Revolutions tend to puritanism? (was:Re: [Marxism] IranianPrivatization

wrobert at uci.edu wrobert at uci.edu
Tue Aug 22 17:00:42 MDT 2006


> Well, Einde, I'd think that our anarchist, council communist,
> libertarian communist, and like comrades would hold up the example of
> Ranters and the like, against Oliver Cromwell, and tell us that it's
> an example of their camp's superiority to the Leninist camp in matters
> concerning sexual freedom.  :->

More of a digger fan myself, although I've found the conceptions of god in
both the English Civil War example and the German Peasant Wars to be
fascinating.

> Now, Jim, Milton's tract on divorce, of course, owed itself in part to
> the emergent capitalist ideology: marriage as contract, like
> everything else under capitalism; and in part to his hatred of all
> things Papist: "The papist most severe against divorce, yet most easy
> to all license," as he put it (at
> <http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/HTML.php?recordID=0921>), in short,
> it's in part motivated by the rhetoric against what he represented as
> Catholic sexual licentiousness.

Milton is obviously a bit of contractualist, but his comment on sexual
licentiousness tends to come from his dialectical reading of opposites
creating each other (aka the extreme repression of the Catholic or
Episcopal system producing its opposite of licentiousness and revolt). 
His solution tends to operate on the logic of 'moderation.'  Milton was a
fairly ambivalent supporter of the Cromwell government, although he gave
it his full public support given the alternative.  His conception of
church governance would hardly fit in within orthodox puritanism, given
its emphasis on local control and pluralism.  Also, his protrayal of
sexuality in his work, especially in Paradise Lost would also leave him
out of what is generally portrayed as 'puritanism' (although this is true
for a lot of puritanism).

                                    robert wood





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