Garlanding the Bull

Chapter 7 of Gelernter’s book is on “The Emergence of Modern Americanism,” basically covering the period of the Second World War and the Cold War that followed. As in all his chapters, he is full of interesting and useful information, but he applies it in wildly skewed ways. If Americanism is a religion (and he …

No Unique Logres

I want to begin this next section of my review of Gelernter’s Americanism with a healthy reminder from C.S. Lewis. This comes from That Hideous Strength. “So that, meanwhile, is England,” said Mother Dimble. “Just this swaying to and fro between Logres and Britain?” “Yes,” said her husband. “Don’t you feel it? The very quality …

Monsters or Sinners?

Chapter Five is where David Gelernter and I part company most drastically, for reasons easily anticipated. In this chapter, Gelernter tackles the subject of Abraham Lincoln, “America’s last and greatest founding father.” As usual, Gelernter is uncannily accurate in his description, and flies wide of the mark in his evaluation. Lincoln was the great founder …

A Busy-Pants Foreign Policy

In his fourth chapter, Gelernter addresses the rise and development of the American religion in the course of our war for independence. “The American Creed [liberty, equality, democracy] combined with American Zionism [residue of postmillennialism] yielded a full-blown American belief system. These beliefs would be refined further; they would eventually supersede Puritanism and become the …

American Zionism and the Creed

David Gelernter really celebrates the Puritans “To understand America and Americanism, you must understand those Puritans. They are a difficult proposition, an intellectual handful. They were religious fanatics. But their intolerance gave birth to toleration; their quest for religious freedom yielded freedom in general; and their devotion to the Bible and the biblical idea of …

America Sins at Dan and Bethel

Gelernter’s second chapter is quite valuable — in it he shows how American history is marinated in the Bible, and particularly in the cadences of the King James Bible. Back in the first chapter, he had noted what he means by the phrase “biblical republic.” “That’s what I mean by ‘biblical republic’: not a theocracy; …

America as Religion

The first chapter of Americanism is entitled “I Believe in America,” and it reveals the basic problem. A number of people have wanted to say that America is “dedicated to a proposition,” and that we are not bound together by those ties that bind other nations — things like language, culture, music, food, and common …

Slightly to the Left of King Arthur

I have added a new category for the blog because sometime in the near future I intend to work my way through David Gelernter new book, Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion. I have some other projects going, so this might not go as fast as some other books have. But it is important to …