Friday, May 8, 2015

We must figure out what Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ is - and hurry!

It's time, people. Past time.

We have to continuing arguing about what Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ really is, and figure it out, and soon, so that Rod can write a book about it, taking official public credit for it under his name, and sell it back to us, enabling us to then know once and for all what the Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ we all finally agreed upon actually is and is not so that we can then take it (but not take that - what, are you kidding?), whatever it finally turns out to be.

I can already see this is going to be harder than the witches' brew of crunching a universe of totally unrelated social types into a Crunchy Con.

I’m pleased to see more and more people arguing about the Benedict Option. This is important. I don’t have a hard, fixed, formulaic idea of what it is, and all this back and forth is helpful to me in thinking through it.


I want to make it clear, though, that as I undertake this Benedict Option book, I am investigating, trying to learn what it could  and should mean, and what it cannot and must not mean. I do not have all the answers, but I am committed to talking to a number of people who have thought deeply about these things, and who have tried different things, even if they have failed. And I am trying to make this practical, that is, something that families like mine can do. Despair is not an option.

Despair is not an option, people. Platitudes, though - platitudes may be crucial in filling out the book, like that expanding foam that's so useful in keeping the drafts out around poorly framed windows.


More argument, please. More discussion, more debate. We have to figure this out together.

And, do I need to add? We must hurry. If Rod's Dante book doesn't fly, this is the only thing he seems to have in the pipeline and, as he himself says, he has no clue as to what Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ really is. We have to do this together, people, for Rod, so that he'll have another book to sell for us to buy so that he can purchase more of those delicious raw oysters he loves so much.

Let's not think of this as personal financial welfare for a millionaire gourmand, people, but as simple Christian community. If not St. Benedict himself, someone, somewhere named Benedict would surely want us to.


  1. I'm going to write a book about it and self-publish it on Amazon in Kindle-format. Working Title: "The Benedict Option: An On-going Argument".

    1. More seriously, here's a new collection of essays on "attempting to live in a more radically Catholic fashion." I doubt the conservatives of Est Quod Est will find much kinship with the radicals of this book; my own spotty familiarity with some of the writers suggest I'd find the essays vary quite a bit in seriousness and persuasiveness. (It comes with a recommendation from Mark Shea, so we already know what Joseph thinks of it.)

      But it does have the transcendental goodness of existence; the authors have actually written their ideas down, and one can presumably agree or disagree with those words. They have not spent the last nine years collecting enough horse manure to make a pony.

      (Punchline: HDCSYL is on the "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" list.)

    2. Tom, thanks much. I'll be sure to order it when I'm down to my last couple of rolls of toilet paper.

  2. No matter what side you're on in the argument about what the BO is, the good news is that we might all be right. From the linked Dreher piece:

    I believe there will be many Benedict Options.

    1. Well, the important thing is Rod gets credit for popularizing the term MacIntyre coined and Benedict lived. Which is what Important Thought Pioneers of Our Time do.

    2. As far as I know, Rod coined the term. I don't remember if it was in the first edition of Crunchy Cons, or if he came up with it while writing the National Review CC blog.

      MacIntyre was noodling the thought that a saint, "no doubt very different" from St. Benedict, was required to restore society.

      Rod seems to think talking about it will produce the same result.

    3. Well, I was trying to give MacIntyre his due.

  3. Given the tone of the pieces flushed into his blog today, Dreher must have woke up and, upon getting out of bed, crapped his pants at having to deal with the nasty real world. Even the cover of a leftist magazine has him filling his boots.

    You'd almost think that he had seen the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

  4. Rod's crowdsourcing of his next book's content reminds me of this old joke:

    What's a consultant?

    He's the guy who, when you ask him what time it is, asks to borrow your watch, tells you the time, and then hands it back to you with a bill for his consulting fee.

    1. Yes, exactly. My apologies for scrambling the joke.

      Further, the last thing a Rod Dreher would ever want would be for whatever the Benedict Option is to be determined once and for all, for that would spell the end of talking about Rod Dreher's Benedict Option, particularly on Rod Dreher's blog.

      Remember, although it would be easy enough for Dreher to become one if he were really interested in doing so, Dreher is not a religious leader, no matter how many "Deo Gratias!"s he salts his paragraphs with.

      Instead, Dreher is a talker about Dreher talking about religion, and so the debate about Rod Dreher's Benedict Option, with Rod Dreher the low pressure cell at its center around which all the talk revolves, is Dreher's life blood, not any Benedict Option itself, not any Christian culture, not any religious liberty.

      The medium alone really is all there is to Dreher's message.