A reader of The Benedict Option summarizes the dialogue (such as it is) between me and my critics thus:
Rod Dreher: Christians do not possess the weapons necessary to fight liquid modernity.
Critics: Yeah, but let’s fight anyway.
RD: With what? We are not well enough equipped.
Critics: You are absolutely correct, we are not well equipped, but we cannot cede our position.
RD: What position? The modern world has run the Christian, and largely the Western worldview out of any position of influence.
Critics: Yes, but we must continue to fight!
RD: With what? We have largely surrendered all of our weapons to the opposition. We have traded our swords for their pitchforks.
Critics: Quite true, quite true, we have made some mistakes in the past, but it would be a mistake to retreat now.
RD: Retreat is a means of survival. Washington retreated from New York. The Allies retreated at Dunkirk. Had either held their position, they would have been unquestionably annihilated and the world would be a much different, and likely worse, place than it is now.
Critics: Yes, but this is different. That won’t happen to us.
RD: How is it different? Why won’t it happen to us?
Critics: Because we have God on our side!
RD: So have thousands of men and women whose lives were lost at the hands of those who raged against God. Are you advocating martyrdom?
Critics: Not at all.
RD: So what will happen?
Critics: We will win! God will reward our courage!
RD: … so, martyrdom?
Critics: No, Rod. It would simply be unwise to retreat now.
The reader continues:
I share in your frustrations that your book has been so misrepresented. It is very clearly not at all what your critics claim it is, and a simply reading will show precisely that. By this point, there is nothing new under the sun to be said about this matter, but it is exceedingly silly that so many miss the very simple point of your book — that men and women of the West, whether Christian, Mormon, Jewish, or whatever else — must intentionally rededicate themselves that those values they hold dear, to the values and ideas that made Western Civilization what it is … was. For some that may mean finding new employment, or a new neighborhood, or church. For some it will be more radical than others, but those who are unwilling to experience discomfort, or those who are afraid of change, will be swept into the whirlwind that is coming.
That’s exactly it. Thanks so much for saying so.