Rod Dreher on Faith and Politics
I've been working on surrounding myself with responsible conservative voices lately. This is in part an act of self-reassurance. I want to believe that there are responsible ideological opponents and that when this whole last several years finally collapses in on its self, something useful and balanced will emerge from the rubble. It's also strategic. No one ever lost an argument because they understood their adversary too well. But at the end of the day, it's because I find interesting thinkers with interesting ideas to be ... well ... interesting.
Sometimes critics from within a movement or party can critique it better than me or in ways that I am unable. Of converse, the inverse is equally true (as an outsider, I can offer criticisms that they are too close to articulate) but anyone who ignores that some of the most effective critics of conservatism are conservatives themselves, leaves half of their tools on the table.
This week I stumbled onto a recent column by conservative writer Rod Dreher. In it he states that:
"We will get what we are — and the fault for that is not in our stars, but in our individual and collective selves. Wrath blinds us to this. Anger is a dark cloud of unknowing, and what we who are lost in it do not know are ourselves. Our true selves. Our authentic selves — which, as I’ve said, has a particular meaning for Christians. In their wrathfulness at the left, and their eagerness to take power to punish the left, these politically engaged Christians have bound themselves and their imaginations to a cause that makes a mockery of what they profess to believe."
To be sure, Dreher is a true conservative in just about every sense of the word. But he and others within their movement recognize the emptiness of the "culture war" that their ostensible peers find so enthralling. He articulates belief in ideas I consider regressive but is particular about directing them toward a support for family and community. I think he's completely and utterly wrong, but in putting that aside, I can appreciate his ability to parse such values from the total emptiness of the "culture wars" for their own sake that Trump, many Republicans, and the bulk of their supporters wage gleefully.