Today the signification of “Puritan” approximates that of “authoritarian”, but this is an abuse of language. The Puritan, while an almost psychotically punctilious and ruthless rule enforcer, is the opposite of an authority figure: a spiritual outlaw and renegade, a born leveler and enemy of all social orders of rank, an antinomian and anarchist, a sower of discord and force for social disorganization. All of this is hardly the stuff of which secure and stable authority is made. Authority represents the organized whole over the part, the universal over the particular. Puritanism, born of faction and separatism, does the exact opposite. It is, in fact, the historic germ form of the abovementioned secularizing particularism that erodes the universal authority and public truth of religion and finally dissolves its solidity into a gaseous cloud of idiosyncratic personal tastes and opinions held by isolated and disorganized private individuals. Once again, this sort of thing is powerful to tear down existing authority structures – but to build new ones, not so much.
The whole article is impressively done, even if — from an accelerationist perspective, at least — its practical (rather than diagnostic) significance is hard to make out.
Peter Burfeind on religious disappointment:
Christianity’s decline in the West gave way not to atheism, but to political expressions of faith, particularly totalitarianism.
Everyone’s seeing that now.
Greenwald on the recent awkwardness:
… opinion-making elites were so clustered, so incestuous, so far removed from the people who would decide this election — so contemptuous of them — that they were not only incapable of seeing the trends toward Trump but were unwittingly accelerating those trends with their own condescending, self-glorifying behavior.
Drinking with Bacon.
Social Ecologies explores abstract horror.
Coming next (for cities).
When politics goes insane.
Economists have long known that some of the strongest statistical predictors of long-run national prosperity have been “percent Confucian” and “percent Buddhist.” A famed paper coauthored by Xavier Sala-i-Martin demonstrated that conclusively. It’s time for scholars to investigate whether, for most countries, a pro-Confucian migration policy is a good option.
(Once you can admit this, all kinds of presently-unspeakable corollaries come for free.)
You don’t have to like the Reign of Kek to recognize that it’s coming (fast).
A hole in ethnography:
Dares, in the sense of “I dare you,” are widespread in human culture, and children start daring each other in early childhood. It is not clear how universal the phenomenon is; “risk-taking” is on Donald Brown’s list of human universals, but not dares specifically. Cross-cultural work is lacking, though I have found descriptions of daring from Brazil, India, the Netherlands (in sign language), and Indonesia, as well as the United States and many parts of Europe. As far as I can tell, no one has written The Sociology of the Dare or even The Economics of the Dare, except in passing on some other topic. Empirical work is sparse, though luckily there is some detailed qualitative work from over a century ago. There is, as far as I know, no Journal of Dare Studies. …