What do you think of Rod Dreher?
“If you are a white man in Baton Rouge like Thomas Achord, you live in a city that is majority black, and that is one of the most violent cities in the United States. The violence is almost entirely confined to the black community. You see a community that is broadly dysfunctional, with incredible rates of violence, with drug abuse, and most importantly of all, with family systems that have disintegrated. You also live in a society and culture where one cannot talk about these things openly, because to do so is to invite condemnation of yourself as a racist. This is broadly true in America. Our social taboos prevent us from dealing with the ugly realities in front of us, not only having to do with race, but also with sexuality, and now with gender. …
Once again: the evil of the Left does not justify or excuse the evil of the Right. But it does help explain where it comes from. If you want to teach these young whites not to hate others on the basis of race, then stop hating white people on the basis of race, and maligning them, and disadvantaging them, solely because they are white, or white and male. If you won’t stop it, then you can expect a hell of a lot more Thomas Achords to arise, and Christian conservatives like Alastair Roberts and me won’t be able to do much at all to stop it. They’ll see us as they do today: like useful idiots for those who want to destroy them. …
We see it in the Twitter thread of Thomas Achord’s online alter ego — this, despite the fact that he professes Christ. As in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow American South, there will be many, many people who find a way to reconcile their religious faith with race hatred. Certainly many progressive churches are doing the same, from the Left, against whites. Those who stand up against them will be vilified. But it’s still important to do so, because in the end, we are accountable to God and God alone.
Traditional Christians who rebuke race hatred can’t exorcise these devils from our midst alone. The truth is, the greatest ally white nationalists, race haters, and anti-Semites on the Right, including the Christian far right, have is the contemporary illiberal Left in power. …”
Is Rod a useful idiot for the Left?
In my view, Rod’s problem is that he simply can’t shake the liberalism of his youth. “Christianity” is synonymous with America in the 1960s and 1970s. The liberal consensus of Cold War America is normal, good and true. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Dream of a colorblind society – as conservatives understand it, NOT as King himself or his entourage understood it as a hustle to get what they wanted from gullible White liberals – is the ideal of race relations. The “Rev.” Jesse Jackson was one of MLK’s closest associates and was his logical successor. We are demons who are guilty of the sins of “racism” and “antisemitism” for questioning taboos that were created by the liberal establishment after World War II.
Case in point, Rod has recently gone through a tragic divorce and now sees himself as living in exile in Hungary. Elon Musk is the richest man in the world and he can’t hold his marriage together either or stop his own son from becoming a tranny. Tom Brady can’t hold his marriage his together. Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are also divorced. Kanye has gone off the rails since his divorce from Kim Kardashian. No amount or wealth or fame or being blessed with good looks is sufficient to hold together marriages under the laws and cultural conditions that now prevail in the United States. What is it like for the average man who isn’t blessed with wealth and fame? Is it “demonic” to question the triumph of recent progressive social movements and the consequences that have flowed out of them that has produced this dysfunction? Is it “immoral” for men not to share Rod’s nostalgia for the triumph of feminism in his youth?
As Rod himself admits, Baton Rouge is a decaying black hole which is one of the most violent cities in the United States. It is a monument to the vision and values and assumptions of mid-20th century American progressive liberalism. Baton Rouge is the way it is today because of MLK’s Dream and the Civil Rights Movement and the cultural hegemony of “antiracism.” The same is true of Detroit and Birmingham and Jackson and Montgomery and every other majority black city in the South. White people have retreated from those inhospitable cities which have been rebuilt in the suburbs and exurbs. In Rod’s view though, White people in the Jim Crow South reconciled their religion with “race hatred.” Everyone who lived in Baton Rouge and Birmingham before the Civil Rights Movement was possessed by the “demon” of “racism” when those cities were run by Whites and for Whites. Today, those cities are run by blacks and for blacks and the result is what the “evil” segregationists predicted which is that power would shift from one race to the other and that civilization would decline to the black level. No amount of forced integration of public schools or feel good pedagogy or social spending would ever erase racial differences. Colorblindness was wishful thinking. In the real world, racial tribalism is running as strong as ever. Whites are on the losing end of the current system which is centered on puffing up blacks and addressing their various problems. Once again, the difference is that we don’t look back on the Civil Rights Movement with nostalgia. It succeeded and the result is the fallout that we have been left with in our own times.
The failure of conservatives like Rod to tell the truth about race and to be cowed by progressive lies about race is what paved the road to the triumph of the “trans” movement in our culture. Conservatives went along with the idea that everyone who told the truth about race and who insisted that race was grounded in human biology was a “racist” who was immoral and beyond the pale and should be shunned from polite society and branded as a dangerous extremist. Conservatives went along with the nonsense that “race is a social construct.” Rod insists that White people who are getting uppity about the status quo are “demons.” Is it any wonder that progressives were so emboldened by this failure of nerve that they would the use same arguments and tactics to insist that actually biology has nothing to do with the sex and anyone who says otherwise is a “homophobe” and “transphobe” who is immoral and beyond the pale?
We see this pattern over and over again. The failure of conservatives who are cowed by charges of “racism” to defend Confederate monuments and whose instinct was to tuck their tails between their legs and run for the tall grass invited attacks by emboldened progressives on American monuments in general. The failure to speak candidly about Jewish power and influence in our culture inexorably led to Jonathan Greenblatt and the ADL being emboldened to wipe the Right off the internet. Conservatives like Rod are incapable of pushing back against these people because of various -isms and -phobias. It would be “antisemitic” to notice how Jonathan Greenblatt wields his power and influence to shut down everyone from the president of the United States and his inner circle down to his humblest followers.
At the end of the day, we have a very different take on mid-20th century America and the post-World War II era that has followed. Jewish wealth, power and cultural influence reached an all-time high in this era. That’s why “antisemitism” became the ultimate taboo. Progressive liberalism reached its highwater mark in the 1960s and 1970s. That’s why “racism” became a major taboo. The “mainstream” mass media reached its peak in this era. American culture was unusually nationalized in this period. Whereas Rod sees this period as being the standard by which to judge the past, present and future, we see it as a passing phase which that we are already moving on from. We also have no nostalgia for it.
Rod is still quite happy to live by liberal lies. The mythology that conservatives have constructed around the fictional MLK is one such lie. The norms around “antiracism” and “antisemitism” are another one. The latter is increasingly under strain as now daily displays of overwhelming Jewish financial power being used to blackball and crush anyone who dares not to tow the line are becoming impossible to ignore. The lies about the Southern past are another one. Segregationists weren’t evil people who were cruelly oppressing subaltern blacks because they were possessed by the demon of “racism.” They were practical Christians who were trying to maintain and develop their civilization around the insoluble problem of racial inequality. Liberals haven’t succeeded anywhere in eliminating racial differences.
The origins of the world that we are living in today can be traced back to the world of Rod’s beloved youth. Feminism wasn’t completely out of control. “Antiracism” wasn’t completely out of control. Immigration was just beginning to spiral out of control. These trends were nascent. Jews using their wealth, power and influence like the mafia to crush their critics wasn’t as blatant then as it is now. White guilt wasn’t as out of control. Progressives were arguing that race is a “social construct” and a “myth,” but hadn’t boldly crossed the frontier of denying biology into the realm of denying that men and women exist.
Christianity, too, has been infected by the plague of modernism. Christian churches have repeatedly adapted their theology to fit in with the times and the triumph of various leftwing social movements. Christian elites in a liberal society change their beliefs to accommodate liberalism and to chase after social status. This has been going on for well over a century now. Previous generations who didn’t live under the thrall of a hegemonic liberal social order didn’t trouble themselves with worrying about the “demons” of “racism” or “antisemitism” which are the fashions of our own peculiar times and the boogeymen of our secular liberal elites. Corruption isn’t anything new in the history of Christianity and all institutions suffer from corruption over the long term. Christianity just happens to be corrupted by the influence of liberalism in our own times. In the past, Christianity has twisted itself to accommodate various other fashionable philosophies whether it was Aristotelianism or Neoplatonism.
Anyway, I don’t think Rod is a bad guy. I just think he has too much nostalgia for his youth. He is also too shy because he has spent his entire career operating within the conservative establishment. He sees the same problems, but he doesn’t draw the same conclusions like lots of older people.