Skip to comments.Are We Puritans?
Posted on 11/17/2012 6:54:45 AM PST by Kaslin
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it is time to talk about Puritans -- but not the crew who fled England for the New World and established the Massachusetts Bay Colony back in the 17th century. No, let's talk about the modern Puritans: we the American people.
The United States is considered a puritanical society by many Western nations. For example, they can't believe we hassle public servants like Gen. David Petraeus because he had a mistress. In France, if a powerful man doesn't have a mistress, he's considered a wimp. In Italy, they elected Silvio Berlusconi, who allegedly puts together old-fashioned Roman-type orgies and brags about it.
You may remember the outcry in Western Europe over the impeachment of President Clinton. They couldn't believe it over there. Lying about sex? In some countries, that's the national pastime.
So the question is this: Are we Americans basically puritanical? Throwbacks to the days when Cotton Mather was hunting witches in Salem?
The answer, surprisingly, is yes to some degree. While it's true that secular forces are whittling away traditional standards of behavior, we Americans still expect some decorum from our elected officials.
If you're a rock or film star or play professional sports, we expect you to cat around and do self-destructive things. But if we count on you to protect us, like Petraeus did, we want your full attention. Part of the outcry over Clinton's behavior was that it took place in the Oval Office, right beneath portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Turning the most powerful room in the world into a Motel 6 is not acceptable to most Americans.
The truth is that many powerful guys have fooled around while working for the people: Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Warren Harding to name just a few. Grover Cleveland even fathered a child outside of marriage. We all know these things happen. But we don't want them to happen, or at least most of us don't. I can't speak for San Francisco.
That may be because American tradition is based on Judeo-Christian philosophy, and that tradition has served us well. Honesty and loyalty are still esteemed values in most parts of this country. When the defenders of Bill Clinton wailed that it was "just about sex," they were wrong. In cases where powerful people get caught in compromising situations, there is always more to it than a physical act.
I am deeply saddened that Petraeus is no longer protecting this nation. He is a patriot and a brilliant warrior in the cause of freedom. Frankly, I don't care what the general does on his personal time. It is a damn shame he had to resign.
We are all sinners, but here's what comes along with that: You always pay for the sin. Unfortunately, all of us would suffer along with the general, and that is why he had to go. If the folks trust you, don't burn them.
How about - ‘had a mistress to whom he gave secret material who may well have been a spy.’ Call that Puritanical?
If Bill O’Reilly had any personal appeal, I’d be inclined to think he’s projecting. On the other hand, Petraeus looks like a rodent, so ...
Now it’s Puritanical to keep one’s marriage vows? My, how far this society has fallen.
It’s ironic that the godless Soviet Union was largely free of sex scandals. Indeed, the Communist Party was so intolerant of such things that a party member could be expelled for merely getting a divorce. Yet we, one of the most religious advanced democracies, have been plagued with them at least since the time of the Kennedy administration. And speaking of the Soviet Union, God destroyed it—after allowing it to reach unprecedented heights of power—because of its godlessness. Is God doing the same thing to us? Do we deserve it as the Soviets did?
The current meme is that all men are horny and on the prowl all the time, and that all women are supposed to rejoice and build their lives around this fact.
On top of everything else, it’s BORING.
I remember when a queer was found to be working in L.B.J.s administration, I can't recall in what capacity or even his name but it was a scandal at the time and the queer was fired. I also remember the lame joke from that period, that the White House phone number had been changed to, JOhnson 812.
No, we are not a nation of Puritans. The idea of honesty and fidelityin marriage is pretty much dead in America.
Why was it such a big deal for Petraeus? Because it was an action that he could be excoriated for publicly.
Don’t get me wrong, I think marriage should be for life and divorce only occur due to adultery, which is what Jesus taught in Matthew 19.
This country is in a moral freefall. It is no surprise that a General would be found out cheating on his wife.
The fallout is purely political.
Yes, I am afraid you may be right. God may indeed be lifting His protection from us and letting us destroy ourselves. The Muslims we are bringing into this country could be our downfall.
“And speaking of the Soviet Union, God destroyed itafter allowing it to reach unprecedented heights of powerbecause of its godlessness. Is God doing the same thing to us? Do we deserve it as the Soviets did?”
The short answer is “yes.”
San Fransisco does not support any sex act that could produce a child.
What I want to understand is if people in our society endorse so called “genderless marriage”, why would these same folks have any problem with adultery whatsoever?
How did that work out for him?
I don't know if the Italian voters knew about the "orgies," but after word about them got out Berlusconi had to step down, so far as I know.
Are we puritans? There is some vestigial puritanism that Europeans love to throw in our faces, but I'd say no, we're not puritans or puritanical anymore.
Europeans still believe in the class system, which is why they give the powerful a pass.
The closest cultural entity we have to royalty is the USA is Hollywood celebrities. They’re worshipped for practically anything they do.
“I am deeply saddened that Petraeus is no longer protecting this nation. He is a patriot and a brilliant warrior in the cause of freedom. Frankly, I don’t care what the general does on his personal time. It is a damn shame he had to resign.”
I disagree with much of this.
I AM saddened that General Petraeus gave into temptation and committed adultery which REQUIRED him to resign. I sympathize with him, but I know it was right and proper for him to resign. It was a disgrace to the nation when Bill Clinton stayed in office after what he had done, which was worse than Petraeus. Petraeus was correct to resign. Hopefully, the rest of us will learn from this. We have gotten to lax on expecting high standards of conduct (public and private) from person in high elected office or high appointed office.
BTW - The “Puritans” have been given a bad rep that is not a correct understanding of them and their ways. I personnally wish I was more “Puritan” in my views and ACTUALLY lived as I claim those views are.
The most important thing I would like to see stopped in reference to General Petraeus is that all the salacious details be kept off the news. The borders on a scary obsession with voyeuristic ways.
I am certain that if he gets his house in order, I so hope he can, that General Petraeus will again be of service to the country.
Stop speculating because? Where there are smoke AND secrets galore, thinking things through and filling in the blanks with plausible scenarios is a great way to make things make sense.
Alternative is what? To wait until Obama reveals to us what HE wants us to know? to think? Not for me, thanks..