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Puritanism bleg

Summary:
Why does Puritanism go in and out of style? What explains the Victorian era? Was it the rise of the middle class? How about the loosening of sexual mores in the 20th century? What has caused the recent revival of Puritanism?Can the 20th century be explained as a sort of liberation of women from a double standard? Books like The Scarlet Letter suggested that women suffered much more than men when sex was viewed as shameful. Hence free sex was seen (by some) as a way to liberate women. That is the idea that seemed to be “in the air” when I was young.In the 21st century, it seems like the argument is reversed. Now the double standard argument is used in favor of Puritanism, as (it is assumed) the power imbalance in our society means that free sex opens the door for

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Why does Puritanism go in and out of style? What explains the Victorian era? Was it the rise of the middle class? How about the loosening of sexual mores in the 20th century? What has caused the recent revival of Puritanism?

Can the 20th century be explained as a sort of liberation of women from a double standard? Books like The Scarlet Letter suggested that women suffered much more than men when sex was viewed as shameful. Hence free sex was seen (by some) as a way to liberate women. That is the idea that seemed to be “in the air” when I was young.

In the 21st century, it seems like the argument is reversed. Now the double standard argument is used in favor of Puritanism, as (it is assumed) the power imbalance in our society means that free sex opens the door for powerful sexual predators (men) to take advantage of the less powerful (women, children.) Unlike in the Victorian era, however, the emphasis is on shaming men, not women.

1900s and 2000s—empower women

1800s and 2000s—shame, shame, shame

I’d guess others have written on this. Is this the consensus view?


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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