Wednesday, December 07, 2016


If you haven't looked in on Rod Dreher at The American Conservative lately, I have to warn you: as difficult as this may be to believe, he's gotten creepier. It may be due to the added difficulty he must anticipate in peddling his coming Benedict Option book (basically, monasticism with wi-fi) now that Trump's in, because its entire potential readership is now thinking, hey, racist shitgibbon elected = problem solved!

Obviously Dreher's aware of this; before the election, when he thought Trump's nomination was a sign that even his beloved GOP is now godless, he was spieling out flimflam like "When the smoke clears after November, the Benedict Option will be all we will have left." But since the election, while Dreher is naturally pleased that a reactionary is in power (though his image demands he be dainty about it -- every third post is "I didn't vote for Trump, but I'm glad because [insert jubilation over liberal suffering here]"), he's also obviously sweating the pre-sales:
Trump is not a religious man, but I hope that with Mike Pence whispering in his ear, he will make good on these hopes.
I can easily imagine Pence whispering in Trump's ear, "If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine," and Trump saying, "you have my attention."
It is also to be hoped that a Trump administration, which will replace Scalia, can also replace one or more other SCOTUS justices, and lock in a court majority solidly in favor of strong religious liberty protections. So far, so good, I think. 
But this surprise Trump win in no way obviates the need for the Benedict Option. All it does is buys us a little more time, and maybe a little more space within which to build it. My great concern is that conservative Christians who were beginning to perceive the danger to our faith coming from an aggressively secularist government will now allow themselves to believe that everything is fine, because we are going to have a GOP president and a GOP Congress 
Nothing could be further from the truth!
The inappropriate boldfacing, I am embarrassed to tell you, are Dreher's. Anyway, now that BenOp is off, get-rich-quick-wise, it's back to Dreher's Get-Ready-Man Routine, where he yaps that the world is a-comin' to an end and only Throne and Altar will save you.

Now, aficionados may recall that Dreher is as strong an anti-Islamist as Pam Geller except when it comes to the prospect of liberals in power, which quickly turns him fundy-ecumenical, e.g., "I probably have, re: fundamental morals, more in common with the first 500 people I'd meet in Cairo, Damascus or Tehran than the first 500 people I'd meet in Park City, UT, during festival time," etc. Better to co-reign in Allahworld than to serve fags a wedding cake!

Well, Islamists are not much in the news lately, and Dreher has a short attention span, so he's turned to a new authoritarian avatar: Vlad the Election-Hacker. Check out his post called, I ain't making this up, "Putin, Our Tsar-Protector?"

Dreher is troubled by a New York Times story about the corrupt cooperation of Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church (which is also Dreher's current faith). "Framing Putin sympathy in such stark and alarmist terms — as the media tended to frame Trump sympathy — obscures far more than it illuminates," he whines. Then he tells us about "two young Catholic men" he met on one of his frequent Benedict-Option-related vacations "who expressed sympathy for Putin" because....
...[they] had come to believe that European governing elites did not have their interests at heart, and who (the elites) were committed to de-Christianizing Europe at every opportunity... they respected the fact that [Putin] is a strong leader who embraces his country’s Christian religious heritage, and seeks to defend it and its teachings, especially against cultural liberals whose views on sex and gender are destroying the traditional family.
They sound like agents sent to tantalize Dreher. It seems to have worked, though: "And you know what?" he says. "I agreed with them, broadly." Then he quotes "the neoreactionary writer Ash Milton" and Megan McArdle, who agree with him that liberals want to oppress Christians with homosex. Then:
So: Vladimir Putin is a global leader who openly rejects and defies this memeplex, which dominates Europe even more than it does America. Finally, religious people may say, somebody stands up without apology to these people who are trying to crush us.
I try to imagine the working-class Catholics with whom I grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut saying, "Thank God for the Russian dictator who will stand up for our values!" but can't.
...We have to keep our eye on the ball here: that the Russian state really is using culture and religion as a propaganda weapon against the West. But that doesn’t make the moral and religious ideas the Russian state weaponizes wrong or illegitimate! Never forget that the United States does the very same thing to advance secular liberalism, especially LGBT advocacy...
Sometimes I feel like giving up on America, but then I look at something like what Dreher wrote and think: You know what -- why should I? It's those assholes who gave up on America, not me; so fuck 'em -- I'll stand with America against them.

UPDATE. You know who else will defend Pooty-Poot against those who question him -- even if they're Soviet refugees? Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican and Trump Secretary of State short-lister:
Bianna Golodryga: When you talk about human rights abusers in China much can be dsaid about Russia in that regard as well.
Rohrabacher: Oh, baloney ― where do you come from? How can you buy that?
Golodryga: I come from the former Soviet Union, that’s where I came from. I came here as a political refugee. That’s where I came from.
Rohrabacher: Oh, OK. What country did you say you came from?
Golodryga: I come from the former Soviet Union, from Moldova
Rohrabacher: Oh, well then that’s good, then the audience knows that you are biased.
Golodryga: I’m biased because I am an American citizen who was born in a foreign country?
Rohrabacher: Yeah yeah, when you start saying that Russia... Did you know there have been no poitical reforms in China? None.
Golodryga: I'm not saying... I'm not advocating that China be our best friend. I'm talking to you about Russia right now.
Rohrabacher: You just said that Russia and China are the same. I'm sorry, they are not.
Golodryga: I said they are both human rights abusers. How am I wrong?
Rohrabacher: How are you wrong? In China they don't have opposition force?
Golodryga: And Russia isn't accused of murdering journalists?
Rohrabacher: Okay, look. I’ll let the public decide with that last comment where you are coming from. The bottom line is what’s good for America is to prioritize, as I did when I worked with Ronald Reagan. I wrote most of his speeches on this issue.
Golodryga: And what would Ronald Reagan think about your thoughts about Vladimir Putin?
Rohrabacher: He would love it. Maybe you forgot that Reagan was the one who reached out to Gorbachev with his hand open... and...
Golodryga: Are you comparing Gorbachev to Vladimir Putin?
Rohrabacher: Absolutely I am.
There are some lessons in this -- first, about what Rohrabacher clearly thinks is the right kiss-ass message to portray about Russia and China (or, as The Leader says it, "CHAI-na"), and about how Perestroika Mike is like the resucitator of the KGB.  Also, it's fascinating to see how dismissively Rohrabacher treats a Soviet refugee. I'm old enough to recall a time when, if a liberal suggested a change in our Soviet policy -- even after Nixon's detente and Reagan's glasnost -- conservatives would haul out Solzhenitsyn or Mindszenty and go how dare you! These people were in the gulags! And we, poor saps, felt we had to respect their experience.

So it's instructive to see Rohrabacher dismiss Golodryga's experience as "bias" -- and not just because of its breathtaking hypocrisy; it also suggests a way for liberals to fight back on issues where conservatives presume a natural advantage. For instance, when they tell you Keith Ellison can't be DNC Chair because people like Alan Dershowitz claim he's anti-Semitic, try saying "So?" and "you are being very bias." What the hell -- it worked for Trump.

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