Brave Sir Roddy stamps his foot and runs away. Takes a powder. Hits the road, Jack. Becomes a late Catholic (or parrot, depending on your species). Bats for the other team in protest.
He explains here:
In a few minutes, I’m going to walk over to the courthouse and vote either Democrat or Libertarian as a protest, which is to say, I’m throwing my vote away to object to the Tea Party. The current crisis in Washington is the last straw.
His very first commenter, sk, wonders how this makes a bit of sense at all:
October 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm
“Jay Morris is pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-traditional marriage! Jay Morris will lead the fight to build the wall along Mexico and protect our nation’s borders!
… The single most important action facing our Congress is to defund Obamacare.”
I really don’t get what is wrong with these statements, per your own standards. He wants to restrict abortion, he wants to restrict illegal immigration, and he wants to restrict gay marriage. He wants to defund Obamacare. He also believes in the right to bear arms, and supports freedoms related to gun ownership. I feel like I understand pretty clearly where he stands.
Are you expecting him to write a replacement for Obamacare (perhaps his own 3,000 page alternative document)? Are you expecting a freshman congressman to have a plan for rewriting the laws in these five issues? Are you expecting that a freshman congressman that you vote for will have any direct, independent power to do any of these things? You are the political analyst: as you know, freshman congressman basically have the power to vote.
So perhaps you expect each candidate for their first time in national office to understand the legal and bureaucratic outlines of how to genuinely make changes on the five hot button issues of our time, to have written appropriate legislation to say how they would independently change things, and then acknowledge that they actually won’t have the power (due to their inexperience and freshman status) to do any of it?
I’m just not getting your complaint.
Rod feels exactly the same way, then goes on to explain why voting for this Republican candidate is the wrong approach, but voting for the Democrat or Libertarian instead in protest is the right one:
[NFR: For immigration restriction? Me too. But "build a wall along the Mexican border" is unreasonable, and I don't think he really means it. I think he's pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment. And if he does mean it, that's worse, because it's crazy to think we could build a wall that long. Against abortion? Me too. But what is he going to do about it, given the realities of the Supreme Court's rulings? What can be done in the real world? I'd like to know. He doesn't say. Gun ownership? I probably agree with him, but I don't get the level of panic many conservatives have over the issue. On Obamacare, you know what I would like to see? Republican Congressmen talking about how Obamacare can be reformed. For better of for worse, defunding the thing is not going to happen. They're tilting at windmills. I get that he hates Obamacare. That was a respectable position two years ago. Today, though, Obamacare is in place. Continuing to fight its very existence is futile, and dramatically hurting the party. That all these GOP candidates are taking these maximalist positions, despite the political realities on the ground having changed, is very discouraging. It tells me that conservatives who don't like Obamacare are going to lose bigtime because these Tea Party people are unwilling to compromise at all. If it's all-or-nothing, and you lose, then your side gets nothing. -- RD]
See, it works like this. As long as everything is theoretical, whether religion or politics or "culture", Dreher's catch-all term for that vast universe of things he doesn't understand and can't articulate, it's all good. There aren't any consequences in theory, except, of course, only theoretical ones. It's safe and warm in theory, because theory doesn't have to exert and defend itself out in the real world, only real choice and action does. If you're only theoretically a conservative, everyone can still like you, because you haven't actually done anything real to them out in the world through any sort of boots on the ground political action. You haven't taken any less than perfect actions that might get you scorned or laughed at. You can "be" against abortion and your friend's wife, who just had one, will still invite you over for dinner, because you're harmless. You're safe, like your wife or girlfriend's gay guy friend. Better to stay safe, not like those actual real world Republicans whose hands, unlike Pilate's, can never be absolutely, perfectly clean.
Of course, in theory, safe you hasn't actually restricted abortion, or illegal immigration, or gay marriage, or anything else worth doing either, but you are still a hero, because of course you believe in heroism. And you just know that, when exactly the right opportunity presents itself, you'll be that hero you believe in, or that conservative. Because that's how the world works. In theory. And in the 8-year-old mind.
Unless, of course, the porridge or the Congressman is not just exactly right, the way you demand they should be. Then you can play your get-out-of-heroism card, because, you know, they're not playing by your rules. Rod's all for the theoretical conservative bowl of porridge, you see. It's just that, just as with the case of his personal Rodist Catholicism, out in the real world where there isn't any theoretical Conservative Party, only Democrats or Republicans, the real world Republicans haven't made the porridge exactly the way Rod would have prepared it in his own theoretical kitchen. Too hot perhaps. Or too cold. Maybe not seasoned to perfection. And what sort of hero eats an imperfect actual porridge? I mean, really? Or remains a communicant in an imperfect Catholic Church? Or votes for a real Republican Congressman over a theoretical conservative one? Or a Democrat?
So the only way for Rod to really register the depths of his developmentally arrested, petulant rejection of the imperfect real adult world that won't conform to his childish, imaginary demands is to vote for that Republican Congressman's Democrat opponent. That'll show them how he wants his porridge. That'll show them all!
Makes perfect sense to me.
So maybe Rod Dreher really is a principled, man of action conservative after all - at least when it comes to conserving his own livelihood. When it comes to actually standing and fighting for anything else, though...
Brave Sir Roddy ran away.
Bravely ran away, away.
When real world choice it reared it's head
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes Brave Sir Roddy turned about
He gallantly chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat.
Oh bravest of the brave, Sir Roddy.