Home/Rod Dreher/‘An Hour Of Wolves And Shattered Shields’

‘An Hour Of Wolves And Shattered Shields’

Aragorn, rousing the Men of Gondor for battle

I received this poignant letter from a reader, who signed it with their real name, and institutional affiliation:

The hour is later than you think.

I teach at a small liberal arts college in the southern Appalachian mountains. We serve primarily poor black, white, and brown kids. 65% of them are first generation college students (like me) and hail from some of the worst poverty anywhere in the country. We are enrollment driven, funding is always an issue, but I think we make a difference.

Instead of figuring out how we are going to deal with a second wave of coronavirus, or how to replace international students who shore up enrollment while getting to play sports they love (and enriching a fairly cornbread corner of America) and may not come back after the pandemic, or the myriad other problems big and small that plague us, we are putting together a “social justice initiative” whose purpose as yet remains vague.

A general call went out to everyone. If you join, you’ll be expected to trumpet a hard-Left reading of woke ideology. If you refuse… well “silence is violence.” One proposal, made without irony, was to invite the community to campus to tell them how their whiteness makes them privileged and also racist. Mercifully, sanity reigned and the proposal foundered on the rocks of “we don’t think poor white people from Appalachia will be persuaded, and will likely resent being told their lives are somehow privileged.” But it won’t stop.

If you just want to teach, scratch out a living and make a difference, hoping the furies will forget about you: you are wrong. I took this job on purpose, praying to bring something of the liberal arts to my own people. And just be left alone, and yet… here we are.

Feel free to share my story, if you like, but please do keep my name off the web. I still have to figure out how to stay true to my beliefs and pay my mortgage.

It seems that a day has indeed come when the courage of men failed, and we have forsaken our friends and broke all bonds of fellowship. You know what comes next? “An hour of wolves and shattered shields…” It is here.

The quote is Aragorn’s:

Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Men of the West!

This is the battle. Are you going to let them beat you down? Teach you to hate your brothers with different skins, despise your ancestors, your traditions, your books, your music? Raise a generation of your sons and daughters who tear down statues and deface monuments, because they hold you and themselves in contempt?

I would rather stand with those poor hill people than with the entire faculty of most liberal arts colleges.

Look at what happened in St. Paul, Minn., yesterday, and the way Ben Domenech describes it:

This wasn’t a spontaneous action. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the gutless leaders of that state were warned in advance:

State officials said they had been warned about the action via social media. It was mentioned at a news conference an hour and a half earlier with Gov. Tim Walz. Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said then that the patrol would meet the protesters and seek an alternative resolution.

The Democratic governor was very gentle in his remarks after this violence had been done to the statue, which was on State Capitol grounds:

Wednesday night, Gov. Tim Walz said he used to teach his students that many Minnesotans see the Columbus statue as a “legacy of genocide,” and said it is time to take a “hard look at the dated symbols and injustices around us.”

However, Walz says the removal of the statue was wrong in that protesters could have gone through the formal process.

“Even in pain, we must work together to make change, lawfully,” he said. “I encourage Minnesotans to have productive, peaceful conversations about the changes that need to be made to create a more inclusive state.”

He hates himself too, with his lutefisk backbone.

Are we really so demoralized as a people that we surrender to this violence? If we love ourselves and the treasure of our own culture as much as they hate us and it, we will find the guts to fight.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

leave a comment

Latest Articles