Not Ready for Martyrdom?

 

I bought Dreher’s book Live Not by Lies:  A Manual for Christian Dissidents to look for suggestions and ammo for fighting the culture wars but instead, I got a survivor manual for a war already lost. The first half of the book is about how bad it is out there and why it will likely get worse in large part because the west is rapidly adopting the Chinese social credit system. The right to have a bank account, to make purchases, or even to be employed are becoming contingent on a continued demonstration of right thinking and behavior. Being denied a social media presence is a slap on the wrist compared to being banned from commerce by all large corporations for being explicit enemies of the state (gun manufacturers and sellers, right-to-life groups, the fossil fuel industry, orthodox religious groups, etc.). Or just living under the constant threat of being called out, detected, and fired in some woke purge. In China, your ‘credit rating’ drops if your family and friends are not compliant. The scope and detail of the state leverage are frightening.

When reading the book, I recalled the outstanding German movie Lives of Others (2006) about the personal moral struggles of a Stasi secret policeman. In one scene, he and his team have just planted listening bugs in the apartment of the targeted figure. A neighbor peeks out at them as they departed the scene and the lead agent calmly warns her that if she says anything, her daughter (he knows and recites her name!) will not be admitted to university. It was less about the specifics of the threat than the terrifying realization that they know all about you. The Stasi relied on paper files and boxes of index cards. It is unimaginable how thorough they could have been with control over Alexa, Siri, and smart appliances, all run by a constantly learning AI on supercomputing platforms. Is that in our future?

Dreher quotes people who had lived under communist rule who are appalled at how passively Americans accept woke tyranny, social media manipulation, and “soft” social sanctions to compel silence and conformity in the face of obvious lies about human nature or history.

I was thus primed and ready for the second part of the book. How do we fend off this monstrous attack on freedom? The answer? Strengthen faith, learn from the example of Christian martyrs, prepare to endure suffering, strengthen the family and small groups, and expect the ultimate victory of the truth purchased, as ever, by the blood of martyrs.

Not really the answer I was hoping for, Rod.

I am more in tune with the character Thomas More wished to be in A Man for All Seasons “Whatever may be done by smiling, you may rely on me to do…. This is not the stuff of which martyrs are made.” I would rather remain in a comfortable mild cynicism (with ready access to second breakfast) without the demands of some great struggle, thank you. If really necessary, I would prefer the role of the reluctant hero, like Rick Blaine, Oskar Schindler, or Bilbo Baggins, and definitely not that of the martyrs and spiritual heroes of the death camps and gulags.

What is especially tiresome about the new totalitarians is that (a) they lack the radiant optimism of the suckers who first foisted communism on the world–the woke are not the type to die for the cause and (b) they are too ignorant of even very recent history to see that the inevitable end of a war against objective truth, morality and human nature is some form of Götterdämmerung preceded by the execution of numerous Nikolai Rubashovs as the ‘revolution’ necessarily devours its own.  Yes, cupcake, no matter how woke you are, there is a wall and some bullets waiting for you too.  People who waved red flags or wore swastika armbands in 1939 could perhaps delude themselves about where it would lead. Nobody in 2023 has that excuse.

The core of the resistance to the rule of Soviet puppet regimes may have been spiritual but the appetite for a materially better life also helped drive many young people in the communist world to resent and rebel. But what if the new totalitarians start with a wealthy society (which they will cause to decline) and threaten to take away access to that (shrinking) supply of wealth? A scary thought is that consumer capitalism and the concomitant false notion that freedom is solely an entitlement to self-indulgence have gutted our capacity to fight and endure a moral struggle for actual freedom. Meditate on that and welcome to Mr. Dreher’s world.

I recently had a chat with some young, conventionally lefty acquaintances. One opined that when the Second Amendment was adopted, gun hobbyists/collectors did not have access to automatic weapons (I no longer waste time explaining the definition of “semi-automatic). I explained that the Bill of Rights was mostly about the right to fulfill obligations of conscience to speak and live the truth as one’s conscience sees fit and to respect and protect the rights of others trying to do the same. Owning a gun was about the right to discharge an obligation to protect family, property, and community. If we don’t see the Bill of Rights in terms of requiring government respect for a conscience-driven life, then we don’t understand it. That drew blank stares. I don’t think my young friends are ready for a life in The Resistance. We have such a warped idea of freedom that it will be hard to want to fight for it.

I fervently hope that this cup shall pass and that we don’t need widespread martyrdom to get us past this era’s flirtation with the forces of evil and stupid. Maybe less dramatic, but more widespread moral heroism could be enough. As More observed from his prison in A Man for All Seasons:

If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride, and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice, and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little – even at the risk of being heroes.

Is it possible for us all to ‘stand fast a little’ more often to oppose the silly but deeply pernicious lies that some are trying to impose by fiat? Would that be enough?

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I have been long concerned about a sectarian civil war. I think if maytering starts happening on a large scale, it will come. 

     

    • #1
  2. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    OB, I think this book is meant to be read after Dreher’s The Benedict Option, in which he urges orthodox Christians to form small communities/groups to strengthen their faith and support each other in the face of the times. Live Not by Lies uses the experiences of those brothers and sisters who suffered under the Communists to inform us of what we should be doing in those small groups.

    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    • #2
  3. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    I have read two by Dreher: First was “The Benedict Option” and second was “Live not by Lies”.  While, for myself, I disagreed with the religious community thing, I did think they were both quite good – and prophetic – reads.

    • #3
  4. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I have been long concerned about a sectarian civil war. I think if maytering starts happening on a large scale, it will come.

     

    I don’t think so.  The left has no reason not to continue to take over institutions and increase ideological enforcement as they do now.  If that moves too fast or gets violent, then the anesthesia would wear off and people would simply throw them out by choosing to redirect resources.   Trying to impose that by force is far too risky.  

    Their real problem is reality. Blackouts and hardships from stupid green energy policies, the collapse of value for substance-free but absurdly expensive college degrees, the war on America’s poor and low-income by importing hordes of illegals, and the really tiresome stupidity of woke tyranny… I don’t see the people, the military, and law enforcement rallying to protect and defend disastrous policy by imposing them by force.  I don’t foresee legions of volunteers for Antifa/BLM to become an auxiliary for the Merrick Garland Stasi.  

    Either the left proceeds non-violently to a Chinese social credit society as a fait compli or their project collapses entirely but I doubt that guns will decide the matter.

    • #4
  5. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    OB, I think this book is meant to be read after Dreher’s The Benedict Option, in which he urges orthodox Christians to form small communities/groups to strengthen their faith and support each other in the face of the times. Live Not by Lies uses the experiences of those brothers and sisters who suffered under the Communists to inform us of what we should be doing in those small groups.

    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    Yes, this!

    • #5
  6. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it.  The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game.  If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them.  Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go?  Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    • #6
  7. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    Departed the Republican Party two years ago, and have sent no money whatsoever to and candidate.  Still get daily pleas for $$$

    • #7
  8. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    Well David, it’s lost for now. The time to fight has passed. The Left has control of pretty much all institutions. It will take generations to recover after the collapse.

    I’m reminded of the words of the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” (My emphasis.)

    That second sentence is what Dreher is urging us to prepare to do. Don’t know how many successors this will take though.

     

    • #8
  9. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

     

    Either the left proceeds non-violently to a Chinese social credit society as a fait compli or their project collapses entirely but I doubt that guns will decide the matter.

    It’s much like boiling a frog…they increase the temperature slowly.  They also reinforce the double standard.  Violently trying to overthrow the gov’t in Portland and Seattle is fine and dandy because these are left-leaning causes.  But, if the right steps out of line…it’s insurrection and the gulag for all of them.  If Democrats give speeches extolling and promoting violence by their people that is not just OK but speaking truth to power.  If someone who isn’t political (or isn’t overtly political) does something, every GOP official is asked if they condemn it.  This has been going on for a long time, but it really became obvious in the Summer of Fire in 20 and Jan 6th.  The blatant hypocrisy is just accepted.  Going back a bit further, when the GOP started to filibuster Obama’s judicial appointments it was called “unprecedented” while those same news people ignored that the Democrats had filibustered Bush’s appointments.  Does anyone remember Miguel Estrada?  Or that his wife ended up taking her life as a result of the stress of the blocking of his nomination to the DC Circuit Court.

    If there is one thing that Sen. McConnell has done it has been that he believes that when the Dems break the rules, they have to be subject to payback.  But, for too long their stranglehold on the media has been unchallenged.  Now they write off any unbiased or right-leaning media as fake and unworthy of being considered accurate.  When my wife and I had a “discussion” about the 20 election this week I pointed out that there is evidence of MI voting systems (AFAIK the tallying machines) hitting Chinese IPs, and the Teigan v WEC made it clear that thousands of votes in WI were counted illegally.  Her response was that no legitimate media source has reported that and she wasn’t about to read any links that I sent her because they would be totally biased.  Sorry, @saintaugustine I guess your hard work to list all of those sources is just going to be ignored by people of the left.  The very mild response of refusing to accept the AP, or the broadcast networks as legitimate news outlets is a requirement IMO.  But its just the start.

    • #9
  10. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    Well David, it’s lost for now. The time to fight has passed. The Left has control of pretty much all institutions. It will take generations to recover after the collapse.

    I’m reminded of the words of the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” (My emphasis.)

    That second sentence is what Dreher is urging us to prepare to do. Don’t know how many successors this will take though.

     

    Who really thinks they will accept martyrdom, and who thinks they will deny the faith?  

    • #10
  11. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    But our enemies are so pathetic. How can we be losing to these bozos? Biden? Pelosi? Even Hillary. These folks are no Lenins or Stalins or Maos or Xis. Trudeau is not a patch on his father. The View? Anyone on CNN. Even Bill Gates is a pretty awful supervillain. 

    • #11
  12. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Chuck (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    Departed the Republican Party two years ago, and have sent no money whatsoever to and candidate. Still get daily pleas for $$$

    Yeah, I left the party 1 year and 4 days ago.  I really don’t miss it.

    • #12
  13. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    Well David, it’s lost for now. The time to fight has passed. The Left has control of pretty much all institutions. It will take generations to recover after the collapse.

    I’m reminded of the words of the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” (My emphasis.)

    That second sentence is what Dreher is urging us to prepare to do. Don’t know how many successors this will take though.

     

    It is lost for now yes.  But I think way too many of the Right never wanted to fight it.  They actually liked the new permissive do-what-you-want culture that the left has promoted.

    • #13
  14. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    It’s very easy to whine about the failure of politicians on the Right to counter the Left in the battles of the culture war, but politicians mostly respond to their perception of where their voters are. If they don’t, they won’t be re-elected. The culture wars were lost, not because politicians on the Right didn’t fight, but because the public largely agreed with the Left. It’s no surprise, given the relentless propaganda of the Left in entertainment and the dumbing-down of education. 

    • #14
  15. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Chuck (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    Well David, it’s lost for now. The time to fight has passed. The Left has control of pretty much all institutions. It will take generations to recover after the collapse.

    I’m reminded of the words of the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” (My emphasis.)

    That second sentence is what Dreher is urging us to prepare to do. Don’t know how many successors this will take though.

    Who really thinks they will accept martyrdom, and who thinks they will deny the faith?

    Randy Alcorn wrote a book about a Chinese Christian who has a legacy of martyrdom. Both his father and grandfather were executed as underground pastors. Every morning, he’d start his day asking, “is today the day I die?” When he was imprisoned, he started thanking God for considering his faith strong enough for this persecution.

    I don’t know if we know until we are brought to it. All I can do is continually grow in my faith until something like that does come along.

    • #15
  16. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    The business Republicans once needed social conservative votes. When businesses went woke, they no longer needed the deplorables. 

    • #16
  17. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    It’s very easy to whine about the failure of politicians on the Right to counter the Left in the battles of the culture war, but politicians mostly respond to their perception of where their voters are. If they don’t, they won’t be re-elected. The culture wars were lost, not because politicians on the Right didn’t fight, but because the public largely agreed with the Left. It’s no surprise, given the relentless propaganda of the Left in entertainment and the dumbing-down of education.

    A Republican who represents a district that always votes for Republicans (called a deep red district) is likely to be much more willing to publicly present a conservative viewpoint than a Republican representing a district where, say, Trump and Biden received about the same number of votes (called a swing district or light red district).  

    Also, take a look at what happened in San Francisco last year in school board races and in the recall of the district attorney.

    It’s hard to think of a more deep blue part of the country than San Francisco.  Yet the voters there hit their limit and booted out Lefties who went too far (for them).  

    So, I think Rod Dreher is too pessimistic.  Conservatives can win on issues where the voting public agrees with conservatives even as conservatives lose on issues where the public does not agree with conservatives.  

    • #17
  18. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):
    I don’t know if you read Rod’s blog over at The American Conservative; if you have, you’d know that Rod believes the “culture war” has long been over and the godless have won, for now. (FWIW, I agree with him. Turns out that we should have stood firm and died on all those hills we were told “weren’t the hills to die on.”) Thus the tone of the book is no surprise to me.

    It’s not that the culture war is lost, it’s that the Right still doesn’t want to fight it, well at least the ones that matter don’t want to fight it. The elected leadership of the Republicans never wanted to fight the culture war because, for them, it was a losing game. If they stood firm on issues, then they lost the chance of ever convincing the left or even the squishy middle to vote for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like the social conservatives were going to vote Democrat, where would they go? Nowhere, so they had a solid block of voters whom they never had to actually deliver anything for, and could count on for money and votes in every election.

    Well David, it’s lost for now. The time to fight has passed. The Left has control of pretty much all institutions. It will take generations to recover after the collapse.

    I’m reminded of the words of the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” (My emphasis.)

    That second sentence is what Dreher is urging us to prepare to do. Don’t know how many successors this will take though.

     

    It is lost for now yes. But I think way too many of the Right never wanted to fight it. They actually liked the new permissive do-what-you-want culture that the left has promoted.

    Many Libertarians agree.

    • #18
  19. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    The culture wars were lost, not because politicians on the Right didn’t fight, but because the public largely agreed with the Left. It’s no surprise, given the relentless propaganda of the Left in entertainment and the dumbing-down of education. 

    I think you skip a step here. We were told at the founding not to do what we did 110 years ago through the adoption of the 16th and 17th Amendments that removed necessary capabilities for the people at large to fight this battle effectively. WWII was a major distraction that bred over-confidence and we have gone straight down from there. Bigness is the nemesis of any republic, especially one that has lost its federalism as America has. I have become convinced that many, including conservative politicians, failed to see these developments in progress until Trump by which time many were in the form of a fait accompli. 

    • #19
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I have been long concerned about a sectarian civil war. I think if maytering starts happening on a large scale, it will come.

     

    I don’t think so. The left has no reason not to continue to take over institutions and increase ideological enforcement as they do now. If that moves too fast or gets violent, then the anesthesia would wear off and people would simply throw them out by choosing to redirect resources. Trying to impose that by force is far too risky.

    Their real problem is reality. Blackouts and hardships from stupid green energy policies, the collapse of value for substance-free but absurdly expensive college degrees, the war on America’s poor and low-income by importing hordes of illegals, and the really tiresome stupidity of woke tyranny… I don’t see the people, the military, and law enforcement rallying to protect and defend disastrous policy by imposing them by force. I don’t foresee legions of volunteers for Antifa/BLM to become an auxiliary for the Merrick Garland Stasi.

    Either the left proceeds non-violently to a Chinese social credit society as a fait compli or their project collapses entirely but I doubt that guns will decide the matter.

    No, guns always decide the matter. 

    Unlike East German, unlike China, the population is armed. If a social credit system stops half the nation from working, what are the results?

    Revolution always seems like it will never happen until it does. Then in hindsight, it was obvious it was coming. The winds are already picking up. You cannot drive people from life with a social credit system who are armed. 

    • #20
  21. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    David C. Broussard (View Comment):
    It’s much like boiling a frog…they increase the temperature slowly.

    Frogs jump out of the water when this happens. It is a stupid analogy. 

    Or maybe not. Humans will jump out too. 

     

    • #21
  22. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    The culture wars were lost, not because politicians on the Right didn’t fight, but because the public largely agreed with the Left.

    I don’t think this is a correct assessment.

    • #22
  23. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    I used to listen to a talk radio show when I lived in Colorado.

    The host of the show was pretty conservative on issues such as gun ownership, taxes, government regulation over businesses, government spending and a hawkish national defense.

    But occasionally a social conservative would call into the show and ask him about a social issue.  It might be homosexuality, abortion or drugs.  At that point the radio host would say, “I am not a social issues conservative.”

    This is the challenge the conservative movement faces.  Some people are conservative on some issues but not others.  A politician has to figure out how to get more votes than his opponent, which isn’t always easy.

    • #23
  24. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    The US Senate race that just happened in Alaska a few months ago demonstrates the complexity of the political terrain.  

    Lisa Murkowski isn’t a social conservative.  Her Republican opponent was a social conservative.  

    Alaska is a deep red state, but Murkowski won anyway.  

    The other Republican US Senator from Alaska is a bit more conservative than Murkowski, but still not as conservative as a Republican you would find in the deep South.  

    • #24
  25. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    I think one thing some commenters are missing is that Rod is specifically addressing these books to orthodox Christians (note the lower case “o” there) and the orthodox churches (again, lower case). These books are meant to prepare and strengthen Christians. (Other orthodox believers, such as our Jewish brethren and sisters, may also find them useful.) He’s not talking to social conservatives at large, nor is he talking politics.

    I mean, it’s there in the subtitle: “A Manual for Christian Dissidents.”

    • #25
  26. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    I think one thing some commenters are missing is that Rod is specifically addressing these books to orthodox Christians (note the lower case “o” there) and the orthodox churches (again, lower case). These books are meant to prepare and strengthen Christians. (Other orthodox believers, such as our Jewish brethren and sisters, may also find them useful.) He’s not talking to social conservatives at large, nor is he talking politics.

    I mean, it’s there in the subtitle: “A Manual for Christian Dissidents.”

    Jewish people have the option of moving to Israel.  Muslims have the option of moving to a majority Muslim country.  But what options do Christians have other than just take it in the shorts?

    • #26
  27. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    I think one thing some commenters are missing is that Rod is specifically addressing these books to orthodox Christians (note the lower case “o” there) and the orthodox churches (again, lower case). These books are meant to prepare and strengthen Christians. (Other orthodox believers, such as our Jewish brethren and sisters, may also find them useful.) He’s not talking to social conservatives at large, nor is he talking politics.

    I mean, it’s there in the subtitle: “A Manual for Christian Dissidents.”

    Jewish people have the option of moving to Israel. Muslims have the option of moving to a majority Muslim country. But what options do Christians have other than just take it in the shorts?

    Christians were never allowed to have “options.”

    Our options were to stop immigration.

    • #27
  28. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    I think one thing some commenters are missing is that Rod is specifically addressing these books to orthodox Christians (note the lower case “o” there) and the orthodox churches (again, lower case). These books are meant to prepare and strengthen Christians. (Other orthodox believers, such as our Jewish brethren and sisters, may also find them useful.) He’s not talking to social conservatives at large, nor is he talking politics.

    I mean, it’s there in the subtitle: “A Manual for Christian Dissidents.”

    Jewish people have the option of moving to Israel. Muslims have the option of moving to a majority Muslim country. But what options do Christians have other than just take it in the shorts?

    As you noted in your other comments, there are small victories recently; too soon to tell if they “take” though.

    But again, these are aimed at preparing orthodox Christians for the “soft totalitarianism” (soon to be hard) he believes is coming, and the persecution that would go with it. Nothing to do with politics.

    • #28
  29. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Stina (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    I think one thing some commenters are missing is that Rod is specifically addressing these books to orthodox Christians (note the lower case “o” there) and the orthodox churches (again, lower case). These books are meant to prepare and strengthen Christians. (Other orthodox believers, such as our Jewish brethren and sisters, may also find them useful.) He’s not talking to social conservatives at large, nor is he talking politics.

    I mean, it’s there in the subtitle: “A Manual for Christian Dissidents.”

    Jewish people have the option of moving to Israel. Muslims have the option of moving to a majority Muslim country. But what options do Christians have other than just take it in the shorts?

    Christians were never allowed to have “options.”

    I guess I don’t understand why the entire Christian world has gone woke while the Muslim world has remained very traditional.  

    • #29
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    I think one thing some commenters are missing is that Rod is specifically addressing these books to orthodox Christians (note the lower case “o” there) and the orthodox churches (again, lower case). These books are meant to prepare and strengthen Christians. (Other orthodox believers, such as our Jewish brethren and sisters, may also find them useful.) He’s not talking to social conservatives at large, nor is he talking politics.

    I mean, it’s there in the subtitle: “A Manual for Christian Dissidents.”

    Jewish people have the option of moving to Israel. Muslims have the option of moving to a majority Muslim country. But what options do Christians have other than just take it in the shorts?

    Christians were never allowed to have “options.”

    I guess I don’t understand why the entire Christian world has gone woke while the Muslim world has remained very traditional.

    Basically Islam decided not to continue intellectual exploration in its tradition. It was banned, and everything had to be accepted literally. Or else. 

    • #30
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