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Winning the Subculture War

Yuval Levin, on the challenges of our time of chaos and rapid change, and the danger of false nostalgia for restoring the past:

On the cultural front, the tendency of decentralization to undermine all authoritative institutions will present more of a challenge for the right. Social conservatives are so far experiencing this transition as a loss of their dominant position in the culture. But they should see that this generally means not that their opponents are coming to dominate but that no one is. They should judge their prospects less in terms of their hold on our big institutions and more in terms of their success in forming a thriving and appealing subculture, or network of subcultures. Christianity has a great deal of experience in that difficult art, of course, but it is largely out of practice in our society.

This seems right to me. I had dinner last night with Alan Wolfe, whose new book At Home In Exile: Why Diaspora Is Good For The Jews, comes out next week. When Alan told me what the book was about, it struck me that moving into the future, orthodox Christians probably have a lot to learn from the Jewish experience of living and thriving (or failing to thrive as a religiously observant community) as a minority in an alien, even hostile, culture.

(Blogging will be light today; I’m at the airport in Boston, waiting to board a flight back south. I just overheard a conversation between Sully’s and Denise’s mothers. Sorry I’m having to leave Boston so soon, without having eaten any seafood, and without having savored any local accents.)

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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