Hester Koch's Scarlet Letter
We all remember the good old days when playwright Arthur Miller told us that salesmen were really dying inside, and that neo-Puritans were hunting Commies just like Puritans hunted witches in Salem, Massachusetts Bay.
And naturally in those good old days PBS gave us a richly ornamented TV adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. Poor Hester Prynne! What young woman anywhere could withstand the creepy advances of the local New England Presbyterian or Congregationalist patriarchy?
Hester Prynne succumbed to temptation when her sea-captain husband was away, perhaps lost at sea. Who amongst us girls would not have fallen a little in love with the local worthy that ministered to us the love of Jesus Christ while hubby was away?
Nothing has changed. Who amongst us have not spoken a careless word about race? For that we must be put in the stocks and shamed forever with a scarlet “R”? Who is there who has not muttered that women, especially feminists, are not quite as spotless as the Holy Virgin? For that we must be sent to live on the edge of town and branded with a scarlet “S”? And as for gays! Wow, those chaps from GLAAD can slap a scarlet “H” on your chest before you even get up on the morning after.
It gets better. Lately, our busy Democratic needleworking spinsters have embroidered another scarlet letter. It's the letter “K”. Scarlet? On the contrary, it's pure gold. Nothing, it turns out, provokes a liberal mob to hairraising bellows for blood than the mention of the Koch Brothers. Want to triple your haul in a fund-raising letter? Mention the magic word Koch and watch the money flow in.
Now at least Hester Prynne actually was a sinner. She had evidence of her sin, the irrepressible Pearl conceived in the absence of her husband. (This was long before the golden dawn of Margaret Sanger).
The Koch brothers, Charles and David, have not sinned against their own God but merely against the First Commandment of the liberals: Thou shalt have no other gods before Gaia. There is no evidence that the Koch brothers are members of the Church of Saving the Planet While Making a Ton of Money on Green Energy. So strictly speaking, liberals should look at the Kochs as freethinkers, courageously battling against the orthodoxy of the New Puritanism that swept New England during the Great Green Awakening.
Dream on, Koch brothers. In America today we no longer have the wall of separation between church and state that Thomas Jefferson called for. Today we have the state Religion of Liberalism, so eloquently described last week by Jeffrey Lord, and you are tithing church members whether you like it or not.
In defiance of the liberal bishops, in heretical folly, let us celebrate Charles G. and David H. Koch. No doubt they are sinners, as are we all. But within the limits of sub-lunar existence, they seem to live useful and principled lives. They turned their father's firm, worth millions, into an economic energy and mining powerhouse worth something in the neighborhood of $100 billion. They seem to have seeded money into politics the honorable way, by starting the Cato Institute, and by supporting candidates and causes, rather than descending to the level of a Harry Reid and his multigenerational family pay-for-play racket. They have made enormous gifts to hospitals, schools, and the arts. And both brothers are married to their first wives, although David was said to be something of a man about town in his youth.
I wish that I could say so much for myself -- as a man about town, that is.
Back in the fall of 2013 I got to tour the witch museum in Salem, Massachusetts, birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The tour ended at a wall with a tabulation of political witch-hunts, naturally featuring the McCarthy era. I didn't have the heart to ask the tour guide why there weren't any references to our contemporary liberal witch hunts after racists, sexists, homophobes, and climate deniers.
Here's a question. Scarlet Letter came out in 1850, and George Eliot's Adam Bede was published in 1857. Version One: girl named Hester gets knocked up by local minister Arthur Dimmesdale, but through pluck and fortitude wins her way back to a kind of respectability. Version Two: vain and shallow girl named Hester gets knocked up by the local young squire Arthur Donnithorne, has baby, gets condemned to death for smothering baby in a ditch. Oh wow! Great minds think alike.
Did you know that Nathaniel Hawthorne's great-great-grandfather Hathorne was a judge in the Salem witch trials? I wonder if the Koch descendants will decide to alter their surnames like Nat did.
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.