Global Warming and Prohibition


We like to think we live in an enlightened era, but even modern history keeps reminding us that a rigid and intolerant side of human nature lies just beneath the surface.

It is ironic that Prohibition, and a corresponding amendment to the U.S. Constitution were largely driven by women newly empowered with the right to vote. Temperance, Christian temperance no less, as if those taking their liquid solace, the only safe source of fluids for millenia, were the raging ones. Prohibition swept through the English-speaking world, the new industrial world like a viral passion. It was a return to the simple certainty of Calvinistic totalitarianism, a siren song all to frequently heard.

A century behind us now, we look back in bewilderment, as we do the witch trials, but the scarlet letter remains with us. We have moved from temperance to temperature and found a new carbon compound to demonize. The science is settled, there is certainty, with no room for disagreement except from the ignorant or evil. We, the elect, have heard the word of God and will bestow the truth upon you. Yet again.

Never mind the atmosphere which should be warming has not been warming, and the oceans which should not be warming have been warming (so far). Laws must be written. The certainty of good and evil, the certainty that our lifestyle is evil, has swept the industrial world. Again.

So drink your wine with temperance. Temperature will temper. Future generations will look back in bewilderment, even as they must stare down their own demons.

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6 Responses to Global Warming and Prohibition

  1. Max Hugoson says:

    Actually, as a modern “Congregationlist” and a student of history, I must point out that the original Plimoth (note the spelling!) Colony “Pilgrims” loved two things: 1. Good English Ale, and 2. That “health food product”, which when burned in a “pipe” and the HOT AND DRY vapors were “sucked into the lungs” to balance the COLD AND WET Humors of the N.E. USA, that the “natives” introduced them to…it was called TO-BAC-CO! Yep, bunch of drinking, smoking, co-habiting (look that one up too, “Marraige” was something put together by the STATE (England) or THE CHURCH (Rome/or Anglican)…and since the Pilgrims were running from BOTH and there is NO MARRAIGE ceremony in the Old Testament or New..the Pilgrim couples simply moved in with each other, sans the “wedding”. THUS the religious nature and “Calvinism” of the late 19th and early 20th, does NOT come from the “Pilgrim” forefathers (and mothers!), nor the “Puritains”, who…were called that because they wished to PURIFY the Anglican Church of it’s Roman Catholic “trappings”. Now, all this said, I will point out that AGWing IS a RELIGION not a science! As radical Islam, it makes it tremendously difficult to oppose its devotees, as they can…and do, become very NASTY when opposed.

    • gymnosperm says:

      I am the broken link after four generations of Congregational ministers. I have no doubt the Pilgrims drank ale. Seriously, drinking urban water in 1620 was a death sentence. And I don’t doubt conjugal cohabitation as common law marriage. It is still legal today. Where we disagree is the totalitarian nature of New England Congregationalism. Just as John Calvin became a Fuhrer when he moved to Geneva, so the Congregationalists became a totalitarian oligarchy in New England. I am ashamed.

      A century and a half later when our Constitution was being framed Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson (both known to tip a glass and having their own conjugal issues) made sure protection against the tyranny of the majority was inscribed for very good reason.

      Generation 2 in my Congregational heritage was Matthew Henry Buckham, president of the University of Vermont for 40 years. I have read his struggles with the concept of “the elect”. Sorry Mat, I don’t believe anyone is chosen.

      • jorgekafkazar says:

        Fascinating, gym. The early settlers were also Collectivists and many starved until farms were made subject to private ownership. A sign of things to come?

    • random1618 says:

      While both terms would have been foreign in that day, it might be best to note that the settlers on the Mayflower, only about half were religious Pilgrims, were Collectivists inside a mercantilistic structure. Very similar to what today is called Corporate Capitalism which really has nothing to do with free market Capitalism.

      And those religious Pilgrims also didn’t come for religious freedom. They had that in Leyden. They came to keep English culture and language. Their kids were becoming too Dutch.

      • gymnosperm says:

        While all this about the Puritans and the Mayflower is very interesting (my favorite is the cleverness of John Carver setting sail with the charter the King had intended to remain in in England), and it is clear that the passengers on the Mayflower were a variegated crew, and also clear that successive waves of colonists were even more variegated; what strikes me is that rather than set up an idyllic society in the new world according to the avowed principles self determination by congregations and presbeters, these guys set up an authoritarian regime where you were punished for not attending their church just as they had been punished for not attending the Anglican Church in England.

  2. Pingback: I Deny | geosciencebigpicture

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