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  An American Manifesto
Thursday April 17, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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ROAD TO THE

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Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Bibliography

Chapter 6:
Popular Religion in the Nineteenth Century

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The growth of the Mormons has been rapid and steady.  Starting from Joseph Smith’s “holy family” of 23 in the 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints grew by the end of the nineteenth century to over 200,000 adherents, an average annual growth of 17 percent.  A century later, it had about ten million members.

Of course, all this was merely bagatelle.  More than the nineteenth century, it was the twentieth century was the great age of popular religion.  In 1906 a Christian sect was founded in Los Angeles, California, that grew to half a billion worldwide by the turn of the twenty-first century. 

In any century popular religion, its colorful leaders and its millions of adherents, is a world outside the interest of our modern elites.  The reason is not difficult to discover.  People engage with popular religion as part of a self-governed struggle to achieve a competence and respectability in the city, to negotiate the transition from country ways to city ways.  To the sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century, its earnestness and its enthusiasm is slightly embarrassing and shameful, its reverence for the family and its dutiful roles is confining, and its experience of salvation from sin inexplicable.  But as this same religion flourishes in the favelas of Latin America, in the chaotic nations of southern Africa, and in the burgeoning giants of East Asia, the observer is bound to admit that there is something between enthusiastic Christianity and emerging capitalism that makes them eager partners.


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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


 

©2007 Christopher Chantrill