Stephen Covey wrote a once-famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Six of the habits are forgettable, and should be forgotten. But the seventh—ah, that is everything! “Begin with the end in mind.”
What is our end? That is easy—winning. What is the winning condition? It is the total, permanent defeat of the Left, of the ideology at the heart of the Enlightenment, with its two core principles of total emancipation from all bonds not continuously chosen, and of total forced equality of all people. When this defeat is accomplished, Right principles, those based in reality and recognizing the nature of man, his limitations, and his capabilities, can again become ascendant.
[These are the first two paragraphs of a colloquy published in IM-1776, between Daniel Miller and myself. The genesis of the piece was an attack by Rod Dreher on me, when he led a witch-hunt against a young teacher, the headmaster of a classical Christian school, responding “Who cares? No enemies to the Right.” Read the rest here!]
Those two core principles were not of the enlightenment but of the counter-enlightenment; two seeds planted by the philosophical miscreant Rousseau, who, as always with the left, pawned his drivel off as its opposite; i.e, as enlightenment.
Soldiers in the trench should only shoot at the enemy, and not point the gun at anybody else in the trench.
Of course, what this whole debate is about are accusations of “racism” by people like Dreher, and this sort of thing has to be hit head-on by our side, because as long as 1) The Left gets to define what “racism” is, and 2) “racism” as defined by the Left is considered the worst sin, both secular and religious, the Right is going to get nowhere. Congratulations on having the guts to stand up to this nonsense, and say “you don’t get to define our morality for us, and besides, there are worse things than racism – like Communism!” As long as the Left gets to set the rules, the Right is going to be, ironically enough, like the Spanish Republicans in the Civil War, frantically conducting heresy hunts in the rear at the behest of Comrade Stalin, while Franco methodically pounded their armies to pieces. Better to imitate the winners in that war…
A good analogy.
Six of the habits are forgettable, and should be forgotten. But the seventh—ah, that is everything!
I know that book by heart. And I would say the two that most people really need to focus on is being Proactive & Seek the Win Win. I would argue that most of the Right fail on these two big-time, especially the latter. Leftists eat our lunch because we can’t work together. Although I do agree End In Mind is a solid 3rd.
But good post.
Well, artistic license, perhaps.
That is because the the political right has always been defined by the reactive and win-lose scenarios. Without those two pillars, it would no longer be the political right. But it’s complicated to know what is on the political right in a country that was founded on liberalism, much of it radical left-liberalism (e.g., Thomas Paine).
Enjoyed your exchange with Mr. Miller; I tried to read Dreher’s post but could not; I simply cannot abide the man.
He is troubled.
I’ve admired your writing for a long time but this piece knocks it out of the park. You simultaneously took down Dreher and Miller. Magnificent. Sadly, there is a sophistry on the right that masks cowardice behind intellectual balderdash (like Yarvin & Miller). You cut right through that and set a new model: tactical vs theoretical.
Thank you! All compliments are eagerly accepted and endorsed!
Rod Dreher does not get it, even though it should be simple: The Left never seriously condemns other Leftisms, regardless of whatever egalitarian form they take, whether Marxism, transgenderism, anti-natalism, environmental “justice,” etc…. The Left may seek to persuade. But never condemn and present a brick wall. What kind of persuasion does Dreher spend on his target, this Thomas Alchorn, or those that think like him? None. Indeed, as you’ve pointed out, he seems more interested in justifying himself with respect to LEFT principles and actors.
This “RIght” no more attempts to persuade other types of Rightists, than it does to ally. This quandary can be explained: Whatever particularism a “Rightist” like Dreher may espouse, he will always condemn anyone deviating from his particular flavor. Rod wants to espouse HIS worldview, and banish all others, i.e., act in conformance with his worldview, but be in lockstep with the Left’s autonomous egalitarianism otherwise. It’s special pleading.
Dreher is an essence a Liberal, as he has kind of conceded. And a befuddled one at that. He recently defended Qatar for banning rainbow-flag-wear at the World Cup. But would he do the same if Qatar banned the Star of David? Or defend a Georgia cracker for burning a Koran? Methinks not. Then what does he think he’s defending? But his particularism, and his alone? Enemy of therapeutic deism, my foot!
With “the ends do not justify the means” principle in which Dreher cloaks his diatribe, I think he misunderstands it. What is your teleology Rod? And what does he think about the Old Testament? Does he special plead around that too?
And as far as his presumptuous, perhaps sacrilegious quip about your soul Charles, I think he needs to remove the beam from his own eye….
I’m not worried about my own soul. Or rather, I’m very worried, but not because of any of these matters!
Well said, Charles. Dreher often has valuable things to say, but occasionally he seems to go off his rocker on certain issues. What’s funny is he even admits in hindsight he was completely wrong and irrational about the Iraq War, yet here he doesn’t recognize the same over-emotional mania in himself clouding his judgement. I don’t think it helps that his ex-wife clearly had an extremely negative and visceral reaction to all this – she quit the school because of it! I’m not going to speculate as to exactly how that impacts Rod’s opinion, but since he is still sensitive over his recent divorce I will guess it made some difference.
Can you expand on the following point? I haven’t heard of this before.
> [The word “ethics”] should never be used; the correct word is either “morals,” or if not that, “opinion” — ethics is a word used, again, to import relativism, because it has no objective foundation.
In practice, “ethics” is used by people who don’t have any morals, but want to create a new system, which is always just Left ideology masquerading as a neutral philosophy of “ethics” or “justice.” John Rawls is the classic example. So, I suppose my point is that the word has, in modernity, been effectively corrupted, not that it is inherently a bad word to use.
That’s interesting because ala Alasdair MacIntyre and his demonizing of the word “Morality” (capital M) to mean exactly what you take “ethics” to mean, I specifically almost always use “ethics” because of the Aristotelian and religious grounding it has. I see derivations of the word “moral” being used all the time to essentially say anyone without Left beliefs is some sort of demon.
Drawing a distinction between ethics and morals seems futile. There might be a difference in some people’s minds, but it’s quite subjective and hard to pin down as a general rule.
Cicero as translator used one as the direct translation of the other, ethikos (Greek) and moralis (Latin). I think they remain synonymous today. My Japanese-English dictionary, for example, gives the same word 倫理 as the translation of both ethics and morals.
I read the article (and Dreher’s linked article) and thank you, it was really insightful dialogue.
I believe that both Dreher and Miller are “friends” and not stooges/plants but where they seem to differ drastically from you, is neither acknowledge the full scope of the Left’s malevolence. They seem to view Leftists as misguided or operating under misapprehensions, to be reasoned with and impressed/won over by Christian virtue, and while that may be the case for their foot soldiers and patsies, I think it is obvious that the powers of the Left have an uncompromising hatred for the Right and Christianity. The time for reason has long past, they view us as their ideological foes to be entirely wiped out and refusing to acknowledge that is tantamount to suicide.
“No enemies on the right” simply acknowledges that we are not in a civil disagreement with the Left but a war – one that will have a winner and a loser.
This is correct, I think.
Excellent post. One question is, despite his self-labeling, does Rod really believe himself a “Man of the Right”. And given what’s he’s said in the past, I doubt it. I’ve read him for years, and at one point he stated he was 90’s Democrat, and would still be a Democrat, except the party “hated pro-life Christians”. He’s also stated that he’s only conservative on social issues, nothing else.
IRC, he was offered the “reasonable conservative” job that Ross Doughnut ended up with. He decline to stay in LA for family reasons. One example of Rod’s mindset was a rather pathetic story he told years ago. He bumped into 2 female academics while sight-seeing in DC. The three had a hell of time, and were bosum buddies. Then over a meal, Rod dropped the fact that he was Pro-life, and was instantly frozen out. 10 years later, Rod was still heart-broken that these 2 leftwing biddies had not continued their friendship.
So, I’m not amazed that Rod viciously attacks the Right. He’s not one of us. He’s a exiled Leftist. And would go back to them, if they asked him.
Yeah, maybe. But the old lines are pretty blurred. Much of my own economic thinking is not “Right,” in the sense of “Republican.” But I am afraid you are right in your conclusion. He loves the bright lights, big cities dominated by the Left, and he always has.
Good comment. The challenge with “No enemies on the right” is practical. Who is truly on the right? Shapiro? French? Dreher? We live in an age of absolute mendacity so we can’t take anyone’s word on anything, let alone their self-styled political affiliation.
Well, yes. We shouldn’t spend a lot of energy on it; the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Those who actively help, who take risks to help, are self-proving that they are on the Right.