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What Should I Call My New Book?

With Soviet dissident Alexander Ogorodnikov in Moscow in November

One of the great things about this blog over the years has been the help I’ve received from readers on the books I’ve written. The Little Way of Ruthie Leming started as blog posts here. So did How Dante Can Save Your Life, and of course The Benedict Option. I need your help on the book I’m working on now.

As you will recall, it’s a book about the emergence of what I call “soft totalitarianism” in our culture. A few years back, I began hearing from people who had grown up under communism in the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc, and who now live in the West. They told me that they’re starting to see certain things that they had endured in the past beginning to manifest here. It starts with the culture of political correctness, but it’s going beyond that. As I began looking into it, I discovered that our own liberal culture — by “liberal,” I don’t mean simply left of center — has begun to reproduce effects that communist states achieved in the past. It’s uncanny, but most of us don’t see it because, I think, we have been conditioned to think of “totalitarianism” as something imposed by a police state. In fact, it is coming to us through institutions like big business (“Woke Capitalism”), colleges and schools, and technology. I’ve spent much of this year traveling throughout former communist countries, interviewing people about it, and believe me, the things I’m going to report in this book will shock people out of complacency.

The aim of the book is first to help us identify the totalitarian nature of certain practices that have become commonplace today, and to offer insight and advice on how to resist it.

I’m struggling to come up with a title. Normally I’m pretty good about this, but most of the titles I have come up with fall flat, somehow. The subtitle will be something like: How To Resist The Coming Soft Totalitarianism. But I need a snappy title. The best I’ve been able to come up with is a line from Solzhenitsyn, the title of his final message to the Soviet people before he was forced into exile: Live Not By Lies. Somehow, I think I can do better than that.

What do you think? Please give me some suggestions in the comments. If I use your suggestion, I will give you credit in the acknowledgements.

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.

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