Action, Reaction, the Synthetic Fabric of Reform in America

Anyone who imagines that the Protestant Reformation was a liberal revolution, was about being at liberty, is seriously mistaken. There was not one Protestant reformer that was not reactionary. They were inordinately conservative movements, with conservative motives and impulses. The Puritans in America were anything but about freedom as we might want to understand it today. This reactionary vein is mined again and again in American politics, having been given the organization it found under Regan, renewed again recently in revised versions with other monikers, Fundamentalist Christians, Evangelicals. It does not matter. To think Martin Luther was anything like or in line with Thomas Paine or James Madison is another serious mistake, just as much as it would be if we were to imagine John Calvin was a liberal reformer–no more than any fascist in the 20th century preaching his own gospel of salvation by standing for conservative and traditional values!

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