Map of neo-reaction, and who reads my blog
A map of neo-reaction from Joel Cuerrier. I made the cut under "Dark Enlightenment," so that's why you're seeing this post.
It's a good aggregation and there's plenty of great material for weekend reading. The movement has some really brilliant thinkers in it and I'm just a glib lawyer, late middle-age and in hopelessly over his head, so I'm flattered and grateful for all the links by a number of talented folks.
Just over half my pageviews are from Steve Sailer, and just under half come from Ad Orientem. In other words, a not-insignificant number of traditionalist Christians read this blog. That's good news or bad news, depending on your perspective.
Speaking of who reads my blog, do Rod Dreher, Megan McArdle (via Dreher), and Tyler Cowen read my blog?
I kid, of course. I'm just remarking that they--Rod Dreher in particular--have all been hitting on themes familiar to this corner of the internet: the rules of social conservatism were not written with high-g atheists in mind*, and the Church should consider enabling affordable family formation in her own pews rather than the ballyhooed, well-intended, muddle-headed evangelism.
Rod is doing the Lord's work in his series of posts on poverty, but he can't help his typically higher-g, American-Christian-convert outlook:
The loss of the practice of churchgoing among the American poor and working classes is producing a civilization that has lost its natural muscle tone, and has something to do with the situation in Troy. Again, I’m making a sociological statement, not a theological one. I think it’s wrong to take religion instrumentally, but as Kaplan observes, the Turkish poor on the Golden Mountain really do lack only money and opportunity. They’ve kept internal chaos at bay in a way the poor of Abidjan have not. As an unidentified West African government minister told Kaplan:
“In the poor quarters of Arab North Africa,” he continued, “there is much less crime, because Islam provides a social anchor: of education and indoctrination. Here in West Africa we have a lot of superficial Islam and superficial Christianity. Western religion is undermined by animist beliefs not suitable to a moral society, because they are based on irrational spirit power. Here spirits are used to wreak vengeance by one person against another, or one group against another.”Religion is culture, and culture has consequences. The answer to the question of poverty is hard, but it often seems like it’s easier to figure out how to transfer more financial capital to the poor than to figure out how to transmit more spiritual capital to them.
I sought clarification, and Rod was kind enough to respond:
I think it’s wrong to take religion instrumentally,...Which is what I figured he meant, so I can retort with confidence:
What do you mean by this?
[NFR: To approach religion on a "what works for me" basis, as distinct from "what's true". -- RD]
We don't like to think about it, but for a lot of people on the left-side IQ distribution, “truth” is never going to be more than what their betters tell them it is. The proles don't really care about arcane theological distinctions; they lack the capacity to care about arcane theological distinctions. If the horse you're going to ride is "truth," then the Orthodox Church in the US is going to become what it's already in danger of becoming: a redoubt for aging, white intellectuals. I can join a book club if that's the direction we're taking, but that's not the communion of saints. What the poor need is a multi-generational institution wedded to her people, not a spiritual tourist trap. Impoverished Americans, like impoverished Turks and Africans, have to be told what to do. There, I've said it.
Higher-g Americans, inculcated from birth in the egalitarian American canon, recoil from such notions of hierarchy and community like vampires from garlic. For intellectuals, incorporeal "truth" is the highest goal. The Church is where the Truth is (and it is), and whether the Church "works" for people and their society is well down the list of concerns. A Church that actually shepherds her people--gives them a patronage network, life-cycle rituals, alms--as opposed to contenting herself with hawking her wares in the religious marketplace is inimical to universalist Americans. I can tell you from conversations in real life and on the internet that suggesting a contrary vision gets people downright angry. It's hard to see a national Church ever being established among a people so furiously engaged in deconstructing the very notion of "American." The whole West has bought into this mania by the way, with the West's own nominal Patriarchate in the vanguard, and the Orthodox hierarchy not far behind.
* - Credit to commenter RmDeep, for one of the all-time great truthtellings in the history of the Internet:
RmDeep January 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm This thread is hilarious as all the high-g atheistic libertarians belatedly realize that social conservativism is not for their benefit, but for the benefit of the left half of the bell curve.