Persecution appropriation, anyone? The spectacle of a Jew waving an Israeli flag placing himself at the head of the march is a familiar one, for instance the film The Big Short where Jews are transmuted by a sort of Philosopher’s Lead into the heroes of the Subprime Collapse. So it was only natural that the outrage generated by Covington would sooner or later be redirected in favour of its proper object. Someone would finally figure out how to claim Covington for the Jews.
Enter hasbarist Rod Dreher. When the conservative commentators rushed to judgement and excoriated the Covingtoners, that greenlit the Left to issue death threats. At the very least it amplified their attack. Why did they rush? Partly because of the instant nature of Twitter. But there were other factors at play. Dreher is a physical coward. His father despised him for this. A group who pose a credible threat like Black Hebrews Matter make his features writhe into a rictus grin of horror. So when he sees a bunch of schoolboys he figures they’re coming for his underwear again.
Rod “Lost My Catholic Faith™” Dreher joined Orthodoxy for the same reason American blacks join Islam -- it’s not motion toward, but movement from. It’s a departure, not an arrival. He was not embracing the one but rejecting the other. It’s not a vote in favour of Orthodoxy, it’s a vote against the Faith. An irrational response then went in search of cognitive validation, rather than rational reexamination. He should be cognizant of this wilful self-deception and cease rationalizing his desertion by knee-jerk attacks on Catholics.
The Buggeronian Captivity of the Church. Sodomitical thinking turns Catholic boys into objects, as witness the Covington Diocese’s treatment of their own as pawns in the culture war. However, that blade cuts both ways. I don’t believe in the Catholic Church Dreher doesn’t believe in either. No Catholic does. The Church will overcome this sad but contingent present moment in its history. But one doesn’t abandon Jesus and Peter because of Judas. Much easier to abandon ship than to man the pumps and build a cofferdam in the icy water below decks.
In knowingly and purposely separating himself from the Catholic fold, Dreher is undeniably a formal schismatic. Furthermore, he is also a formal heretic because he clearly denies at least one article (and doubtless more) of his former Catholic faith, namely, the Primacy of Peter. And an argument can be made that Byzantine Orthodoxy, the mother of Orthodoxy, doesn’t actually exist anymore. For Orthodoxy without the Emperor is like the ancient Hebrew religion without the Temple: No sacrifice, no temple, priest/Not a single one of three/Just as the Gospels promised/It’s supersession-y/So join us every week my friends/You’re sure to stay a while/With Ten Tribes waiting for the Christ/Here on Supersess Isle! (to be sung to the tune of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme)
Orthodox clerical corruption—from decades of criminal collaboration with homicidal communist authorities to luxury, venality, and, yes, occasional sexual abuse--seems a strange haven. But now Rod proudly announces himself practically immunized against any possible scandals in Orthodoxy by the device of downplaying the institution qua institution. Then why doesn’t he try that back in the Catholic Church? Or how about the Eastern Catholic Church? Did Christ really mean to institute a loose collection of state-subordinated churches wrapped in ethnicity and missionary inertia? Let’s not confuse stultification with stability. I’ll take the Catholic Renaissance, its glory and misery, over the cuckoo clock and Eastern cultural torpor.
The truth is, Orthodoxy is singularly unable to confront the moral anarchy of liberalism because of its crypto-fideistic and appalling disdain of the venerable Theory of Natural Law. And it is a malicious work to cut and bend the Christian religion to fit one’s personal narrative. Also, why curry favor with—and sales from—Catholics as well as Catholic communities and organizations? Dreher may be Orthodox, but he is not stupid.
Let’s recap the Covington incident:
At the March for Life, an adult intruder was clearly interfering with Nick Sandmann’s fellow students. His intentions were unknown.
This agent singled out Nick.
Nick decided to stand his ground and occupy the attention of the intruder, thereby shielding his younger and more vulnerable comrades from the man’s provocation.
That kid was standing in the breach. He read the situation perfectly and he deserves commendation. The world stands amazed at his moderation. Even the biggest battle breaks up into a series of single combats. And any such encounter has an implicit edge of menace, intended or not. By standing his ground, Nick became Arnold Von Winkelried and the boy with his finger in the dyke.
A group styled the Black Hebrews called the Covington kids “incest babies”. Translation: the offspring of a white man and a white woman is an abomination. Unless you are of mixed race you are a product of incest. Nathan Phillips, the intruder, claimed he was trying to defuse a standoff between the students and the Black Hebrews. As one wag put it:
Because naturally, when you see a group of individuals “attacking” another group in a public place where there are lots of police, the proper response when you’re a 64-year-old man is not to inform a cop but to take charge of the situation yourself. Go up to the “attackers,” stand toe to toe with one of them and start loudly banging a drum in his face. This is a known mollification technique and it absolutely can never fail to defuse tensions. However, if it does fail, what you should do is move the drum even closer to the other person’s face, so it’s just a few inches from the guy’s ears, and keep banging away for several more minutes.
Phillips later tried to disrupt a celebration of Mass. But this was not how the other side saw it. Indeed, Nick Sandmann became a sort of Rorschach test. As Andrew Sullivan put it, “what the adult Black Israelites yelled was nowhere near as bad as what a white teenager didn’t say”. Try this: Your opposition to my views makes me feel unsafe. In fact, your opposition to my views constitutes violence. Because of the views of people like you, people like me are dying. Therefore you are guilty of hate. Moreover, your opposition to my viewpoint proves my viewpoint.
Therefore you are to be deplatformed and digitally stoned.
This is just an excerpt from Culture Wars Magazine, not the full article. To continue reading, purchase the March, 2019 edition of Culture Wars Magazine.
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