various millenialist belief systems that discount the importance of life in favor of an existence in Heaven.
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