Someone sent this new blog to me that tries to explain why we get frummer and frummer, it was always pretty clear to me, but his theory is that it’s like a prisoners dilemma. Basically, Poskim feel the need to paskin machmir because if one contradicts the other, the klal will always go stricter. I’m not sure how that makes an entire generation of folks more machmir, but I have my own ideas on the subject and I’m sure plenty of you all have your own as well. In one sentence, it’s a lot easier and better sounding to rule stringently, you don’t have to do any research and people “think” strict is more pious. Those people, obviously never learned much, but the masses will always be asses. I tried to leave the following comment, but the blog was set up to force you to login, I hate that and I boycott those systems.
Actually we probably get frummer and frummer as we become more assimilated, in the alter heim you fried out by learning the language and leaving the shtetl. In America, everyone was encouraged to assimilate, yiddish was lost, the kids went off the D, the kiruv movement came in and wrangled everyone back in. When this happened, it introduced the frum community to the ills of secular society (hence the reason I think the BT movement has hurt Orthodoxy more than any non-Jewish society ever could) So the more secular exposed we get, we all know the language and no matter how insular we “try” to get ourselves, we are fully exposed like no way in history – since maybe the Greeks. Exposure breeds stringency, we need to fight the evil forces of secular society and since kashraus, yayin nesech, and avodah zorah didn’t have the desired effect – because ancient Judaism didn’t predict that we would be able to blend in while still retaining those laws, we need to be machmir.
It’s also a lot easier to be machmir, you don’t have to consult obscure Aruch Hashulchan stuff that contradicts the shulchan aruch and Mishna Brura and then come up with an excuse to go by the AH because Rav Moshe held that since he was a community Rav he took precedence over the MB.
See, machmir is easier and to most unlearned ppl it sounds way frummer. It’s kind of like that Seinfeld episode where George pretends to be angry at work all the time to make his boss think he was working harder. It’s all an illusion of frumkeit,