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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Brother Dominic Bouck: do as I write, not as I tweet.

One of the Teaching Assistants in the Department of Smugness over at First Things- where they keep the air conditioning turned up so they can have fires all year to sit next to, swirl their brandies, and opine on the follies of the rabble- has lately delivered himself of this:
...But today, it’s the boring conservatives, young and old, who have become the countercultural movement at every level. The new underground doesn’t burn the American flag like the protesters of old; showing it honor is countercultural enough. Going to church on Sunday will turn heads, getting married young will cause alarm, and trusting the wisdom of previous ages will get laughs.
In 1776, those who stood for national pride, limited government, and civic virtue were the revolutionaries, but since then, conservatives have sought to maintain those strengths by respecting authority and taking recourse democratically. Until recently, that is.
Last year, Slate noticed the increase in outrage, and in a new way, from conservatives.
Conservatives, by disposition, ought to be outrage-averse. Kate Fox’s joke about British protests—“A truly English protest march would see us all chanting: ‘What do we want? GRADUAL CHANGE! When do we want it? IN DUE COURSE!”—could once have been leveled at conservatives with equal fairness. Conservatism, as understood by Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, and William F. Buckley, is the opposite of radicalism. It eschewed the mob impulse, the scalp-hunting instinct, and the bellowing ire that’s come to be business as usual in some quarters of the right.
Conservatives might just have to get used to the fact that media domination will prevent their message from getting out effectively and have to learn how to live as strangers in a strange land. But frustration and anger don’t attract people. We might be tempted to do things which may satisfy in the moment, but which will hurt the conservative cause down the road. Instead of red-faced outrage, we should offer the inspiration of virtue. Civic responsibility, devotion to community, and a sense of humor go a long way to convince people that you aren’t a reprehensible bigot, a pock on the face of society. And if this seems difficult, God gives the grace to bear wrongs patiently, forgive those who hurt us, and love our enemies.
And, we shouldn’t imagine that we have nothing in common with the New Cultural Majority. The importance of small communities within larger ones, a concern for nature, and the greatness of Calvin and Hobbes are things we can all agree on.
Hanging heads and snarly tweets belong to the weak minded. Despair

must be replaced by confidence in the truth. American men and women need to put on their hard hats in the workplace, the schools, the political sphere, and at home and get to work. We have a society to rebuild. We can learn from the excesses of yesterday’s leftist counterculture on how not to do that.

Strange. I don't remember the Sixties and Seventies that way. I remember the Nixon Administration ramping up its enemies lists, and its domestic surveillance, against war protesters. In those days, there were men and women so opposed to the immorality of the Vietnam War, and its extensions and atrocities, that they actually did set themselves aflame and die- one, Norman Morrison, just below the office of the Secretary of Defense. The toppling of corrupt Arab governments- many the favorites of the American Right- began when a Tunisian street merchant drew the ultimate line before his government, just a few years ago.

Not for them the publicity-seeking lies of Pastor Rick Scarborough. Nor the preening farce of politicovangelists and media farceurs like Glenn Beck, who claim ten thousand American ministers are ready to be massacred- by whom? they will not say- in defense of the misbegotten notion that gay couples will insist that they be married by ministers who loathe them, in churches that deny them full membership. These are not the proud new radicals of the faith Brother Bouck, Intern, lionizes. They are frauds, zanies and mountebanks. Their creed is the call of the carnival barker. Their eternity is 24 hours on Fox News.

In the bad old days, which Brother Bouck, Intern, chuckles over as a time of wise, tolerant conservatives indulging "exasperation" at the antics of the angry Left, it was not the students at Kent State, for example, who called on the National Guard to shoot them down. They Guard was called out by Governor James Rhodes, who- the day before the killings- held a news conference in Kent, in which he said of the protesting students, "They're worse than the Brownshirts, and the Communist element, and also the Night Riders, and the vigilantes. They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America.

Not much has changed: the epithets against use of which Brother Bouck, Intern, now cautions are, pretty much exactly, the same. Bouck calls on Nixon's Silent Majority- its union component much diminished by first, collaboration, then by Republican suppression- just as the Right did forty years ago, and to rally for the same cause. If, today, as Brother Bouck, Intern, maintains, "Going to church on Sunday will turn heads, getting married young will cause alarm, and trusting the wisdom of previous ages will get laughs," then why does he and his cadre turn away more who seek to join them?

Gays are not welcome except as the objects of the most witheringly saccharine condescension. Minorities have their own churches to go to. Hundreds of thousands of young couples have had to grow old- and some have died- waiting in vain for Brother Bouck, Intern and his wise, bemused elders to let them do so. Still, Brother Bouck, Intern, girds his loins for the good fight to keep them unmarried and outside the rites of the churches of their choice. Just as in the 70s, millions say to the institutions keeping the flames of the wisdom of the ages, receive new truths, adapt, and let us in.

Brother Bouck, Intern, says no.

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