Raymond Oliver Dreher Jr.
Raymond Oliver Dreher Jr. | Wikipedia
See — Conservatism
The parlor game of “Creeping Socialism” (that came to be known as ‘culture war’) was newly popularized in the early '60s and was already several or more decades old when the game was begun being played by Raymond Oliver Dreher Jr., aka 'ROD' (R.O.D.), more aptly JR (like the infamous member of the Dallas Ewing clan) — blogger, writer of pulp non-fiction, talking head, political pundit and self-appointed 'culture warrior' — with little to no real insight, a brainiac constantly stimulating his grey matter in search of the latest, highest paying gig. The position of 'conservative' editorialist for the Dallas Morning News from mid to late 2000s (the same newspaper linked to the JFK Assassination for continually and visciously propagandizing against JFK in the runup to his visit to Dallas) was a fitting, major rung in his career ladder climb.
Dreher is the antithesis of the scholarly informed and well reasoned Dr. Albert E. Burke and emblematic of the condition of USA today, where someone with nothing more than an undergraduate degree in journalism, an egghead, years of accumulated reading high mileage, an above average vocabulary, and the right connections can become a political "influencer" who's put on a pedestal as if he actually knows something about that which he mouths. For example, reducing big "O" Orthodox Christianity to little "o" orthodoxy (continually referenced as “we little "o" orthodox” by JR after converting to big "O" Orthodoxy) is like mindlessly reducing Humanity (defined in Christianity as created in the divine Image & Likeness of God) to humanity as defined by point of view (POV) of secular science as mammal animal.
Misidentification of Problem is JR's principle problem, the reason he ultimately gets things so wrong headed, such as his post 9/11 enthusiastic joining in right wing political jingoistic drumming, for which JR is unapologetic and unrepentant, offering only a mere mea culpa in passing for his part in the ruination of the nation. If he was capable of identifying the problem correctly, then he would have realized that the justification for “Preemptive Strike” of Iraq invasion was nothing but Propaganda lies, as well as misidentification of the real enemy (see below), but then, that would blow out of the water his culture war schtick that identifies the enemy as communists, socialists, liberals, and progressives, and cancel his paycheck.
Identifying the Enemy Is the First Step in Winning the War
[Americans] have been propagandized into a climate of polarization and hate by those in power, while they might better find common ground and unite against their real enemy, which they have not yet identified.
The two-party system promotes and maintains the political division. It is interesting that, while enriching themselves through insider trading, both parties have no problem agreeing to spend billions on the war machine, and raising the military budget every year.
Yet they cannot agree on establishing any meaningful programs that would relieve the fleecing of Americans by corporate giants or help curtail the destruction caused by climate change.
While most Americans experience increasing poverty, growing debt, and decline in the standard of living, the right wing of the political spectrum blames the left, and the left wing blames the right.
Where it all began, with the first pulp nonfiction volume. JR got tired of conservatives turning their nose up at his Birkenstock sandal wearing, granola crunching and Whole Foods shopping, and telling him those things are so liberal, so he set out to prove his thesis that consevatives are a diverse bunch, and thereby introduced liberal tenets of diversity and inclusion into American right wing politics.
The Little Way of Ruthie Leming
Oversharing. Now the world knows all about JR's family problems, and why his sister Ruthie didn't want her children around him.
How Dante Can Save Your Life
This volume was published in 2015, coincidentally only six years before Italy's Anno Dantesco (Year of Dante) celebration in 2021 marking 700 years since the Scholastic poet's death in 1321. Ever the psychological oversharing exhibitionist, JR raves about how the work of the medieval philosopher Dante saves (not your but) his life (which is a perpetual emotional mess due to the family “problem”), totally clueless to the fact that Divine Comedy is a philosophical work that contains much (if not most) rationalistic, scholastic Roman Catholicism heterodoxy uncommon to Orthodox Christianity, as it contains Traditional Christianity in common with Orthodoxy. But then ever since being received into Orthodoxy, JR has continued to speak the language of little “o” orthodox Catholicism culture war, and spiritually fraternize intellectually with the heterodox in the same language and on the same terms as he did before being received into The Church.
Dante Alighieri | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Dante’s engagement with philosophy cannot be studied apart from his vocation as a poet, in which capacity he sought to raise the level of public discourse by educating his countrymen and inspiring them to pursue happiness in the contemplative life. He was one of the most learned Italian laymen of his day, intimately familiar with Aristotelian logic and natural philosophy, theology, and classical literature. He is, of course, most famous for having written the Divine Comedy, but in his poetry as well as his philosophical treatises and other writings, he freely mingles and synthesizes philosophical and theological language as well extensive references and allusions to scripture and classical and contemporary poetry. The Philosophy of Dante — Roger Theodore Lafferty Annual Reports of the Dante Society No. 30 (1911), pp. 1-34 (34 pages) Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press More than any other poet Dante was a philosopher. It is impossible to understand his work as a whole, and especially the Divine Comedy unless it is studied as philosophy. While it is of supreme aesthetic interest, holding the attention of the world primarily by its striking imagery its depth of feeling, and its matchless phrasing, its real significance, which depends its final value, lies in its philosophy. It is indeed nothing but an expression of that philosophy. The whole literary work of Dante is a development of his philosophy. To be rightly understood and appreciated, therefore, Dante should be approached from the point of view philosophical studies, rather than of literary scholarship. That scholarship, of course, is necessary to edit the writings, but is entirely inadequate to show the real meaning of the work. The preparation for a genuine study of Dante requires a knowledge of the history of thought especially of that of the Middle Ages. For Dante gave poetic expression to the standard philosophy of his time, and this philosophy is thus the substance of his whole work. ... He absorbed the scholastic philosophy of the age; when he gives it off again it is very much the same, only beautified by the touch with Dante's soul, and humanized. ... So Dante took up the scholastic philosophy of his age and adapted it to his own life. His chief value lies in this direct fusion of an abstract super-personal system of thought with a real human life. He is the great humanizer of mediaeval philosophy. ... Dante entirely built up the scholastic philosophy over again, going through the same steps its founders had gone through. So his work is not merely a versification of St. Thomas Aquinas. But St. Thomas was his master, and gave Dante the source method of using them. Then Dante constructed a system but, using the same materials, he of course got about the same result. Dante and The Divine Comedy Dante wrote the Divine Comedy in 1320 in medieval Italy and the work reflects this in a lot of different ways. The two largest influences would be the intellectual movement of Scholasticism and the total authority and domination of the Catholic Churcch and Christian beliefs. ... In the later Middle Ages, when Dante was alive, there was a great intellectual movement in Europe known as Scholasticism. It was a system of theology and philosophy based on Aristotelian logic and the writings of the early Church Fathers and having a strong emphasis on tradition and dogma. There were five main elements of scholasticism all of which can be found in the Divine Comedy. First of these elements is the reconciliation of contradictions, which is rigorous conceptual analysis and the careful drawing of distinctions but more importantly bringing opposite things together in harmony with each other. The first place we see this in the Divine Comedy is the title itself. Divine and comedy are two very contradicting words. Divine means epic and has to do with God or God like things and was a very serious adjective in Dante's time. While comedy is the opposite, it is lighthearted, designed to make one laugh, involves satire, and has a happy ending. So what Dante has done in the title of his masterpiece is brought God like and joke together in perfect harmony to describe his work. The second element of Scholasticism is division and subdivision. This was an effort to have all learning divided into perfect parts to make everything orderly. Again we immediately see this in the Divine Comedy's structure. The book has been divided into three separate parts, Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Heaven). It is then sub divided into thirty three cantos per section plus one introduction canto adding up to a perfect 100 cantos or chapters. Another way Dante further divides his work into sections of three is through his use of the Terza Rima. Terza rima is a rhyming verse stanza form that consists of an interlocking three-line rhyme scheme and was a popular stanza form in Italy at the time. The third element of Scholasticism is totality. Scholars were very interested in gaining all the knowledge they possibly could about a certain subject and covering matters totally.
The Benedict Option
JR doesn't even really understand Alasdair MacIntyre's work, and bases whole "inspiration" for his B-O on a single statement of MacIntyre's taken out of context of MacIntyre's body of work, that MacIntyre later regretted writing.
See MacIntyre's Secularisation and Moral Change (which JR obviously never read because it completely contradicts his B-O theory which he credits to MacIntyre) —
“the view that moral and social change is consequent upon the decline of religion is false, and the view therefore that such change could be arrested or could have been arrested by halting the decline of religion is also false. I have argued instead that the causes of moral and social change have lain in the same urbanization and industrialization that produce secularization” (p. 58)
So the whole culture war is a boondoggle. The B-O has to be as uninsightful and wrong-headed as JR can get. The reinvigoration of religion (Christianity) as the governing principle of US will not affect moral and social change, will not halt the decline of social morality. Moral and social change will continue to decline until Americans redirect their desire to comm-union with God and away from all the trappings of industrial urbanization and its commodification of Creation.
Re-readings: Secularisation and Moral Change (MacIntyre)
It was commonly supposed that Englishmen and women ceased to believe in God as a result of the assaults of ‘modern scholarship’, and so ceased to behave in accordance with Christian morality. MacIntyre inverted the causal relationship entirely. Far from the established church being a social glue as a national church as Anglicans liked to suppose, English religious history was a misnomer: in fact, each of the major social classes, upper, middle and working class had their own religious histories, which were interconnected rather less than might be supposed. The Church of England had not lost the urban working classes to ‘secularism’; it had never had them in the first place. Industrialisation and the migration of the population to the cities, had meant that it was no longer plausible to suppose that the kind of social norms that had pertained in stable rural societies were in fact of cosmic significance, given by God. Any attempt for one class to posit its own moral norms as universal was too obviously a reflection of the economic interest of that class for the attempt to be successful. So, Christian moral standards declined because they became impossible to reconcile with social reality, rather than because people doubted the existence of God or the truthfulness of the Bible.
[If ‘traditional Christian ethics is no longer applicable in an entirely changed social and institutional situation’, then Christians should create their own social and institutional situations in contrast to the secular ones, and thereby make the world jealous of what Christians then have that cannot be had in the secular world — e.g. community, fellowship, love for one another (each and every one and all), etc. This should be done in the spirit of love of neighbor as evangelism to the secular world, not as a sour grapes alternative to having failed at culture war creation of theocracy where Christian morality is forced by law upon everyone, whether they like it or not.]
Reading Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option with MacIntyre and Schmemann — argues that The Benedict Option, which took its title from the final page of MacIntyre’s After Virtue, is incompatible with what MacIntyre actually writes in Secularization and Moral Change
Would Alasdair MacIntyre Live in a “Benedict Option” Community?
Live Not By Lies
No wonder that JR was so shocked and aghast when his chosen protector Big Business Corporations came out in cooption of woke cancel culture. All this time, JR (in his own words in Live Not By Lies) had been cozying up to Big Business Corporations and counting on them to protect conservative christians from Big Government while advancing their christian western civilization agenda. IOW, conservative christians thought they had made a pact with Big Business Corporations via the Republican Party (like Faust with the devil), that if they supported 'free market' neoliberal shrinking of government regulation of Big Business Corporations down to size that can be drowned in a bathtub, then Big Business Corporations would quid pro quo advance their christian constituents’ reductionist moralistic theocracy of anti-homosexuality and anti-abortion.
Surprise, surprise, surprise! (a la Gomer Pyle) Only a fool for Propaganda (“useful idiot”) could be so blind as not to know that Big Business Corporations own US government, and therefore Big Business Corporations are US government, and only care about shrinking government so as not to be burdened by regulation of their Organized Crime. It's common knowledge (and common sense) that Big Business Corporations would sell their own mother (and their own soul if they had one) for the Almighty Dollar, and JR knows this, or at least pretended to in the runup and aftermath of marketing Crunchy Cons. So JR's shock at Corporations‘ Woke Capitalism only goes to show who it is that all this time has actually been Living By Lies.
Is There Still A ‘Vital Center’?
If it’s “certainly true that most Americans don’t share the sense of culture war that people on either extreme do” and it’s “impossible to say” why that is, then offering only two possible reasons for their lack of extreme alignment is a straw man argument. There are many possibilities besides the two offered, which only condemn nonparticipants for not being involved in war mongering because either —
1) they’re not paying attention, or
2) they just don’t have the emotional investment in this or that issue.
It’s just as possible that the “vast, silent, disengaged minority” majority is actually engaged in things it considers more productive than warring over a culture that’s not even a culture (only a commodified society at best), or that it prefers being rational and even tempered to being emotionally hot headed and extreme, or that it sees Christianity through a different lens and has identified the social problem as not quite being that to which culture warriors are extremely emotionally attached.
Instead of seeing loss of control of western so called Christian civilization as a negative which must be faced up to in finally, optionally getting serious about Christian faith out of fear of being persecuted and having to suffer (which may never happen), perhaps the silent majority (at least some of it) actually has faith that God is in control, and all things are sent by God and work together for good to those who actually love Him, instead of merely use Him as an ally power in the struggle over who rules America. All such warring is nothing but being fooled into thinking control of the government can be had by one side or the other. (See — Who Rules America)
The fact that there has been an actual Byzantine Christian empire in the past does not in any way justify pursuit of such today, since God may simply have allowed that empire for the spread of the Gospel and the winnowing of the tares from the wheat. It’s possible that is what we are now witnessing, the onset of the final chapter of winnowing that is the product of a process of apostasy that began in the West a millennium ago, and sped up half a millennium ago, and has culminated in North America with American sophistry over the love of riches and how best to serve mammon, while still giving lip service to God. Anyone who really pays attention to the Permanent war economy propaganda of the GOP, uncontested by lack of any real oppositional political party, will understand that is what is actually being upheld — God and mammon, as if there is any real Christian truck between the two.
Things are never simply what they seem when it comes to players whose strategy is to always play others to their own ends, as pawns in their own game in which they make all the rules — one set for themselves, and another set of rules for everyone else. Religious Justice Warrior is nothing more than the knee-jerk, flip side of the Social Justice Warrior coin. Weimarization of America is nothing more than the knee-jerk, flip side of the Puritanization of America coin. The really pitiful are the confused who believe so much in their cause that they conflate their cause with God, who politicize Christianity to their own ends of theocracy, in striving for theocratic dominance over all. The real tragedy in America is not so much the loss of Christianity, but that Christianity in America has come down to this.
Dreher’s Religious Freedom Rhetoric
Fearing Dreher: What Many Critics Ignore About the Benedict Option
Rod Dreher is the combativel, oversharing blogger who speaks for today‘s beleaguered Christians
Rod Dreher preps conservatives for coming persecution
Rod Dreher Tosses His Cookies
14 people Are Dead and it’s All About Rod Dreher’s Feelings
Rod Dreher: To Russia with Love
Rod Dreher, Culture Warrior - against his family
Rod Dreher's Benedict Option™: the medium is the message
Oh, dear, what is the Benedict Option?
Rod Dreher's Benedict Option: #HashtagChristianity
Rod Dreher's Guilt, Implication, and The Emperor's New Clothes
The logical impossibility of the Benedict Option
The terminal logic of Rod Dreher's Benedict Option: Secular Millenarianism
Tom on the Benedict Option