Rod Dreher wants conservatives out of the culture wars. Dreher is a “crunchy con,” who holds to economic Marxism while simultaneously – if not inexplicably – holding to more conservative social principles. Dreher is also an Eastern Idolater and has written The Benedict Option, encouraging Christians to retire from political engagement and build “communities” (his use of the term is vague) to exit political engagement and hunker down, so as to best prepare society for the fruits of our current post-Christian culture. Dreher has been promoted heavily among America’s evangelicals including Carl Trueman, Albert Mohler and Russell Moore.
JD Hall has written a response to Dreher’s book entitled The Benedict Arnold Option: Why Christians Must Not Retreat From the Culture Wars, available now at Amazon.
Dreher congratulates a Twitter user in his August 18 blog post at the American Conservative, lauding him as an example of someone who has decided to wave the white flag (pun intended, you’ll see why in a minute) of cultural surrender. You can find his post, here. Dreher writes…
My TAC colleague Scott McConnell tipped me off to this extraordinary tweetstorm by someone whose name I don’t know, but who appears to be a conservative who is now going offline. I’m going to post the whole thing here for you who don’t use, or know how to use, Twitter:
Dreher then posts screenshots from Twitter user @RetiredSOBL1 (Retired Social Critic), applauding his Twitter posts explaining why he is bowing out of the “fight.”
That’s just a few screenshots from Dreher’s article, but the paraphrase is this: The social critic is retiring because he says society is crumbling around him, and he wants to spend time with his family and cultivating and creating art and hippy garbage like that. Again, you can see the post here.
RetiredSocialCritic says in a much more powerful way what I tried to say to Christian readers in my book The Benedict Option…If you think politics is going to turn around the spiritual, moral, and social dying that RetiredSocialCritic sees, you are delusional. Nobody is coming to save us from ourselves. Be the lighthouse. The storm is here, and it will only get worse.
Here’s the problem. The fellow Dreher is congratulating for his soulful wisdom and higher plane of transcendent virtue is an “alt-right” White Supremacist.
The owner of that Twitter account (formerly @28ShermanSOBL1, which you can easily enough Google and it when you click on the former, it will take you to Landry’s new account, “@RetiredSOBL1) is Ryan Landry who contributes to the website, “Social Matter: Statecraft for American Restoration.” He is listed as a contributor on the website, and his bio says, “Midwestern family man and FIRE economy worker by day and social critic by night.”
Landry is also a podcaster, and in his latest episode of “Weimerica Weekly” (posted at Social Matter, above) – entitled Episode 83, Charlottesville – in which he defends and sympathizes with the white supremacists who held the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last month. In fact, he gives some helpful advice to the racist marchers on what to do when they run out of torches (literally) and said it was “pretty cool looking.”
He also goes on to favorably compare his own movement with the Nazi movement in the 1920s, mentioning the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler’s imprisonment, and the publication of Mein Kampf.
The website posting Landry’s material also has a podcast called, “The Myth of the 20th Century,” which is a hat-tip to convicted Nazi war criminal, Alfred Roseberg, who wrote a book by that name which provided the framework for Nazi ideology in 1930.
There’s even more irony, here. Social Matter published a blog article defending racism against an article written by Rod Dreher himself (see the tweet here).
This irony was picked up on by a “neoreactionist” (read that: “Alt-Right”) blog, NRX Syndication (a neoreactionist website), here. The author gives Dreher credit for praising Landry, albeit admitting that it’s strange bedfellows. He nonetheless says, “Good on Dreher giving [Landry’s words] wider circulation.”
While it’s good that an alt-right, neoreactionist, white supremacist-sympathizing racist is retiring from podcasting or blogging, he’s not retiring from his worldview. For Dreher, that’s immaterial. His goal is to talk as many people as possible to retreat into a cultural monastery regardless of their worldview; to do so, for Dreher, is righteousness. And, Dreher’s willing to promote a guy like Ryan Landry to sell more copies of his book.
Shame on him.