We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Dalrymple doesn't want to live in a world without Falstaffs, criminals, fatty foods, messiness, alcohol, smokers, and trailer trash - a too-sterile world of "rational tyranny" and perfect post-Puritan morality. I agree. One quote:
When I read the medical journals these days, I feel I am reading the medical equivalent of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. They speak only the best of good sense (one doesn’t argue with a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox). They tell us how we, or rather they, that is to say the general public, ought to live. Not too fat, a certain amount of exercise, no smoking, drinking in moderation of the right kind of wine taken purely as a medicine to ward of heart attacks and strokes, in short, every activity and comestible to be treated as a medicine to be taken in the correct dose.
It is not easy to argue against this rationalistic tyranny, just as it is not easy to answer a puritan without sounding as if you are positively in favour of sin, the more of it the better. No doubt properly conducted studies have shown precisely how much alcohol one should take to achieve the greatest possible longevity; or if they have not been conducted yet, they will be conducted in the very near future. Science will establish precisely how much butter one is allowed per week. Epidemiology will hunt down all the dangers lurking in our habits. From this, prohibitions and imperative duties will inevitably follow. It is only natural, after all, that doctors should advocate whatever saves and prolongs life.
Dalrymple is usually a good read, but he doesn't understand genuine Puritanism. He can't get away from his Mencken-esque delight in skewering Puritans as those who live in terror that somebody, somewhere is having fun, etc.
Tiresome remarks like this may play well over a drink or six at a yummy high fat dinner party "It is the perfect rejoinder to the puritan or moral enthusiast who wants a world that is perfect, without the slightest moral blemish, for whom peccadilloes are indistinguishable from mortal sin or radical evil" But they caricature Puritanism.
Here's just a random excerpt from an interesting scholarly study of Puritanism http://assets.cambridge.org/97805210/98410/excerpt/9780521098410_excerpt.pdf
D's general point is well-taken but I know plenty of modern day Puritans who are compassionate about human foibles, who cherish the uniqueness of each miserable sinner created in the image of God and loved passionately by God just as they are, Puritans who do not presume to tell others what to do, and who would take exception to his sloppy use of the term.
The ancient Greek ideal was Apollo and his orderly perfection, but only for three quarters of the year. The fourth quarter--wasn't it the wintertime?--was ruled by Dionysus and his creative destruction. The idea seems to've been something like, that to attain perfection was the end of the journey, a sort of death. An individual had to seek perfection but expect that his efforts would always--as sure as the seasons change--come up wanting.
Spent some time on the phone this morning with someone whose boyfriend was just murdered, stabbed in the wee hours, in a nightclub parking lot. He was having 'fun' and then he was dead.
My folks really did have a trailor like those. Was on a nice lake though and we called it the camp.) Had so much fun there.
So sad to hear it, Patina. Have prayed for your friend that god will comfort and strengthen her thru this dreadful time, and give you the wisdom to say and do the things that help her day to day in the aftermath of this tragedy. IMHO and based on my own experiences w senseless violence and early death hitting loved ones, a professional who seeks out a little sin and messiness needs a smack upside his head.it will bludgeon you sooner or later quthout making a virtue out of necessity. Give me boring perfection, bland normal, any reprieve any day over a loved one murdered. The coworker who still tears up telling me about boxing as teenagers w a beloved brother who was killed in 9/11
I believe the Biblical verse that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all, that Jesus wept over and healed suffering Jerusalem, and never stopped trying to perfect it. I hate sanctimoniousbess and judgmentalism in myself and others [a common sin] but I also believe that our imperfect hands, hearts, eyes ears etc are God's best tools for helping a broken world that God longs to heal and ultimately perfect. It's about breathing freely, able to hope and love despite difficulties and dangers,, not whether you smoke or screw around. It's about conqueriung fear and estrangement' not being a snarky fundamentalisi stormtrooper.
Good for you for giving your friend what she needs, a loving port in the storm. That is God at work. Our clumsiest efforts to be kind or overcome our own weaknesses delight God's heart.
Excuse badly written reponse, but home sick since yesterday [stupid kiddie bug]