|Protestantism's evolution away from hierarchy and authority has enormous consequences for America and the world. On the one hand, the democritization of religion runs parallel to political democritization. The king of England, questioning the pope, inspires English subjects to question the king and his Anglican bishops. Such dissent is backed up by a Bible full of handy Scripture arguing for arguing with one's king. This is the root of self-government in the English-speaking world.|
On the other hand, Protestantism's shedding away of authority, as evidenced by my mother's proclamation that I needn't go to church or listen to a preacher to achieve salvation, inspires self-reliance -- along with a dangerous disregard for expertise. So the impulse that leads to democracy can also be the downside of democracy -- namely, a suspicion of people who know what they are talking about. It's why in U.S. presidential elections the American people will elect a wisecracking good ol' boy who's fun in a malt shop instead of a serious thinker who actually knows some of the pompous, brainy stuff that might actually get fewer people laid off or killed.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Came across this passage in Sarah Vowell's latest effort about New England Puritans, The Wordy Shipmates, which reminded me of some of yesterday's posts:
at 7:23 PM