Thursday, 21 July 2011

New Puritans And A Call For Cavaliers

Despite having much (rather optimistic, for a change) material itching to be written about, the end of term, the end of the boy's cricket season, and another end of month payroll are all on today's agenda in Puddlecoteville.

In the meantime, I can't recommend highly enough Simon Cooke's excellent series of posts on The New Puritanism if you haven't already indulged. He systematically guides one through the gamut of recent illiberal initiatives and astutely paints a sorry snapshot of our state's inability to allow us a life unhindered by their overweening plans.

It's a composition in five acts:

#1 Denormalisation and social direction
#2 "It's for the children" - the curse of the play strategy
#3 Healthy living, hedonism and the curse of the clown
#4 Bad lifestyle is an illness - and the doctors can help you
#5 All faiths are powerful - and this is no exception

He tops it all off with a call to arms and some well-advised suggestions as to what all of us can do - perfectly within the law - to make ourselves heard. And if they still refuse to listen? Well, if we're organised, perhaps there might be other options available.

New Cavaliers! A Call to Arms!

Please do go read the lot, and think on. His is a comprehensive plan for a movement as opposed to a diversity of disjointed complainants.

And for a good-spirited explanation of why a movement has powerful potential, and how one starts and evolves, here's a humourous 3 minute Derek Sivers TED lecture from last year.


Smoking Hot said...

Indeed! l read that a few days ago and liked the idea.

Smoking Hot said...

l eagerly await to see your dance Dick although l'd refrain from giving said dance your moniker for obvious reasons. There again it would great PR to get noticed!

Richard Allan said...

Stop using "Puritan" as an antonym for "hedonist" you cretins!!

Blue'n'Bramble said...

Suggest a different description then Richard Allan.

Frank said...

Think I like hedonism. Much preferable to any form of po faced, tight lipped, neurotic, Puritanism

Other than that I don't know what the fuck he's talking about. Neither does he from the sounds of it.

Anonymous said...

When Christmas was illegal

"Good Protestant English people, the argument went, celebrated Christmas at their peril. A few days of careless and inappropriate feasting could well mean eternal damnation.

In 1650, a year after the execution of Charles I, a Puritan minister confidently asserted that, during the twelve days of Christmas, "more souls are sent head-long to hell than in all the rest of the year beside".

And, six years later, another preacher, regretting that people simply wouldn't give it up, insisted that "most of the national church do serve the devil on that day and the twelve days following". He added that he saw his job as being to "beat the people off from this observation whereunto they feel themselves driven by a cursed thing within them".

"The formal announcement came in the summer of 1647 - the Year Zero of the English revolution, when anything seemed possible. While Levellers were spreading ideas of radical democracy in the New Model Army, and Diggers were experimenting with communism in the Surrey hills, parliament was flexing its executive muscle. On 8 June came the terse announcement: "Be it ordained, by the Lords and Commons in parliament assembled, that the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, and all other festival days commonly called Holy-days, be no longer observed within this kingdom of England."

And the order was taken seriously. John Greene, a London lawyer, recorded in his diary later that year: "This Christmas Day we had but few sermons anywhere, many of them that intended to have preached being interrupted by some from the parliament . . . the Lord Mayor was very zealous in pulling down holly and ivy, and received divers affronts in doing it."

Perhaps Richard Allan would prefer Roundheads?

"The term Roundheads was applied to soldiers who supported Parliament during the Civil War. It originated as a term of abuse and refered to those Puritans who had their hair cut very short."


Snowman said...

'divers affronts', I like it :D

Trooper Thompson said...

"While Levellers were spreading ideas of radical democracy"

Leveller was a term of abuse too, usually repudiated by those who were so labelled.

Roundhead comes from the hairstyle of the apprentices, I believe.

I do see the merit of this idea, but there are some issues of an historical nature. I don't have a problem, like Richard Allen, with puritan in the way it's being used. It's just that cavalier isn't a particularly positive thing to me.

Ian B said...

Trooper, there are very good historical justifications for this, adn one day I'll get around to laying all that out at Counting Cats :)

But even if there weren't, sometimes popular labels are worthwhile even if not entirely historically justifiable. The fact is that in modern times the word "puritan" is understood by the general populace to mean "miserable bastard", and thus "Cavalier"- which also has a useful modern usage as somebody more easy going- is an ideal oppositional label.

Most importantly, it's a word people know, which means it beats things like "anarcho capitalist" hands down, especially as resistance is going to require participation of large numbers of people who aren't hardline libertarians, or even philosophical libertarians at all, but just want a bit of freedom back.

We can't sit around waiting for everybody to read Man Economy And State, because that's never going to happen.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Richard Allan: Quite a surprising comment from you, it has to be said.

Puritan is not being used as any kind of antonym because we aren't talking of hedonism here at all. Hedonism is an outlier as is Puritanism.

Enjoying an occasional smoke, or an occasional drink, or an occasional fizzy drink, burger or sprinkling of salt is nothing untoward. It's perfectly normal behaviour.

Puritans look to denormalise (their term) such behaviour and are therefore extremists. There is no antonym to natural human traits which have been with us for millenia (wine is mentioned as enjoyable in the Bible, ffs).

I really can't understand your point (and seeing as you're usually a decent guy, we'll forget the 'cretin' insult, shall we?).

Simon Cooke said...

This is about popular iconography not historical precision - puritans sought to reassert man's relationship with God as moderated through the words of Christ as set out in the Bible.

Yet that assertion was corrupted by those who saw evil in others - finding witches, supressing pleasures and condemning the culture of ordinary people.

"We are not here for joy" - we are here in anticipation of salvation, such indulgence is not God's desire.

Since I wrote the piece I'm entitled to the definition of 'puritan' @RichardAllen - and, for sure, I know my antonyms!

The point is to provide a recognisable and understandable position - a brand, if you will - rather than to succumb to the perfection of ideology.

Anyway - thanks for the link. This is important - it's about the kind of place we inhabit and whether it's tolerant or intolerant.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"the first follower is what transforms a lone Nut into a Leader"-Dan Sivers

I think I have a new email sig!