That’s the question that animates this smart little article.
Well, we can thank the Puritans for ABOLITIONISM, which lacked prudence but was morally admirable in its fiery devotion to justice. We can also thank them for a lot of our anti-Southern and anti-Catholic bigotry.
We can turn to Tocqueville, who finds in the Puritans the source of our idealism, egalitarianism, love of political life, concern for the unfortunate, and of what devotion we have to education for its own sake. Puritan laws, of course, were often ridiculous and tyrannical, and their lack of concern for individual liberty was an important downside of their communal intensity.
And what do we owe to our Southerners? Our Catholics? Not to mention Catholic Southerners such as Walker Percy and Flannery O’Connor.
(Thanks to the Friar...all this gets our mind off Huck, although not really.)