On Rod Dreher
As a thoughtful editorialist for the Dallas Morning News, Mr. Dreher can be counted on to carefully read and think before slinging barbs and arrows. Right? And surely as a Christian writer he would never stoop to caricaturing and misrepresenting the argument of a brother in Christ.
In any case, Rod sums up my essays on capital punishment (here and here) in the following way:
"Yeah, Darrell Dow’s thoughts on the morality of the death penalty boils down to 'kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out.' If that Savage’s definition of a traditional conservative, sorry, I happily don’t meet it. Neither does the Pope, that well-known squish."
Did Rod even bother to take a gander at my short post on the economics of captital punishment? Did he read my exegesis of John 8:1-11? In short, I was trying to demonstrate two things: 1) the death penalty serves as a deterrent and is an essential aspect of justice in a biblical social order; and 2) a text often misused by opponents of capital punishment actually demonstrates that Christ affirms the death penalty. Yes, that makes me guilty of blood lust in the eyes to Mr. Dreher.
Frankly, I’m not surprised. A typical tactic of pseudo-cons seeking to ingratiate themselves with the lib establishment is to demonize anyone to their "right." The simple-minded caricature of me penned by Dreher is gross, inaccurate, and lacking in Christian charity. Coming from a writer of Dreher’s quality, and a Christian to boot, I would expect better than picking on a small-time blogger who merely tries to write in faithful adherence to the scriptures without delusions of grandeur. Yet even no-name bloggers like me get "the treatment" from those who, as James Burnham said, maintain the "emotional gestalt of liberalism" despite their repudiation of its formal doctrines.
Let’s look at a few other examples of Dreher’s emotional gestalt and lack of logic, shall we. Here Mr. Dreher, noted in the byline as a Catholic, attacks the church and the Pope for their anti-war stand. Dreher’s argument was pretty simple (and naturally published in the "War Street Journal): The Pope didn’t thwart homosexual predators and, therefore, has no moral authority to lecture us about matters of war and peace. Dreher writes:
It is appalling to watch President Bush, who has responsibility for safeguarding 280 million of us from terrorists and terror states, being lectured on his duties in that regard by a church that would not even protect children from its own rogue priests and the bishops who enabled them.
I agree with Mr. Dreher that the church should not have ignored its own teachings on sexual morality for four decades. Yes, it would have been nice for them to punish priests and bishops for buggering little boys. On that, we can agree.
But Mr. Dreher is requiring moral and administrative perfection on the part of the Pope, weaning and pruning away all evil, before he has the authority to "lecture" our fine, upstanding president, or anyone else for that matter, on issues on morality. Yet that doesn’t stop Mr. Dreher, "a Catholic," from lecturing the Pope on morals.
While still pontificating from his perch at National Review, Dreher wrote "I believe with all my heart [that the Iraq war] is just and necessary. We don’t know how long it will last, or what the fallout will be." He accused right-leaning critics of the Iraqi invasion of "going off about imperialism, Israel and Jewish conspiracies [and] trash-talking this country in terms previously associated with America-hating campus radicals." They are trying "to change the subject to the alleged wickedness of corporations, the Jews, and all manner of arcane occultic conspiracy." Citing Myron Magnet and demonstrating Carnac-like prophetic giftedness, Dreher says "that the incoherent rage of the antiwar left and right will burn itself out in the wake of a clear American victory in Iraq." How’d that one work out, Rod?
Finally, here Rod makes the case that classic Augustinian Just War Theory just doesn’t make any sense. After all "9-11 changed everything".
According to Rod, anti-war clerics have no responsibility to protect populations in an era of WMDs and nasty "rogue states" under to pall of "Islamo-Fascism". Heck, Rod says that the ecclesiocracy didn’t even respond positively "to the overwhelming case Colin Powell made this week at the U.N., in which he demonstrated conclusively that a dozen years of trying peaceful means of coercion has not worked with Iraq." That's a thigh-slapper, isn't it? You remember the dog-and-pony show where Powell warned the free-world about non-existent connections between Iraq and Bin-laden and warned us of possible chemical attacks from unmanned aircraft. Wasn't Los Angeles going to suffer a chemical weapons attack via hot-air balloon?
Rod says "religious authorities today are reflexively, and depressingly, pacifistic on this war, as if every devil can be cast out with high-minded talk and good intentions...These are the kind of hopeless naifs who take a fact-finding tour of Iraq, and return trumpeting news that the citizens of this totalitarian dictatorship don't want war."
Obviously, "their credibility is on the line," warned Rod solemnly.
Perhaps Rod’s thoughts on the morality of the Iraq war boiled down to kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out.
Unlike Mr. Dreher, however, let me conclude by being fair. Ultimately, he had the good sense and manhood to admit that he was wrong about the war.
So, Mr. Dreher, if you happen to stumble upon my little blog, please do me the favor of reading and thinking before typing.