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The Rise of the New Puritans

Ep. 349

In The Rise of the New Puritans, Commentary Magazine associate editor Noah Rothman explains how, in pursuit of a better world, a relatively new and fervent strain of progressivism, in a “burst of moral enthusiasm” is ruining the very things which make life worth living by attempting to craft a society full of verbal trip wires and digital witch hunts. Football? Too violent. Fusion food? Appropriation. The nuclear family? Oppressive.


As the social scientist Yuval Levin wrote in a review of the book, what’s interesting about this New Puritanism is that “it is not rooted in a Christian ethic, at least not explicitly, and therefore that its worldly severity is not moderated by humility before the divine.”


In response to this phenomenon, Rothman encourages us to spurn a movement whose primary goal has become limiting happiness. The book uncovers the historical roots of this war on fun and reminds us of the freedom and personal fulfillment at the heart of the American experiment.


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