- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

What The Establishment Right Doesn’t Get

Commenter Matt in VA sometimes gets on my nerves because of his white-hot anger at the conservative establishment (an anger I mostly share, but not nearly to the degree that he does). But whatever his faults, Matt is one of the most interesting thinkers I read anywhere on the Internet. If you don’t know, he’s a Millennial gay man, married to another man, and working in academia. He just posted this comment, quoting me at first:

[Rod:] I know, slightly, a middle-class young white man who was in no way oppressed. But as many teenagers do, he started feeling sorry for himself, and gave himself over to white nationalist websites. He convinced himself that his hate for other races was justified, in part because of propaganda like Robin DiAngelo’s. Last I heard, he was well on his way to ruining his life.

[Matt:] This sounds like some 10%+ of young middle class white men I know, if you substitute various things for the bolded text above — like “internet porn” or “weed” or “drugs” or “promiscuous gay sex.” And why do I suspect that conservatism’s attempt to address the problem(s) will be some smarmy Ben Shapiro born-on-third-base type tediously repeating for the 9,000th time “everything will be fine if you just graduate from high school, secure full time employment, and get married before you have children”?

This blog post is about how the left drives some white people to white nationalism, which “destroys their lives.” What does the Right do? “Go to church, young man” — how many lives have pedophile priests wrecked? Haha, okay, I’m amusing myself. But really… I don’t really feel that the right in America today offers anything to young men, other than “be a bourgeois.” Hey, Young White Men, I know how to speak to your deep and real need to live with meaning and purpose as a man — make natural law arguments while enjoying an academic or think-tank sinecure!

There is no one cause for Very Online white supremacy, but the Right is just as much to blame as anything else. Look at how dysfunctional the Right is in every way in today’s society — do you really think it’s doing OK when it comes to the messages it sends men? It has *nothing* to offer young men — they already get consumerism in spades everywhere they look, and the leadership class of the Right in America today is about telling young men to be a suburban bourgeois like they are. “Major in business,” “be a youth leader,” “study something that will enable you to make money,” — these messages don’t work when young men, who are idealistic and sensitive (people used to be able to understand that — see Goethe), can feel that something has gone horribly wrong with our society and it is hollowed out and atomized.

Men, especially young men, have longings — the longing for a woman, the longing for a brotherhood (to struggle together towards something), and the longing for a leader. In today’s society, longing for a woman, sincere longing with good intentions, is frowned upon, since we are all such careerists (thus, hook-up culture, in which entanglements and vulnerability are to be avoided — and conservatives are too stupid to understand that it is JUST AS MUCH the *women* who seek to avoid these entanglements and vulnerabilities, just as much as the men, so telling men “you need to commit and married” is missing the point — the *women* don’t want to commit!); longing for a brotherhood is “toxic masculinity” and all all-male spaces and venues are to be destroyed, especially those which are focused on struggling towards a goal (unless you’re gay — I have more access to genuine all-male spaces than most straight guys); and the longing for a lord/leader is despised by a culture in which everybody is supposed to be trained to be a “leader,” and “liberation” and the atomized individual is what our consumerist society wants the most (and, again, conservatism is greatly to blame for accommodating atomizing capital at every opportunity).

I am so sick of conservatives who lament identity politics for radicalizing everybody while not being able to see that identity politics fill a real felt need that atomizing global capitalism creates. When the neighborhood that you grew up in can be *completely* rendered unrecognizable in a single generation by mass immigration and planned-obsolescence architecture and urban planning (as is the case in about half of Texas — what a Godforsaken state)… what do you expect? I remember a while back, in a thread on the effects of mass immigration, a commenter writing about how the neighborhood he grew up in has changed so much that just walking down the street, he cannot understand what most people are even saying, because almost everybody speaks a different language now. What is being conserved here? “Well, we tell people to go to church!” Yes, a church that has nothing to say to men :as: men, either. There is a reason the church is full of pederasts and their aiders and abettors! Plus, the command to go to church is insincere — because it’s just as multicultural and contentless as anything else. We can see this in the way Respectable Conservatives treat go to church or synagogue or mosque as interchangeable. Join a faith — but if it doesn’t matter what faith it is, why bother? This is really just Unitarian Universalism!

It really comes down to this — by becoming the party of fealty to capital, Republicans/conservatives became the party of dull, insensitive clods, bourgeois sacks of flesh, and robotic ideologues; and young men — again, we are talking about a demographic who are often sensitive, idealistic, and desperately hungry for meaning, fraternity, and purpose — are *disgusted* by it.

What in today’s world speaks to the young man whose heart is riven with a happy hunger, not for money but for glory, or achievement, or the pursuit of some noble difficult goal? The Left used to actually provide mechanisms for the young man to quest after the fulfillment of these longings for a woman, a brotherhood, a lord or leader; the Left used to be a masculine Left, but it is very feminized now. And the Right, the Reaganite/Movement Conservative Right, is for the contemptible soft bourgeois, the man whose “castle” is his hideous exurban tract home, the man who has been domesticated. Conservatives are supposed to know that there are some aspects of the human animal that cannot be waved away or abolished out of convenience. They need to be addressed or channeled toward some positive good or productive end. But conservatives, by becoming handmaidens of consumer capitalism, have thrown that all away (being a handmaiden of capital is slavish and servile; deferring to people because they are rich is not admirable; Chesterton said that the well-ordered society is the one in which the merchant is “almost an unimportant figure”); and Christianity, in as weak a form as it is today, is not filling the void, either. I am willing to believe that a robust, countercultural, pre-Vatican II Catholicism could do it, could be what is needed, but alas, we don’t have that.

To go back — all the way back — to the highlighted paragraph above. The young man you are talking about sounds *normal* for today’s society, in a way. He is “destroying his life” — OK, what do you expect? What do you think men do? Have you read Goethe? Stendhal? I know, I know — the typical Movement Conservative sneers at Goethe. That’s because the typical Movement Conservative is a philistine. Yes, the Movement Conservative with his painstaking natural law argument is a philistine — because he can’t see that the argument may be perfectly well-reasoned but it is ugly and sterile — yes, *sterile*, I use the word advisedly. It convinces no one and moves no one.

The Left has a tremendous and growing advantage these days over the Right in terms of “human capital” — that is, in terms of those with drive, ambition, and even sensitivity — because even if it is wrong, and I think it is wrong, it understands that there is something deep and compelling in the human soul that *rejects bourgeois smallness.* Remember that Orwell quote about how Hitler, in his horrible joyless fixedness, at least understood that people want something to suffer for? What is the Right (the Respectable Right) giving them? If the Right keeps giving them sinecured Robert George arguments…

Here, by the way, is a link to George Orwell’s 1940 review of Mein Kampf. [1] Excerpt:

Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all ‘progressive’ thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation ‘Greatest happiness of the greatest number’ is a good slogan, but at this moment ‘Better an end with horror than a horror without end’ is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.

An aside, but relevant, I think: I was just on the phone with my mother, asking her about the fallout from the announced closure of a paper mill that employed hundreds of people in our town and surrounding towns. The announcement came as I left for my recent book trip to Spain. She told me about a childhood friend of mine who will be losing his job when the mill closes in March. He’ll be 52 this year. What will he be able to do for a living? His wife has a serious medical condition, and they’re moving up her surgery before he’s unemployed and loses his insurance.

“I can’t imagine them moving away from here,” my mom said. I know what she meant by that: that family has been in the town for generations, and are deeply embedded there. But what choice will they have, if there is no work? The mill closed because it manufactured office paper, for which demand has greatly declined as everything has moved online. As far as I can tell, there are no villains in this case. Still, there were 700 good industrial jobs, but in March, there will be none.

What does the Republican Party have to say to people like those unemployed? What does the Democratic Party? More to the point, what does it have to say to the children of men and women like this?

I ask this in conjunction with Matt in VA’s comment because even though I think he is seriously underrating the boring bourgeois virtues, those who preach the bourgeois virtues can’t get a hearing if there is no stable employment for people who do the right thing. And, if those who do the right thing (by which I mean play by the rules: live lives of hard work, fair play, and self-discipline) can find everything kicked out from under them all of a sudden, it destabilizes the entire society.

I condemn identity politics of both the left and the right because judging oneself and others on the basis of race is to give oneself over to something ugly and destructive. We know this. It drives me crazy that progressives think they can get away with encouraging identity politics among non-whites without calling up the equal and opposite thing among whites.

I’ll give Matt in VA this: many people of all races who turn to identity politics are looking for something beyond themselves to believe in, and a sense of solidarity. Hasn’t the 20th century shown us, though, the extreme danger of making politics into a religion? That is, of expecting politics to give to people a sense of transcendent meaning? Do any of us really want to live in a country in which masses of people look to political leaders for meaning and purpose in life? Think about it.

The liberals and progressives who sneer at “Make America Great Again” are making a mistake. I agree with them that in Trump’s hands, it’s cheap sloganeering. But people are not wrong in longing for a country where people felt that their lives had a sense of purpose and solidarity, despite the country’s flaws. That was a real thing. In Trump’s case, it has proved to be little more than barstool sentimentality, but he touched something real.

Look at this cri de coeur just published in The Guardian [2], and signed by leading Baby Boomer European liberal intellectuals, including Milan Kundera, Bernard-Henri Levy, Salman Rushdie, and others. Excerpts:

The idea of Europe is in peril [3].

From all sides there are criticisms, insults and desertions from the cause.

“Enough of ‘building Europe’!” is the cry. Let’s reconnect instead with our “national soul”! Let’s rediscover our “lost identity”! This is the agenda shared by the populist forces washing over the continent. Never mind that abstractions such as “soul” and “identity” often exist only in the imagination of demagogues.

That’s quite a statement, that last sentence. More:

Our faith is in the great idea that we inherited, which we believe to have been the one force powerful enough to lift Europe’s peoples above themselves and their warring past. We believe it remains the one force today virtuous enough to ward off the new signs of totalitarianism that drag in their wake the old miseries of the dark ages. What is at stake forbids us from giving up.

Hence this invitation to join in a new surge.

Hence this appeal to action on the eve of an election that we refuse to abandon to the gravediggers of the European idea.

And what is that “great idea” that’s “powerful enough to lift Europe’s peoples above themselves and their warring past”?

They don’t say. Seriously, it’s nowhere in this piece! Is it globalist consumerism? Borderless cosmopolitanism? What is it? They would never, ever say “Christianity,” though it’s the only conceivable solution. One might think that these liberal elites believe in nothing other than their own natural right to rule, because they are the best people. I am reminded of the cab driver in Dublin who told me he is not only completely alienated against the Catholic Church in which he was raised, but also that he is ready to join the Yellow Vests movement against the entire political elite of his country, because he believes that they don’t give a rat’s ass about people like him.

Meanwhile, in Spain, the populist party Vox has been voted into power in the province of Andalusia, ending forty years of Socialist rule in Spain’s most left-wing province. Why? The migration crisis, with Andalusia on the front line, has a lot to do with it.  [4] In Spain, a man told me that his relative works for the government on those front lines, and voted for Vox because he can see with his own eyes, every single day, migrants coming ashore and melting into the greater European population — while the government does nothing. Another Spaniard told me that people in Andalusia were sick and tired of corruption in the ruling party, which they had come to see stood for nothing more than protecting itself.

Vox is hysterically denounced by the Spanish and European media as “far right.” Here, in the liberal Madrid daily El Pais, is a description of Vox’s platform. [5] Read this and say with a straight face that Vox’s sensible, moderately conservative nationalism counts as “far right.” It’s an absurd slur, and shows just how far Europe’s liberal establishment — of which the intellectuals who are signatories to the Guardian column — have drifted from the legitimate needs of the people.

Why do I bring this up in connection with Matt in VA’s comments? Because though I am far more critical of identity politics than Matt is, he’s not wrong to say that bourgeois consumerism and hedonism is not enough to hold a country together. Let us be very clear, though, that the opposite of bourgeois consumerism and hedonism can be — can be — far, far worse. In his review, the socialist George Orwell gave the devil (Hitler) his due. What Orwell was trying to say is that you can’t fight Something with Nothing.

As regular readers know, I care more about the church than I do the state. I’m strongly inclined to agree with Matt that the Moralistic Therapeutic Deism on offer at most churches is worthless. If that’s all Christianity is, why bother? I’ve noticed lately at my local Orthodox parish, we’re starting to see more young adults showing up, especially men. It’s certainly not because Orthodoxy is about machismo. It’s partly because Orthodoxy gives young men something to struggle against, and it doesn’t cater to pop culture fashion. It’s spiritually and morally serious, and gives people something to struggle for. Again: you can’t fight Something with Nothing. So much American Christianity is … nothing.

I’ll end this rambly post by quoting Matt in VA again:

It really comes down to this — by becoming the party of fealty to capital, Republicans/conservatives became the party of dull, insensitive clods, bourgeois sacks of flesh, and robotic ideologues; and young men — again, we are talking about a demographic who are often sensitive, idealistic, and desperately hungry for meaning, fraternity, and purpose — are *disgusted* by it.

Okay, but what do the Democrats offer? I’m not asking in a “whatabout” sense; I really want to know. Intersectionality? Condemning “toxic masculinity” and “whiteness”? Fifty genders, and a new set of pronouns? Give me a break.

Is it possible that some political leader is going to emerge who will transcend the two parties, and run against them both?

UPDATE: Now’s a good time to re-up a comment made on this blog a couple of years ago by a reader posting under the name Zapollo:

I’m a white guy. I’m a well-educated intellectual who enjoys small arthouse movies, coffeehouses and classic blues. If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably mistake me for a lefty urban hipster.

And yet. I find some of the alt-right stuff exerts a pull even on me. Even though I’m smart and informed enough to see through it. It’s seductive because I am not a person with any power or privilege, and yet I am constantly bombarded with messages telling me that I’m a cancer, I’m a problem, everything is my fault.

I am very lower middle class. I’ve never owned a new car, and do my own home repairs as much as I can to save money. I cut my own grass, wash my own dishes, buy my clothes from Walmart. I have no clue how I will ever be able to retire. But oh, brother, to hear the media tell it, I am just drowning in unearned power and privilege, and America will be a much brighter, more loving, more peaceful nation when I finally just keel over and die.

Trust me: After all that, some of the alt-right stuff feels like a warm, soothing bath. A “safe space,” if you will. I recoil from the uglier stuff, but some of it — the “hey, white guys are actually okay, you know! Be proud of yourself, white man!” stuff is really VERY seductive, and it is only with some intellectual effort that I can resist the pull. And yet I still follow this stuff, not really accepting it, but following it just because it’s one of the only places I can go where people are not always telling me I’m the seed of all evil in the world. If it’s a struggle for someone like me to resist the pull, I imagine it’s probably impossible for someone with less education or cultural exposure.

It baffles me that more people on the left can’t understand this, can’t see how they’re just feeding, feeding, feeding the growth of this stuff. They have no problem understanding, and even making excuses for, say, the seductive pull of angry black radicalism for disaffected black men. They’re totally cool with straightforwardly racist stuff like La Raza. Why are they unable to put themselves into the shoes of disaffected white guys and see how something similar might appeal to them? Or if they can make this mental leap, why are they so caustically dismissive of it — an attitude they’d never do with, say, a black kid who has joined the Nation of Islam?

I’m sorry, but there are two alternatives here. You can push for some kind of universalist vision bringing everybody together, or you can have tribes. There’s not a third option. If you don’t want universalism, then you just have to accept that various forms of open white nationalism are eventually going to become a permanent feature of politics. You don’t have to LIKE it. But you have to accept it and learn to live with it — including the inevitable violence and strife that will flow from it.

If the Left can’t let go of identity politics, then let me be clear: What comes next is on THEM. A lot of us don’t want to live in a world of tribes, and we never asked for it. But people will like those young dudes attracted to white nationalism are going to play the game according to the rules as they find them, and they will play to win. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Advertisement
144 Comments (Open | Close)

144 Comments To "What The Establishment Right Doesn’t Get"

#1 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On January 29, 2019 @ 1:21 pm

Tom Marchione writes: “Humans are not designed to function as hyper-individualistic pawns of some disconnected superculture run by an engineered race of elites…But this is the way our culture has evolved since the dawn of the progressive era over a century ago.”

This is the way our culture evolved since it put forth the concept of the individual self/soul. All that occurred with the dawn of the progressive era was an increase in the intensity necessary to maintain the illusion of self.

#2 Comment By Another James On January 29, 2019 @ 1:22 pm

The Scots-Irish fled their poor situation to make the difficult trip across the Atlantic. Finding the cities empty of economic opportunity, they made the journey of filtering their way down the Appalachian Mountain valleys, where they found a place to make a life for their families.

Now their descendants are faced with economic disaster. And the best advice to them is to wait around for one or the other political party to build a government program that will provide meaning for their lives?

#3 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On January 29, 2019 @ 1:22 pm

Rob G writes: “To my mind the GOP will never give up market-worship, and the Dems will never give up sex-worship, neither side ever being willing to consider that its respective idolatry is destructive of many of the very ideals that it otherwise espouses.”

Idolatry of any kind is destructive.

#4 Comment By Gerald Arcuri On January 29, 2019 @ 1:40 pm

The Left is rapidly refining the politics of hate, under the guise of their vague notion of equality. I have one word for them: you can’t hate your way to social justice. Hate has one telos, and it’s not justice.

#5 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On January 29, 2019 @ 1:47 pm

Nate J writes: “Would you dutifully bear your cross like Christ? Maybe. Maybe if you had extraordinary patience and virtue. But, who could blame those boys for turning to most extreme measures and more proactively defensive ideas?”

But if one does not blame the taking of actions which are not in keeping with one’s religion, what is the purpose in having/following it? I was horrifically bullied in school. I never turned to any extreme alternatives since I realized that to do so would be to become a version of my abusers and violate my ethics. Society permits so much abuse to occur under the banner of liberty that it has lost the ability to stem it.

#6 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On January 29, 2019 @ 1:51 pm

Zack writes: “I’m really intrigued by the spirit of what (I think) Matt in VA’s getting at, i.e. there’s a specific kind of suffering that follows the lack of meaning in life, both individually and collectively. I can’t immediately think of anything that isn’t maladaptive…that scratches that itch.”

Buddhism supplies meaning, relieves suffering of many kinds, and is not maladaptive.

#7 Comment By Ampersand III On January 29, 2019 @ 1:54 pm

‘But I agree with Matt in VA, and with Rod, at least to this extent: people need more than an adequate income, they need something to live for. So what is it that the “happy” people in our society are living for?’

In my own case, I enjoy being creative. I’ve never gotten much out of family, friends, or relationships. I just like having peace and quiet and focusing on the things I care about. Since I left my community behind, I’ve become much happier.

I firmly believe that humans are psychologically diverse. I’ve met women that desperately wanted to start a family with me, and I’ve met women who ran from their overly-controlling families and were determined to make their lives about friends and career and traveling and sex. (In that order, BTW.) So, in my opinion, there won’t be any “one size fits all” solution to all this. That’s one of the reasons I prefer the secular world to the religious one. Religion tends to say, “This is your glorious purpose, now get on it!” Whereas the secular world is all, “It’s up to you to decide what life means, it isn’t our place to force that on you.” Some people are terrified of the former, and some people are terrified of the latter. A multicultural society is the only way we won’t alienate vast swaths of the population, IMHO, because a cultural monopoly will leave major problems and groups unaddressed.

#8 Comment By MikeW On January 29, 2019 @ 2:17 pm

“Fealty to…”

I think this is the important phrase.

Who do you serve?

Who do we serve?

Everyone has to “serve” something or someone, even if they elevate Self and choose to serve their own ego and whim. I thinks we’re hardwired for this.

And so we have a rudderless and ever growing band of predominantly young males who want to pledge their fealty to something and find what society has to offer wanting. I think this is one of the themes of The Lord of the Rings.

Find something worthy of your devotion. That’s what I keep telling my own young son who is dealing with the battering tides of today’s society. That’s what I’m trying to live out by example for my daughter and her husband, my two grandkids, and my other son and his wife. Live big. And swear fealty to something bigger and more meaningful than yourself. I have done it to God. I’ve also sworn my allegiance to my wife, and by extension my family. That act of commitment, has opened a door to a larger, richer world of meaning.

I think Matthew Crawford’s on to something in his books. I’d recommend his work.

#9 Comment By Connecticut Farmer On January 29, 2019 @ 2:28 pm

@John Gruskos

Spot-on! “Safety, comfort and pleasure” is about all they have to offer. Then what?

#10 Comment By Jonah R. On January 29, 2019 @ 3:02 pm

Treehugger wrote: “On the other hand, my take on Matt V’s point is that the conservative answer is: “quit complaining and make something of yourself” — go to church, get a stable job. It’s all your fault. Loser.”

I agree that this isn’t a useful political platform or policy prescription, but isn’t “stop waiting for someone to fix this for you and try to find a solution for yourself” actually useful advice for any individual when nobody, Republican or Democrat, is coming to help them anytime soon? Any political or legislative solution to their problems could take years, or even generations. What do they do in the meantime?

When you’re poor, starving, addicted, or ill, whose fault it is, and which politicians mean well, are all irrelevant in the moment. It doesn’t even have to be a moral judgment to tell people to get the hell up and move out of their hometown if it’s obvious that no heroes are waiting just over the next hill to ride in and save the day. Telling the dysfunctional to get their lives together can still be useful without being a substitute for a larger political or social solution.

#11 Comment By craig On January 29, 2019 @ 3:05 pm

Don says: “It’s surprising that no-one has mentioned monasticism (or Christian community) as an option for young men to fulfill their need for self-sacrifice, risk and adventure… Where are today’s warrior-monks?”

Upon seeing the photo at the top of the ‘Benedict in Tasmania’ thread, my immediate first impression was ‘such soft-looking men’. Unfair, I know, so I didn’t post it then. But if monastics fail to preserve and exude any visible traces of wild masculine energy, what would lead an energetic young man to look to them as warrior-monks?

Chris – the other one says: “The Law of Merited Impossibility: That will never happen, and when it does you bigots will deserve it… It works in both directions, I see.”

You misunderstand: he’s explicitly saying it will happen due to factors already in motion. RD’s Law of Merited Impossibility requires one to first disavow the suspicion as inconceivable, and then confirm it by casually revealing the plan.

Dazed and Confused says: “Single mother households are effectively saying they don’t need a man regardless of the bad outcomes which they produce for children. Also, I’m continually amazed that people don’t realize when you actively support certain identities, those not included rightly assume you are against them.”

If young men are told that men are toxic, society doesn’t need them, women don’t need them, and they are to be excluded from opportunities to compensate for all the obstacles they didn’t put in front of the people who (it is claimed) don’t need their help anyway, why should they not think the world against them?

About 60% of university students are women now, yet that doesn’t result in any easing of the you-go-girl cheerleading and institutional support. You have to currently be interacting with schools and workplaces to appreciate the level of institutional disregard for high-achieving young white men, who have to hustle for scholarships, internships, etc., because official help is offered to everyone else but them.

#12 Comment By ked_x On January 29, 2019 @ 3:40 pm

> What does the Democratic Party?

You just had to ask this didn’t you.

The Democratic Party offers raising the minimum wage, job guarantees, healthcare reform, college debt relief, ending the stupid drug war, protecting voting rights, fighting for civil rights, fighting against climate change, standing with scientific principles, etc. Now you can say that this offers nothing spiritual or meaningful at a deeper level, but according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, meeting just the “Physiological Needs” and a smattering of “Safety Needs” isn’t nothing. The Democratic Party doesn’t offer any policies that feed “Social Belonging” or “Self-Actualization” and the “Self-Esteem” is on the false side, which is what this article is talking about. Still the Democratic Party is offering something. And meeting physical needs and economic needs can be a foundation to building something better and something transcendent. The Democratic Party’s problem is finding a palatable candidate to connect with the people. Hillary Clinton was just the worst pick ever for a Presidential candidate.

The Republican Party offers bupkis. As Ross Douthat has pointed out, the Republican Party counsels despair. It’s not like there aren’t conservative policy equivalents for liberal policies, it’s just that Republicans only offer slogans without any realistic plan to actually implement them. It’s why I drifted away from conservatism and why I’m so frustrated/angry with conservatism.

[NFR: But the Democratic Party offers this in a package that demonizes many of us and the things we care about. You can’t get around that. — RD]

#13 Comment By Pat L On January 29, 2019 @ 3:44 pm

Wow, Michael Roberson, your prose is superb and flows like a swift, smooth river of crystal-clear water that carries me along your currents without any stumbles in my mind — it’s been ages since I’ve read with such ease and pleasure, where every word is perfect and perfectly placed.

#14 Comment By Distributist On January 29, 2019 @ 4:37 pm

How do I get in contact with Matt? I would love to interview the man. Cheers -The Distributist

#15 Comment By John Spragge On January 29, 2019 @ 5:14 pm

Quoting Don:

Where are today’s warrior-monks?

Christian Peacemaker Teams. A group, predominantly Christian, of people of faith willing to put their lives on the line to answer Christ’s call in the Sermon on the Mount: go make peace, blessed ones, and God will call you His children.
Quoting Nate J:

A political agitator gets in your face, banging a drum, completely unprovoked.

Look, the young men in this situation don’t deserve the trashing they got. The so-called call-out culture of the modern left is the an appalling mirror image of the carceral culture on the right. But these young men clearly had no idea how to respond to an Indigenous elder with a drum. That’s not their fault, but it’s not OK either. The longer the right persist in their smug ignorance of Indigenous rights, the more likely some other young men will fall into the same ignorant place, and they don’t deserve that. Look, there aren’t two sides to this. There aren’t two legitimate positions here. Nathan Philips was not an “agitator” “banging a drum”; he is an Indigenous elder, he was singing a drum song, and he was quite rightly protesting a gross breach of faith by the president advertised by the hats those young men were wearing.

[NFR: He was an elderly agitator banging a drum in a kid’s face. — RD]

#16 Comment By EngineerScotty On January 29, 2019 @ 5:27 pm

Engineer Scotty usually just annoys me, but he is right about this:

I must always annoy you then, because the words you attributed to me weren’t mine. 🙂

Though I do happen to agree with them.

#17 Comment By EngineerScotty On January 29, 2019 @ 5:38 pm

Neither party is offering what you are really asking about: some transcendent purpose or identity. There is no grand purpose. No symbols like a grand cathedral to our God. No moonshot. Etc.

Ummm… the Wall?

If it’s not a giant monument to a certain flavor of nativism, then what is it? Whatever merits it might have had as a border security measure (and given the length of the border, a passive barrier isn’t likely going to be an effective deterrent to determined migrants), has long been lost in its symbolism. Trump supporters see it as a giant rebuke to Mexico and Mexicans. Trump opponents oppose it, both because they oppose the underlying symbolism, and because they seek a symbolic victory against Trump and his followers.

Similar arguments can be made concerning all sorts of other public monuments that one side might try to erect, and the other might try to demolish, depending on whose ox is being gored.

Now if you say that government really ought to avoid such foolishness, and focus on clean streets or whatnot, I won’t argue. But using the power of the State to build monuments to the ruling faction is an age-old phenomenon.

#18 Comment By Nate J On January 29, 2019 @ 5:53 pm

@Brian in Brooklyn:
“But if one does not blame the taking of actions which are not in keeping with one’s religion, what is the purpose in having/following it? I was horrifically bullied in school. I never turned to any extreme alternatives since I realized that to do so would be to become a version of my abusers and violate my ethics.”

– – –

To be clear, I am not suggesting that the Covington boys go take up arms and start shooting leftists. When I say “more extreme forms” of conservatism, I don’t mean Nazism. But, I do mean a form of conservatism more willing to go hard after the forces that attack them (again, that doesn’t mean shooting up Google HQ, but it might mean enacting harsh anti-trust legislation). It might even be a conservatism that wades into the world of identity politics, not that I like it, but that’s where politics is fought today anyway.

And, while there is plenty to dislike in Trump’s style, he does embody one important characteristic: he doesn’t particularly care what people who hate him think of him. I think that’s a reasonable stance and one that conservatives should have adopted long ago before it got this bad.

Really, I think at the core of this discussion is this question: what do you do when the space for you to live virtuously is shrinking? What do you do when forces are actively working against the thriving of your faith, family, and local community? And the frustration with Conservative Inc is that it has precious little to say about the destruction of tradition, local economies, and family (and especially the bigger, powerful forces that bring this destruction about) except “Be more virtuous, try harder, take personal responsibility.” It’s trite and condescending.

You cannot base your political ideology around telling people to take more individual responsibility for things well beyond their individual control. That’s a dead conservatism.

#19 Comment By Muad’dib On January 29, 2019 @ 5:58 pm

Now their descendants are faced with economic disaster. And the best advice to them is to wait around for one or the other political party to build a government program that will provide meaning for their lives?

No, the best advice is move to a large city (1 million or more inhabitants) where there are jobs & educational opportunities, preferably in a Democratic run state where there is a functional safety net.

There is nothing in rural America, other than farming and resource extraction. If you don’t own the land or the resources being extracted, you are no than cheap labor waiting to be disposed of. As soon as the resource has been extracted, or the job mechanized, you’re out on you ass with no job & no future there.

#20 Comment By Nate J On January 29, 2019 @ 6:04 pm

@John Spragge:
“Look, there aren’t two sides to this. There aren’t two legitimate positions here. Nathan Philips was not an ‘agitator’ ‘banging a drum’; he is an Indigenous elder, he was singing a drum song, and he was quite rightly protesting a gross breach of faith by the president advertised by the hats those young men were wearing.”

– – –

Nathan Philips is a man with a history of political activism and a tenunous grasp on truth given his fabricated resume. He was there looking for an emotionally charged photo op, not a reasonable debate on the merits of Trump’s trade policy and immigration law. If this isn’t a political agitator, I don’t know what is.

If you want to throw your lot in with guys like that, so be it. But I will not be condescendingly lectured by you and your media-approved narrative.

It’s instructive that you cannot help but start speaking about this issue with “Well, of course it was not right what happened to these boys, but…”

#21 Comment By Shawn On January 29, 2019 @ 6:40 pm

I live in Zachary which is right down the road from St. Francisville – the story about the GP plant closing doesn’t give me the willies because I know the truth: That being, the dozens of plants in our area are going to absorb those workers if they are good PDQ.

My wife’s plant is going to shutter entirely. Is she clutching her pearls and waiting for the hammer to fall? No. She’s a college graduate and has embraced those “ghastly bourgeois values” (which we share) and we’re going to be fine.

Quit whining, people. Get skills that are indispensable to employers and grow them.

#22 Comment By Zack On January 29, 2019 @ 7:01 pm

@Brian in Brooklyn (and anyone else who might have noticed that I forgot to add my e-mail):

Zachary dawt Valterovich at JeeMayel dawt kawm. Please hit me up!

#23 Comment By TA On January 29, 2019 @ 7:09 pm

Ummm… the Wall?

Fair enough, I hadn’t considered that. For what it’s worth, I was thinking of parties at the time and neither party wants “Wall” in the form that would make it a monument. However, Trump would love a shiny, golden wall that stretches from the Pacific to the Gulf – even if no one else does, Republicans included.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 29, 2019 @ 7:40 pm

The Democratic Party offers raising the minimum wage, job guarantees, healthcare reform, college debt relief, ending the stupid drug war, protecting voting rights, fighting for civil rights, fighting against climate change, standing with scientific principles, etc.

Does it? Some of those items may be supported by some Democrats, but perhaps not enough to actually pass them into law, or, if passed, in such watered-down form as to provoke a passionate condemnation from anyone who actually believed there was an important principle or goal involved. As for ending the stupid drug war, and fighting for civil rights, the devil is in the details. I would never vote for a candidate who intoned those phrases, and then said ‘Trust me, I know what those words mean and what I do with them will be The Right Thing.’

The Republican Party offers bupkis.

That’s true enough. But the Dems have been running far too long on “We’re better than bupkis.” Its a very low bar. And sometimes, it leads to something like Trump.

You cannot ever build a Christian ethos on an ocean of blood.

Its rather sad that this is indeed a profound and illuminating observation. It should be self-evident, but clearly, it isn’t.

#25 Comment By craig On January 29, 2019 @ 9:40 pm

John Spragge says:
“…But these young men clearly had no idea how to respond to an Indigenous elder with a drum.”

You’ve been harping on this for days now, and yet you avoided my earlier direct question about it. Again: in your opinion, specifically how should they have responded? If you can’t answer that, you’re just blowing smoke.

#26 Comment By Richard Parker On January 29, 2019 @ 9:55 pm

“There aren’t two legitimate positions here. Nathan Philips was not an “agitator” “banging a drum”; he is an Indigenous elder…”

It is interesting how almost all of us are “frozen” or “married” to the opinion we formed within the first 48 to 72 hours of the event.

How the human mind works…not very well…just barely well enough to ensure the survival (so far) of the species.

#27 Comment By Ben On January 30, 2019 @ 12:51 am

I just. Don’t. Get it. I fall in the same general bucket as Zapollo (well-educated white guy, though I prefer bebop to blues). Granted, I’ve lived abroad for the past year, but lived in the US for all of my first 33 years, and I *never* heard the message that Zapollo claims is making alt-right ideology sound appealing. And I haven’t been off a college campus for longer than about a month in over a dozen years (it’s been an unbroken line from undergrad to my current position as a professor), so it’s not like I’m not hanging out in what apparently are the right places. Hell, I spent ten years at a University of California campus. How is it that all the commenters whom Rod periodically quotes are so beset by the war against male whiteness, while I, in a veritable nest of (presumed) progressive SJWs, have observed no such thing? I am asking earnestly, not sarcastically.

As to Rod’s question of what Democrats have to offer… well, I can’t really speak for Democrats in general, but personally, I don’t care much at all about intersectionality or pronouns (and found Too Like the Lightning very discomfiting precisely because of how it uses pronouns). I’m not a politician nor someone with any sort of background in public policy, but the things I am most concerned about are income inequality and climate change; I’m sure some clever politician could find some way of convincing young men that the struggle against each of those would be fulfilling and worthwhile.

Last point, and a bit of an aside, but I really can’t stomach the neverending whining about identity politics and race that seem so captivating around here. If I were to give Rod (and others who seem to hold this view; I hope Rod permits a bit of synecdoche on my part for the purpose of simplicity) the benefit of the doubt, their understanding of the entire history of the world must be something like: ~0BC, important things; between 0BC and Feb 1967, absolutely nothing worth mentioning; Feb 1967, Rod is born; between Feb 1967 and ~2000, nothing worth mentioning; ~2000–present, progressives embark on an impossible-to-understand campaign of fomenting identity politics. Parsing how progressives talk about race, without acknowledging that race was a very big bleeping deal in this country in a very fundamental way for a very long time, seems clueless at best and disingenuous at worst. Putting on a fwowny face and saying, “But white people *these days* aren’t responsible for all of that bad stuff”, is just strawman garbage (setting aside the most militant actors, like the Black Hebrew Israelites or others; all sides have extremists, who shouldn’t be used to discredit the entire side). *Of course* there are lots of poor white people who will very deeply feel that they are extended no privilege on account of their whiteness. I’m sure they are truly (and despicably) held in contempt on account of their poverty by lots of elites. However, the fact that our country has a messed-up psychology when it comes to money and power, does not invalidate or supersede the historical fact that race mattered a very great deal for a very large part of this country’s history, and the echoes of that past are nowhere near as faint as many (mostly white) people would prefer to pretend.

#28 Comment By John Spragge On January 30, 2019 @ 1:52 am

Quoting Rod:

[NFR: He was an elderly agitator banging a drum in a kid’s face. — RD]

So if an Orthodox bishop joined a solemn protest vigil in his cope, mitre and crucifix, you’ll have no problem with a secular blogger referring to him as an old guy in a gown and a funny hat, waving a stick? Respect is a two way street. If you don’t respect other people’s sacred symbols, you can hardly expect respect for your own.

Quoting Nate J:

He was there looking for an emotionally charged photo op, not a reasonable debate on the merits of Trump’s trade policy and immigration law. If this isn’t a political agitator, I don’t know what is.
If you want to throw your lot in with guys like that, so be it. But I will not be condescendingly lectured by you and your media-approved narrative.

If you don’t want people to “condescendingly lecture” you, perhaps you could make the time to educate yourself, at least to the minimal extent of understanding what issues the Indigenous protest actually addressed. It had nothing whatever to do with trade policies, which in any case have hurt nobody as badly as Trump’s own constituents. Nor did the protest involve, except tangentially, the wall. The Indigenous protesters were objecting to the delinquency of the US government; as a result of Donald Trump’s temper tantrum, payments promised in various treaties with Indigenous nations were not being made. It’s a mistake to think of this as welfare: it’s rent for the huger areas of land the Indigenous peoples made available to the United States, and the resources on which American prosperity rests.

It’s instructive that you cannot help but start speaking about this issue with “Well, of course it was not right what happened to these boys, but…”

I call these matters as I see them. I have been arguing against the “call out culture” of the left for a very long time. I assure you, I would not support this kind of trashing, whoever the twitter villain du jour was. Personal attacks on them were wrong, and that does not make their ignorance any more acceptable or less correctable.

Quoting craig:

You’ve been harping on this for days now, and yet you avoided my earlier direct question about it. Again: in your opinion, specifically how should they have responded? If you can’t answer that, you’re just blowing smoke.

Your comment is amusingly apt; however, no, I’m not blowing smoke. With the caveat that other people would do a much better job of this than I, and if you do want to educate yourself there are plenty of resources out there, I would say this: start by recognizing people from Europe, Asia and Africa stand on the ancestral ground of the Indigenous people here, not the other way around. Understand the drum has a spiritual and ritual function in nearly all, if not all, of the Indigenous cultures of this place. Understand elders deserve respect for their knowledge, experience and wisdom, in Indigenous culture and in many other cultures as well. As for how to respond: at the most basic level, respond as if you were faced by a bishop with a crosier or a priest carrying a crucifix: with a minimum of deference and respect, and at the very least enough to give the man some space and let him move through on his way. Other people could answer this better than I, but really it isn’t a difficult question. A very little effort at education would have spared these young men a great deal of difficulty.

Quoting Richard Parker:

It is interesting how almost all of us are “frozen” or “married” to the opinion we formed within the first 48 to 72 hours of the event.

I actually change my mind fair bit when presented with evidence. Unfortunately, smug ignorance does not qualify as evidence.

#29 Comment By JeffK On January 30, 2019 @ 6:32 am

@Siarlys Jenkins says:
January 29, 2019 at 7:40 pm

“… As for ending the stupid drug war, and fighting for civil rights, the devil is in the details. I would never vote for a candidate who intoned those phrases, and then said ‘Trust me, I know what those words mean and what I do with them will be The Right Thing.’”

Years ago I came to the same conclusion for ‘Law and order’ District Attorneys. In 2006 we had a really incompetent DA that ran on the Law and Order platform. I don’t want to describe the details, but the DA was admonished numerous times by various judges for, basically, being incompetent. He was so bad he only served one term, and later relinquished his law license.

I now believe in the Kamala Harris type prosecutor. Be tough where it’s needed, but be creative when an iron fist doesn’t make sense.

#30 Comment By Rob G On January 30, 2019 @ 7:22 am

[NFR: But the Democratic Party offers this in a package that demonizes many of us and the things we care about. You can’t get around that. — RD]

Exactly. When push comes to shove do you go with the lumbering idiot who’s at worst oblivious to you, or a slightly more capable idiot who can’t stand you or what you believe in?

As someone said on another thread, at this point neither party offers a home for the person who leans left economically but is socially conservative.

#31 Comment By Brian in Brooklyn On January 30, 2019 @ 11:46 am

Nate J writes: “To be clear, I am not suggesting that the Covington boys go take up arms and start shooting leftists.”

I did not think that at all, and my pardon if what I wrote gave such an impression.

More: “It might even be a conservatism that wades into the world of identity politics, not that I like it, but that’s where politics is fought today anyway.”

I sometimes think that if all sides finally accepted the existence of identities and how they shape lives, then maybe we could move beyond identity politics. At the moment it is an asymmetrical battle.

More: “…what do you do when the space for you to live virtuously is shrinking? What do you do when forces are actively working against the thriving of your faith, family, and local community?”

People have forgotten that helping to create such spaces for others also brings about such spaces for themselves. In Tendai there is the concept of “local coherence and global incoherence” (Provisional Positing and Emptiness). Maybe we ought to give that a try.

#32 Comment By craig On January 30, 2019 @ 1:05 pm

John Spragge says: “As for how to respond: at the most basic level, respond as if you were faced by a bishop with a crosier or a priest carrying a crucifix: with a minimum of deference and respect, and at the very least enough to give the man some space and let him move through on his way.”

Kudos to you for answering (really). Accepting its logic does invite similar thought-experiments, however; would e.g. ‘Indigenous’ Americans on a visit to Italy, or Turk expatriates living in Bavaria, be expected to recognize the claim of Europeans to ancestral land and ritual and show quiet homage before a procession of the Blessed Sacrament? It’d be a shame if the requirement for cultural sensitivity goes only one way.

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 30, 2019 @ 1:43 pm

So if an Orthodox bishop joined a solemn protest vigil in his cope, mitre and crucifix, you’ll have no problem with a secular blogger referring to him as an old guy in a gown and a funny hat, waving a stick?

Spragge’s misplaced analogies are becoming a tiresome pattern. How I would characterize an Orthodox bishop would depend on where he walked in his cope and mitre, and in what manner he displayed or brandished his crucifix. The crude comparisons also suggest an amusing question: Would you describe Father Guido Sarducci as “a Roman Catholic priest in a solemn protest vigil”?

I don’t know what Phillips’s real status is… whether he is a self-appointed “elder,” whether he holds the respect of his entire tribe based on the traditional processes by which that tribe developed and identified elders worthy of respect (its not always be election by any means, but there are formalities and customs to be observed), or whether he is part of a fringe group within his tribe or among a few tribes and he is recognized as an “elder” by his political faction. All are quite possible.

Every political party, faction, movement, ideology should recognize that fakers, con artists, phonies and opportunists WILL adhere to whatever is moving, simply because its a good field for plying their tricks. Is Phillips any of the above? I have no idea.

If you don’t want people to “condescendingly lecture” you, perhaps you could make the time to educate yourself, at least to the minimal extent of understanding what issues the Indigenous protest actually addressed.

Whatever the issues of the Indigenous protest, they are neither here nor there to what this individual was doing wading into a crowd of boys waiting for a bus.

#34 Comment By VikingLS On January 30, 2019 @ 3:16 pm

@John Spragge

Phillips is bullying liar who does not respect the religious traditions of other people. If an Orthodox Bishop behaved in the same way he would not deserve to be respected for his office, which he would have disgraced due to his own actions.

“Understand the drum has a spiritual and ritual function in nearly all, if not all, of the Indigenous cultures of this place.”

A Cross is a sacred symbol too, but if you beat someone with a cross it’s being used as weapon, not a scared symbol. Phillips was using his drum to harass people he later defamed described as animals, not for a sacred purpose.

Whatever right he had to be respected for being an “elder” is outweighed by his bad behavior.

#35 Comment By Mark B. On January 30, 2019 @ 4:11 pm

Matt in VA is indeed a passionate and most interesting thinker and poster here in TAC.

I most prominently remember the passionate post from Matt about The Market in which The Market stands for todays contemporary society and culture.

In my view identity politics indeed is a logical outcome of late-capitalism / The Market. Since the only value people have left in The Market is their economic value, i.e. their contribution to profit, they must find a value for themselves that is about more than this, that has to do with what they are in their core, or at least what they perceive to be their core. And the sad paradox is that they only can find this by becoming products in The Market themselves, for they know no other way and they are shown no other way. A transgender activist demonizing social-conservative Christians for example is in my eyes somebody who longs and needs existantial value as a human being, human dignity and meaning in life independent from his/her social-economic status and place in the pickorder of The Market. To find this meaning, he/she becomes a product in The Market: a new superior good that has more value than an old-style inferior good (like a social-conservative heterosexual male Christian). A new good and brand that must be marketed agressively and relentlessly to come out on top.

Identity politics is a recipe for disaster for sure. People are not goods and products in the end. It will not serve the transgender not the social-conservative Christian, no matter who comes out on top in the end. All will loose and all will pay the price.

Late-capitalism / globalized neo-liberalism will not survive the emptyness it has created and the demon called identity politics that arose from it. It may happen by pitchforks from the left or burning crosses from the right or something new or hybrid. Maybe climate change and disaster will help speed thing up. In the end, one can only hope no new Hitler’s or Stalin’s will emerge.

BTW: The Grand Idea behind the EU is of course European Unity which stands for NEVER-AGAIN-WAR-IN-EUROPE-BETWEEN-EUROPEAN-NATIONS. Which actually is, reviewing Europe’s history, a truly grand and daring idea. An idea that has become a victim of The Market as well, destroyed by the European establishment, it’s value today only being it’s contribution to profit.

#36 Comment By kingdomofgodflag.info On January 30, 2019 @ 6:19 pm

“I am willing to believe that a robust, countercultural, pre-Vatican II Catholicism could do it, could be what is needed, but alas, we don’t have that.”

I am willing to believe that a robust, countercultural, pre-Constantine Catholicism could do it, could be what is needed, but alas, we don’t have that.

“‘Be proud of yourself, white man’ stuff is really VERY seductive, and it is only with some intellectual effort that I can resist the pull.”

I know just what you mean. I feel the same way about “smiting the wicked.”

“You can push for some kind of universalist vision bringing everybody together, or you can have tribes.”

My universalist vision is the kingdom of God. It has no tribes and doesn’t fear those outside the Kingdom.

#37 Comment By Thomas Hobbes On January 30, 2019 @ 6:54 pm

Ben says:
I just. Don’t. Get it. I fall in the same general bucket as Zapollo (well-educated white guy, though I prefer bebop to blues). Granted, I’ve lived abroad for the past year, but lived in the US for all of my first 33 years, and I *never* heard the message that Zapollo claims is making alt-right ideology sound appealing. And I haven’t been off a college campus for longer than about a month in over a dozen years (it’s been an unbroken line from undergrad to my current position as a professor), so it’s not like I’m not hanging out in what apparently are the right places. Hell, I spent ten years at a University of California campus. How is it that all the commenters whom Rod periodically quotes are so beset by the war against male whiteness, while I, in a veritable nest of (presumed) progressive SJWs, have observed no such thing? I am asking earnestly, not sarcastically.

I’ve asked this question a few times in this space myself and have gotten a bit of response (though not much).

Here is the original Zapollo post (or maybe another reup?) where I asked a similar question: [6]

My view is that it all comes down to one’s bubble and media consumption and if you have relatively low rage media consumption you are much less likely to feel as Zapollo does.

I suspect the reason Rod feels it’s necessary to append Zapollo’s post to Matt’s was summed up nicely in another TAC article: [7]

According to Groenendyk, we can resolve the tension between our party identifications and our frustration with our parties by increasing our antipathy toward our parties’ opponents. In other words, we can justify our vote choice if we believe the opposing party is worse. This allows us to acknowledge our disgust with our parties without jumping ship.

Many people, like Rod, who are sympathetic to Matt in VA’s view read his thoughts and think “Da** right! Movement conservatism is terrible!” Then they feel the pain of condemning “their own side” and search for a way “the other side” is worse to justify their side. You can see the exact same dynamic happen amongst many lefties when forced to acknowledge the flaws in “their side”.

#38 Comment By Kev On January 30, 2019 @ 8:07 pm

You can see in the US and in Europe a movement which calls for virtue, sacrifice, hard work, struggle and which has the potential to unite all the people on the globe. Many in the US are too feckless to take it seriously, others are outright hostile to its repudiation of consumerism and capitalism. It has a clear goal, plenty to be done, and an urgency to avert apocalypse. It requires solidarity, mutual care, idealism, sensitivity, and a thoughtfulness and understanding that is not easy to come by. Guessed it yet. Yes, its environmentalism.

#39 Comment By Kev On January 30, 2019 @ 8:44 pm

@kingdomofgodflag “My universalist vision is the kingdom of God. It has no tribes and doesn’t fear those outside the Kingdom.” Wouldn’t those outside the kingdom constitute another tribe? You’d have the Kingdom of the believers vs the kingdom of the infidels.

#40 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 31, 2019 @ 3:38 am

“‘Understand the drum has a spiritual and ritual function in nearly all, if not all, of the Indigenous cultures of this place.’ A Cross is a sacred symbol too, but if you beat someone with a cross it’s being used as weapon, not a sacred symbol.”

But the drums of war are a universal too, invoking their own portent of mystical triumph and redemption through bloodshed.

As far as the Cross goes, Constantine saw it transformed into a sword in the sky, and conquered with it as a sacred weapon.

Arlington National Cemetery, honoring the memories of dead warriors buried there, has a gigantic cross that is really in the form of a sword.

Even Stalin found it necessary to re-invoke religion to inspire the millions of Soviet soldiers to die fighting Germany.

#41 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 31, 2019 @ 4:17 am

“Christian Peacemaker Teams. A group, predominantly Christian, of people of faith willing to put their lives on the line to answer Christ’s call in the Sermon on the Mount: go make peace, blessed ones, and God will call you His children.”

When the ethnic Middle Eastern Islamist terrorists, one home grown and the other an immigrant, slaughtered the innocent government employees in San Bernardino, CPT issued releases claiming that “all violence is white” and that would be their core message about the mass murder.

When the Orlando homosexual hookup club was the target for mass murder by a Middle Eastern Islamic terrorist who was also a patron, Christian Peacemaker Teams issued condemnations of conservative Christian as the victims’ real murderers.

I’m afraid that this group, formerly faithful within an anabaptist Christian tradition, got hijacked by SJW radicals who see faithful conservative Christians as an implacable enemy to be purged from the Mennonite Church, as haters for opposing the LGBTQ agenda, along with promotion of intersectional anti-white racism.

#42 Comment By John Spragge On January 31, 2019 @ 5:10 am

Quoting Siarlys Jenkins:

I don’t know what Phillips’s real status is…

No, and that’s the point. St. Paul says at one point he’s not justified by ignorance, and the same goes here. We still don’t know Nathan Phillips’s status; the young men from Covington outside the Lincoln Memorial certainly didn’t know it. It seems obvious to me, whatever attitudes you assume these young men had, they simply didn’t know how to respond to respond to an Indigenous elder singing a drum song.

Quoting VikingLS:

Whatever right he had to be respected for being an “elder” is outweighed by his bad behavior.

Nothing you’ve written here suggests to me you have either the standing or the knowledge to make that judgement.

#43 Comment By John Spragge On January 31, 2019 @ 9:54 pm

Quoting Fran Macadam:

I’m afraid that this group, formerly faithful within an anabaptist Christian tradition, got hijacked by SJW radicals who see faithful conservative Christians as an implacable enemy to be purged from the Mennonite Church, as haters for opposing the LGBTQ agenda, along with promotion of intersectional anti-white racism.

You and I disagree about many things. For the record, I don’t agree with your characterization of either of the CPT comments you reference, particularly the one on the San Bernardino shooting, which did not claim “all violence is white”, but rather addressed the pathology leading us to look for specific motives on the part of mass shooters we identify as “white”, while ascribing the violence of people of colour to intrinsic characteristics.

But I don’t think it matters. You don’t have to agree with everything anyone associated with CPT says or writes to recognize the group is faithful in deed. CPT members actually go out and to the hard and dangerous work, put their lives on then (and on occasion, lay down their lives) for peacemaking. The Gospels leave no doubt about the importance of being faithful in deed (Matthew 21:28-32). The same passage, interestingly, explicitly prioritizes the justice and faith matters John the Baptists preached on, over sexual morality.

#44 Comment By Rob G On February 1, 2019 @ 6:33 am

“The same passage, interestingly, explicitly prioritizes the justice and faith matters John the Baptists preached on, over sexual morality.”

Yet he got himself killed because he called out Herod’s adultery, and as a direct result of what we would today refer to as “exotic dancing.”

There’s a reason why St. John links lust, envy, and pride (I John 2:16). He who has ears to hear….