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Hauge had a different vision, an unconsciously American one (perhaps that’s why so many of his followers joined the immigration that started about a generation later). Hauge was on John Adams’ side. His Bible told him that every person in Christ was a child of God, an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven. He believed that common birth was no barrier to becoming great and good, under God’s grace.
And in fact, one of the things that brought grudging respect for Hauge and his followers, even (in time) among the officials and the clergy, was that they did in fact have a way of becoming respectable, prosperous citizens. They learned to read for the Bible’s sake (their popular nickname was “The Readers”). But they didn’t stop with the Bible. They studied and thought about issues, and often had things to say worth hearing. It grew harder and harder for the upper classes to maintain their privileges based on claims to superior intelligence and morality. In time, followers of Hauge helped to found the Liberal (Venstre) party in Norway.
Still, the officials and clergy would have said, the democratic experiment was bound to fail. The common people are beasts, they would insist, and even if a generation or two rises above its origins, in time the peasants will turn from morality and religion, and call for masters to feed them and tell them what to do.
I was born into Hauge’s tradition, and I believe in his dream.
But sometimes, nowadays, when I look at Hauge’s Norway, as well as my own America, I wonder if the clergy and officials might not have the last word.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?