I’ve long been of two minds about Rod Dreher.
On the one hand, he is a Christian who is solidly traditionalist conservative as regards social issues, and is a keen observer of the scene, and has demonstrated a decent grasp of the big picture, the implications of current events, as regards such matters. His ‘Benedict Option’ seems, from all I’ve read about it, to be a well-thought out analysis of and response to the culture war status quo. His Law of Merited Impossibility predicts and explains the usual prog pattern of pooh-poohing notions of ‘slippery slope’, till they come true: “That will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it!” We’ve seen this time and time again, if anyone has paid any attention to the culture war from the early 1990s onwards…
But on the other hand, he’s also the wannabe hippie who invented the ‘crunchy con’ term, and promoted it heavily a decade and a half or so ago, embracing the notion of granola-eating, organic off-the-grid conservatives who homeschool and embrace homeopathic remedies, etc. In other words, who have much in common with alternative lifestyle (heterosexual, monogamous) progs. And today, he’s known as a bearded, craft-brew-swilling, Eastern Orthodox (but anti-Putin) hipster-wannabe, who feels the need to police the right for the slightest trace of anything that progs might consider ‘racism’, and condemn it fiercely. He desperately wants to be accepted by progs, and this makes him go over the top frequently, esp. with regards to Trump.
Now he’s attacking the founder of his own magazine, Pat Buchanan, accusing him of a ‘shameful’, ‘disgusting’ ‘defence of white supremacism’:
I was stunned just now to read the disgusting, racist, indefensible thing that Pat Buchanan has written in his syndicated column in response to the Confederate statue controversy:
Looking back over the history of a Western Civilization, which we call great, were not the explorers who came out of Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and England all white supremacists?
They conquered in the name of the mother countries all the lands they discovered, imposed their rule upon the indigenous peoples, and vanquished and eradicated the native-born who stood in their way.
Who, during the centuries-long discovery and conquest of the New World, really believed that the lives of the indigenous peoples were of equal worth with those of the colonizers?
“All men are created equal” is an ideological statement. Where is the scientific or historic proof for it? Are we building our utopia on a sandpile of ideology and hope?
I don’t see what’s racist about any of that. Surely nobody thinks that the explorers of yesteryear were racial egalitarians, and ‘all men are created equal’ is indeed an ideological statement. You don’t find that taught in Scripture, for one thing – but that’s precisely where Dreher goes completely off the rails:
With that, Buchanan repudiates not only the founding principle of our Constitutional order, but also a core teaching of the Christian faith, which holds that all men are created in the image of God. It is fine to disbelieve in egalitarianism as an ideology and as a basis for policy. Most conservatives do, and most conservatives rightly reject the idea that all cultures are equally good. And it is reasonable to argue against the puritan iconoclasts who would destroy monuments and historical memory in the name of a mindless, ideological dogmatism.
Ah, no; just because Scripture teaches that all men bear the Imago Dei does not mean that Scripture teaches that all men are equal in anything other than all possessing souls, and all equally needing to repent and be saved. It does NOT mean that all men are equal in intelligence, strength, character, morality, ability. No; all men remain individuals, yet members of groups simultaneously, and so it’s not unfair to judge people as members of groups; in fact, Scripture has Paul repeating and endorsing an ethnic stereotype, about Cretans, thus giving Biblical sanction for making broad generalizations about groups of people; whether it is ‘racist’ in modern eyes or not, the Bible is okay with such, so long as of course one doesn’t treat people unfairly and unjustly.
Dreher continues ranting and raving:
But that’s not what this is. Buchanan is not meditating on the tragic nature of history, as any conservative worth the name must do. No, in this column, Buchanan is defending white supremacy, straight up.
It is abhorrent, and must be rejected in the strongest terms by conservatives. If this is where the Right is going, it can go right off that racist cliff without me.
Oh please, settle down. Have a craft brew and relax. Pat Buchanan is just shrewdly acknowledging history, and correctly noting a paradox at the heart of America’s ideological commitment to classical liberalism; that it holds to an ideological principle which is demonstrably false. We could say that, because all men are equally sinners in God’s eyes but also equally made in God’s image, that all men deserve to be treated the same with no special privileges or partiality shown to some over others; indeed, Scripture especially emphasizes this in many different contexts, both socioeconomic and ethnic. Nothing wrong and everything right with that. But that doesn’t mean that all men are actually equal in anything other than their position relative to our common Creator. The phrase ‘all men are created equal’ is just classical liberal ideological cant. Buchanan is right.
The comments on his post are interesting. You have the usual progs he lets bloviate on his blog (while barring comments from the likes of even me, a mixed-race reactionary), agreeing with him and commending him for his stance, though some castigating him for it having took so long, etc. But there are also several commenters who think he’s gone off the deep end, which he clearly has, IMO.
By the way, how interesting of Dreher to link to a Townhall.com mirror of Buchanan’s column, rather than the one directly hosted at Dreher’s magazine’s own site, here. I can’t imagine why he would do that…