Saturday, December 15, 2007

1620: Lie Number One, The Puritans.

1620: PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS. As everyone knows, the first European colonists in what would one day become the United States arrived on the Mayflower, having left England to find religious freedom in a brave new land….…the glorious opening scene of that Hollywood blockbuster, “America!”. Many Americans proudly trace their ancestry back to these lovers of freedom, these brave pioneers, these champions of religious freedom.

Unfortunately, like almost everything we have been systematically programmed to believe about the United States and its history, it just ain't true. The Mayflower was far from being the first ship to carry European colonists to what would become the U.S. Prior to the Mayflower's voyage, there were numerous attempts to colonize North America by Europeans, including at least nine by the British, five of which were successful, and many others by the French and Spanish and possibly some by Scandinavians.

None of the groups of British emigrants, including the Puritans, left Britain exclusively in order to escape religious persecution. They traveled to North America seeking economic advantage. The voyage of the Mayflower was, in fact, financed by a group of London investors who were to receive sixty percent of the profits of the colony in its first six years.

The Puritans who stepped ashore from the Mayflower instigated a reign of oppression and terror in the New World which lasted for more than a century. Attendance at the only approved church twice every Sunday was mandatory. Those who refused were jailed. Those wearing clothing not approved by the zealots were jailed. Those labeled as atheists had holes burned through their tongues with red hot irons by these lovers of Christ. In order to enforce universal obedience to what they claimed to be "God’s word", these much-lauded seekers after religious freedom also branded "offenders" with red hot irons, hanging many and burning others alive at the stake. Quakers were hung for the crime of being Quakers. Women accused of adultery were branded. Those called witches by the Puritans were burned alive at the stake in large numbers.

Far from seeking religious freedom, the Puritans' goal was to create an open prison in which only their own narrow, vicious zealotry and religious delusions were permitted and in which their domination of society would be maintained through intimidation, terror, torture and murder.

1650-51: MASSACHUSETTS. These fabulous freedom-loving Puritans take for themselves the honor of performing the first of many book burnings in what will become the United States. Businessman and magistrate William Pynchon goes a bit crazy and writes a theological treatise on some absurd point of Puritan doctrine. In doing so, he comes into conflict with the Puritan mullahs. The book is duly confiscated by the Puritan religious police, condemned by the General Court and burned by the public executioner in the Boston marketplace. A day of 'fasting and humiliation' is proclaimed by the mullahs, so that the population may consider how Satan had prevailed among them. Sure do love all that religious freedom.

1757: VIRGINIA. That impeccably honest lover of democracy, George Washington, begins a great American tradition, buying elections. Running for election to the Virginia House of Burgesses, Washington buys off every one of the 390 electors in his district with one and a half quarts of liquor.