In which the blogger, c'est moi, overcome by a tragic attack of laziness, in the style pioneered by Rod Dreher recycles a commenter's comment as his own post filler. In this case it's the 61st comment from the Rod Dreher on Sam Rocha post below by our own Anonymous
April 11, 2017 at 2:00 AM
Rebecca Bratten Weiss (linked to by Rocha):
"And there are other problems: when you try to come Out (or In?), whatever you feared in the World comes in with you, into your microcosm. It’s ironic that my father’s first community was called “New Eden.” Into every Eden, a serpent will come. We tend to bring it in with us. Want to escape from overweening tyrannical power? Too bad, you probably brought it with you, and you will find the community dominated by whichever leader (usually male) has the loudest voice and the least empathy. Want to escape from sexual perversion? Ha. Have I got some stories! It’s amazing just how perverse people can be, on the land, when no one is looking. Want to escape from a welfare system in which those who don’t work won’t eat? I can assure you, you will be shelling beans or building a cabin while nearby some hanger-on rambles on forever about how misunderstood he is. Tired of nitpicking bureaucracy? Your community will be filled with nitpickers, happy to call you out if your daughters’ skirts are too short, or if your sons have been listening to evil music like (gasp) Simon and Garfunkel.
"Communities like this tend to attract those who are unable to get along in the ordinary world, and whatever it was that made them unable to get along, they will bring in with them."
The last point seems to be the most salient re Rod and his BO. Rod can never fit in, and can never follow the rules. He would bring that with him into any intentional community. He basically had to found his own church, because no existing one is good enough for him! He doesn't fit in in East Podunk, or the big city, or his own family. He would bring that same problem with him. As would the other Optionists. They are, like Rod, all would-be chiefs, and no Indians.
More from Weiss:
"But the main thing I want to touch on, here, is why the idea of radical separation into intentional community is delusional from the start. And that has to do with money. Money creates systemic dependence. That’s why agrarianism is a needed component in any marginally successful effort..."
Of course. Without a material basis, the whole thing is play acting. You can't work for Dow Chemical all day, and then pretend you are a monk or a Pilgrim at night. Or, rather, you can, but it is stupid.
As for the agrarianism, good luck with that! Being a subsistence farmer is a lousy lot in life. Real subsistence farmers dump that lifestyle as soon as they are able. Being cold, hungry and sick, and not having access to warmth, food and medical care is not a good thing. And nobody in their right mind wants it. But those conditions, and worse, are very real possibilities for truly agrarian intentional communities.
Otherwise, again, it is playacting. Thoreau at Walden going in to Concord to have dinner at his Mom's or over at Ralph Waldo's when he got tired of his beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner diet!
How is Rod Dreher's personal, idiosyncratic Benedict Option therapeutic in the manner of his beloved Philip Rieff?
Because, upon critical analysis it proves to be not historical, nor theological, nor even geometrical enough to pass muster with Ignatius Jacques Reilly.
It is, instead, in the foundational formulation of our own pikkumatti, the confusion and conflation of Rod's personal taste with truth, also arrived at independently at by Sam Rocha himself:
Here is an insecure man selling his internal condition wholesale to other insecure Christians.
The Benedict Option is what, solely to therapeutically satisfy the psuchological distempers of Rod Dreher and others like him, what religion should be.
Not just Catholicism, because the Benedict Option gambit isn't Catholic, nor limited to Catholicism.
Not just Orthodoxy, because the Benedict Option gambit isn't Orthodox, nor limited to Orthodoxy.
Not just Evangelical, because the Benedict Option gambit isn't Protestant, nor limited to Evangelical Protestantism.
No, the Benedict Option is what the entire human enterprise of religion itself should be, if rewritten from scratch to therapeutically satisfy the psychological-aesthetic needs of Rod Dreher and those enamored of his cult of personality.
To be sure, Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™ isn't MTD - Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.
It's really more like MDF - Medium-Density Fiberboard, a recomposition of sawdusted chunks of many religions, all hastily pasted together with psychological Rod-Glue.
I wouldn't count on it standing up to a hard rain.