Dreary Vs. Dishy: Rod Dreher’s Still As Dull As Ever And … Jealous Of Eric Metaxas (Dah)

Celebrity, Conservatism, Critique, Europe, Globalism, Iraq, Neoconservatism, Paleoconservatism, Populism, Pseudo-intellectualism

By Juvenal Early

Some time back, I did a survey of some particularly ineffective (flaccid, ILANA might say) conservative voices. It’s time to provide an update on one of them: Crunchy superstar, Rod Dreher, or Dreary, as I call him, a blogger who needs no introduction—unfortunately. Evidence that there is no justice on this side of the grave: Dreary has one of the most coveted platforms on the right, plus he has a publisher ready to print whatever 90,000 words he can throw together in any given year.

Dreary spent a few months in Budapest earlier this year, and I think he should move there permanently. Or to Paris, which also seems to hold a special place in his heart. No malice or disrespect intended toward either city, holy places of the West, I would say. But Europe does wonders for Dreary’s attitude—and his opinions. He’s actually good writing about Gothic cathedrals and haute cuisine. Europe is right in his wheelhouse.

Plus, a European posting would more or less preclude him from commenting on the local scene. In America, Dreary is the apotheosis of the craven, sniveling, virtue-signaling Conservatism Inc. (Con-Ink) apparatchik.  I think we’d all be a lot happier if we never again had to read his Never-Trumpisms; or his faint and hollow praise of the Founders; or his weaselly approbation of Confederate memorial removal. Or to never again have to see him expound on race and racism in America.

He was doing very well in the land of the Magyars, and near the end of his three-month stay he enthused over Tucker Carlson, who had taken his show to Budapest. Dreary commended Tucker for courage (true) for interviewing Orban and highlighting Hungary’s common sense immigration policy. It was as good as you can expect from the old Crunchy Con.

This was early August. Dreary posted at least one long article in TAC praising Tucker’s efforts. John Derbyshire—of VDARE and “The Talk” fame—praised Dreary’s article, in his own Orban piece. Dreary saw that story reposted in Unz, liked it, and tweeted it out to all his followers, with the message “Good piece by Derb.” Subsequently, he was called out by lite-libertarian Robbie Soave for commending the work of a racist. Dreary, at first disavowed all knowledge of VDARE, claiming that he didn’t know it was a white nationalist site (it’s not, btw). Then he deleted his original tweet.

It brought to mind other times when Dreary virtue-signaled about race. He doesn’t like being associated with anyone on a SPLC list. The trouble is that anyone to the right of Rich Lowry is likely on a SPLC list, and if a conservative wants to stay off the list, he’d better start off conceding about 90% of the playing field (argument) of any given issue to his left-wing opponent.

Back in 2017, Dreary threw a real hissy fit over Pat Buchanan’s post-Charlottesville column. Pugnacious Pat (God bless him) took issue with the Left for labeling enveryone connected with Unite the Right a white supremacist. By present day standards, Pat reminded us, all of the most historically-important Americans were white supremacists. Typical for Pat, he laid out the facts and left it to the reader to decide—although he wasn’t shy about sharing his own conclusions. In this case, the Founders were great men in spite of whatever we think they might have done, and the nation they gifted to their posterity was a generous offering indeed. Read the column and see what you think.

Poor Dreary couldn’t deal with the nuance of it all. His takeaway? “Buchanan is defending white supremacy, straight up.” When I saw that “straight up,” I couldn’t help being reminded of that cutting edge mediocrity Janeane Garofalo on Keith Olbermann’s late, unlamented MSNBC show. That’s not a bad role model for Dreary to emulate, come to think of it.

Dreary, of course, like the rest of the craven horde that is Con-Ink, was quick to point and splutter when it came to Charlottesville. Whereas, Buchanan gathers facts, analyzes, and decides based on firmly-held principles, Dreary is the type to see how the wind’s blowing, then jump on the bandwagon as close to the front as he can. Thus, you had a man of principle being smeared by a drone of the hive mind.

This, of course, was wrong on so many levels. Back in 2003, when Dreary was writing for pro-war National Review, Buchanan was putting his considerable reputation on the line to co-found the American Conservative, a magazine explicitly started to provide a home for anti-war right wingers (with the assiduous exclusion of Mercer, so even that attempt wasn’t an honest reflection of the reality on the right). One of Dreary’s associates at the time, David Frum, wrote a famous article in NR condemning the likes of Buchanan as “unpatriotic conservatives.”

Later, when the Iraq war was exposed for the deceitful quagmire it was, Dreary was able to slink his way over to TAC. By then, Buchanan had left (as had Moneybags Taki), but, let’s face it, there would’ve been no TAC without Pat. Thus, I think Rod Dreher is not only a mediocre dolt, but an ingrate too.

He’s also an ad hominem hit-and-run bandit.

In October, in a particularly egregious case of the pot calling the kettle black, Dreary called out a couple of fellow religious conservatives, John Zmirak and Eric Metaxas, as Beta males, when they backed Donald Trump’s call for a Boycott of the GOP in 2022, should they nominate a lot of RINOs and Never-Trumpers. The tack Dreary took was rather odd, sort of a variation on a theme I first took notice of in a classic Seinfeld episode, “The Outing.” Seinfeld fans will remember the repeated line from that show; “I’m not gay!!!….Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Dreary took issue with a conversation between the two men on Metaxas’s radio show. Both voiced strident opinions about Never-Trump conservatives, like the truly awful David French. I have no problem with strongly-voiced opinion, especially those I agree with. I’m sure you don’t either, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But Dreary didn’t think they had a right to attack French, because French had been a soldier (Ooooooooo!), “a manly thing to do.”

Of the Catholic Zmirak, Dreary—in his oft-confusing style, writes:

He is a short middle-aged man with a belly as big and as soft as a beanbag. Hey, I’m not short, but I’m only two years younger than Zmirak, and I have the same belly he does. We are men who make our living writing. Unless you’re Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, … it’s not especially the occupation of badasses.”

Of the objectively handsome Metaxas (author, by the way, of the definitive Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography), Dreary writes:

“Eric is an expensively groomed dandy who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This is not a criticism; I like his style! But the idea that Eric Metaxas, of all people, was urging people to give their lives for Donald Trump, is risible.”

Notice what he did there? Dreary basically says, Zmirak is a fat-ass (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so he doesn’t have the right to attack manly-man David French. Metaxas is a fop (though Dreary aspires to that as well), so he should be proscribed from talking tough too.

Incidentally, that “dandy” unkind cut seems particularly misplaced with regard to the urbane Metaxas, who most 58-year-old men wouldn’t mind resembling. Could it be envy on the part of the bedraggled, shirt-out and wispy-goateed Dreary, he of the Mies van der Rohe spectacles? Eric dresses in the stylish manner that at one time was a requirement for grown-up American men, especially those who lived in New York.

In the Who/Whom Era in which we now live, Dreary’s only going to attack the people and ideas he doesn’t like (or can’t understand). If he likes who you are and what you’re peddling, you can conjure up the whiniest hissy-fit in the universe to proclaim it, and he’ll gladly blog it to all the minions who come to his trough for their daily quota of slop.

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This is “Juvenal Early’s” second piece for Barely A Blog. His first was “The Dissident Right Has An Idiocracy Problem.” He now has a BAB archive.

Once upon a time, the epistolary fluff ensconced at The American Conservative was detonated daily by the “pugnacious” Lawrence Auster. When Auster died, a void opened up. The “typically shapeless pieces” coming out of paleoconservative quarters, at once “weird and solipsistic”—Auster’s delicious descriptions—have escaped scrutiny. Going by the pen name “Juvenal Early,” a disillusioned former donor to Chronicles has stepped forward. I’m more than delighted to have launched and to continue to unleashing Juvenal.
Enjoy.
ilana

 

 

China Is ‘Decoupling’ From Decadent Western Culture For Fear Of Being Infected

America, Capitalism, China, Communism, Foreign Policy, Nationalism, The West

Fareed Zakaria is a CNN serial plagiarizer. (Read “Fareed Zakaria Plagiarizer.”) Like another CNN offender, online onanist Jeffrey Toobin, Zakaria is always forgiven and brought back from literary purgatory, to inflict mediocrity and derivative insights on viewers who’re none the wiser.

The neoliberal Zakaria recently broadcasted a “television special, China’s Iron Fist.” He joined neoconservatives in calling China “The most serious competition the United States has ever faced. The Chinese are doing AI, biotech, hi-speed rail – the industries of the future.”

I watched the broadcast. It was the simplistic, angels-and-demons story-line, that proceeds from the premise that America is an oasis of freedom and happiness, whereas in China, which has become quite the middle-class, materialistic, consumerist society, all yearn to breathe free … in America, naturally.

Well, the Han Chinese, who constitute 94% of China, rather like their nationalistic, monolithic  (at least compared to the US) country.

What I most hate about the Chinese culture is its contempt and abuse of the natural world, critters included. But I couldn’t be bothered with the American foreign-policy elite’s sinophobia, which seems to be a distraction from the fact that the Chinese ruling class generally acts in the national interest; whereas American ruling elites act in ways so antagonistic to the people’s welfare as to constitute treason.

In any event, China, warned Zakaria, is becoming less western. The West being the best, such a trend is condemned. Well, the always low-key observations of The Economist make more sense:

“China’s leaders still want investment and technology from the West, but they think it is in decadent decline and are decoupling from Western norms and ideas.”

They have a point, no?

* Image courtesy The Economist

PARLER, Hashtag #Bible, Is A Zombie Social-Media Network

China, Free Speech, Media, Neoconservatism, Republicans, Technology

Social media is supposed to be free, effortless and friendly. I’m just not getting that feeling from Parler, whose hashtags are dead to the news.—ilana

On Twitter I endure shadow-banning, throttling and the periodic wiping out of Followers in their hundreds. BUT at least Twitter is ALIVE. It is a clever interface, too. If not for the China-style censorship; Twitter would be perfect.

Parler—the conservative site we defended and had high hopes for (see “Deep Tech: Locked Down And Locked Out, First By The State, Then By Silicon Valley“)—is proving to be a zombie social-media site. I mean, just look how dead-to-the news the Parler hashtags are!

It is Republican Party cheerleaders, neoconservatives at their most stagnant, stuck in a time-warp; followers of Trump, but without an affinity or penchant for his radical spirit and message. Very Fox News.

Dissident thinkers—at least this one—will find it hard to get ahead or make friends. Not so Gab, which is not as good as Twitter, as an interface, but is so much better than Parler for dissidents (at least, myself).

A Parler email just arrived informing me that “Parler remains the world’s premier free speech platform.” To follow are instructions to do some wank activity like log-in somewhere to feel the Parler fabulousness.

You see, Parler, social media is supposed to be free, effortless and friendly. I’m just not getting that feeling from Parler.

I’ll be posting this up there on Parler, and will make myself scarce on that frosty, dour place.

FRED REED: Bads, Wads, And The Unlikelihood Of Reason: Thoughts On Two Verdicts

Crime, Critique, Ethics, FRED REED, GUNS, Justice, Law, Race, The South

In both the Rittenhouse and Arbery cases, we have Black Advocates, and White Advocates (Bads and Wads to avoid typing fatigue) squalling at each other

By Fred Reed

Oh God, oh God. Can we humans not contract out our governance to, say, cephalopods and stop trying to manage our own affairs? I mean, really. Girl octopodes are both smart and leggy. They aren’t crazy. What more do we want?

Recently we have had the verdicts in the Rittenhouse and Arbery trials, with which I assume the reader to be at least broadly familiar. If you are not, I congratulate you for avoiding the grocery-store tabloid intellectual level regnant in America.

Today, everything is identity politics, emotion, and herd instinct. Loyalty to one’s herd trumps all else, to include truth. Outside the courtroom, treatment of both trials was racial, ideological and, often, disingenuous if not dishonest. Inside the courtroom, neither was. This pack-instinct politics is an embarrassment.

In both cases, we have Black Advocates, and White Advocates (hereinafter Bads and Wads to avoid typing fatigue) squalling at each other. The Wads have never seen a white man who was guilty and the Bads, one who wasn’t. I don’t think I have ever encountered so much tendentious twaddle in one place, and I have lived in Washington.

But the juries got both right. For a practicing curmudgeon, this is devastating. There may be a hidden underlying vein of reason in the country.

In the Rittenhouse matter, the case, that the kid shot in self-defense, is obvious on the facts.  The jury agreed. In Arbery, the defense of the killers is weak, contrived, and illogical. The jury agreed.

Now, Arbery, briefly: Arbery was a black man who on at least five occasions (is said to have) entered a suburban house under construction, walked around, sometimes on surveillance video, and left without stealing anything. In Georgia, this is called “criminal trespass,” and is a misdemeanor, like littering. No theft, no vandalism, no burglary, no felony.

On the day of his death, Arbery, a known jogger, came out of the house, carrying nothing, not anything stolen, not a weapon, not a cellphone, and ran down the street. The three killers, assuming on no evidence that he must have committed a crime, began chasing him in two pickups. They ran him down in a chase lasting five minutes, used the trucks to force him in desired directions, trapped him on a street between the trucks. Apparently Arbery, exhausted and desperate, cornered, attacked the guy who had a twelve-gauge pump, who killed him with it. One of the three took video during the chase.

They later said they killed him in self-defense and claimed that they were conducting a citizen’s arrest. The latter claim, farfetched and not occurring until well after the event, was the only possible defense a lawyer could come up with. I suspect a lawyer did come up with it.

The self-defense approach doesn’t fly. If you are the aggressors, as for example chasing with pickups a frightened man, and you kill him when he finally fights back, in law you cannot claim self-defense. And when the odds are three men and two guns against an unarmed defender, self-defense is not persuasive.

Here the story becomes sordid. When I heard shortly after the killing that there would be no indictments, I thought, uh-huh, the fix is in. And the fix was indeed in. One of the killers who had worked in law enforcement called his friend, Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson, and got her to  prevent an investigation, for which she was later indicted on a felony charge. The investigation and arrest came months later and only after the video went viral.

The jury found all three guilty of murder, whereupon white advocates called the proceedings a show trial, political, with the jury being intimidated, anti-white, and the like.

None of this is true. (If you have the interest and spare time, here is the prosecutions case in its entirety. Judge for yourself.) In identity politics, a show trial is one in which the verdict is not the one one’s herd wants. The jury is then said to be woke, corrupt, left-wing, right-wing, suborned, racist, white-hating, what have you It can’t be that the jury even-handedly pondered the facts and came to a considered conclusion.

Wads, as much as Bads, just make up evidence.  Various WADs stated as fact that Arbery, who frequently jogged through the neighborhood, did so “casing” it for future theft. Since there is no evidence that Arbery committed burglary, ever, this is invention. There is much innuendo, as for example stating that many thefts had occurred in the neighborhood and inviting the reader to conclude that Arbury was the thief. There is exactly no evidence for this.

In libel law this sort of thing is called “actual malice” or “reckless disregard of truth.” But the dead can’t sue.

Why the desperate attempt to find a felony for Arbery to have committed? Because without one,  the defense of making a citizen’s arrest doesn’t fly. That leaves them having hunted Arbery down and killed him with no authority to do so. This is called “murder.”

Citizen’s arrest: A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a person may arrest him on reasonable or probable grounds of suspicion.

The claim of making a citizen’s arrest smells to high heaven. There was no felony. Arbery came out of the house carrying nothing, as the killers could see. No felony had been committed in their presence since none had been committed at all. Further, statements by the three themselves show that they didn’t think Arbery had stolen anything, or didn’t know whether he had. These gut the defense of citizen’s arrest.

When the sheriff showed up, they would certainly have told him approximately, “We thought he was a burglar and so we wanted to hold him until the police came.” They didn’t. They didn’t tell Arbery they were making a citizen’s arrest.

Many seem not to understand the importance of this. The only question in the trial was whether the three were conducting a legitimate citizen’s arrest. If not, then with no right or authority whatsoever they had chased down a man who had not committed a felony, and killed him. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called “murder.”

Let us consider events from Arbury’s standpoint. He was out for a jog, as he had been many times before. He poked around the building site, as he and others had done before. He stole nothing. He didn’t know that he was a burglar in the eyes of the three paladins of justice. He didn’t know that they were planning a citizen’s arrest. Suddenly, armed white men in a pickup accost him, trying to cut him off. This is terrifying. They don’t tell him why. One says, or later claims to have, “I want to talk to you,” probably not in a chirpy voice with a broad smile. From Arbury’s point of view, this is not promising. Remember, he lives in Georgia. Arbury doesn’t reply, as why should he? He tries to evade, which is exactly what I would do. It is, I suspect, what a white person would do if cut off by armed blacks.

What should he have done, trapped, probably scared witless, with a white man pointing a shotgun at him? What does a black man in these circumstances believe to be the intentions of his pursuers? A beating? A rope? Burning? Death? To a white advocate in northern suburbs these may seem silly questions. To a black in Georgia, they don’t. His decision, to fight, got him killed.

It is interesting here to ask what the identity groups would have said had the races been reversed. For example, if three blacks had run down a white college student in otherwise identical circumstances. Or, if Rittenhouse had been a black kid attacked by Republicans, saying that his intent was to protect the right of BLM to hold lawful demonstrations. I think we all know the answer. And, when a nearly all-white jury in the Deep South convicts three white men of killing a black man, you can bet they believe it.

Guilty as charged.

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE