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Four arguments for canceling Christmas

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted December 18, 2006

Christmas is coming, and we are supposed to observe the holiday spirit by being charitable to others. So, in this spirit, I offer these words of commiseration to a group that hardly has a hand of sympathy extended towards them, during the holiday season or other times. This group is the Puritans.

Of course, it's easy to find fault with the Puritan colonists – not the moderns who have been somewhat inaccurately slapped with the name "Puritan," but the real thing. Their economic knowledge was – well, less than – well, even their mercantilist contemporaries; their early attempt to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth, through the traditional means of socialism, got approximately half of the experimentees successfully meeting God and the others into a dependency relation with the Indians. They had to learn their economics the hard way, as evidenced by their later predilections for using the State as the Rack Militant and the Mace Triumphant. There was a lot less to them than their workaholicism.

This précis, though, is admittedly uncharitable. They were creatures of their time, and their collective frown on making merrie may very well have been a way to distance them from the Anglican Communion. Anyone well-versed in economics knows that any institution needs some niche that is uniquely its; the Puritans did fill a gap in the marketplace of faith, with their insistence that regular Anglicanism was too ridden with Catholicism. The Unitarian aversion to opportunism, and the Methodist reliance upon freedom from supererogation, was not to take root until the eighteenth century, when the times called for them. In terns of offshoots from Anglicanism, Puritanism was all that was possible as of the early seventeenth.

The typical means of punishment for an errant colonist in the Puritan environs was expulsion in winter – that famous "walk in the snow," which former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau partook of before giving up his office in 1984. Even this chilly policy can be given a sympathetic tone. Unlike their French contemporaries, whose advanced skills made breaking someone on the wheel technically feasible, the Puritans had little to go on; exile in the snow was all that they could muster. Their fondness for tyranny and socialism, and their suspicion of liberty and individualism, can be understood as the product of their brutalization under various wicked lords. They were too used to the harness to think beyond putting one on their neighbor in exchange for their neighbor slapping one on them. No wonder Puritan rule was a lurching gait between closet libertinage and official clampdowns.

If there is one measure that made the American Puritans notorious, though, it would be their cancellation of Christmas. Imbibing the spirit of caritas does lead one into glimpsing reasons why Christmas should be cancelled. Here are four of them:

  1. Christmas is unfair to the poor.

Think about what Christmas entails: presents, right? What income level is most able to afford nice presents that bring a gleam to the eyes of a loved one? The rich, right? It's hard to find a rich man who presents modest gifts, solemnly, to his loved ones, and it's easy to be deconstructively cynical about that ritual. Why should the poor endure that kind of disparate impact? Especially the poor and Godly? Surely, canceling Christmas would put an end to this closet humiliation.

  1. The myth of Santa Claus inculcates unscientific thinking.

Santa ClausLet's face it. We need all the brains that we can garner these days; why should a young mind be warped in such a way as to make his or her education much harder to assimilate? Santa Claus in truly a bad influence, an anti-educative influence, corrupting the thought of the young. Why should a fat man who, according to this myth, successfully attempts the physically impossible be given such glorification? If people want to bend the laws of reality, they can do so through the government, like they should. Doing so makes people docile rather than rambunctious.

  1. Christmas encourages individuals to think of other individuals.

This clearly warps the process of collective effort. In order for the collective principle to be properly administered, each individual has to maximize his or her self-absorption. Only through self-absorption can the proper means of viewing society – as an aggregate of psychologically isolated individuals thinking of nothing but their own selves and society in general – be itself absorbed. And why shouldn't it be? People pitying each other through the State – whups, I mean "society" - cannot work unless it is built on the solid foundation of individual self-pity. Which leads to the fact that…

  1. Christmas makes people addicted to happiness.

"Happy men are free men." (Ayn Rand.) Why should they be either?

Considerable points indeed. High time for the birth of re-assessment out of the spirit of relativism.  Merrie Xmas. ESR

Daniel M. Ryan is a regular columnist for LewRockwell.com, and has an undamaged mail address here.

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