The Globalist has an excerpt from Robert Kagan’s new book, Dangerous Nation, describing what the Puritans were up to. Hint: they weren’t founding a new country in which to mind their own business, they were combating the Whore of Babylon by any means necessary.

“Winthrop’s Puritans were not isolationists,” he writes. “They were global revolutionaries. They escaped persecution in the Old World to establish the ideal religious commonwealth in America, their ‘new Jerusalem.’ But unlike the biblical Jews, they looked forward to the day, they hoped not far off, when they might return to a reformed Egypt. 

“Far from seeking permanent separation from the Old World, the Puritans’ ‘errand into the wilderness’ aimed to establish a base from which to launch a counteroffensive across the Atlantic. Their special covenant with God was not tied to the soil of the North American continent. America was not the Puritans’ promised land, but a temporary refuge. God had ‘peopled New England in order that the reformation of England and Scotland may be hastened.'”

The Puritans’ revolutionary plan fell apart faster than most: England didn’t become Calvinist, many of their own children fell away from the zeal of their parents, and Catholicism wasn’t extirpated. But the cultural strain of meddling—excuse me, reforming others—lives on in the culture of the country they inadvertently pioneered, visible today in places as unlikely as the White House and the Car Talk guys.

Sean-Paul Kelley thinks Edmund Morgan’s review is better than the book.