Puritanism and Democracy, by Ralph Barton Perry
Judged from the vantage point of any single discipline, Ralph Barton Perry’s Puritanism and Democracy is not a major contribution. As a treatise on ethics, it is incomplete unless taken in conjunction with his previous work; as an exposition of liberalism it is not new, as witness Hobhouse and Dewey; and as history the findings of Perry Miller remain the more basic and accurate. Viewed in the light of present-day events the leading lessons of the book seem irrelevant. What have “reason,” “intelligence” and “inclusiveness” to do with strikes, atomic bombs, Yogis and Commissars? And Professor Perry has little to add to the cry that the future belongs to the Raskolnikoffs, or at best to the Settembrinis brandishing refurbished myths. With ill of this, the work remains impressive, wise and in some sense basic; for we have the reconsideration of a faith in things normal, honest and reasonable. It is a faith in the judicious—a faith Hooker and Locke would have understood.
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