Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

THE GREAT DIVIDE [puritan v agrarian republicans]
Bernard Levine Website ^ | Bernard Devine

Posted on 05/26/2006 9:26:32 AM PDT by tpaine

THE GREAT DIVIDE

Ever since its first European settlements, in the early 1600s, America developed as two completely different republics.

We have been politically divided ever since, and will always remain so. This is because our two founding republican traditions are both opposite and irreconcilable.

On one side of the divide were the agrarian republicans like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. They gave us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with their foundation stones of equal creation, personal freedom, and the inalienable rights of every citizen. Theirs was a republic of innate virtue, where crime and vice were nothing more than aberrations. An individual's misbehavior was only of concern to the State when other citizens had been harmed by it.

On the other side of the divide were the puritanical republicans like the autocratic clergyman, Cotton Mather. These men believed all citizens to be innate sinners, irresistibly driven to dastardly deeds unless rigidly restrained by the State.

Their puritan republic, their City of God, was like a brittle chain, which a single weak link would sunder. In their world, even the slightest mis-step from pious purity had to be prevented at all cost.

Countless detailed laws and regulations were devised, and then constantly revised, in order to eliminate every possibility of straying.

To the true puritan -- whether pious Christian, secular humanist, or leveling socialist -- notions of rights and responsibilities are meaningless. All that matters is the prevention of sin. No form of prior restraint can be too severe, if it advances this fundamental goal.

WHY THEY DO IT

The puritanical impulse is a deep one. We all have it. It is founded in the fear that other people's freedom of action is a threat to our own safety, our own sanctity. It is the impulse to make the other fellow toe the mark. The puritan knows that his own motives are good, but he does not trust yours.

By regulating every detail of everyone else's life, he believes he can prevent crime before it happens. This is so much neater and safer than waiting to punish actual crimes after the fact.

The puritan impulse is the wish to make all risk disappear. This seems much more direct than learning how to manage or avoid risk, and much less demanding than arming oneself to defend against risk. The puritan, like the primitive shaman, seeks to make everything right in the world by magical words of command. Has it ever worked? Can it ever work? Look at the record -- it has never been successful. Puritanism is, at bottom, simple tyranny, and tyranny is doomed to failure. But puritanism's unbroken record of failure will not stop people from trying again and again. Every new generation is born with faith in the power of magic words -- written laws -- to prevent sin.


TOPICS: Religion
KEYWORDS: christianvote; cottonmather; founders; gop; jamesmadison; puritans; republicans; ruralvote; thomasjefferson
"-- On one side of the divide were the agrarian republicans like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

On the other side of the divide were the puritanical republicans. These men believed all citizens to be innate sinners, irresistibly driven to dastardly deeds unless rigidly restrained by the State.

The puritanical impulse is a deep one. We all have it. The puritan knows that his own motives are good, but he does not trust yours. --"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The prohibitionist mentality, nailed.

1 posted on 05/26/2006 9:26:33 AM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: tpaine

Seems too simplistic. There is every shade of opinion between puritanism and libertarianism. And if you look at Jefferson's and Madison's presidencies, you will see they fell into that grey area between.


2 posted on 05/26/2006 9:32:08 AM PDT by pissant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
The puritanical authoritarian wing of the Republican party is one of the reasons I don't consider myself a Republican. The wacky peaceniks and open borders wing of the libertarian party keeps me away from that label.

I consider myself an Anti-Democrat. I have a simple rule; I vote for the least evil bastard opposing the democrats, provided he has a chance to win.

3 posted on 05/26/2006 9:38:41 AM PDT by shempy (EABOF)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
Don't like the terminology.

I look at our popular culture, the homosexual agenda, the crisis in schools, the rate of illegitmate births, and I have a hard time thinking that our morals are too strict and that Puritans are hurting the country.

I look at the growth of government, the endless redtape, the faceless bureaucrats, the environmental regualtions, and the tort situation, and I think: Yeah, micro-management by the Nanny State is a real problem.

But blaming this on a Puritan Republic doesn't make me think that the Democrats are the problem. And I know they are.

4 posted on 05/26/2006 9:45:38 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Never question Bruce Dickinson!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pissant

I thought it shows well the great divide between republican forms of government. One based on liberty, the other based on tradition.


5 posted on 05/26/2006 9:52:32 AM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: shempy
The puritanical authoritarian wing of the Republican party is one of the reasons I don't consider myself a Republican.
I consider myself an Anti-Democrat. I have a simple rule; I vote for the least evil bastard opposing the democrats, provided he has a chance to win.

Unfortunately, evil, puritanical bastards get elected no matter what voting tactics we use.
Opposition to their prohibitional policies, ALL the time, year in year out, is the only way to fight them.

6 posted on 05/26/2006 10:03:57 AM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

It's a good illustration of that. But the bottom line is that few politicians, or citizens for that matter, subscribe to either in its purest form.


7 posted on 05/26/2006 10:04:41 AM PDT by pissant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy
Don't like the terminology.

Think of it as 'constitutionalists vs prohibitionists'..

I look at our popular culture, the homosexual agenda, the crisis in schools, the rate of illegitmate births, and I have a hard time thinking that our morals are too strict and that Puritans are hurting the country.

Restoring our Constitution vs enacting more 'laws', -- petty prohibitive laws that encourage even more disobedience, -- that is our choice.

I look at the growth of government, the endless redtape, the faceless bureaucrats, the environmental regualtions, and the tort situation, and I think: Yeah, micro-management by the Nanny State is a real problem. But blaming this on a Puritan Republic doesn't make me think that the Democrats are the problem. And I know they are.

Prohibitions -- and the scofflaws who ignore them are the real problem. We've raised a nation of petty crooks who ignore laws on a daily basis.. -- 'Everybody does it'.

8 posted on 05/26/2006 10:24:11 AM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: pissant
I thought it shows well the great divide between republican forms of government. One based on liberty, the other based on tradition.

It's a good illustration of that. But the bottom line is that few politicians, or citizens for that matter, subscribe to either in its purest form.

I see far to many politicians pandering to the puritan prohibitionists. This country is awash in really bad law. -- Laws that are tearing apart the republic.

9 posted on 05/26/2006 10:39:27 AM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

This analysis is absolute crap.


10 posted on 05/26/2006 10:43:33 AM PDT by DesScorp
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

There is probably 50% of the laws that are needless and/or unconstitutional and/or counterproductive. But I would not put modern liberalism as puritanism, rather its socialism or collectivism. Which is even worse.


11 posted on 05/26/2006 10:57:54 AM PDT by pissant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
That is an interesting point of view, but I don't think it holds up. When the "puritans" saw national power within their grasp they sought to use it to impose their views on others. When they realized that they couldn't have it, they more or less decided to take care of their own affairs at home themselves.

Similarly when "agrarians" saw power as something that others could wield over them, they sought to break up centralized power. But when they thought that they could exercise that power themselves they were a lot less decentralist. There aren't two kinds of human nature, only one.

There's a polarity in US politics between New England and the South: they usually end up in opposing parties and are often on different sides of the issues. But it's not as though Vermont or New Hampshire is any less agrarian or more puritan in some absolute sense than Virginia or the Carolinas. A lot of the animosity is sheer cussedness.

The other problem with such analyses is that they presume that the "puritans" or "centralists" always won and that things would have been better off if they'd lost. To complete the analysis, you'd have to look at countries where the "agrarians" or "decentralizers" won. You may find as many problems there as in the places where the "centralizers" prevailed.

12 posted on 05/26/2006 11:13:06 AM PDT by x
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DesScorp

Thank you for your admission.


13 posted on 05/26/2006 12:09:35 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: pissant
Yep, far too often the frustrated republican puritan reneges, and joins forces with socialists, -- resulting in the worst of all political movements; -- authoritarian socialism.
14 posted on 05/26/2006 12:21:47 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

I would be willing to bet, however, that the puritan republicans as you call them, by and large are the most resistant to passing freedom-sapping laws out of any other political species. It is the socialist leaning moderates in the GOP that are the ones most likely to side with authoritarian socialism. Yes, there is a smattering of libertarians, Ron Paul comes to mind. But the Reagan Revolution was largely advanced by the Christian Right.


15 posted on 05/26/2006 12:30:53 PM PDT by pissant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: x
That is an interesting point of view, but I don't think it holds up. When the "puritans" saw national power within their grasp they sought to use it to impose their views on others.
When they realized that they couldn't have it, they more or less decided to take care of their own affairs at home themselves.

True, in that the Constitution stopped their impositions for the first hundred years, but in the last hundred or so I think they've been winning.. Prohibitive laws on practically everything have multiplied everywhere, both nationally & in home states/localities..

Similarly when "agrarians" saw power as something that others could wield over them, they sought to break up centralized power. But when they thought that they could exercise that power themselves they were a lot less decentralist. There aren't two kinds of human nature, only one.

Yep, as the author said: "-- The puritanical impulse is a deep one. We all have it. --"

There's a polarity in US politics between New England and the South: they usually end up in opposing parties and are often on different sides of the issues. But it's not as though Vermont or New Hampshire is any less agrarian or more puritan in some absolute sense than Virginia or the Carolinas. A lot of the animosity is sheer cussedness.
The other problem with such analyses is that they presume that the "puritans" or "centralists" always won and that things would have been better off if they'd lost. To complete the analysis, you'd have to look at countries where the "agrarians" or "decentralizers" won. You may find as many problems there as in the places where the "centralizers" prevailed.

I don't think there are any such countries. -- Italy might be close just on the basis of political anarchy. Do they have 'problems'?

16 posted on 05/26/2006 12:56:46 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: pissant
I would be willing to bet, however, that the puritan republicans as you call them, by and large are the most resistant to passing freedom-sapping laws out of any other political species.

The author sees the constitutionally aligned "agrarian" republican as most resistant. - 'Puritans' as prone to the prohibitionist fallacies of control.

It is the socialist leaning moderates in the GOP that are the ones most likely to side with authoritarian socialism.

True. Todays 'neo-conservatives' are a prime example.

Yes, there is a smattering of libertarians, Ron Paul comes to mind. But the Reagan Revolution was largely advanced by the Christian Right.

Right thinking Christians realize [or should] that a prohibitive government is their worse enemy:

"-- The puritan, like the primitive shaman, seeks to make everything right in the world by magical words of command. Has it ever worked? Can it ever work? Look at the record -- it has never been successful.
Puritanism is, at bottom, simple tyranny, and tyranny is doomed to failure. --"

17 posted on 05/26/2006 1:38:51 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

Prohibitions against murdering babies and of removing God out of the pledge, perhaps, but not prohibitions of speech, religion, assembly, and pursuit of happiness.

It is the RINOS that like affirmative action, diversity training, socialized medicine, etc etc. They are as "puritan" as my big toe.

Neo con is lousy term and defines very few people. Supposedly Bush is a Neo-con. He comes from a long family history in the GOP, and he is more conservative than his family. People call Rumsfeld a neo-con. The guy is older than anyone who calls him that and has been a GOP fixture since before the term was invented. It's a phony term used by those who think somehow we should mind our own business in the world, as if that is even a remote possibility.


18 posted on 05/26/2006 2:03:25 PM PDT by pissant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: pissant
It is the socialist leaning moderates in the GOP that are the ones most likely to side with authoritarian socialism.
Yes, there is a smattering of libertarians, Ron Paul comes to mind. But the Reagan Revolution was largely advanced by the Christian Right.

Right thinking Christians realize [or should] that a prohibitive government is their worse enemy.

Prohibitions against murdering babies and of removing God out of the pledge, perhaps, but not prohibitions of speech, religion, assembly, and pursuit of happiness.

Yep, our Constitution forbids governments from infringing on our rights of speech, religion, assembly, and pursuit of happiness. -- Right thinking Christians should support those 'Laws of the Land'.

It is the RINOS that like affirmative action, diversity training, socialized medicine, etc etc. They are as "puritan" as my big toe.

In effect with such programs they are mandating how you will live. -- I see it as just another form of secular Puritanism.

19 posted on 05/26/2006 3:16:36 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: tpaine

I agree with all the statements in your last post.


20 posted on 05/26/2006 3:19:23 PM PDT by pissant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: pissant

Thanks for your imput. -- Too bad we were stuck again in the 'blog' section..

Apparently there just isn't enough bandwidth to accomodate political commemtary in the main forum anymore.


21 posted on 05/26/2006 4:33:42 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
Try looking at Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, or Asia. There are a lot of "agrarian" countries with economies based on sugar, bananas, coffee, tea, or some other single product. Generally speaking, their prosperity depends on whether that crop's price rises or falls. Political upheaval is common, because of the gap between the laborer or sharecropper class and the planter or merchant class. Military coups aren't unheard of either, since the military offers upward mobility to the ambitious.

In the US, trade and manufacturing provided opportunities for people to better themselves to a degree that just wasn't possible in agrarian societies, and that defused some of the tensions that tear can tear rural countries apart. The cost is that we live closer together and are more dependent on each other. Self-sufficiency is even further out of reach than it is for agrarian societies. And of course, politicians exploit this. But if you look at some other countries around the world, maybe the price was worth paying.

There are plenty of ways that agrarian societies can go wrong. You could see some of them at work in our own cotton South. Being part of a larger commercial and industrial nation did a lot to help the Deep South escape from the kind of poverty and dependency that one sees in other one-crop plantation societies.

Even more pleasant agrarian societies, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand once were, have been more socialist than the US. You could see some of this on our own Great Plains in the 1930s. Where farmers whose fates are at the mercy of weather, bankers, and railroads are the majority of the population they use government to secure their own ends.

I'm not against agrarianism. I just think people view it through rose-colored glasses. Decentralization is also a good thing, in general, but it's not the answer to all political problems, either.

I'm glad the author recognizes that there's a little bit of puritan in all of us. He's right that meddlesome people create a lot of trouble for the rest of us. But it's inevitable that there are such people in the world.

You can show where they're wrong about this or that and learn from their mistakes, but they're not always wrong, and they aren't going to go away. So maybe it's better to focus on just where they are mistaken, rather than on more encompassing attacks.

22 posted on 05/27/2006 10:42:50 AM PDT by x
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: x
The other problem with such analyses is that they presume that the "puritans" or "centralists" always won and that things would have been better off if they'd lost. To complete the analysis, you'd have to look at countries where the "agrarians" or "decentralizers" won.
You may find as many problems there as in the places where the "centralizers" prevailed.

I don't think there are any such countries. -- Italy might be close just on the basis of political anarchy. Do they have 'problems'?

There are plenty of ways that agrarian societies can go wrong.

You seen focused on the 'rustic' aspect of "agrarian". -- Jeffersonian/Madisonian republicanism is based on Independence of the individual.

You could see some of them at work in our own cotton South. Being part of a larger commercial and industrial nation did a lot to help the Deep South escape from the kind of poverty and dependency that one sees in other one-crop plantation societies. Even more pleasant agrarian societies, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand once were, have been more socialist than the US. You could see some of this on our own Great Plains in the 1930s.
Where farmers whose fates are at the mercy of weather, bankers, and railroads are the majority of the population they use government to secure their own ends.

Yep, they reverted to socialism. -- and used 'puritan' rationales to justify their communitarian reasoning.

I'm not against agrarianism. I just think people view it through rose-colored glasses. Decentralization is also a good thing, in general, but it's not the answer to all political problems, either.

Our Constitution strikes a balance between the two factions. -- I think that's the point the author is trying to make. -- And -- that the 'puritans' will never concede to that Constitutional point..

I'm glad the author recognizes that there's a little bit of puritan in all of us. He's right that meddlesome people create a lot of trouble for the rest of us. But it's inevitable that there are such people in the world.

Exactly. So we Constitutionalists must find a way to prevent the prohibitionists from ignoring our rule of law.

You can show where they're wrong about this or that and learn from their mistakes, but they're not always wrong, and they aren't going to go away.
So maybe it's better to focus on just where they are mistaken, rather than on more encompassing attacks.

There again, -- the puritans are 'mistaken' to believe they have a power to prohibit. -- So how do we 'focus' on telling them something they absolutely refuse to acknowledge?

23 posted on 05/27/2006 11:59:36 AM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: tpaine
Governments can and do prohibit things. Anarchists may dispute this, but it's part of the nature of government to forbid, say, my building something on your land or your selling poison as medicine. The question is whether or not they prohibit the right things.

There's a lot of sham in "Jeffersonianism" or at least in what extreme libertarians have made of it. US "Jeffersonianism" has some "puritanism" or "Hamiltonianism" in it, just as US "Hamiltonianism" or "puritanism" has a certain degree of "Jeffersonianism" or "decentralism" mixed in. In our country, both sides had a common heritage of things like the Magna Charta, the common law, and the English Revolution, so the differences between them were less than some people want to believe.

If you want to see what ideas like centralism and decentralism, or like elitism or populism, are really like in a purer form, you'd have to go elsewhere. If you're looking for statism or centralization, you'll find a lot more in Europe or Asia, then you would in Hamilton or Clay.

And if you want to see real decentralization at work, take a look at Latin America, where many national or federal governments weren't ever able to establish authority over plantation owners and local bosses. Even the basic rule of law went unenforced.

Look at countries like Argentina or Venezuela, or much of the rest of Latin America. They do have "problems." You can see something similar in the tribalism of African countries, as well as in "failed states" in other parts of the world.

Failures due to decentralization aren't wholly explained by a preference for agriculture or a rural way of life -- they persist even when the economy has other bases and people no longer live on the land -- but there may be connections between the rejection of government policies that might encourage entrepreneurialism and the persistence of oppressive local power elites or between an unwillingness to fund national institutions and continuing tribalism.

Jefferson didn't go as far as decentralists elsewhere in the Americas. He was a part of the same world as the other founders, and part of that was respect for the rule of law.

But Jefferson did have some dangerous tendencies. Consider his later ideas about "Southern rights," and at heart -- slavery. In Jefferson's and Jackson's America, as in Latin America or Africa, the idea of decentralization and weak central government could serve to protect local elites and oligarchies that were by no means friends of liberty.

The "independence of the individual" is a fine phrase, but it doesn't always work out as people would want it to, and you can see that in some other parts of the world. Other nations haven't always had the same idea of equal justice under law -- for that matter, we had a very limited view of that idea for a very long time.

You're going to need an umpire or arbiter that can enforce just decisions when the rights or wishes of different individuals or groups come into conflict. And when federal or national governments are too weak, it's less likely that you'll get such an arbiter. That's not to say that strong governments always provide impartial judgements. It's just that countries with very weak central governments have their problems too.

24 posted on 05/28/2006 10:26:13 PM PDT by x
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: x
I'm glad the author recognizes that there's a little bit of puritan in all of us. He's right that meddlesome people create a lot of trouble for the rest of us. But it's inevitable that there are such people in the world.

Exactly. So we Constitutionalists must find a way to prevent the prohibitionists from ignoring our rule of law.

You can show where they're wrong about this or that and learn from their mistakes, but they're not always wrong, and they aren't going to go away. So maybe it's better to focus on just where they are mistaken, rather than on more encompassing attacks.

There again, -- the puritans are 'mistaken' to believe they have a power to prohibit. -- So how do we 'focus' on telling them something they absolutely refuse to acknowledge?

Governments can and do prohibit things.

Under our Constitution, they have no delegated power to do so.

Anarchists may dispute this, but it's part of the nature of government to forbid, say, my building something on your land or your selling poison as medicine. The question is whether or not they prohibit the right things.

Nope, its whether they can make reasonable regulations about such things, without violating individual rights.

There's a lot of sham in "Jeffersonianism" or at least in what extreme libertarians have made of it. US "Jeffersonianism" has some "puritanism" or "Hamiltonianism" in it, just as US "Hamiltonianism" or "puritanism" has a certain degree of "Jeffersonianism" or "decentralism" mixed in. In our country, both sides had a common heritage of things like the Magna Charta, the common law, and the English Revolution, so the differences between them were less than some people want to believe.

That's the authors point. "Some people" - the extreme 'puritans', absolutely refuse to abide by restraints on their power tom regulate. They insist on a power to prohibit most anything.

If you want to see what ideas like centralism and decentralism, or like elitism or populism, are really like in a purer form, you'd have to go elsewhere. If you're looking for statism or centralization, you'll find a lot more in Europe or Asia, then you would in Hamilton or Clay. And if you want to see real decentralization at work, take a look at Latin America, where many national or federal governments weren't ever able to establish authority over plantation owners and local bosses. Even the basic rule of law went unenforced. Look at countries like Argentina or Venezuela, or much of the rest of Latin America. They do have "problems." You can see something similar in the tribalism of African countries, as well as in "failed states" in other parts of the world. Failures due to decentralization aren't wholly explained by a preference for agriculture or a rural way of life -- they persist even when the economy has other bases and people no longer live on the land -- but there may be connections between the rejection of government policies that might encourage entrepreneurialism and the persistence of oppressive local power elites or between an unwillingness to fund national institutions and continuing tribalism.
Jefferson didn't go as far as decentralists elsewhere in the Americas. He was a part of the same world as the other founders, and part of that was respect for the rule of law.
But Jefferson did have some dangerous tendencies. Consider his later ideas about "Southern rights," and at heart -- slavery. In Jefferson's and Jackson's America, as in Latin America or Africa, the idea of decentralization and weak central government could serve to protect local elites and oligarchies that were by no means friends of liberty.

The "independence of the individual" is a fine phrase, but it doesn't always work out as people would want it to,

Your point? Of course our Constitutional principles don't always 'work out'... What else is new?

and you can see that in some other parts of the world. Other nations haven't always had the same idea of equal justice under law -- for that matter, we had a very limited view of that idea for a very long time.
You're going to need an umpire or arbiter that can enforce just decisions when the rights or wishes of different individuals or groups come into conflict.

Yep, and in our system that 'arbiter' is supposed to be a non political judicial branch.

And when federal or national governments are too weak, it's less likely that you'll get such an arbiter. That's not to say that strong governments always provide impartial judgements.

Here, we've got 'strong' government and a politically corrupted judiciary. Pretty typical..

It's just that countries with very weak central governments have their problems too.

All the more reason we should oppose both weak & strong, -- and back our Constitutional compromise.

25 posted on 05/29/2006 12:33:47 PM PDT by tpaine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson