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Old May 15th, 2012 #1
Alex Linder
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Default Yankees/Puritans - Cultural-Political Observations

I decided to check it out again, and it was written by Dr. Clyde Wilson and it seems it only said, "Gore prevailed in the power- and plunder-seeking Deep North (Northeast, Upper Midwest, Pacific Coast) and Bush in the regions inhabited by productive and decent Americans."

So that's more about Gore than it is about Bush, and not exactly a Bush praise. I remembered wrong.

A very fun part of this piece says that New England was a barren land and no sane person would stick around and stay there. And none did. Only New England born people eventually stayed in New England, and this reminds me of some writings by Lovecraft where he said that many early New Englanders stuck around as isolated hermits in the wilderness and kept feeding upon their dark Puritan melancholy in loneliness. To imagine the anger, mania, misanthropy, and self-righteousness that kind of living would produce is not possible.


[Turning everything into a freighted moral decision. And if you don't use the same (condiment), you are evil, going to hell, in inexorable need of being done to, adjusted, gooded into shape]
 
Old May 15th, 2012 #2
Alex Linder
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Prateek Sanjay
October 10, 2010 • 8:59 PM

Jake's post reminds me of a really good, decade-old piece in LRC titled The Yankee Problem in America, which I believe was written somebody who also writes for Chronicles. I don't remember who. It was written during the time of Bush vs. Gore election.

It said the same things, but only in more detail. The executive summary is that Yankees never really have compassion or sympathy but only a sense of moral superiority. In the name of this moral superiority, they will destroy the way of living of millions of people for supposedly saving the oppressed, even though they care little for the oppressors and oppressed. It is "immoral", they would always deem, when opposing anything.

Of course, while this amazing, amazing historical perspective was pretty enlightening, I found one problem. The piece was written by an avid Bush supporter, who said that only people of the Yankee world support Gore, while the regions of the humble, hardworking masses support Bush. Actually, now I am not entirely sure if The Yankee Problem In America was written by a Chronicles writer, because Chronicles writers aren't fond of Bush, but the style and similarity was there.


[they don't leave anyone else any room to breathe in. they aren't comfortable in their skin, and thoughtfully share their neurasthenia with human folk via moral crusades against every known pleasure by means up to and certainly includig bloody mass-murderous war]
 
Old May 15th, 2012 #3
Alex Linder
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Yankee/Puritan qualities:

intelligent, dedicated, fanatical, persevering, hard, frugal, well organized

merciless, fanatical, hateful, self-righteous, intolerant (in the correct sense), flat, vicious, hypocritical, hysterical, neurasthenic
 
Old May 15th, 2012 #4
Steven L. Akins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
Yankee/Puritan qualities:

intelligent, dedicated, fanatical, persevering, hard, frugal, well organized

merciless, fanatical, hateful, self-righteous, intolerant (in the correct sense), flat, vicious, hypocritical, hysterical, neurasthenic
Yankees.....



Actually the guy in Grant Wood's "American Gothic" painting looks an awful lot like Alabama's current governor, Robert Bentley:


Last edited by Steven L. Akins; May 15th, 2012 at 08:42 PM.
 
Old November 28th, 2012 #5
Alex Linder
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[Jethro post in other thread]

Here's how the James Fenimore Cooper illustrated the cultural differences between Southerners and Yankees back in 1821. Harvey Birch could be Greg Johnson:

Quote:"While taking the measure of the American gentlemen, Cooper had the happy sense to introduce Harvey Birch. Harvey possesses all the traits which characterized the Yankee in folklore. He is shrewd, acquisitive and mysterious in his movements. He always travels alone, pack on back. He is thought to be in league with the devil. His superior intelligence, Cooper hints, might mean that his family "had known better fortunes in the land of their nativity," but he arrives on the scene devoid of gentility. He spits tobacco juice into the fireplace, talks straight and bargains hard, even with his "friends" the Whartons. He has "the common manners of the country." In particular, he is characterized by his overt and unabashed love of money. He receives payment for a sale of tobacco in a fetishistic ritual:

Quote:"Harvey's eyes twinkled as he contemplated the reward; and rolling over in his mouth a large quantity of the article in question, coolly stretched forth his hand, into which the dollars fell with a most agreeable sound; but not satisfied with the transient music of their fall, the peddler gave each piece in succession a stepping stone on the ring of the piazza, before he consigned it to the safe keeping of a huge deer-skin purse, which vanished from the sign of the spectators so dexterously, that not one of them could have told about what part of his person it was secreted."

"I am afraid," Mr. Wharton commented sadly, "[Harvey's] love of money is a stronger passion than love of his kin."

...

"Toward the end of the novel he attempts to pay Harvey for his services, but Harvey refuses the money without hesitation. "Does your excellency think," he asks, "that I have exposed my life, and blasted my character, for money?' Mr. Harper expresses amazement. "If not for money," he asks the acquisitive Yankee, "what then?" Harvey terminates the conversation with another question. "What has brought your excellency into the field"?

http://vnnforum.com/showpost.php?p=1...postcount=1507
 
Old November 28th, 2012 #6
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Neat as Cooper's solution to the problem of American acquisitiveness might seem, his transcendent Yankee represented no real solution to America's social problem. The first commitment of the gentlemen, Cooper suggests, is to the society of gentlemen; the transcendent Yankee like Harvey remains and must remain outside of society. As Harvey's dying father had told him, he must be "a Pilgrim through life. The bruised reed may endure, but it will never rise." ...

The romance by convention begins and ends in the everyday world of organized society. In a certain kind of romance the central figure sets out from society, has his adventure and returns to the everyday world at the end. The adventure is measured against the values of society, seen in relation to them. No matter how far afield the romancer may take his hero, whether he is made to move from Nantucket to the South Seas or from a nineteenth-century customhouse to the Puritan past, the action of romance begins and terminates in the familiar social world where the gentleman has his place. Cooper's various gentlemen, like Mr. Harper, Mr. Wharton and Judge Temple, stand for a kind of social order the romancer could not dispense with. They stand for the fixed values of an older culture with which Cooper and other romancers wished to remain in touch. They stood for Europe and continuity with the past.

In a sense, only the gentlemen believed in society, and only Harvey believed in America. Yet you could not make up a society of Birches and Bumppos, because their very function in fiction was to interpret wilderness to civilization, novelty to tradition. Once removed from their mediating lookout on the periphery of civilization, they become comic boors, a source of comedy. Besides, they are far too acquisitive and predatory, appearances to the contrary, that they end in having no aggressions at all. They seldom marry or make love. They are incapable of reproducing themselves, because they are sexless and sterile.

This, of course, was the ideal, the ideal that a Yankee nation wanted, in fact needed, to believe in - and to convince others to believe in. This was the transcendent Yankee who chased the White Whale of the sea or the White Stallion of the plains - it hardly mattered which - while his alter ego, alas, turned sperm oil into bullion, and rich Indian lands into prosperous real estate holdings, and shipped ice from Walden to the Ganges.

The real Yankee, whose appearance only is given to Harvey Birch, is an unpleasant type: hypocrite, chiseler, fiend. He rarely shows his undisguised face in good company. He is an outcast of sort, an Ishmael, whose grasping hand is turned against everyone. If the transcendent Yankee is kept in the woods or at sea, the real Yankee is kept in the cellar or locked in the woodshed like an idiot kinsmen. He is always apt to break out.

His footfalls haunt the family household like an ancestral ghost. Occasionally he does break out. When he does, the American family is his target of destruction, as Americans were to learn with shocked surprise when they encountered Simon Legree from Vermont. Meanwhile, all ingenuity is devoted to barring the door against his threatened irruptions. He is to the benign, transcendent Yankee what the fire-eater is to the selfless gentleman, the Lawton to the Dunwoodie, the Randolph to the Washington.

Between the transcendent Yankee and his hellish twin lay a whole spectrum of motivation. The transcendent Yankee only seemed to be self interested and acquisitive. Like Harvey Birch, he had to be acquisitive in order to "pass" in American society. He had to remain above suspicion, and to create an air of vraiseblance. The admirable quality about the transcendent Yankee was his real aloofness from the competitive swirl. He believed neither in success or progress. Rather than go up, he preferred to go out, to go back. Like Thoreau at Walden, he cultivated the primitive. By reducing his material needs to a minimum, he could attain a degree of self sufficiency which provided him a fresh perspective on an acquisitive society. He could be as the gentlemen only pretended to be: disinterested.

Harvey, whose virtues remain undisguised, sets the pattern for a familiar type of American hero, the man whose motives are cloaked by a mask of toughness and practicality, the man who seems so much less selfish, so much more generous, than he seems. The real Yankee, the man who values the dollar above everything else, has provided us with our most legendary villains. These are men who do not bother to conceal their depredations behind a front of virtue and genteel honor. Both were types of the Yankee, because they were both defined by their relation to money. Both types fascinated Americans because the problem of acquisitiveness bulked so large in American consciousness. ...

http://vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=148179&page=80
 
Old November 29th, 2012 #7
Alex Linder
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"British conservatives focused on the same points as their French counterparts but with their own national flavor. G.D. Warburton took a vacation in New England in 1844 and concluded that the Constitution's authors had shown but "the ingenuity of the madman" and democracy meant the reign of the "oracle of the pot-house and the ignorant swineherd of the backwoods ...

For example, in his 1841 German novel, Rulemann Friedrich Eylert writes of the unhappy experience of a German immigrant, who discovered that "degraded thinking, lying, deception, and unlimited greed are the nature and inescapable consequences of the commercial spirit ... that like a tidal wave inundates the highest and lowest elements of American society. Every harmless passion and all moral sentiments are blunted in the daily pursuit of money."

This theme is illustrated by incidents that might have easily taken place in Germany. The hero breaks an oil lamp at a hotel and is sent to jail when he cannot pay for the damage. The hotelkeeper bribes his lawyer so that the poor man is sentenced to be the servant at the inn and has to work long hours. A fellow immigrant tells him the secret of success in America: work hard and deny oneself all pleasure, which the author called "the best and truest description of the whole American character" and quite different from the German spirit.

Ferdinand Kurnberger, in his very popular 1855 tale of a similarly disillusioned German immigrant, agrees that American culture is impoverished. Newsboys sell smutty literature, and a "Negro band" plays so badly that the German has to correct them. A student tells him, quoting Franklin, that "time is money" - a concept particularly repugnant to the author - and that man's purpose on earth is to produce wealth. A boarding house owner's dilution of his champagne with brandy is a sign of decadence. In an art gallery, puritanical Americans put clothes on Greek statues. A German immigrant who tries to spread culture in America is hung. The hero remarks, "All men are equal. Does that mean all hogs are equal? What a sham this culture is."

The basic cultural critique of America prevalent in twentieth and twenty-first century Europe was already in place by the 1830s, long before the onset of mass production, consumerism, Hollywood, or television. Materialism plus democracy made for a spiritual emptiness. The United States was a mass culture based on the lowest common denominator. Instead of standards being set by an aristocratic and privileged class of intellectuals and artists, its society catered to the vulgar mob with low values, bad manners, and a grubby materialistic outlook."

http://vnnforum.com/showpost.php?p=1...postcount=1683
 
Old October 1st, 2015 #8
Robbie Key
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The Curse of American Exceptionalism
By Thomas DiLorenzo
October 1, 2015
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Nothing seems to cause one of the neocon talking heads to fall into a rage more than discussing a politician or political candidate who “doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism!!” Sean Hannity seems especially unhinged under such circumstances. This is because “American exceptionalism” has long been the ideological underpinning of – and justification for –the American empire and all of its military adventures. As shills for the American military/industrial complex and the empire that it is forever expanding, Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and all the rest are required by their masters to express outrage – outrage! – whenever anyone questions the propriety of American imperialism and empire building.

All empires claim to be “exceptional” in some ways, and that such exceptionalism gives them license to invade, conquer, and plunder other lands, usually hidden behind the false propaganda of benevolence (i.e., “peacekeeping,” “making the world safe for democracy,” rooting out the next Hitler, etc.). The American version of “exceptionalism” has a long history. Abe Lincoln arrogantly claimed that his government was “the last best hope of Earth.” Ronald Reagan said America was the result of “a divine plan’ to create “a shining city on a hill.” “Into the hand of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind,” said Reagan.

This is a major theme of American exceptionalism – the notion that politicians like Reagan or George W. Bush (who claimed God spoke to him and told him to run for president) know what is in the mind of God. “We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom,” said Bush (or at least his speech writer). The United States is “indispensable to the forging of stable political relations” in the world, declared Bill Clinton. These “stable political relations” are on display today in the Middle East and in Europe where American military intervention in Syria, Libya, Iraq, and elsewhere, has caused a historic refugee crisis.

Dick Cheney’s new book in which he makes a case for a massive increase in American military interventionism and war-making all around the world is entitled, naturally, Exceptionalism. His concluding chapter is entitled “The Last Best Hope of the Earth.” When neocons start quoting Lincoln, you know that some country somewhere is about to be bombed.

The Origins of American Exceptionalism

This arrogant, elitist, imperialistic impulse of the American foreign policy establishment has a long history. The writings of several scholars – Clyde Wilson, Forrest McDonald, Thomas Fleming, Robert Penn Warren, and Murray Rothbard – are especially insightful in explaining the origins of this idea.

In an essay entitled “The Yankee Problem in America” Clyde Wilson wrote of “that peculiar ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can easily be recognized by their arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, lack of congeniality, and penchant for ordering other people around . . . . they are the chosen saints whose mission is to make America and the world, into the perfection of their own image. . . . Hillary Rodham Clinton, raised a Northern Methodist in Chicago, is a museum-quality specimen of the Yankee – self righteous, ruthless, and self-aggradizing.” The “Yankee temperament, it should be noted, makes a neat fit with the Stalinism that was brought into the Deep North by later immigrants,” wrote Wilson. By this he meant the communist ideologues who were centered in New York City in the mid twentieth century and whose children, many of whom became the pro-communist “campus radicals” of the ‘60s, were known as “red diaper babies.” David Horowitz was one, and writes about this phenomenon in several of his books.

To such people, “anything that stood in the way of American perfection must be eradicated . . . liquor, tobacco, the Catholic Church, the Masonic Order, meat-eating, marriage,” wrote Wilson, referring to various crusades of the “Yankees” (by whom he does not mean all Northerners, only this special breed).

The renowned historian Forrest McDonald made similar observations in a 1985 essay entitled “Why Yankees Won’t (And Can’t) Leave the South Alone.” “The first thing to understand about the Yankee,” wrote McDonald, is that “He is a doctrinal puritan, characterized by . . . pietistic perfectionism. Unlike the Southerner, he is constitutionally incapable of letting things be, of adopting a live-and-let-live attitude. No departure from his version of Truth is tolerable. . .” The Yankees “embraced totalitarian republicanism and thought thereby to establish God’s kingdom on earth” by using governmental force to eradicate “sin.” They “formed the backbone of the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln.”

Thomas Fleming is the author of more than 50 books, including The New Dealers’ War and most recently, A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War. In this latter book Fleming writes of how wealthy and influential New Englanders in the 1850s abandoned Christianity ad embraced the mentally-deranged mass murderer and self-described communist John Brown as their new “savior.” Brown preached that blood must be shed – and lots of it – in order to eradicate all sin in the world. He was “descended from Puritans, and was the personification of a Puritan,” says Fleming. The “prevailing attitude” of such people, said Fleming, was “that they were inclined to believe in the moral depravity of anyone who disagreed with them.” For decades they denounced the South and Southerners for their alleged “violence, drunkenness, laziness, and sexual depravity . . . strikingly similar to the public frenzy that gripped Massachusetts during the witch trials.”

In his essay, “Just War,” Murray Rothbard also wrote of the “Yankees” as “the North’s driving force” who were “driven by a fervent postmillennialism which held that as a precondition for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, man must set up a thousand-year Kingdom of God on Earth.” This “kingdom” must be free of sin, and “government is God’s major instrument of salvation,” or so they believed. These “Yankee fanatics” during the “Civil War,” wrote Rothbard, “were veritable Patersonian humanitarians with the guillotine: the Anabaptists, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks of their era.”

The famous novelist Robert Penn Warren, author of All the King’s Men and nineteen other novels, wrote in his 1961 book, The Legacy of the Civil War, that history must be “forgotten” in order to believe in the myth of “American exceptionalism.” The “Civil War,” he said, left the North (which is to say, the U.S. government) with a “treasury of virtue.” But this “virtue”depends on ignoring the facts that Lincoln and both houses of Congress repeatedly declared that the war had nothing to do with slavery; that Lincoln pledged to enshrine slavery explicitly in the U.S. Constitution; that his political speeches were filled with white supremacist language that would make any Ku Klux Klansman blush; and many other falsehoods. Nevertheless, this “moral narcissism,” this “plenary indulgence for all sins, past, present and future” was “justification for our crusades of 1917-1918 and 1941-1945,” wrote Warren. And it was all done with “our diplomacy of righteousness, with the slogan of unconditional surrender and universal spiritual rehabilitation for others.”

This “treasury of virtue” was also the fundamental “justification” for all other wars and military interventions since then, up to the present day.

This “treasury of virtue,” another way of saying “American exceptionalism” provides the “moral” cover for the unmitigated greed for war profiteering by the American military/industrial complex and is therefore a perfect example of the “bootleggers and Baptists”convention that economists talk about. The originator of this convention is economist Bruce Yandle, who explained that alcohol prohibition was supported by bootleggers who profited from selling illegal alcohol and by religious people (“Baptists”) who opposed drinking on moral grounds. Pure greed won’t garner much public support; it has to be hidden behind a veil of pseudo-morality such as the phony “American exceptionalism” canard.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/10/...xceptionalism/
 
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