Problems with the “Puritan Thesis” in #NRx

Around the neoreaction spheres, there is a commonly held belief that much of leftist can be attributed to “Puritanism”.  This idea was first popularized by Moldbug and has since been championed by various bloggers, which recently has erupted into a debate (see here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.)

While I’m a Moldbug fan and like some of his concepts, I think that Moldbugian critique of progressivism is wrong for a number of reasons.

First, the radicals who have drastically changed Western society over the past 150 years or so have not been Puritans but in fact Ashkenazis:

Marx – undermine traditional European regimes

Freud – legitimizes sexual degeneracy

Franz Boas – popularizes the “race doesn’t exist” meme

Ashley Montagu – also popularizes “race doesn’t exist” meme and makes racism the greatest sin of the West

Adorno and Horkheimer – Cultural Marxism, delegitimize white people

If the Puritan Thesis were correct, then if one subtracts the contributions of Jewish leftists, the trajectory of the West should be comparable to what it is today, but this seems highly unlikely, which means that the Puritan Thesis is too simplistic.

Second, it is true that Puritans have been a little more leftist than other Anglo groups. David Hacket Fischer’s Albion’s Seed well documents the contributions of the four major Anglo folkways in the United States (Puritans, Cavaliers, Quakers & Scots-Irish).  While the Puritans are more leftist than the Cavaliers and Scots-Irish, the Quakers might actually be more leftist than Puritans, since the Puritans have vacillated in their causes.  While the Puritans might well have caused the American Civil War (their greatest failing in my opinion), Puritans were also some of the most adamant to demand repatriation of blacks after the Civil War. Furthermore, the greatest president of 20th century, Calvin Coolidge, was of Puritan stock. It was Coolidge who in fact passed the Immigration Act of 1924, which limited immigration both in numbers and to Europeans.  This type of patriotism would hardly be found among America’s New Elite (the Ashkenazis who have replaced the WASPs in  America’s elite institutions – Yale now is less than 20% WASP). In fact, the New Elite seem overwhelmingly to support open borders (for the West, not Israel), as evidenced by George Soros, Sheldon Adelson and Mark Zuckerberg, to name but a few. Furthermore, it was the early 20th century people of Puritan stock (e.g. Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard) who took Darwinism to its logical conclusion and championed the idea of racial differences, and who were opposed by people like Franz Boas.

Third, many neoreactionaries mean “Puritan” as a shorthand for Protestant (and seem somewhat hostile toward Protestantism, wanting to blame all the West’s problems on Protestantism) but there is no evidence that Protestants today are more leftist than Catholics.  If Protestantism were the cause of modern-day leftism, it seems that modern-day Protestants should be more leftist than Catholics – but they are not.  First, in the United States, the voting patterns of Catholics are considerably more leftist than Protestants.  Second, Catholic countries have a much higher rate of Marxism than Protestant countries (think of mestizos in South and Central America, or even Southern Europe).  Third, and most importantly, outside of Jewish groups, the Catholic Church today supports the Third World immigration invasion of the West more than any other religious organization.  In short, the Catholic Church today is actually calling for the genetic destruction of Western Civilization.   In fact, the Catholic Church is so vehemently in favor of mass non-white immigration that some European traditionalists have recently begun to wonder whether Catholicism is just as big of a threat to Europe as Islam.

Fourth, I wonder whether any of the neoreactionaries championing the Puritan Thesis have ever read Nietzsche, Spengler, Benoist, et al.  If one wants to talk about long-term cladistics, then what you have is not a Puritan problem, but rather a Christian problem.  As Spengler noted, “Christian theology is the grandmother of Bolshevism.”  The Christian idea of the “universal brotherhood of man,” some have maintained, is the fons et origo of all modern-day leftism.  In short, the problem is not with Puritanism per se but with a deeply held Christian mindset, which is much older than Puritanism.   Nonetheless, even if this Christian thesis is correct, it seems highly unlikely that our current trajectory would be the same but for the Jewish leftist movements of the past 150 years.

In conclusion, the origins of modern-day progressivism are complex.  While Christianity (not Puritanism) might be a part of the cause, leftist Jewish intellectual movements certainly are too.  There are probably other causes as well, such as pathological altruism and ethnomasochism.  Instead of committing to a dogmatic ideology (“Puritans and Protestants caused everything bad”), which is something leftists do, it’s better to keep an open mind and realize that the problem is much more complex.

Updates:

R/H/E Notes: Of the top 25 most liberal journalists in the USA, by far more are of Jewish or Catholic ancestry than Puritan 

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69 thoughts on “Problems with the “Puritan Thesis” in #NRx

  1. Of all Moldbug’s ideas, I think his Puritan Thesis is his weakest. I’m not even sure that most diehard Moldbug fans take it seriously.

    • I believe a combination of Secular Puritanism and Ashkenazi sabotage explains our present situation the best.

      There’s another thread that Mr. Yarvin missed, and that is the children of the failed 1848 Socialist Revolution, most of whom were German Catholics. These radicalized German socialists came to America in great numbers and ended up in substantial numbers in the Union Army officer corps. The German communities in cities like Milwaukee and Saint Louis were hotbeds of socialist agitation for decades.

      Also, the Puritan Theory cannot explain the Leftist decay of the West outside of the Anglosphere.

  2. they were the onesw that burned people at the stake and murdered indian babies and even offered over $100 for thier scalps and threatened the last queen of hawaii with death if she dont surrender

    • The Protestants of North America largely kept their distance from the Amerindians, while the Catholics of Central and South America miscegenated with the Indians. See this recent genetics study.

      • It had little to do with religion. The colonization was completely different in North and South.
        In North white colonists mostly claimed land for themselves and drove indians away. In Central America, at least initially, white formed the feudal upper class with Indians as peasants working for them.
        Also Central America had much higher native population density and consequently it was much easier for the two populations to interbreed.

  3. And yet, there is something undeniably Puritanical about the current leftists, and they are largely the descendents of Puritans.

  4. There’s a bunch of problems with the Joo Thesis too.

    150 years is an odd demarcation line. Explaining American Progressivism and not including the Civil War is absurd. It simply can’t be taken seriously. The Civil Wae was messianic, blood-thirsty, Puritanism par excellence. Progressivism post-Civil War is just a footnote to the Civil War.

    Second, American communism (ie Progressivism) pre-dates Marx and has (with the exception of no more than one decade) always been relatively clearly distinct from Marx. American communism dates from early utopian (Protestant) societies.

    From a reactionary perspective, it’s also not clear why the Joo Thesis isn’t massively worse. If they’re so powerful that all seven of the Jews in the country could really control the direction of American politics 150 years ago, acquiescence to Jewish domination seems like the only reasonable solution.

    • I mention the US Civil War above and attribute it to Puritans.

      I wish more people in NRx would address point #4 above. If you’re interested in cladistics, then the Nietzsche-Spengler-Benoist thesis makes more sense.

    • foseti,

      Present-day leftism is not a direct offshoot of 19th-century American leftism. The Civil War was not a left-right conflict. 19th-century American leftism did not originate from Puritanism.

      19th-century experiments in utopian socialism had direct European inspirations, and most late-19th / early-20th century “progressive” reformers bore little resemblance to present-day progressives. Where they did, they again tended to be much more influenced by European radicals than 17th-century Puritans.

      Moldbug’s “cladistic” conceptualization of leftism is idiotic.

      I don’t believe in the “Joo Thesis”. I believe in human nature. Spelling it “Joo” does not make Jews stop existing as a distinct ethnic group that has played an outsized role in 20th-century American leftism, and it does not make ethnic conflict go away, regardless of how pleased you are with your Jewish girlfriend.

    • >>150 years is an odd demarcation line. Explaining American Progressivism and not including the Civil War is absurd. It simply can’t be taken seriously. The Civil Wae was messianic, blood-thirsty, Puritanism par excellence.

      This is the Yankee version of history. Of course, the reality is that the new waves of European immigrants didn’t want nigs in the new territories stolen from Mexico. The Southerners who loved their nig-slaves were angry they couldn’t bring them with them, while the new Euro-immigrants wanted to keep them out. That you propagate modern lies about the nature of the American Civil War shows you’re a liberal-moron.

      >>There’s a bunch of problems with the Joo Thesis too.

      Says the crypto-Zionist.

      • The “puritan thesis” is more a theory about social coordination when the natural constraints of high-church Christianity are officially proscribed. I’ve talked about it a lot, never comprehensively, and never particularly well, but the last place I laid out the thesis was here:

        https://wasenlightened.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/antivirus/comment-page-1/#comment-28

        That is all that, to my knowledge, was ever meant by the Puritan Thesis. Also Moldbug goes into details in his own combox here:

        http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/06/some-objections-to-ultracalvinism.html#1691782108284304837

        I didn’t recall that comment, until ‘Rasputin’ highlighted it over at Xenosystms. I would have said that the finer points of the Puritan hypothesis might have been lost on an atheist half-Jew, and I would have been wrong. Moldbug knew his shit. I can’t find a word of that comment with which I wouldn’t agree and doesn’t conform to my own psychological experience as a low-church protestant.

        Stupid things the Puritan Hypothesis has never meant include:
        A) Puritans qua puritans were solely responsible for progressivism
        B) Jews bear no blame for progressivism or variously the Frankfurt School is of little import
        C) Conservative/Reactionary Reformed people today bear all the sins of their memetic forbears

  5. I think the general christian Thesis needs a stronger argument then the ones presented by those authors. They are interesting reads but dont explain the massive and long lasting benefit Christianity actually had on the West as well as pre-christian leftist forms.

      • I don’t know enough about Zhang Xianzhong to comment.

        But the Gracchi Brothers were reformers in the context of Roman Republican politics but they were not leftists in any modern sense. It’s wrong to impute modern ideas, such as egalitarianism, back into a world where they did not even exist.

        The main program championed by the Gracchi Brothers was Land Reform — getting poor people out of urban slums and back into rural pieces of land — which wasn’t even very unpopular among the republican elite. Marius, Sulla and later Caesar support this project. Why the republican elite was pissed at the Gracchi Brothers was because they bypassed traditional channels and were playing the populist game.

        The notion that the Gracci Brothers were leftists in any modern sense of the word was an idea popularized by Marxist historians in the early 20th century, but it’s not taken seriously any longer by the vast majority of historians of Republican Rome.

      • Yes — quite. And answered with all the attention to historical specificity and context that I would expect from someone so unwilling to anachronistically impute contemporary ideas to an impossibly broad swath of centuries’ worth of historical material.

  6. Pingback: Problems with the “Puritan Thesis” in #NRx | Reaction Times

  7. I think even those who subscribe to the “it was mostly the protestants” thesis have to agree the the jooz made things far worse, serving as a form of “prog catalyst” if you will. a parallel universe USA with no jooz is one which is far less prog, though yes still prog.

    • Reading Codreanu and some of Romanian history, it becomes apparent to me that the Jewish influence on Progressivism grew with the rise of Bolshevism. There was almost a ‘messianic’ belief in the Communist ideal among European Jewry. Outside of Germany, where the hatred of Jews stemmed largely from the new eugenics theories coming out of America, the low opinion of Jews was almost entirely down to this trend. They were seen as agents of Moscow.

      Jews in Romania for example, agitated and longed for a revolution like the one “across the Dniester” to liberate them from the just Christian hegemony that existed in that society. They were successful in Hungary with the Kun regime (many Jews involved), and slaughtered a lot of people during the hysterical short period of governance.

      It is fair to say Jews have been heavily linked to leftism and the general leftward drift of the Occident. I would not however venture to say they were the start of it, although their status as conduits for usury probably didn’t help in the centuries leading up to the ‘Enlightenment’.

      Is the actual origin Puritan, or even Protestant? I don’t think this matters much. It is indisputable that today, the left despises Christianity. There is nothing they attack with more vigor than the sacred Faith. Despite Moldbug proving their underlying assumptions about the world are theistic, this does nothing to dent the fact that they declare either atheism, agnosticism, or a very loose form of unobservant Christianity. This is, by word and deed, a fundamentally anti-Christian movement. Remember, its first enemies were the monarchy and the church. Liberalism has always hated the Catholic Church, just as Communism has always hated the Orthodox Church. They are symbols of the priestly caste that once ruled side-by-side with the hereditary monarchs who upheld the World of Tradition.

      If Modernism is a Christian heresy, then it is up to Christianity to purge it from the world, just as we did the old order of heresies following the first councils. There is no future in reviving Paganism a la De Benoist, nor in pursuing a scientific atheism which is maladaptive and demonstrably false. The future is in the rebirth of Christendom and the slaying of Modernity, whatever its inner workings are.

  8. The way to understand the Puritan thesis is cladistically. The descendants of the Puritans were Unitarians, whose children in turn were Transcendentalists, as well as giving rise to the Oneida community and various other cults of the Second Great Awakening. It might be better to call it the Unitarian thesis.

    • “The way to understand the Puritan thesis is cladistically. The descendants of the Puritans were Unitarians, whose children in turn were Transcendentalists, as well as giving rise to the Oneida community and various other cults of the Second Great Awakening.”

      No, most descendants of Puritans were never Unitarians (and the idea that Unitarianism is the source of modern leftism is of course also absurd). As of 1935:

      Another interesting phase of religion is the great extent to which the old New England stock has changed its denominational affiliations (Table 21). The original Puritans all belonged to the Congregational Church, although a few soon became Quakers. In our day the leading denominations are the Episcopalians and Methodists, each with 19 per cent of those for whom information is available. Then come the Baptists, Presbyterians, and finally the Congregationalists, each with about 12 per cent. The rest are divided among many denominations, among whom Roman Catholics on the one hand, and atheists, agnostics, and people of no denomination on the other hand, each number about two per cent of the total. [p. 145]
      http://racehist.blogspot.com/2013/09/religious-affiliations-of-puritan.html

      The number of Unitarians is not broken out separately; but the category that includes Unitarians, Universalists, Swedenborgians, Quakers, and Christian Scientists totaled less than 7% of this sample of descendants of New England Puritans.

      As for the Oneida community, there were never more than a few hundred members, and if you think either cults or experiments in communalism are somehow specific to descendants of Puritans, you’re grossly unacquainted with history. Most American experiments in utopian socialism were spawned by Europeans. In the case of the Oneida community, Noyes acknowledged the influence of Brook Farm, which in turn was influenced by Frenchman Charles Fourier.

  9. Moldbug did refer to this explicitly: http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/06/ultracalvinist-hypothesis-in.html

    Ultracalvinism is an ecumenical syncretism of the mainline, not traceable to any one sectarian label. But its historical roots are easy to track with the tag Unitarian. The meaning of this word has mutated considerably in the last 200 years, but at any point since the 1830s it is found attached to the most prestigious people and ideas in the US, and since 1945 in the world.

  10. Not seeing a whole lot of Jewish influence before 1950 or so.

    Boaz was Jewish, Mead was puritan. Mead had sex with the powerful, and she was not having sex with Jews.

  11. Ultra-Calvinism isn’t “a group” but a meme-plex, and the 20th century Ashkenazi cultural power that understandably concerns you was attained through complicity with it.

    • What do you mean by a “meme-plex”? There is no doubt that the old WASPs helped the Ashkenazis rise to power. Steve Sailer has argued that it was due to the Anglo-Saxon sense of “fair play” – e.g. they felt bad keeping Ashkenazis excluded from Harvard. Today, however, the old WASPs only have a small fragment of their former power. Just look at their low representation in the current American elite. WASPs have in effect been replaced.

      That aside, what are your thoughts on point #4 above? I wish more people in neoreaction would talk about this.

      • Cladistic analysis fully concurs, doesn’t it? Protestantism is to Catholicism as ‘secularized’ evangelical egalitarianism is to Protestantism — escalations / speciations within a tradition (or nested series of clades).

  12. On your point about it being a “Christian” rather than a merely “Puritan” problem, early Moldbug would probably agree with you. If you go back and read some of the very first comment threads on UR, back when Moldbug was still engaging his commenters he indicates repeatedly that he thinks that Christianity has an inherent Leftism problem, somehow more or less suppressed in the middle-ages but revived and accelerated by the Reformation. Do recall that the Reformation was supposedly a return to the origins of Christianity. Biggest complaint of the Protestants was that the Catholic church had drifted from the original, early Christian doctrine.
    Whether early original Christianity was indeed very leftist or not, I do not know for sure, as I haven’t devoted enough time to study that topic, but as you note some very prominent philosophers have made that exact argument and Moldbug does seem to buy it to a degree, at least in the early days.

    • That’s very interesting. I didn’t know that Moldbug had made that argument. To me, this seems like a much stronger argument than the Puritan Thesis.

  13. I have a problem with the “Christian Thesis” #4 above. Plenty of Christian countries (eg those in the Balkans) never embarked upon any kind of progressivism.

    • Maybe the issue there is they remained fairly inbred. The prog areas par excellence were those areas that went full outbred. HBD chick covered this and appears to have been soundly ignored. The prog/outbred areas appear to have shifted to specific concepts of the individual and then adopted religious beliefs that match up with their bio/pychological make up. Hence protestantism/ Calvinism etc predicated on the individuals links to God the soul etc. They also seem to have shifted to a belief in the underlying goodness of people, something this seems to be getting at – http://theweek.com/articles/541423/real-fault-line-culture-war-isnt-race-sex-sin
      You can see this reflected in politics. All Western tradition post Locke take man as being inherently good, hence the need for Rights to protect their inherent goodness from wicked government.
      If any of this is correct, then the question needs to asked – exactly how much control do we have over this?

  14. Note the story of Ananias and Sapphira in The Acts of the Apostles, chapters 4 and 5.

    Here are some relevant Moldbug quotations via Rasputin:
    http://www.xenosystems.net/questions/#comment-26712

    But I also like Nick Land’s comment in Gnon-Theology and Time:
    “There’s enough egalitarianism wired into the brain to make communism inevitable, combined with enough self-interest to make it impossible, hence the pleasant contours of human history.” So don’t think that Christianity is the ultimate origin of leftism. It’s just a vehicle.

    Furthermore, I still think the “cladistic analysis” has got the unit of analysis wrong. Religions are like ponds that get infected with things like zebra mussels and water hyacinths. It makes sense to talk about cladistics for zebra mussels, but not for ponds.

  15. Leftism is a process by which intellectuals scheme for power by positioning as “holier than thou” and exploiting the built-in attractions of equality/socialism and antinomianism. In the Anglo-American civilization, the leftist virus first broke out with the calvinist dissenters – the Puritans and their friends. This outbreak occurred because with the rise of protestantism, a monopoly over religion was lost, and thus holier-than-thou competition was allowed to break out. The Puritans claimed that they truly embodied the preaching of the Bible, not those corrupt Bishops. And thus their superior holiness gave them the right to run themselves and appoint their own reverends, and then they went on to argue that it gave them the right to rebel and rule Britain.

    As one group of leftist intellectuals takes power it eventually calcifies. Then in the next generation, a new wave of power-entrepreneurs devises some new way of being holier-than-thou, accuses the existing power structure of being oppressive and conservative, and tries to rile up a mob to defeat them. A recent example of this was the New Left of the 1960’s attacking and destroying the New Deal Left that came to power in the 1910’s through the 1950’s. All the people that the New Left accused of being conservative were actually a leftist faction when they came to power.

    So the Puritans were the first to start this leftism process. Most of the holier-than-thou competition up until the Civil War arose from the newly developed factions arising from Puritanism – abolitionism, transcendentalism, etc. But after Massachusetts conquered the country, and the nation as a whole diversified, intellectuals from other sects and geographies got in on the act, and ended up exceeding the zeal of the original WASPs in the contest to be holy.

  16. If Puritanism alone had to account for all of modern leftism, then I would agree with you that the thesis is invalid.

    If — and this seems to be closer to the truth — the Puritans’ belief that the world can be purified of evil through ever-more extreme control of thoughts and behavior is still echoing through the US establishment, then it should at least be part of the gumbo that created out current cultural climate (probably with large some admixture of Jewish thought leadership).

    Consider too that the heart of Puritan America, Massachusetts, remains ground zero for much of the fundamentalist thinking that supported abolition and temperance/prohibition and now PC/multicultural orthodoxy. Coincidence or shared cultural pathways that remain efficacious?

  17. I had thought that there Leftism had Protestant origins even before I read Moldbug, because it has always seemed somewhat obvious to me from my perspective as an Orthodox Christian, especially in similarities I had noticed between two diametrically opposed groups in my dealings with some Protestants and New Atheists (two groups seemed same to me, and to other people too, which is why we took up to calling New Atheists “Dawkins’s Witnesses”). If we look at Protestantism as a whole, it’s certainly more left-wing than even Vatican is today, for Vatican still doesn’t allow female priesthood, nor same-sex marriage. But, unfortunately, Vatican too is concerned too much with “da poor” and “social justice”, and too little with the spiritual condition of said poor. On the other hand, Orthodoxy seems to be much more conservative than Vatican, though some (like Jim) think there’s no hope even for Orthodoxy. Whether or not all Christianity is dead isn’t what’s discussed here though, and I think differences between Western Christianity (Protestantism and Vatican) and Orthodoxy need more exploration if Protestant Origin thesis is to be rejected, and Christian Origins thesis accepted. For one the Orthodox do not believe in the doctrine of Original Sin but in Ancestral Sin, which is different. In Orthodox view guilt cannot be inherited, though that doesn’t mean someone’s sins can have no consequence on his progeny (for example child of drug-addicted mother and alcoholic father certainly isn’t guilty for his parent sins, but will suffer consequences of their behavior in his life). Humanity is considered divided and scattered, and Communion is not seen as an individual act, but rather the act of the entire Church, where by consuming God its members are connected with each other and Christ, thus fulfilling the creation by reconnecting broken humanity both with each other and with it’s final part the Divine. Interesting differences in Soteriology also, Orthodox don’t believe in Satisfactionary Atonement and Penal Substitution, but in Theosis, etc.

  18. The problem with point #4 is that it ignores the ACTUAL puritan thesis which has to do with high-church/low-church social organization, and not with the body of doctrine qua Puritan or the particular genes of Englishman dedicated to that body of doctrine qua puritan. I explained that here recently:

    Christianity kept the lid on egalitarian enthusiasm for at least 1300 years. Then, quite suddenly, it failed. Part of it failed. Which part and why? That is the clue.

  19. christfags = cuckfags lol

    with or without heresy. Heresy means against the Church Fathers, who were the sect that Constantine chose, and the development of doctrine since them, through trial by combat. In reality, christfaggotry tells people that they should pursue other goals than their own family and race, and that everyone is equal, and the only reason it as ever looked different from communism is that communism always looks different from communism.

  20. If the Puritan Thesis were correct, then if one subtracts the contributions of Jewish leftists, the trajectory of the West should be comparable to what it is today, but this seems highly unlikely, which means that the Puritan Thesis is too simplistic.

    Well, as accessing parallel universes is currently beyond our technology, we can’t quite make that claim, now can we?

    But the next best thing would be to look a Western society that doesn’t have Jews and compare the results.

    Here’s the Jewish population as a fraction of the total population in various countries across the world.

    And for comparison, Muslim fraction of the population across Europe (here and here).

    First thing you notice is that no European country has a big a fraction of Jews as does the U.S. The next thing you notice is that many of these countries as gung-ho about immigration from Muslim lands. In some of these countries (like Norway), Jews are virtually absent.

    Is P.C., pro-open borders sentiment in these countries due to Jewish influence, too?

    Third, many neoreactionaries mean “Puritan” as a shorthand for Protestant (and seem somewhat hostile toward Protestantism, wanting to blame all the West’s problems on Protestantism) but there is no evidence that Protestants today are more leftist than Catholics.

    Maybe you need to look at a map of religiosity in Europe on that one. You’ll notice a high level of athiesm. Where do those atheists come from? Or, look at these.

    Religious graph 1.

    Religious graph 2 and graph 2a.

    The modern-day Puritans would be found in the red areas (indeed, the remnant of the Puritan church, the Congregationalists, can be found there). But look at the yellow circles. Where do you think they come from? The second set of graphs should make in obvious. Indeed, I have seen it first hand: my wife is an avowed atheist despite having quite religious Yankee grandparents. So looking at present day self-proclaims Protestants and comparing them to other groups is comparing apples to oranges, to an extent.

    Second, Catholic countries have a much higher rate of Marxism than Protestant countries (think of mestizos in South and Central America, or even Southern Europe).

    As I said to n/a:

    Clannish: *typically always socially conservative (Asians a bit less so)
    However, economically conservative when on standing to lose, and economically liberal when standing to gain.

    Non-clannish: typically always socially liberal, usually economically liberal (except when apparently cognizant of drain from clannish groups)

    Third, many neoreactionaries mean “Puritan” as a shorthand for Protestant (and seem somewhat hostile toward Protestantism, wanting to blame all the West’s problems on Protestantism) … If Protestantism were the cause of modern-day leftism

    Which it (among other things) is.

    In conclusion, the origins of modern-day progressivism are complex.

    Not quite as you’re portraying here. The cause is fairly simple. See HBD Chick:

    the one where i draw squiggly lines all over the welzel-inglehart cultural map | hbd chick

    Think about it, if Jewish influence is supposedly responsible for leftism, why are does it work in only some parts of the world? Why are those parts Northwestern European and offshoots? Even in the States, why do we see the message resonate in some parts and not others? It seems purported Jewish ideas found fertile soil in some places and not others. And if that’s the case, it’s not really solving the problem is it? It’s just sending it some place else.

    • No doubt that different groups of whites will react differently to certain ideas, but the point was that many of the radical left-wing ideas of the past 150 years originated within Jewish groups (e.g. Marxism, Cultural Marxism, Boasian Anthropology, Freudianism, etc.).

      • Speaking as someone who rejected all those bad radical leftist ideas: Why did the descendants of the Puritans (and the Swedes for that matter) embrace them? I don’t think the Scots-Irish did.

      • Randall,

        Name some of the “descendants of the Puritans” who embrace radical leftist ideas.

        “I don’t think the Scots-Irish did.”

        The full-blown Irish Tom Hayden certainly did.

        Scotch-Irish do not exist as a distinct ethnic group in America today. Neither do descendants of Puritans.

  21. “If Protestantism were the cause of modern-day leftism, it seems that modern-day Protestants should be more leftist than Catholics – but they are not. First, in the United States, the voting patterns of Catholics are considerably more leftist than Protestants.”

    This is not helpful due to the variance among the various Protestant denominations. I have never seen a neoreactionary blame leftism on Baptists or Methodists.

    The “ultra-Calvinists” probably don’t even self-identify as Protestants, they see themselves as scientific atheists.

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  23. At a time when the world seemed to be heading towards a form of global rule as insidious as that of the present Cathedral, the protestant states of northern Europe represented a a more neo-cameralist approach, supporting the freedom of small states and local aristocracy against the absolutist inquisitorial Habsburgs, and their ideological fist; the Roman church.

    Having said that, European state protestantism has succumb to ‘progess’. Criticising the current state of religion from a reactionary perspective is obviously easy , but extending this critique back to Luther paints a religious tradition full of reactionary potential in undeservedly negative colours.

  24. Pingback: Too Much Neo in NRx | The Z Blog

  25. It’s refreshing to see the clearheadedness of such a post among the rather poor articulations of the relevant history so frequently encountered in these circles. A number of points ought to be made here about the ‘Puritan thesis’ and related claims.

    foseti’s comment above provides a great frame of reference for such points, so I’ll begin by quoting him and move on from there.

    “150 years is an odd demarcation line. Explaining American Progressivism and not including the Civil War is absurd. It simply can’t be taken seriously. The Civil Wa[r] was messianic, blood-thirsty, Puritanism par excellence. Progressivism post-Civil War is just a footnote to the Civil War.”

    In the very wording of this comment, a deeper trace of cladistic descent is made evident: If we know “messianism” and “bloodthirst”, as foseti would put it, to be “Puritanism par excellence”, we would do well to ask: where did such tendencies come from?

    Puritanism is a form of Calvinism, and Calvin’s conception of deity—and more to the point, Luther’s—didn’t just coalesce out of the ether as soon as Northern Europe threw off the beneficent strictures of Holy Mother Church.

    In the High Middle Ages, the dominant metaphysical/theological model was that of scholasticism: a carefully rationalized synthesis of the God of Hellenic philosophy with that of Scripture. It asserted, in line with Plato and contra the Hebrew tradition, the reality of universals—that is, that the physical world is a series of instantiations of divine reason. To use a simple example, this means that a frog, the lilypad the frog is leaping onto, and a nearby blade of grass all share such an instantiation: in this case, that of greenness.

    This synthesis was unsettling for a number of medieval clerics, as it was not only an adulteration of Scripture, but also often justified itself by making reference to translations of men like Aristotle which had come from the Muslim world. Thus William of Ockham came forward with a new ontological model: that of nominalism, as opposed to the realism of scholastic thought.

    Nominalism says that universals do not exist outside of our minds; that the frog, the lilypad, and the blade of grass may be easily categorized as ‘green’, but are not actually in common possession of some universal greenness. Such a universal, after all, would be a limit on God’s omnipotence. So for men like Ockham, God was not reasonable or even necessarily loving; he could do as he pleased, rescind any offer, negate any promise. The only indication of what this deity’s inscrutable will amounted to was to be found in Scripture.

    Over the next two centuries, nominalism came to supersede realism. By the early 16th century, the ontological debate had been more or less settled in favor of the former, and now Western philosophy turned to debates about which realm of being was primary, rather than a debate about the nature of being itself. But the god presented in the nominalist vision was, in a word, horrifying; how was one to worship him? or, as one might come to wonder, how was one to remove such a vicious and disturbing idea of deity from his mind?

    The Protestant Reformation; the humanism of the Renaissance; the ‘modern’ thought of men like Bacon, Descartes, and Hobbes: each of these was an attempt to answer these questions. The first declared deity primary; the second, mankind; the third, nature, in a sort of middle-ground formulation. None of these models is particularly satsifying, because the denial of the existence of universals is at its root a corrosive and unsettling proposition, which no amount window dressing can truly mitigate. The Western mind has not yet recovered from the shock.

    In short, Protestantism is a form of Christianity that draws itself back to its Hebrew roots, rejecting the grafting of European philosophy and artistic endeavor into it which had taken place over the course of centuries. Indeed, the iconoclasm of the Reformation follows quite directly from YHVH’s repeated injunctions to his people to “overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire” (Exodus XXXIV:13; Deuteronomy VII:5, XII:3).

    Iconoclasm, a hatred of beauty, a rabid intolerance of other forms of worship, a fanatical belief in the absolute truth of one’s own creed and the future victory of its adherents: this is the extended phenotype of something much older than Calvin.

    Thus we see the dual nature of what foseti calls ‘the Joo thesis’: first, the absorption of a thoroughly Hebrew conception of deity—and thus of reality itself—by the Western mind over the course of nearly two millennia of Christianity; and only secondly, the active participation of Ashkenazi intellectuals in the politics, arts, and sciences of the West from the 19th century onward.

    If you read Jan Assmann’s Moses the Egyptian, Michael Allen Gillespie’s Theological Origins of Modernity, and then, almost supplementarily, MacDonald’s thesis, you’ll see a narrative with much more supporting evidence than Moldbug’s model. 150 years is indeed an odd demarcation line, foseti—and so is 500.

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  28. Reblogged this on Hipster Racist and commented:
    The reason Moldbug blamed “Puritans” for being “leftists” is because liberal Protestant Christians are the forefront of the BDS movement, which is considered the most significant threat to Israel. “Liberal Protestants” are the major competitors to Jews on the left, so Moldbug – trying to recruit non-leftist Whites to his cause – blamed the anti-white “Left” on White Protestants, not Jews.

    It’s not even particularly complicated now is it?

  29. To my reckoning the jews are exploiting a natural and genetic tendency in yankees, Purtians, Quakers, women etc. So they are all the issue

    Rebel Bill, hell yea man, folks miss that point about Germans all the time. Didn’t know it myself until I read… “Red Republicans”. I think. After a certain point all the books have kind of washed into one

  30. im glad im not the only one who sees the irony in holding up inherent leftist tendencies of christianity as contra jewish influence, when christianity is itself an emanation of the jewish mind, whos greater beneficence came only when it acquired european modes of thought, and who reacquires greater virulence as it discards them.

    there is reason to be more suspicious of anglos (as a scot, i am, of course, gloriously exempt from their cognitive blinders), but if you want an example of what the trajectory of home grown anglo-saxon socialism or left leaning would look sans khazars, look no further than george orwell, who was casually racist and nativist, or the progressive eugenics movement. if you want an example of what home grown *germanic* socialism would look like, well, look no further than the nazis.

    lefty in an abstract sense, yes, but it cannot be argued that examples like these are anywhere near kosher either. it is simply undeniable that the character and trajectory of european intellectual thought would not have been different, *better*, had it not been for the tribe.

    often times i cannot help but think that the dogged animus (for that is what it is) against paying any attention to questions concerning jews is fermented by lingering residue of a lifetimes worth of exposure to popular conditioning, lurking in the depths of the psyche. jews, the ultimate sacred cow, those that oppose them, the lowest of backwards trash. jews! the very word seems to set the teeth on edge, the pupils dilating, spine tingling, gut coiling, regardless of what one otherwise thinks of them or ones position on the political polygon. people dont want to talk about them, dont even want to think about them. i dare say the word jew is perhaps the ultimate fnord in this day and age.

  31. (cont)

    in the end i think the issue is that people are not looking at the issue of the issue strategically. one of the clearest signs you can see that some people are knee jerking rather than really thinking about it is the amusing spectacle of stale liberal talking points like ‘not all jews are like that’ being trotted out in conversation without a trace of irony. okay skipper, i get it, some of your best friends were jews, some of *my* best friends were jews, but all of that is most contingent. if the result of all this were a generalized sentiment of distrust or suspicious of hebrews, that would be a non-negative outcome. infact, it would be an eminently rational response to historical evidence. i would not give a wasps nest a pass because bees sting people too.

    to put a point to it, if all jews in the west were to magically up and leave for their own country and never to trouble our doorstep again, itd ultimately be a good thing, close to ideal even. i did not *need* my friends to be jews, just like they dont *need* their friends to be white (or any other race). it would be *better* even if me and them had our own to bond with, we were only together because the churn of modernity put us together. and i could get along with them because for one im not stupid and dont goosestep sieging my heils in public, and for another im just such a swell likeable guy. to put it one way, progressive sensibilities are more adaptive to local, personal, parochial matters, while conservative sensibilities are adaptive to more global, more highly transcendent matters.

    but i digress, any time you try to wave away concerns over ethnic essentialities with color-blind, denatured formulations like ‘i recognize talent, not people’, youre simply setting yourself up to be a new data-point on the chart labeled ‘conquests second law’. its leaving open ports on your ideological firewall for later exploitation.

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  35. I’d say the fact that liberal Massachusetts is a majority Catholic and liberal as fuck renders his theory completely useless.

  36. I think there is a Puritan mindset – probably at least partially genetic – which is very resistant to bullying, bribery and blackmail but prone to crusading on perceived moral causes – hence they can be manipulated that way instead.

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