Taking History Whole (feathers and all)

John Fea, who has (near as I can tell) coined the phrase “Court evangelical” to designate President Trump’s born-again defenders, thinks astute an observation that defenders of Confederate monuments “in Trump’s America” have a flawed understanding of the past.

It is a curious charge to make since if Fea is against “Court evangelicals,” historically speaking that makes him a “Country evangelical,” the party of English politics that most closely foreshadowed the Tea Party (and I don’t think John wants to go there):

Public debt first became a political issue in late seventeenth century Britain, when policymakers started borrowing money on a massive scale to fund expensive trading wars with France. For the first time, owners of capital became major players in the economy and in government. To help pay the debt back reliably, Parliament created a national bank and extended the tax system, which in turn created a class of bureaucrat administrators. This was a major shift for a society where political power had rested with prosperous merchants, farmers, and artisans, and where tax collection had been managed from the provinces by the landed nobility. These groups’ response was, predictably, inflamed. Rallied by the polemicist Henry St John, the first Viscount Bolingbroke, they became vociferous critics of the new arrangements, identifying themselves as the “Country Party,” in opposition to what they called the “Court Party” of London financiers and politicians, which seemed corrupt, unrepresentative, and in thrall to financial interests. The Country Party identified itself as nonpartisan, separate from the formal political organizations of the Tories and the Whigs, but tended to support the more conservative Tories.

The quotation he seems to affirm is this one:

As with much else in Trump’s version of America, the protesters who lined up to defend the monument wish to maintain an à-la-carte relationship with history. They have cloaked their defense of the monuments by presenting it as a recognition of the valor of the men who fought for the Confederate cause.

The thing is, this failure to do justice to history cuts so many ways, not only as in the case of the Court vs. Country parties of English politics, but also with those critics of Trump who might want to tar and feather him for threatening the liberal international order over which the United States has ruled for the last 65 years. Andrew Bacevich shows how history is as much Trump’s friend as his enemy:

In Foreign Policy, Colin Kahl and Hal Brands embellish the point: Trump’s strategic vision “diverges significantly from—and intentionally subverts— the bipartisan consensus underpinning U.S. foreign policy since World War II.” Failing to “subscribe to the long-held belief that ‘American exceptionalism’ and U.S. leadership are intertwined,” Trump is hostile to the “open, rule-based international economy” that his predecessors nurtured and sustained….

You get the drift. Liberalism, along with norms, rules, openness, and internationalism: these ostensibly define the postwar and post-Cold War tradition of American statecraft. Allow Trump to scrap that tradition and you can say farewell to what Stewart Patrick refers to as “the global
community under the rule of law” that the United States has upheld for decades. But what does this heartwarming perspective exclude? We can answer that question with a single word: history.

Or, somewhat more expansively, among the items failing to qualify for mention in the liberal-internationalist, rules-based version of past U.S. policy are the following: meddling in foreign elections; coups and assassination plots in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Cuba, South Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, and elsewhere; indiscriminate aerial bombing campaigns in North Korea and throughout Southeast Asia; a nuclear arms race bringing the world to the brink of Armageddon; support for corrupt, authoritarian regimes in Iran, Turkey, Greece, South Korea, South Vietnam, the Philippines,
Brazil, Egypt, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and elsewhere—many of them abandoned when deemed inconvenient; the shielding of illegal activities through the use of the Security Council veto; unlawful wars launched under false pretenses; “extraordinary rendition,” torture, and the indefinite imprisonment of persons without any semblance of due process. (The “Global Order” Myth, American Conservative, May/June 2017)

Odd the way that history comes back to bite and turns people from anti-establishmentarians into boosters of obscenely yuuuugggeee institutions that have little accountability to “the people.” The Trump Effect does not get old.

Make America Great (just like England, France, Russia, and Germany)

Ron Granieri reminds that idolizing one’s nation is something that came to Americans late:

We begin with England. Formerly a semi-barbaric province of the Roman Empire, England re-imagined itself during the Reformation as a specially favored place, threatened by Spanish tyranny and Inquisitional obscurantism. As this story developed, this favored land defended itself thanks to its native creativity and bravery and the divine blessings of a Protestant Wind.

The poet of English exceptionalism was, of course, Shakespeare, who, sunning himself in the glow of Gloriana herself, wrote less than a decade after the defeat of the Armada these immortal words in Richard II:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands, —

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Those last lines in particular suggest the ultimately defensive nature of English exceptionalism, the idea that the blessed plot could retreat behind its moat and revel in the perfection of the “little world.”

Don’t forget France:

England’s great rival as it grew into a world power was France, and France also displays the imperial temptation of exceptionalism. Threatened with extinction in the 15th century after English victories at Agincourt and elsewhere, the French monarchy reasserted itself in part thanks to a sense of exceptionalism. Jeanne d’Arc heard divine voices calling her to save France from the invaders and to restore a divinely sanctioned order—a crusade that made her a saint to her fellow Frenchmen and a dangerous witch to her English coreligionists.

After going through its own internal religious struggle during the Reformation and Wars of Religion, France then reasserted itself as a special model of its own, thanks to the Absolutism of Henry IV, Cardinal Richelieu, and Louis XIV. This organization of the state magnified French power and led to triumphs in wars that expanded the size as well as the wealth of France. The more that France imagined itself to be special, the harder it was for French leaders to keep it to themselves. Henry IV was assassinated in 1610 on the eve of a major campaign against France’s Habsburg rivals; Richelieu opened the era of secular warfare when he allied France with Protestant Sweden against those same Habsburgs during the Thirty Years’ War; and Louis XIV spent virtually his entire reign attempting to expand France into its “natural boundaries,” while asserting France’s claim to cultural leadership on the continent and beyond.

It was the French Revolution, however, which especially marked French Exceptionalism. Shaped by their interpretation of Enlightenment thought, the Revolutionaries initially imagined France as an island of new thinking in a sea of obscurantism. When Revolutionary France declared war on Austria and Prussia in 1792, France’s initial posture was completely defensive. The revolutionary anthem embraced during the first months of war, the Marseillaise, called on the “children of the fatherland” to rush to arms and march on to fight off invaders “so that their blood can water our fields.” After the surprising French victory at Valmy that September, however, which offered the chance to go on the offensive, Revolutionary France dropped its defensive pose and embraced the mission to expand and spread the benefits of revolution. Victory at Jemappes in November 1792 was just the beginning, and by the time the Revolution had been co-opted by the military dictator and future Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, the Marseillaise was associated with expansion and conquest. Indeed, when writing his 1812 Overture, Tchaikovsky drowned out the Marseillaise with God Save the Tsar to symbolize Russia’s deliverance, turning the revolutionary anthem on its head as a hymn to monarchy triumphs.

Exceptionalism Russian-style:

France’s rise in the 19th century provoked two other large cultures to action and to develop their own sense of exceptionalism.

The first was Russia. Already having developed its own historical narrative about shaking off the “Tatar yoke” and defending Christianity against the Asiatic hordes, Russia was uncertain about its place in the larger world. Leaders such as Peter the Great and Catherine the Great had hoped that selective embrace of western ideas would make Russia modern and strong, and they pursued aggressive expansion of Tsarist power at home and imperial conquest abroad. But it was the mystic Alexander I, in the wars against Napoleon, who tried to formulate a specifically Russian vision of conservative stability and engagement with Europe, heavily flavored with Orthodox religiosity. Alexander’s Russia was the architect of Napoleon’s defeat, though the Hundred Days and Waterloo robbed Russia of its role as the Corsican’s conqueror. Alexander also joined with Metternich of Austria in creating the Holy Alliance as a vehicle for preserving the postwar order. Alexander’s vision faltered on his own odd personality and his early death, and he bequeathed a mixed legacy to his successors. After the failed liberal Decembrist revolt in 1825, Nicholas I and subsequent conservative Tsars rejected the liberal ideas of the West and adopted a more defensive posture toward the outside world, but continued to believe that Russia had a special mission. As the “third Rome,” Russia imagined itself as the defender and cultivator of Christian civilization, which encouraged imperial wars against the Turks in the south and expansion into Siberia in the east. By the mid-19th century, conflicts between Slavophiles and Westernizers marked differences within the Russian elite, though both groups could be motivated to expand Russia.

And then there was Germany:

Which brings us to France’s other rival, Germany. In a way, Germany was born to consider itself exceptional. It was a German philosopher, Johann Gottfried Herder, who first explicitly developed the idea that every individual culture had its own unique Volksgeist. That was Herder’s way of reacting to the universalist claims of French Enlightenment thought, using its principles to develop the idea that the Germans—indeed, every people—were different from other peoples, and thus each nation should cultivate its own identity and also govern itself. The French may have invented the idea of modern nationalism to serve their revolutionary purposes, but the Germans were the first culture to shape it both retrospectively and prospectively developing a historical narrative to impose coherence on a scattered collection of territories with no natural boundaries. Thus, various past leaders whose Germanness was, at best, notional, from Arminius to Frederick the Great, were absorbed into a nationalist narrative that made the creation of the German empire the inevitable product of historical logic, irrefutable in the eyes of scholars who had themselves created it in the first place.

German nationalism offered, in AJP Taylor’s famous phrase, two faces: to the West, it offered the eager face of the mimic and aspirant, attempting to measure up to the cultural trendsetters across the Rhine. To the East, however, the Germans offered the cold sneer of cultural superiority, justifying centuries of conquest and dominance over allegedly inferior cultures of the East. By the 20th century, as the German Empire emerged as a powerful state in its own right, German opinion leaders tired of the earnest mimic pose and complained of the encirclement of Germany by envious inferiors.

This new attitude crested during the First World War. Novelist Thomas Mann was the most distinguished of thinkers who attempted to explain this by distinguishing authentic German Kultur, with its deep appreciation of art, community, and history, and the shallow, materialistic civilisation of France and Britain. . . .

In bringing up the Nazis, I realize I have just violated Godwin’s Law, but in this case, it is unavoidable. For the Nazis took ideas of exceptionalism and imperialism to their logically illogical conclusions. The greatest temptation for a people that considers itself exceptional is to conclude that it is superior, and that superiority justifies spreading the word to other peoples—even imposing this allegedly superior system on them and removing those people who stand in the way. Indeed, as Mark Mazower’s monumental work, Hitler’s Empire, has demonstrated, the Nazis essentially applied the lessons European powers had perfected in their overseas empires to their European empire. By forcing Western Civilization to recognize the barbarous implications of their conquests, the Nazis delivered a fatal blow to justifications for empire.

One lesson is that American exceptionalism is pretty ordinary.

The second is that the United States had a real chance to be exceptional by not following the ways of European greatness. A modest republic of hardworking and self-discipline citizens with a limited government was what some had in mind. That would have been great.

The Problem with England

H. L. Mencken explains:

The badness of English cooking is proverbial all over the world, but no one seems to have investigated its causes. I suggest that it may be due, at least in part, to two things, the first being that the English have a Puritan distrust of whatever is bodily pleasant, and the second that it is practically impossible to grow good food in their country. The first point needs no laboring. Every American who has been in England in winter knows who the whole population shivers and freezes. The simple device of putting in adequate stoves has apparently never occurred to anyone — or, if it has, it has been rejected as unmanly. The English prefer to be uncomfortable, and think of their preferences as heroic.

So at the table. Most Englishmen have been abroad, and know very well what good victuals taste like. But when they are at home they take a gloomy, stubborn, idiotic delight in eating badly. To say that they have a diseased taste and actually enjoy their flabby flavorless, badly cooked dishes, — this is to go beyond plain facts. It takes only a glance to see that they suffer almost as much as visitors to their country. But they can’t get rid of the feeling that it is virtuous to suffer — that eating better stuff would be frenchified, wicked, and against God. So they remain faithful to a cuisine which Nietzsche long ago described as next door to cannibalism.

I have hinted that the native victuals of the English are all bad. An exception, of course should be made of their incomparable mutton, and another, perhaps, of their sole, but beyond that the judgment holds. Their beef, for all their touching veneration of it, is distinctly inferior to ours, as anyone may discover by eating in the form of steaks. Their pork, at best, is only so-so, and their veal is not better. They seldom eat lamb at all. Of the stuff they get out of the sea, not much is really good. Their oysters are vile, and their turbot is flabby and almost tasteless. Their salmon is better, but it is surely not to be mentioned in the same breath with our mackerel, blue-fish and shad. That leaves their excellent sole — usually ruined in the cooking. . . .

What saves England from complete culinary darkness is the mutton. At its best, it is probably the most magnificent red meat to be had in the world. . . . I believe it is one of the great glories of the English people — a greater glory, indeed, than their poetry, their policemen, their hearty complexions, or their gift for moral indignation. It is the product of English grass — unquestionably the best grass on this piebald ball. Ah, that the English nobility and gentry could dine as well as their sheep. (“Note on Victuals,” 1930)

Paul Helm Shows 2k Isn’t Hard to Understand or Affirm

Dr. Helm is on a roll. First he defends 2k from charges of quietism and includes this poignant remark:

Those who advocate a Christian view of this or that fail to recognize the seriousness of what they are proposing. To have a Christian view of X is to be committed to proclaiming it as the word of God which Christians have an obligation to uphold and propagate.

In other words, redeeming culture or doing things Christianly may inspire, but the claims bite off more than the claimants can chew — namely, invoking Christianity brings norms that believers seldom apply to the variety of callings in which they find themselves.

Then, Dr. Helm observes how John Owen could have used a dose of 2k for the brief time he believed that England was the greatest nation on God’s green earth:

What happened to Owen’s theology can be explained in two phases. In the first phase his understanding of the accepted Reformed understanding of the secret will and revealed will distinction changed shape during the Commons sermons. As we saw earlier the distinction, as Owen understood this, is between what God decrees, reserved to himself, and what he requires, his revelation. Owen extended the revealed will, the promises, from ‘generals’ to include the particular contemporary and future events in the British Isles about which he preached to the House of Commons, going beyond what he had said were secrets to include the unfolding events of the Civil war and their significance, and in particular to the military operations in Ireland. He daringly attributed to what he said of these the character of God’s revealed purposes, long prophesied, in turn giving rise to Christian precepts.

It is likely that his relative youth, sudden promotion to Cromwell’s side, and the way of thinking exhibited in his sermons, had turned his mind. He believed he was in the cockpit of the unfolding of God’s plan for England, foretold by the prophets, and that he was their mouthpiece. The outcome was assured.

If it can happen to the orthodox Puritan, Owen, perhaps we can give Ted Cruz a pass.

Maybe This Explains the Appeal of Independence to the Scots


Here is what England is:

She is more than a thousand years of uninterrupted Christian faith, from St. Alban, the first English martyr, killed during the Roman occupation in the 3rd century, to the martydrom of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More in 1535. She is the hundreds of martyrs killed during the penal times following Henry VIII’s usurpation of the church in England. She is Beowulf and “The Dream of the Rood”; she is Sir Gawain and Chaucer; she is Byrd and Tallis; she is Walsingham and Glastonbury; she is Austen and Dickens, Newman and Hopkins, Chesterton and Belloc, Waugh and Wodehouse, Lewis and Tolkien. She is Shakespeare! This is the England of our dreams, and our dreams are so much more real, in any meaningful sense, than the nightmare that the modern inhabitants of England seem to prefer. This is the England to which I owe my allegiance; the England of the saints and martyrs; the England of the poets and bards; and the England of the Greatest Bard of all. I will conclude by letting the Bard wax lyrical on the England of my dreams:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in a silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

This may explain why Rod Dreher had a point:

The intellectual arrogance identified by Alan that exists within certain Catholic circles is something I once was guilty of, without realizing it. To me, as an adult convert to Catholicism, the intellectual and aesthetic riches of the Catholic faith were so blindingly obvious that I couldn’t see that the Protestant traditions were worth taking seriously, except in a political and personal sense. That is, I respected Protestants as serious Christians and good people with whom we could and should work on causes of mutual concern, but I didn’t trouble myself to take them seriously on the intellectual front. This was an example of my unearned pride. As far as I was concerned, I had joined the intellectual A team of American Christianity, and Father Neuhaus was our Joe Torre. At the time I didn’t realize it, but looking back, I can see that the only conversations I thought really mattered were between Catholics.

As I write this, I remember a professor telling me years ago at a conference that he might have left Protestantism for Catholicism, except for the fact that his Catholic convert friends were so intellectually haughty in their newfound Catholicism that they kept him away from the Roman church. What that man experienced is a constant temptation for intellectual converts to Catholicism.

Why Not Lutheranism?

While Joe Carter is yet again telling me what I should do, this time how to think about October 31st, Protestants (and others) in Hillsdale will be observing Reformation Day with a book talk by (all about) me on Calvinism. What follows is an excerpt:

Why Calvinism (Why not Lutheranism?)

One of the stranger features of religion in the United States is the level of comfort that Americans seem to have with Calvinism even though it is a version of Christianity that many, along with H. L. Mencken, place in their “cabinet of horrors” – the Baltimore journalist put it on the shelf right next to cannibalism. One way to illustrate this peculiarity is to compare Americans’ familiarity with Calvinism to their general indifference to and ignorance of Lutheranism. If you do as I do and have Google alerts set up for both Calvinism and Lutheranism, you will daily receive an email with at least three or four references to Calvinism. You will also usually go three or four days between emailings with a reference or two (at best) to Lutheranism.

This is odd at least for a couple of reasons. First, Lutherans are the ur-Protetstants, the original Christians who broke with the papacy, and yet few Protestants in the United States seem to have any awareness of the debt they owe to Martin Luther – or the reasons for convening this lecture in competition with costumes and candy on a day known as Reformation Day, the alleged date when in 1517 Luther nailed a piece of paper to a cathedral door and destroyed the sacred canopy of Christendom in Europe. Second, Lutherans far outnumber Calvinists in the United States. The mainline denomination, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is almost 6 times larger than the mainline Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. – roughly 6 million compared to 1 million. And outside the mainline denominations, Missouri Synod Lutherans are almost 30 times larger than the Orthodox Presbyterian Church – roughly 3 million compared – ahem – to 30,000. Even the Wisconsin Synod, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, to be precise, a communion that even with “evangelical” in its name is unknown to most American Protestants – even the Wisconsin Synod is larger than the Presbyterian Church in America, a denomination that thanks to Tim Keller’s popularity in the Big Apple seems to be poised to transform America into a nation of urban chic Protestants. The Wisconsin Synod has roughly 400,000 members and the PCA has only 300,000.

But does that kind of history and those raw numbers make American pundits, scholars, and laity take notice of Lutherans? Hardly. If you want to glom on to an influential form of Protestantism, one with world-shaping significance, in the English-speaking world you go not to Lutheranism but to Calvinism.

To illustrate Calvinism’s appeal – again which is hard to believe because of its associations with teaching total depravity and predestination, thus qualifying for Mencken’s cabinet of horrors – think back to this past summer when Baptists of all people, Southern Baptists specifically, received a report about the propriety of Calvinism within the Southern Baptist Convention. For several years, fellows like Al Mohler and Russell Moore, both at the oldest Southern Baptist seminary in Louisville, had carved out a place for Calvinist teaching in the denomination. But Baptists have long been hostile to Calvinism, even if some Baptists have gone by the name of particular or Calvinistic. To make this point we need only think of Hillsdale College’s origins. It began as a Baptist college and only severed its church ties in 1913 – one hundred years ago. It was associated with a particular brand of Baptist churches – the Free Will Baptists. And these Baptists were not at all comfortable with Calvinism’s teaching about the bondage of the will (thanks to the fall) or to Calvinism’s notion that Christ’s death was effective only for those God elected or predestined to save. One Kentucky preacher spoke for many Free Will Baptists and other democratic Protestants when he sniffed, “We are not personally acquainted with the writings of John Calvin, nor are we certain how nearly we agree with his views of divine truth; neither do we care.” And those words would likely have likely received support from Hillsdale College’s original board of trustees.

So why would Baptists like Mohler and Moore today find Calvinism to be a brand of Protestantism worthy of emulation? Why do we hear about Protestants like John Piper, the famous pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, being called a Calvinist or Reformed Baptist? Why not a Lutheran Baptist? Why is the former unexceptional but the latter – Lutheran Baptist – why does THAT sound oxymoronic? Isn’t Calvinist Baptist just as much of an oxymoron? After all, Calvinism has as many foreign Christian elements as Lutheranism. If Lutherans have funny views about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, so does Calvin. If Lutherans don’t sing revival hymns, Calvinists don’t even sing hymns – or at least they didn’t used to; they only sang psalms. And if Lutheranism has odd notions about church membership, Calvinism has its own set of difficulties for Protestants who prize congregational autonomy and rule by church members. It was Calvin, after all, who wrote an order for church government, conveniently excerpted in Hillsdale’s Western Heritage Reader, which lays down a precise Presbyterian polity that would drive Baptists, who thrive on congregational autonomy, batty.

Last summer a writer for the conservative journal, First Things, tried to account for Baptist preferences for Calvinism over Lutheranism. He observed that when Lutherans came to North America, they actually had a far more flexible form of church government than Calvinism. Yet the irony is that Lutheranism is associated much more than Calvinism with a fixed understanding of church organization, whereas Calvinism is associated almost exclusively with ideas not about the church but about salvation – as in the Five Points of Calvinism, or T-U-L-I-P. Gene Veith, academic dean at Patrick Henry College, and a Missouri Synod Lutheran himself, weighed in on the spectacle of Calvinstic Southern Baptists and argued that Lutheran theology cannot be detached from its understandings about the nature of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The same would have been said of Calvinism at least in the sixteenth century.

But by the time English Protestants had appropriated Calvinism, they had concocted an idea that could not only be severed from Calvin’s own views on the sacraments but also potentially from much having to do with Christianity. Indeed, a common occurrence among pundits in the United States and the United Kingdom is to associate Calvinism with aspects of modern life well beyond the church – politics, economics, education, science, art. In other words, quite apart from the merits or defects of Calvinism’s ideas – human sinfulness to the point of total depravity, the scope of the benefits of Christ’s death, and divine sovereignty in relation to human freedom – Calvinism has become for English-speakers a familiar term, even a brand, that makes it as easy to talk about the effects and influence of Calvin and Geneva as it does to talk about Thomas Jefferson and Jeffersonianism. Calvinism, no matter what it actually means, is a word with which most English-speakers are comfortable. In contrast, Lutheranism feels like a foreign word, sort of like Hegelianism. If you are going to drop that into a sentence or two to explain developments in the West, you better be sure you know what you are talking about. But with Calvinism, English-speakers know enough (they think) to use it to account for a host of world-wide developments, which again is strange since Lutheranism, the original Protestantism, did as much to disrupt Europe’s received patterns, and was as much on the ground floor of world-changing significance as Calvinism – perhaps even more so. After all, Calvin didn’t start to make things happen in Geneva – the 1540s – until the very last years of Martin Luther’s life.

Speaking Truth to Fame

Carl Trueman has some provocative thoughts on the difference between American and British evangelicalism and the conferences that sustain them. He was speaking at an event in Wales:

First, the conference was built around content not speakers. In fact, I was almost refused entry to my own final seminar because I could not find my armband. I was unrecognized by the steward even after speaking three times. Fantastic. In the UK, people come to hear what is said; they do not particularly care for who is saying it. This is subtly evident in the way events are marketed in the two countries. It also points to a major cultural difference. In the US in general, there is great suspicion of institutions yet huge and often naïve confidence placed in individuals. This is part of what makes celebrity culture so important, from politics to the church. In the UK, there is an often naïve trust in institutions but far more suspicion of individuals. I make this point as an observation; but also to flag the fact that US culture lends itself more readily to the problems Paul highlights in 1 Corinthians.

That would seem like a point that folks at the Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel, RCA Annual Integrity Leadership Conference organizers, and even the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals might want to consider.

And it may point to another difference between American and British evangelicals: born-again Americans are suckers for an English accent, even if it expresses thoughts disagreeable.