Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: Live Not By Lies

 

To grasp the threat of totalitarianism, it’s important to understand the difference between it and simple authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is what you have when the state monopolizes political control. That is mere dictatorship – bad, certainly, but totalitarianism is much worse. According to Hannah Arendt… a totalitarian society is one in which an ideology seeks to displace all prior traditions and institutions, with the goal of bringing all aspects of society under control of that ideology. A totalitarian state is one that aspires to nothing less than defining and controlling reality. Truth is whatever the rulers decide it is. As Arendt has written, wherever totalitarianism has ruled, “[I]t has begun to destroy the essence of man.”⁠ (pages 8-9)

Many have fought and endured Hard Totalitarianism – repression at the end of a rifle – and while we may have (for now) seen the back of such regimes, Rod Dreher warns, in his new book Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, that we are facing a new form of totalitarian repression. This new form, he warns, will not (for now) come at the ends of rifle barrels and the points of bayonets, nor will it come all at once. It will come gradually, and it will attempt to corral us not with overt force, nor even fully from our government, but through the mounting pressures, nudges, and unseen pushes and constraints of the very technologies we rely on and willingly install in everything in our lives. Dreher predicts the emergence of a Soft Totalitarianism which will resemble the Social Credit System of the People’s Republic of China, created by an alliance of ideological interests from the technology, information, and banking industries. This new totalitarianism will be radically hostile to any religion, creed, or understanding of the world that conflicts with its own, and especially towards Christianity, which it slanders as repressive and “hateful”, especially on matters of sex and race. How can we recognize it? Can we fight it? How do we survive and endure it without compromising? Rod has much to say.

Rod Dreher is, by his own frequent admission, something of an odd duck in American conservatism. His first book, Crunchy Cons, was about people very like himself – the heterodox conservatives who find themselves on the political right, usually for deep-seated social concerns (religion, family, tradition, anti-corporatism), but who also find that these core values are ignored, or else clash with other conservative orthodoxies on matters like free markets or foreign policy. Dreher is also especially known for being one the leading reporters to blow open the sexual abuse scandals of the Roman Catholic Church, and unearth how deeply that rot actually ran – the integrity of the Christian faith is important to Dreher. His prior book, The Benedict Option, was a statement to Christians that they have lost the culture war and need to rebuild the foundations of faith and society, with instructions on how to begin this process through intentional community formation – as such it is like a book warning on how to prepare for a cultural tornado, and clean up afterward. Live Not By Lies can be therefore likened to a warning on what cultural tornado will do, how it will act, what it will try to destroy, and how to survive during it with one’s soul intact.

Live Not By Lies has two parts. The first part attempts to define totalitarianism, its preconditions, early warning signs, and enforcement mechanisms. His goal is to demonstrate not only that our society amply exhibits the preconditions of an emergent totalitarianism, but that we are already well advanced towards it. One of his chief arguments is that we often fail to see what is coming because we are looking for it in the wrong places, and thus not seeing it. The second half of Live Not By Lies is Dreher’s look at those who resisted the Soviet oppression in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and how we can learn to resist as they did. It is from these people that Dreher draws his title. “Live Not By Lies” was originally the title of an essay by Alexander Solzhenitsyn on how to live in Truth in the USSR. These survivors today see quite clearly many of the same dangers and tactics they once fought, and have much to say about how to resist, and why it is vital that we do so.

One of contemporary progressivism’s commonly used phrases – the personal is political – captures the totalitarian spirit, which seeks to infuse all aspects of life with political consciousness. Indeed, the Left pushes its ideology ever deeper into the personal realm, leaving fewer and fewer areas of daily life uncontested. This, warned [Hannah] Arendt, is a sign that a society is ripening for totalitarianism, because that is what totalitarianism essentially is: the politicization of everything. (page 39)

One cannot watch any professional sport anymore without having political ideology thrust in. Video games are not immune, as EA Sports has shoved race-hustler Colin Kapernick onto the box cover and ranked him more highly than many active players. Gilette imbues commercials for razors with trans-humanist messaging. Many businesses and schools now have mandatory Pride events from which employees are not permitted to abstain. Again and again, we find that even purchasing daily necessities is somehow or other making an ideological statement. The signs are abundant, and Dreher warns of other crucial signs besides. In a totalitarian society, nothing one says or does is without political consequences – even a failure to act (“silence is violence”) becomes a political act that is either in line with the totalitarian demand, or opposed to it. One cannot simply be non-racist, one is either actively anti-racist, or an actual racist – there is never any ideological middle ground. Inevitably we are all drawn into this at some level, choosing or boycotting things based on their declared or implied ideologies.

Infusing every aspect of life with ideology was a standard aspect of Soviet totalitarianism. Early in the Stalin era, N. V. Krylenko, a Soviet commissar…, steamrolled over chess players who wanted to keep politics out of the game.

“We must finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess,” he said. “We must condemn once and for all the formula ‘chess for the sake of chess,’ like the formula ‘art for art’s sake.’ We must organize shockbrigades of chess-players, and begin immediate realization of a Five-Year Plan for chess.” (Ibid.)

Part 1 begins with an intensive study of totalitarianism’s features, including what readies a society to veer into it. Dreher here relies heavily on Hannah Arendt’s 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, as well as accounts from the survivors of the Bolshevik Revolution, and compares those studies to our own national situation. Widespread loneliness and feelings of isolation, putting group loyalties (and signals thereof) foremost in relationships, and a religious-type faith in “Progress!” (which is most often touted as a rejection of a supposedly repressive past coupled to an embrace of technocracy) all are necessary preconditions, for they typify a society dividing against itself, and the cult of “Progress!” offers a sort of surety to the disaffected that whatever “wrongs” they feel have been brought against themselves will be righted, while the old order is destroyed. The parallels Dreher draws between the sentiments of 1920s Germany, late Tsarist Russia, and today’s America are striking, even if other material conditions are different, and the dangers should give us pause. 

What Dreher suggests will ultimately tip the balance is that the private sector, especially in the technology, information, and finance sectors, is increasingly dominated by radical progressives who see it as part of their corporate duty to dedicate their companies both internally and externally to championing progressive ideologies, even if it diminishes their profits in the short term to do so. Moreover, as we willingly trade our privacy for access to conveniences, jobs, and financial opportunities, we are giving these “woke” companies the very tools and data they need to manipulate us in turn.  

Free-market purists will certainly argue here that Dreher is overly pessimistic, and that, over a long enough time horizon, “the market” will somehow sort this out to protect our privacy, and the government should largely stay out of it. This, however, discounts that with the money and power available to Big Tech, the government may be manipulated out of exercising any oversight at all, while the markets are kept unfree. Moreover, businesses often thrive on creating demand in the first place, then offering a “solution” for a price – in this light, the continuous denigration of Christians, Jews, and other heterodox thinkers as “haters” or “Nazis” creates a fear of such people and their “dangerous” thoughts, which drives a demand to censor and punish, something the woke ideologues in tech companies are only too willing to do. In short, the very libertarian faith in the “free market” is, Dreher argues, misplaced. 

The technology to manipulate and suppress “wrong” thinking already exists, as the Chinese Social Credit system amply demonstrates, and it is only a combined lack of will, and still latent fear of government reprisal that keeps these corporations from going as far as the radicals insist they should. As many college surveys report, younger generations utterly reject the notion that “hate” speech should have any protections at all – we should not expect them to show restraint as they achieve power. If this happens, we will indeed find ourselves living in a totalitarian society, but those controlling it will not be in the government, but in corporations answerable only to each other.

Time will tell if Dreher is correct in his prediction. I wish I myself could say, but it has long been my observation that the sad truth of humanity is we desire to fit in with what it popular, or at least be perceived as doing so. We see this in clothing fashions, of course, but also in ideological fashions, especially if adherence to said fashions give access to power and popularity while being out of line gets one ostracized. The communists knew this – as Dreher shows, they understood perfectly well that out of fear of standing out, most people would simply go along with whatever the Party demanded if it made life easier. In any new totalitarian system, we should therefore expect the same: most people will not be willing to risk their jobs, their social lives, their finances, or prospects for their children if they should fail to conform. We see this pressure already in play as increasing numbers of the heterodox report self-censoring at work, and even at casual social functions, out of fear of reprisal.  

In Part 2, Dreher pivots to the dissidents against the communists in Europe. Here we meet many familiar names. Solzhenitsyn warns that the act of double-think, mouthing platitudes and slogans to get by while secretly disbelieving them, breaks us down by inducing a sort of schizophrenia. Vaclav Havel tells us that by refusing to display slogans we know to be lies shows that we see through them, and makes it possible for others to see through them as well. The Solidarity champions in Poland show the necessity of standing firm with allies. Dreher takes us through other lesser-known families and figures too, to tell the stories of how they resisted and managed to live and work in a society deeply hostile to them. The costs were often quite high – imprisonment and execution were always looming possibilities, as were visits from the secret police. Yet what kept them going was knowing that they were never alone. Within the bounds of their police states, they managed to create small and secret safe spaces to meet and to work, and to worship and to teach. The most consistent message from all the old dissidents, however, is that to defy the order and live in Truth means to willingly suffer. This is perhaps the hardest advice of all.

Live Not By Lies is not a long book, but it is an intense book. Dreher is impassioned on this subject, and the nearly continuous drumbeat of stories about people losing jobs, losing social media accounts, and losing livelihoods bears out the real possibility that he is right about what is coming next. Still, the future Dreher predicts is not necessarily inevitable, things could be better, or they could be very much worse. Dreher wrote his book before the 2020 summer of riots and race ideologies – before many big-city mayors showed that they were willing to let their cities burn if doing so was (somehow) standing against “hate”, and before many businesses jumped to mandate even more radical “Diversity” requirements that amount to open denigration of anything “white”, complete with struggle sessions that would not have been out of place in the USSR or Mao’s China. In light of recent events, Hard Totalitarianism may well threaten instead.

Though the sub-title of Live Not By Lies is “a manual for Christian dissidents,” the book has solid advice for anyone who finds the prospect of a Woke World Order to be a threat. If the totalitarianism Dreher predicts does come to pass, while it will certainly be hostile to Christianity, Christians will hardly be its only undesirables. Anyone who engages in “wrong think” on any issue then held as the “truth” by the ideologues in power would, necessarily, find themselves denied access to society and respectable work. In this possible future dystopia all dissidents will need to work together for support. 

anImage_5.tiff

1 Dreher, Rod. Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents. Sentinal, New York, NY, 2020.
ISBN: 978-0593-08739-8

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  1. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in SeattleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Excellent review, SkipSul: thank you.

    • #1
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:21 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Yes. And this isn’t that. Instructions from Soviet believers and dissidents are useless in the long run because they come to nothing without Ronald Reagan’s United States. There is and will be no such counterpart if we let the darkness overtake us in this election. Dreher’s Benedict Option  not only suffers from this basic defect but also failed to learn from the inward turning of what became labeled “Fundamentalists” under the twin pronged assault of supposedly scientific secularism and the German born Higher Criticism. Walking away lost us moral and cultural ground for the better part of a century, until Reagan managed to get these citizens to assert their rights as U.S. citizens, as Paul once did with his Roman citizenship.

    • #2
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:22 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Yes. And this isn’t that. Instructions from Soviet believers and dissidents are useless in the long run because they come to nothing without Ronald Reagan’s United States. There is and will be no such counterpart if we let the darkness overtake us in this election. Dreher’s Benedict Option not only suffers from this basic defect but also failed to learn from the inward turning of what became labeled “Fundamentalists” under the twin pronged assault of supposedly scientific secularism and the German born Higher Criticism. Walking away lost us moral and cultural ground for the better part of a century, until Reagan managed to get these citizens to assert their rights as U.S. citizens, as Paul once did with his Roman citizenship.

    Three counter points:

    1. This book is attempting to live beyond the moment of the election. Dreher has essentially taken the position that there is little our politicians (including Trump) can do, even assuming they wanted to do something (which they don’t). For one thing (which I noted above) they rigidly hold to the sovereignty of a free market practically as a matter of faith – this saps the will. For another, few on the right have been able to articulate a means by which they legally could do anything. In this light – even if Trump wins, this would at best be a delaying action, and not a guarantee.
    2. TBO was never about “walking away” (though this is a common claim). It was about building up intentional networks within a hostile society – basically little associations of people to support each other and preserve faith and culture.
    3. Your argument itself is basically American Essentialism. Is America really the last hope for humanity?

    Praise the Lord.

    Praise the Lord, my soul.

    I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
    Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
    When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
    Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

    He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
    He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
    The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
    the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
    The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

    The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

    Praise the Lord.

    Psalm 146

    • #3
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:51 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. James Lileks Contributor

    On an irrelevant note, I do not understand the early Soviet book-jacket design.

    • #4
    • October 25, 2020, at 10:04 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Gary Robbins Reagan

    There was an absolutely electric and fierce debate between the author Rod Dreher, and woke Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude on Morning Joe on October 16, 2020. David French also participated. Both Dreher and Glaude were sharply critical of each other to the point that it almost went off of the rails like the first debate with Trump and Biden, moderated by Chris Wallace.

    Dreher gave as good as he got. He stood his ground against the woke Glaude who was not used to being challenged. I highly recommend the debate.

    • #5
    • October 25, 2020, at 10:39 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    I just hope Rod Dreher’s option works better than the Russian Orthodox

    • #6
    • October 25, 2020, at 10:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVeyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    I just hope Rod Dreher’s option works better than the Russian Orthodox

    To be fair to them, they did manage to survive one of history’s meanest cleansing campaigns and paid a massive price in blood for their resistance. We can debate the tactics of the Soviet-era Russian Orthodox Church, but it has to be said that when Communism ended, they had an important role in giving some sense of morals and hope to a new society that had to re-learn so much of what they once knew. 

    Dreher’s option amounts to not giving up hope. I’d buy that. Beyond that he doesn’t seem to have a lot of quick cures for what ails us. 

    • #7
    • October 26, 2020, at 12:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There was an absolutely electric and fierce debate between the author Rod Dreher, and woke Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude on Morning Joe on October 16, 2020. David French also participated. Both Dreher and Glaude were sharply critical of each other to the point that it almost went off of the rails like the first debate with Trump and Biden, moderated by Chris Wallace.

    Dreher gave as good as he got. He stood his ground against the woke Glaude who was not used to being challenged. I highly recommend the debate.

    What’s frightening there is that Glaude absolutely believes that he is morally in the right, and that “hate” should be silenced, with the added bonus that he is authoritative on defining “hate”.

    • #8
    • October 26, 2020, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Gary Robbins Reagan

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There was an absolutely electric and fierce debate between the author Rod Dreher, and woke Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude on Morning Joe on October 16, 2020. David French also participated. Both Dreher and Glaude were sharply critical of each other to the point that it almost went off of the rails like the first debate with Trump and Biden, moderated by Chris Wallace.

    Dreher gave as good as he got. He stood his ground against the woke Glaude who was not used to being challenged. I highly recommend the debate.

    What’s frightening there is that Glaude absolutely believes that he is morally in the right, and that “hate” should be silenced, with the added bonus that he is authoritative on defining “hate”.

    What was thrilling is that Dreher did not flinch.

    • #9
    • October 26, 2020, at 6:15 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Gary McVey Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    I just hope Rod Dreher’s option works better than the Russian Orthodox

    To be fair to them, they did manage to survive one of history’s meanest cleansing campaigns and paid a massive price in blood for their resistance. We can debate the tactics of the Soviet-era Russian Orthodox Church, but it has to be said that when Communism ended, they had an important role in giving some sense of morals and hope to a new society that had to re-learn so much of what they once knew. 

    There are two books I would recommend here: Everyday Saintsby Archimandrite Tikhon, and Saint John of Kronstadt, by I.K. Surksy.

    The book on Saint John is hagiography, so be forewarned that it makes no pretense at objectivity, but what makes it valuable is that the book is written by a survivor of the Revolution, and based on interviews with other survivors. One of the threads you pick up in the accounts of St. John is his battle with church hierarchy under the Tsar, and his near constant warnings that Russia was in very sorry spiritual shape. St. John and others were very busy mentoring up and coming priests to prepare for a great crisis. St. John died in 1907, but he is widely credited with having been gifted a prophetic vision of what was to come, and giving aid.

    One of the first things the Church would do after the Tsar’s abdication was to convene a church council to begin to reclaim their independence, which had been subverted ever since the days of Tsar Peter the Great. That did help even during the worst of the persecutions.

    Everyday Saints, by contrast, is one priest’s look at the everyday church during Communism’s waning days, and the decade immediately following. The absolute spiritual vacuum of Communism was obvious to many by the end, and this opened many eyes and ears, even if in secret, to the possibility that there was more to this world.

    • #10
    • October 26, 2020, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Dreher’s option amounts to not giving up hope. I’d buy that. Beyond that he doesn’t seem to have a lot of quick cures for what ails us. 

    Well, are there quick cures? And if there are not, should we waste time and energy chasing them? Dreher doesn’t think so.

    Another way to think about what he is saying is this:

    Dreher has written a manual on how to keep a clapped out old car running. Would it be fair to criticize it for not including a section on the merits of buying a new car, and how to negotiate with new care salesmen? No, that would be beyond the scope, and missing the point – such a book would be for people who cannot afford new cars, or are physically cut off from sources of new cars – like the Cubans who have to improvise and work with what they can make or scrounge. 

    • #11
    • October 26, 2020, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    I just hope Rod Dreher’s option works better than the Russian Orthodox

    When the guns are turned against you, what can you ultimately do to resist? Our Christian forebears in ancient Rome willingly faced martyrdom so as to witness to others, enduring scandal and humiliation all the while. Devout Russians did the same by the millions – the accounts of survivors are numerous, as are the revealed accounts and records of the Bolsheviks themselves.

    Alexander Ogorodnikov was one of the last significant Christian Soviet dissidents, and what he endured was horrific. And Yet… in the gulags he witnessed to other prisoners, and even to the guards, preaching the Gospel. Through his witness, others were saved who had nobody else to witness to them, or stand with them.

    Father George Calciu endured the worst of the Romanian “re-education” attempts. But he too, in prison and afterwards, bore a salvific witness to others. One of the key things revealed to him through the tortures he endured was that the guards and torturers themselves were victims just as he was, and just as in need of healing and forgiveness.

    This too was the witness of Corrie Ten Boom.

    If we are looking for earthly or societal triumph as some sign of success, we will find only disappointment in the end of things. It is one of the mistaken arrogances of much of modern Christianity to have thought its work somehow “done” because we had a very Christian society. This was one of the mistakes of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy pre WWI. It is also a mistake to think that society was at all normative, inevitable, or self-evidently right. We are paying for that complacency now.

    Dreher is warning that we need to be prepared to endure and suffer as they did. He is warning that what the Russian Orthodox had to endure is coming, in some form, to us as well.

    • #12
    • October 26, 2020, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. The Reticulator Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There was an absolutely electric and fierce debate between the author Rod Dreher, and woke Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude on Morning Joe on October 16, 2020. David French also participated. Both Dreher and Glaude were sharply critical of each other to the point that it almost went off of the rails like the first debate with Trump and Biden, moderated by Chris Wallace.

    Dreher gave as good as he got. He stood his ground against the woke Glaude who was not used to being challenged. I highly recommend the debate.

    Is it recorded and on line somewhere?

    • #13
    • October 26, 2020, at 7:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor

    This–

    SkipSul: Time will tell if Dreher is correct in his prediction.I wish I myself could say, but it has long been my observation that the sad truth of humanity is we desire to fit in with what it popular, or at least be perceived as doing so.We see this in clothing fashions, of course, but also in ideological fashions, especially if adherence to said fashions gives access to power and popularity, while being out of line gets one ostracized.

    and this–

    SkipSul: Yet what kept them going was knowing that they were never alone. Within the bounds of their police states they managed to create small and secret safe spaces to meet and to work, and to worship and to teach. The most consistent message from all the old dissidents, however, is that to defy the order and live in Truth means to willingly suffer. This is perhaps the hardest advice of all.

    Excellent review, and as you say, skip, ideas for all of us to contemplate. On one side, there will be those who will give up just about anything to fit on. On the other side, there are those who will stand for Truth. No matter what happens next week, we must remember who we are and what we stand for.

    • #14
    • October 26, 2020, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    This–

    SkipSul: Time will tell if Dreher is correct in his prediction.I wish I myself could say, but it has long been my observation that the sad truth of humanity is we desire to fit in with what it popular, or at least be perceived as doing so.We see this in clothing fashions, of course, but also in ideological fashions, especially if adherence to said fashions gives access to power and popularity, while being out of line gets one ostracized.

    and this–

    SkipSul: Yet what kept them going was knowing that they were never alone. Within the bounds of their police states they managed to create small and secret safe spaces to meet and to work, and to worship and to teach. The most consistent message from all the old dissidents, however, is that to defy the order and live in Truth means to willingly suffer. This is perhaps the hardest advice of all.

    Excellent review, and as you say, skip, ideas for all of us to contemplate. On one side, there will be those who will give up just about anything to fit on. On the other side, there are those who will stand for Truth. No matter what happens next week, we must remember who we are and what we stand for.

    Natan Sharansky:

     It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. There was a long list of all the Western leaders who had lined up to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire right next to the front-page story about this dangerous, terrible man who wanted to take the world back to the dark days of the Cold War.

    This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell’s Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.

    It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin’s ‘Great October Bolshevik Revolution’ and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution–Reagan’s Revolution.

    We were all in and out of punishment cells so often — me more than most — that we developed our own tapping language to communicate with each other between the walls. A secret code. We had to develop new communication methods to pass on this great, impossible news. We even used the toilets to tap on.

    • #15
    • October 26, 2020, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. SpiritO'78 Member

    The most important thing for Christians is have a line on culture/politics and stick to it. 

    • #16
    • October 26, 2020, at 8:35 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    There was an absolutely electric and fierce debate between the author Rod Dreher, and woke Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude on Morning Joe on October 16, 2020. David French also participated. Both Dreher and Glaude were sharply critical of each other to the point that it almost went off of the rails like the first debate with Trump and Biden, moderated by Chris Wallace.

    Dreher gave as good as he got. He stood his ground against the woke Glaude who was not used to being challenged. I highly recommend the debate.

    Is it recorded and on line somewhere?

    Dreher links to it here:

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/soft-totalitarianism-morning-joe-glaude-have-mercy-live-not-by-lies/

    • #17
    • October 26, 2020, at 9:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    SpiritO'78 (View Comment):

    The most important thing for Christians is have a line on culture/politics and stick to it.

    How possible is that though? Culture shifts, as do politics. Better, I would say, that we have a line on Christ and stick to Him.

    • #18
    • October 26, 2020, at 9:05 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. The Reticulator Member

    SpiritO'78 (View Comment):

    The most important thing for Christians is have a line on culture/politics and stick to it.

    I probably disagree. Christians should stick to their Christianity, but how that will apply to politics will vary. It’s even worse if they hitch their wagon to a politician or a political program, because those can change where we should not. As to culture, one of the 17th century Jesuits in Canada found it necessary to remind his brothers that not every cultural difference between the Indigenous people and the French Catholics was the work of the devil.

    • #19
    • October 26, 2020, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. James Hageman Moderator

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    On an irrelevant note, I do not understand the early Soviet book-jacket design.

    Did you see the one Dreher tweeted that has the guy middle-aged with a paunch? 

    • #20
    • October 26, 2020, at 12:47 PM PDT
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  21. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVeyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Dreher’s option amounts to not giving up hope. I’d buy that. Beyond that he doesn’t seem to have a lot of quick cures for what ails us.

    Well, are there quick cures? And if there are not, should we waste time and energy chasing them? Dreher doesn’t think so.

    Another way to think about what he is saying is this:

    Dreher has written a manual on how to keep a clapped out old car running. Would it be fair to criticize it for not including a section on the merits of buying a new car, and how to negotiate with new care salesmen? No, that would be beyond the scope, and missing the point – such a book would be for people who cannot afford new cars, or are physically cut off from sources of new cars – like the Cubans who have to improvise and work with what they can make or scrounge.

    I don’t think there are quick cures, no, so I’m not disappointed the Dreher doesn’t try to invent any. This BTW is my main gripe with Sohrab Ahmari.

    • #21
    • October 26, 2020, at 12:55 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member