The Puritan were 17th Century Christian fundamentalists whose female garb would satisfy any Moslem excepting those who insist on faceless females. Down south in Maryland, even Roman Catholics were accepted, something that to a Puritan, was not so far from accepting a Moslem. Crafting a single nation of these disparate viewpoints was a sort of political miracle, considering that the Puritans had left England and then Holland because they could not fit in. But there was one common denominator to work with: Christianity. The United States were founded as a Christian nation, though the new government was precluded from selecting any particular flavor of belief.
Folks who could not agree with much of anyone gathered at Rhode Island where you could practice most anything, not the usual pattern for that time. It was also, in line with the attitudes of the period, referred to as: “Rogues’ Island.” And it too was part of the Founding.
Today, with the same Constitution acknowledged as in force, the central government legislates against the beliefs of most of those colonies and uses its law enforcement to impose its new mandates respecting marriage, pre-nascent infanticide and other fundamental challenges to Christian beliefs. One might refer to this as “social evolution.” As with biological evolution, it manifests as a problem because the Christian beliefs are based upon scripture that has somehow failed to evolve to match the new patterns.
The result of these trends has provided Western societies in which the practitioners of the founding viewpoints are now an irritant to the present governments as well as to roughly half of today’s citizens who no longer honor the earlier faiths. What we have called “Western civilization” is no longer a philosophically nor religiously uniform society at a very fundamental level.
In Europe, common language, mores and history help hold things together; in the U.S. and Canada, that glue is thinner, diluted by immigration from many places and today by the political multiculturalism of the Left. Political and cultural fracture lines are appearing in what was a more uniform society. Economic stresses only widen these sorts of differences as people and politicians seek others to blame for what is ultimately, their own doing.
French and English Canada remain a tension; Germanic and Latin Europe and Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Great Britain are all under political stresses. In America, California is presently proposed to deal with its problems by dividing into six separate states. The key to all this is: people are looking for answers all over the lot because the one cohesive common denominator of a common Judeo-Christian belief pattern has been abandoned. Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have advised the Founders to hang together because if they did not, they would surely hang separately. Western society has given up the credo which once kept it together, and is splintering as a result. The construct once called: “Christendom” is no more.
Another world belief system, Islam, is entering its own death agony as fundamentalists everywhere try to reimpose 7th Century mores upon modernizing peoples by bloody force. It is notable that the fundamentalists deny the use of most harmless or helpful modern technology while grabbing eagerly at the latest military hardware. Moslems are those who submit by definition; the bloody dictators that typify their cultures do not compare well to people who can see democratic governments elsewhere. These too are divisive political fault lines, liable to sudden and unforeseen political quakes like the misnamed “Arab Spring” that has thrown the Middle East into question.
It seems that the latest great civilizations are fracturing simultaneously and that the imploding international financial system will only accelerate the political dilution. Whether that will lead to more use of new tech to strengthen government controls of populations or to more open contacts and commerce everywhere remains to be seen; we suppose it will lead to both, in the order indicated. And the highway toward the next civilization will be no less bloody, for all its advancement.