Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Open Comment Thread (2016-07)

Here's a new open comment thread you all, my friends! Speaking of friends....

Stop the madness, or proceed with the madness, or go halfway or maybe two thirds... Or, how about do 3 sets of 12 madness lifts twice a day. Or maybe have a madness shake with some kale and blue berries? Or something.

I was thinking that maybe a good topic to discuss here is frenetic, undisciplined migrations to nearby towns and whether that is a conservative value. Or maybe moving because no one understands you or sour cream vandalism going on that you can no longer protect your family from. This might be a good post to review for starters as well.


  1. Rod on Twitter, June 29: "There is something invigorating about staying up all night and nearly finishing writing a chapter you started 12 hours earlier." (!)

    Barely 2 days later: snap decision to move the whole family to Baton Rouge.

    Is he in a manic phase, or is it just the effects of too much pineapple?

    1. From my observations, Rod exhibits regular sine waves of manic highs followed by corresponding lows. What those may clinically be related to I'm not qualified to say, if it even matters.

      Expect a steady crescendo of jungle drums going boomalay-boomalay-boomalay-BOOM! until they peak upon publication in February, followed by an indefinite Wile E. Coyote hang glide out over the precipice as long as the thermal holds. After that, it's anybody's guess.

    2. I don't write book-length works for a living, but I'd hope that a professional writer who's been "working" on this very topic for over a year would be writing the actual book more carefully and thoughtfully than this. Even in my work on technical things, it's useful to write, pause a day, and then read, reflect, and edit.

      My guess is that, just like the Dante book, an editor will call for a rewrite, which will bring on another manic overnighter and subsequent bragging about it.

  2. Between Chad Vegas and Vox Day this Benedict Option thing is sure to sweep America from coast to coast.

    1. From the Chad Vegas post:

      This is what the Benedict Option will require in particular instances. Vegas did what he could in the public square, and was defeated. If he stayed and kept fighting, there was no chance of his winning, and he would open himself up to personal lawsuits....

      Take notice: There will be no John the Baptist, Gandhi, MLK, et al. in the BO. Because quitting* is what "the Benedict Option will require."

      *I am not saying Pastor Vegas is "quitting" in the pejorative sense; he has to respond to his call as he discerns it. But "quitting" is how Dreher characterizes it, IMO, and what he will "require".

    2. He's really sort of painted himself into a corner, this newest bestest intellectual voice of Christendom, Rod du Coin, his audience few beyond people unwilling to do much more than buy his book, thicken (like squeenching up, but using the hips, I suppose), and agreeable existing in that valley somewhere between creationism and white nationalism.

      Gonna be hard to hook the younger generation, sure, but maybe there's a BenOpémon Go app in the works, something like hide 'n seek: everyone takes the Benedict Option behind a chair or under a bed while Caitlyn Jenner lopes through, swiveling his head from side to side and saying odd things in a husky voice.

  3. In which Dreher swoons like a teenage girl over the new jock in school.

    Said another way, after blogging for years under the guise of a social conservative who is most concerned with the loss of religious freedom in our nation, Dreher shows that what really stirs his loins is a nationalist populist. And one who says not one word in support of the pro-life cause or on religious freedom, to boot.

    1. Well, Dreher is finally being honest. I always thought Dreher should love Trump's populism. To be fair, Dreher does mention Trump's worrisome "conspicuous lack of Christian virtue".

      Also I should point out that Trump does speak of religious freedom issues:

      At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.

      An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views.

      I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.

    2. Thanks for the updates. I guess the confluence of Trump and Dreher killed my will to read closely enough.

    3. If you lived in a swing state I'd be trying to persuade you over to the close-your-eyes-and-think-of-England POV on voting for Trump.

    4. Lol, that's a good way to put it, Pauli. I think of it as turd sandwich vs turd sandwich laced with arsenic. I'll take mine without arsenic, thank you!

    5. My bro, another NeverTrumper, lives in Illinois and I'm not wasting time trying to convince him to vote Trump. He'll vote down ticket and that is good enough for me.

    6. UPDATE, as they say: In which Dreher doesn't like the speech so much anymore ....

      It really is a complete waste of time to read anything he writes.

    7. Pauli, Trump continues to make it harder and harder to "close-your-eyes-and-think-of-England". If he's losing the VFW, he's in serious trouble over this.

    8. Pik, with this move the VFW leadership has done something very interesting, regardless of how it ultimately plays out in the future.

      It has stated that Gold Star families - that is, the survivors of those who actually made the sacrifice, in Captain Khan's case 12 years and several elections ago - have unilateral, critique-free carte blanche to parlay their loved ones' military sacrifice to whatever end they choose, in this current case in support of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. If this is legitimate, why not in support of incontinence products, used cars, or anything else?

      Much has been made of the imbalance in media coverage between Patricia Smith's speech at the RNC and Khan's at the DNC, but that's ultimately a dog-bites-man story.

      The real and striking difference is that, in Smith's case, Clinton's actions, omissions, and verifiable lies were materially connected in the most direct and intimate way to Smith's loss.

      In Khan's case, Captain Khan's death over a decade ago was simply something Mr. and Mrs. Khan could haul off the shelf and whore out in support of Hillary Clinton.

      Trump was without question an idiot to respond to such an obvious mousetrap; the Khan's were whatever they were for lending themselves and their son's - who at this point had no say in the matter - sacrifice to that mousaetrap effort.

      And now, with its unilateral proclamation in favor of the Khan's action, the VFW leadership has endorsed that sort of move in the name of all of its members. I would be surprised if more than a very, very small minority agreed.

    9. I think you're deftly trying to switch the issue, Keith. The issue with Trump/Khan is not that the Khans spoke at all (or spoke with any imprimatur of the VFW other than the mere fact that their son was KIA in a foreign war). The VFW had nothing to do with that, one way or the other.

      The issue was Trump's denigration of their loss because they challenged Trump. (Trump's equating his "sacrifice" of working hard to make money with the loss of a son in battle was an especially nice touch.) Which IMO the VFW is perfectly free to call out as unacceptable without "endorsing" the use of the VFW brand on "incontinence products".

      And the media bias point is utterly irrelevant. Yeah, I get it, but it just doesn't matter.

    10. Trump was without question an idiot to respond to such an obvious mousetrap;

      This is the billionaire effect. You go through life being able to do whatever you want, then you try to run for office and everyone painfully realizes that you are going to continue doing whatever you want even if it causes the train you are on to crash. Then you are going to get out and walk away like Bruce Willis in "Unbreakable" while everyone else suffers with Hillary. You'll go back to reality TV, maybe a fourth wife, and you'll complain the Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz screwed everything up.

    11. Pik, post with a link the words Trump spoke which denigrated the 12-year-old loss the Khans decided to market at the 2016 DNC convention, utilizing it as a prop in taking the original initiative to attack Trump on Hillary Clinton's behalf.

      Here's how that works*:

      "Mr. and Mrs. Keith lost our son Little Keith 8 years ago in Restrepo. We still feel the pain daily.

      You're nuts if you consider doing business with Pik. What does he know about sacrifice? Are his business and family dealing even legal? From what I've heard of him, I'd be surprised if they are. I could go on, but the mere presence of Pik and his audacity at thinking we should respect him only make the pain we feel at Little Keith's loss worse."

      Shut up and take it, Pik, and anything similar or worse, or you will be guilty of "denigrating our loss of Little Keith". In fact, just the fact of Mrs. Keith and I targeting you probably damns you by mere association.

      *For the slow reading this, this is only an example. There is no Mrs. Keith, Little Keith, or anything else contained within the quotes.

      But those who want to play out of Hillary Clinton's playbook, particularly with respect to KIAs and their families, certainly remain free to do so.

    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. More simply put: The Khan's pimped out their son's death as the cheese in a passive-aggressive mousetrap to serve Hillary Clinton which Trump stupidly bit into.

      Trump will suffer whatever he will suffer for being too stupid to recognize a passive-aggressive mousetrap for what it clearly was.

      The Khans have now become indescribably repulsive for pimping out the death of their loved one for such political purposes and ongoing political celebrity. Captain Khan deserved better memoirists.

      But that's the virtue of being a living family member: like Rod Dreher and Ruthie Leming, you can manipulate the dead all you want, the dead can't fight back, and any criticism becomes "heartless" or "insensitive" "denigration".

      That's why passive-aggressive mousetraps will always continue to work, not merely because there will be impulsive Trumps who can't resist them, but more so because there will always be vast herds of those who accept their premise unquestioningly.

    14. For those who may have lost my original point, here's how the VFW leadership ended up going beyond merely playing the predictable useful idiot in Hillary Clinton's mousetrap against a predictably responsive Trump.

      By weighing in on Khan-Trump - which they need not have done, allowing instead any chips to fall wherever they would have, and the media at large would have assuredly seen to it that they would have - the VFW leadership has declared two things.

      1. Gold Star survivors when invoking their loss of a loved one can say anything they want about anything in any venue.

      2. Anyone who says anything in response other than "I am so deeply sorry for your loss" does so at their peril.

      3. Better yet, never say anything to any Gold Star survivor at all. If you say "I am so deeply sorry for your loss", your words could conceivably be characterized as being insincere or sarcastic. Better to simply look sad and solemn and keep your mouth shut.

      In this way, the VFW leadership has potentially turned the entire population of Gold Star survivors into pariahs, untouchables to be at most pitied, like mentally challenged special needs citizens that no one dare treat as social equals.

      If the VFW leadership's response is to be taken to heart broadly, treating a Gold Star survivor as a social equal now has nothing but downsides: that VFW leadership has now marked such Gold Star survivors as a different, separate, entitled social class to which separate different rules now apply.

    15. Laura Ingraham explains why there is no pony, even for "nice Conservatives", there never was a pony, and there never will be a pony.

    16. The denigration of their loss is Trump's offering of his "sacrifice" in response. It is part and parcel with the "avoiding STDs was my personal Vietnam" -- equating the trivial with the noble.

      But parsing the nuances of a Trump statement, particularly one in response to a perceived attack on Trump, is a futile exercise. Trump proves over and over again that the only litmus test is whether you are for Trump. If you're for Trump, then your positions don't matter. If you're against Trump, or insufficiently for Trump (ask Paul Ryan), then your positions also don't matter but you are to be attacked. That's it.

      So analysis of the reaction to a Trump reaction (what does this mean for the VFW?) is a second-order waste of resources, IMO.

      But worse, since the only thing that matters to Trump is whether you are with Trump or against him, Trump is free to change his own positions on an issue (as he has done over the past few months) -- but the followers are expected to follow along. This seems to be a dangerous thing in a President, especially when the candidate has exhibited neither knowledge nor respect for the rule of law or constitutional limits on the role of government.

    17. equating the trivial with the noble.

      But you see, Pik, Trump didn't "equate" his "sacrifice" with Captain Khan's - you did.

      What Trump actually did was respond, with an example as ridiculous as anyone is free to consider it, to the bizarre taunt from Khizr Khan that Trump had never sacrificed the way Khan's deceased son had (of course, neither had Khizr Khan himself, pimping out his own son, nor have you, nor have I, nor have hundreds of millions of other people, for that matter, but who cares, right? Everyone including you gets that the play is to cynically weaponize the deceased Captain Khan as a political utility with which to smack Hillary Clinton's opponent) by saying, nuh-huh, that he, Trump, had made sacrifices. Again, everyone is free to regard what Trump considers a sacrifice to be as ridiculous as they want.

      But, although that was the whole point of the passive-aggressive mousetrap, to induce the reaction you're dutifully providing, Trump simply never made the equation you're attributing to him.

      Given that you're voting neither for Donald Trump nor for Hillary Clinton (the only two relevant candidates), the rest of your comment remains pointless and hopelessly in search of a reason for being. If Trump is defeated, Clinton with her demonstrable "respect for the rule of law [and the] constitutional limits on the role of government" will be President.

      There just isn't any magic pony to ride away to happiness upon.

    18. Bwahahahaha!:

      "...women are voting for Trump, too, often because they just can’t deal with the pants suit."

      Readers might also remember John Bloom for his bit part as Don Ward in Casino.

    19. Given that you're voting neither for Donald Trump nor for Hillary Clinton (the only two relevant candidates), the rest of your comment remains pointless and hopelessly in search of a reason for being.

      I remember when a candidate's supporters would try to persuade others to vote for their candidate .....

    20. Pik, I raised the tangential issue of the VFW leadership inadvertently creating political untouchables - an issue, by the way, which transcends both Trump and the VFW, applying to any social organization - because I didn't want to pick a pointless fight here over Trump. Those here happy to settle for Hillary won't vote against her by voting for her opponent or, if they're in a red state, will remain happy to let others provide the political herd immunity (like parents who vaccinate their children providing the herd immunity for those who don't, red and blue states are red or blue only because red-or-blue-voting citizens make them so) necessary for their untroubled political chastity.

      But then you decided that I had deftly switched the issue from what Hillary Clinton, the VFW, and you had decided it was (others, curiously, may not find themselves automatically so bound), and so I responded to the points raised.

      Hillary Clinton's public record of ongoing material criminal violations (Google 18 U.S. Code § 793 (f) and Comey's press conference transcript for the latest) and ongoing pathological lying (Google Hillary's Chris Wallace interview and Glenn Kessler's four Pinnochios for the latest) are matters of easily discoverable fact spanning decades now, as are Donald Trump's egregious aesthetic horribles. Khizr Khan's interesting past is just as available.

      Those too physically, intellectually, or morally lazy to easily research the stark differences between the only two real candidates available now won't be persuaded by me further tilting at political windmills on this little blog for their amusement. Better to just agree to disagree and hope for the best.

    21. I am planning on voting for Trump, but I keep pointing out his negatives in some desperate hope that someone somewhere will hear me and tell him to stop stepping on his own dick.

    22. Better to just agree to disagree and hope for the best.

      Very much agreed, Keith.

      It is indeed a strange election cycle when it gets two guys who agree on virtually everything else to go hammer and tongs as we have on this thread.

    23. Pauli, on the one hand, I might recommend choosing War and Peace as a pastime for the end of the line already formed you will find yourself standing in.

      On the other hand, Kurt Schlichter.

    24. I just got through his tirade. I'm not sure what voters he talking about at the end. Trump better pick up a bunch of voters to make up for the people he has alienated. Trump better get a ground game in my state of Ohio and he'd better do it fast. Trump better stop focusing on losers like Cruz and better men like John McCain and Paul Ryan and better start acquiring the real target of Hillary Clinton.

      He is not doing any of that stuff which is absolutely necessary. He has 95 days to get with it. If he does and he wins I'll say "Good, glad I was wrong."

  4. I believe y'all noted Dreher's scurrilous attack on an Eastern Catholic parish that had TV screens or some such thing. Apparently Professor William Tighe weighed in, pointing out that the screens were for a specific event (filming of the consecration of the new altar), were supposed to be taken down afterward, and are NEVER used during Liturgy. I do not read Dreher's swill, so I do not know whether he let Dr Tighe's comment stand. He may be too intimidated by Dr Tighe's erudition to pull his usual childish control-freaky crap. In any event, Dreher has once again been exposed as a professional anti-Catholic crank who strains at imaginary liturgical gnats while swallowing contraceptive camels.

  5. Crowdsourcing the BenOp book.

    I wouldn't have thought it difficult to add an extra chapter to something that was entirely vaporware to start with. Apparently it is.

    1. To be fair he is trying to add the chapter at the same time he moves into a crunchy apartment in the localist agrarian paradise that is Baton Rouge.

  6. In which Dreher ponders which country he'll move to when he's persecuted here in the US:

    Me, I find it hard to think of a situation in which it would be so bad that I would leave my native country, but then again, I learned things these past two days that I had not anticipated, even though I’m always expecting the worst on this front....

    America is my country. I love it, and find it all but impossible to consider leaving it permanently. But my faith matters much more to me than my country, and if my country were ever to become a persecutor, then I would have to face the possibility of leaving it for a land where my family and I could worship and live freely.

    So where might such a place be? Based on the suggestions Dreher published from his (alleged) readers, they're all in (surprise!) Europe: the "microstates" (Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco and San Marino, but not the Vatican(!)), and Poland.

    How about the obvious for a ROCOR adherent and a Putin fan? Eh, not so much:

    A reader wrote the other day to suggest that Orthodox Russia might be a good place for us Orthodox Christians to end up one day. Me, I can’t imagine that, because of the experience of idealistic American Communists who emigrated there in the early 1920s to build socialism, and found themselves living a nightmare. Aside from the language barrier, there isn’t enough stability in Russia to make it a realistic opportunity for people like me. Maybe this is true for central and eastern Europe too, I don’t know. You tell me.

    P.S. The JD Vance interview (or DoS attack, as the case may be) continues to break all records:

    Would you believe that two weeks after it first appeared, the interview I did with J.D. Vance continues to draw record page views? Our servers are struggling to handle all the traffic. Many people who have never had their comments go to spam are experiencing this. We are doing all we can to fix things, but we’ve never had to deal with anything like this, and it’s hard.

    1. Hah!! Aren't all those micro-states Catholic?

    2. That, and, more to the point, freaking loaded, right? Leave it to Rod to fantasize about being a "refugee" in some of the wealthiest, whitest, most luxurious places in the world.

  7. #NeverTrumpers may have a last minute alternative not named Hillary:

    Anti-Trump Republican Launching Independent Presidential Bid

    1. Well, that's something, I guess....

      He's got a pretty steep hill to climb in the ol' name recognition department, tho.

  8. Today, Dreher posts a piece entitled: Why Make Russia Our Enemy?, in which he lays out the anti-modernist, anti-classical-liberal case for Russia (by wholesale quoting from someone else's piece, as usual). It sincerely has to be read to be believed. Here are the main points of the piece:

    * The new Russia is not expansionist, no not at all, because it has withdrawn its power from vast territories, and doesn't dump corpses into pits in parks at dawn like the Soviets did in '37.

    * Yeltsin was bad too, but was considered a friend of the West. Same with Erdogan.

    * What would you think if NATO were dissolved, and the Confederacy had won the Civil War, and the American Southwest declared its independence? Huh? Huh?

    * So what if the New Russia is threatening to imprison an atheist for posting a weak blasphemous Youtube video? He deserves it, doesn't he? The Romanovs were killed on the site of that church, after all.

    So I guess Dreher's saying screw the founding principles of our Nation, and all hail the Russian strongman.

    P.S. But wait, there's more! Dreher doubles down on moral relativism in the comments (emphasis added):

    [NFR: [The accused blasphemist is] a militant atheist. Read the story! Besides, who are you to tell the Russians what they are permitted to be scandalized by? — RD]

    1. In other moral relativism news: Dreher posted some scathing commentary yesterday on the Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert, who just announced she's leaving her husband to follow her bliss with a female lover. Then he deleted his own commentary overnight. Why? "Gilbert had generously blurbed a book of mine. I had forgotten about the favor she did for me." You can't make this stuff up.

    2. Dreher's Benedict Option is, conceptually, a post-constitutional Christian identity movement. He won't call it that by name, of course, and few of his acolytes have the chops to transcend their personal psychological neediness sufficiently to perceive the conceptual architecture they're swearing their fealty to, but as an identity movement the BO finds itself firmly within the "big tent" of the emerging anti-ideological, pro-identity Alt-Right, complete with internal tribal identity policing to separate the desirable, true-BO-believing, Dreher-defined-orthodox Christians from less desirable Chistians, the "MTDers" and such.

      It's entirely irrelevant that the hardcore, white nationalist Alt-Righters view Dreher as a squishy "cuckservative"; architecturally, white racialist identity politics and BO Christian identity politics - because anything an organized group of humans does is politics - are structurally identical. Identical. Because the BO isn't traditional Christianity or the traditional Church. Instead, it's a radically, postmodern, post-constitutional identity movement which has decided its historical destiny is now to school what it considers a failed Christianity and failed Church in the errors of their ways. It even relies on the same historical fatalism that the racialist Alt-Right does to assure itself that, because of some supposed pseudo-Marxist-like internal necessity of the old order to failure, in the end it will in turn of necessity succeed as the new, replacing order and prevail.

    3. There is a lot in your comment, Keith, and I'm taking awhile to process it. I'm especially thinking on this part:'s a radically, postmodern, post-constitutional identity movement which has decided its historical destiny is now to school what it considers a failed Christianity and failed Church in the errors of their ways. It even relies on the same historical fatalism that the racialist Alt-Right does to assure itself that, because of some supposed pseudo-Marxist-like internal necessity of the old order to failure, in the end it will in turn of necessity succeed as the new, replacing order and prevail.

      because it is right on the money. The hard part for me is to sort out the common factors among the many variations of the BO that Dreher's presented.

      But one thing that is apparent is the need of the BO to ensure or at least declare the failure of existing institutions (e.g., the Church, the GOP, the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence) so that the BO (whatever it actually is) can take the place of those institutions. It has this in common with Fascism and Marxism, as you pose, the difference of course being that instead of the State stepping into the place of the previous institutions, it will be the New Religion.

    4. Pik, describing things as I did - and as you more elegantly elaborated to consequence - surely makes the situation sound a bit more ominous than things are likely to be. "Christian identity movement" can evoke images of wild-eyed radicals holed up in the badlands of Idaho, crosses crudely carved into their foreheads with Ka-bar knives and tactical vests bulging with 30-round AR mags.

      In Dreher's case, given the peculiar Klein bottle-like topology of his BO as conceived, the most immediate effect is for the means - talking about the BO, with and without the purchased BO book - to immediately become the entirety of the end in itself.

      An analogy might be for an Obamacare subscriber to sign up at an exchange, pay his premium, and promptly be issued a onesie and a steaming hot cup of cocoa so that he can now begin doing what needs to be done: entice others.

    5. Of course, during the thickening, there will be no dearth of critical things to chat about. Let us only pray that the cocoa holds out.