Cross posted from The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire and My Left Wing

Here’s an American history lesson to remember: Persecution of people is not a good thing. That wouldn’t seem hard to forget, but some people have thick skulls and small brains, walking proof for the theory of de-evolution.

Interesting article on Salem witch hunts in The Telegraph:

Spectral apparitions, red rats and talking cats; a community threatened by unseen demonic powers; and finally, a collective hysteria that left hundreds unjustly accused, and almost two dozen innocent victims hanging from the town’s gallows: it is not hard to see why the witches of Salem – the Massachusetts village 17 miles north of Boston – have constituted a troubling presence in America’s otherwise generally sunny, go-getting historical consciousness.

Within a few years of the event, the great “witch-hunt” of 1692 was already regarded, almost embarrassingly, as the dark side of the Pilgrim Fathers’ zealous puritan piety; a nasty blot of medieval superstition on the decent copybook of God-fearing American rationality. Little wonder that Arthur Miller reworked the story in his 1953 play, The Crucible, as an allegory of Senator McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch-hunts, then sweeping the US.

And, of course, it is Miller’s version of those events with which we are most familiar. Yet, as Richard Francis ably demonstrates in this new book, the historical truth was even stranger – and no less dramatic – than Miller’s fiction. The events at Salem constituted not simply a self-contained outburst of irrationality, Francis argues, but a defining moment in the history of early America: one in which can be discerned both the demons of the puritan past (the preoccupation of the Miller play), and also the harbingers of “modernity” – of a new, and far more sceptical attitude within the colony to the values and prejudices of the first generation of New Englanders.

This reminds me of something…Something more recent…The treatment of prisoners, including young children raped and people beaten to death at Abu Ghraib? Nasty blot there. Michelle Malkin’s defense of racism? Possibly. The glorification of the shooting death of an innocent electrician on a London subway? Maybe. The second-class citizenship for gay people? The disrespect shown to people of no faith or to Wiccans and people of other faiths besides Christianity? Or the failure of the administration to protect Americans after spending four years and billions of dollars supposedly preparing federal efforts to protect Americans? Hmmm. An abundance of riches for future embarrassments and “nasty blots” on our national heritage.

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