THIS is how “conservative” Orthodoxy is… Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ) (perhaps, the closest advisor to HH) confabbing with Gennady Zyuganov (1944- ) of the KPRF on common strategies of action. Rod Dreher linking Orthodoxy to American “conservatism” isn’t only ignorant and crackbrained; it flies in the face of hard reality.
Warning! This is MUCH longer than usual… but I needed to refute Dreher point-by-point. Aren’t such people a pain in the arse as well as being crashing bores?
The real difference between a cultured person and an uneducated boor is that the former continues to learn, they don’t believe that they’ve learnt it all.
With his latest rant, Rod Dreher’s opened up his mouth and exposed his ignorance, yet again, kids. We should muzzle and silence him for his own good. Since his “conversion” (if one can call it that), he’s done nothing but issue bootless and ignorant opinion, and he’s learnt nothing at all (and his writing abundantly reflects that). There’s a difference between a “journalist” and a “pundit”. I’m the former; Dreher’s the latter. A journalist has to do real “fact checking”, if, for nothing else, to see that they’ve got names and dates right. Pundits simply open up their piehole and issue opinions, with no research whatsoever. Ergo, if one’s involved in journalism, one learns much; it’s in the nature of the craft. Likewise, if one’s a “pundit”, you not only stagnate, you degenerate… there’s a reason “why”, of course. It’s rather simple, the pundit doesn’t research; they simply take a POV and run with it. Dreher’s had exposure to a tiny slice of Orthodoxy, and in his utter ignorance, he thinks that it’s the whole. We could go on, but it’s time for you to read Dreher’s unhinged rot for yourself. Click here for it.
Read it? Good! Here’s the jug… you need something good to clear your mouth out after reading such corrosive mind-numbing bullshit. Let’s go through this and refute this nappy-wearing toddler’s contentions, one at a time.
1. Recent converts gas about things they have no idea of
For instance, Dreher quotes some jabronie (some James Cutsinger, another recent konvertsy blowhard, no doubt) from South Carolina:
Orthodoxy is alone among the Christian possibilities in offering its adherent the ancient treasures of a contemplative method, in the form of hesychasm. Not that there aren’t Catholic and even Protestant mystics and sages, to say nothing of saints. That’s not in question. But which of them is able to tell the rest of us how to attain to his vision, let alone transformation? Where is there a step-by-step, practical guide to theosis outside the Christian East?
This is mumbo-jumbo far removed from what a Real Christian would call tserkovnost (“Churchmindedness” is the closest one can come in English). Firstly, Orthodoxy rejects “contemplation”… we see that as tainted with Scholasticism. Secondly, the Church calls no one outside its limits “saints”… full stop. Lastly, there’s no “step-by-step, practical guide to theosis” (one wonders if the author is one of those who paid Freddie M-G 25 bucks for her instant guide to spirituality and prayer… perspirin’ minds wanna know). That’s something that ALL real elders would reject as juvenile rubbish; all it can do is lead you down the wrong path until you realise that it’s wrong and renounce it (I know… I did it myself when I was younger and dumber). Dreher (and his stooge) skate bloody close to Imiaslavie, but they’re too dumb and addled to realise it.
However, his largest error is that there’s no such thing as the “Christian East”… there’s the Church, and there’s All The Others. Some people are just outside the borders, they’re very close in spirit and ethos. In fact, these people are Different From The Rest… most of them are in serious discussion with us, and we might see some reconciliation of ancient disputes in future. I speak of:
They’re a special group. All of the rest spring from the Great Popish Schism of 1054, in one way or another. The mentality of these people is so diametrically opposite ours that I see no reconciliation, only a mutual agreement to live in peace without outward conflict between us (which is, after all, a laudable goal in itself). That is, “Send us no more letters on doctrine; send us letters of friendship only”. The shocking vacuity that Cutsinger shows is mind-boggling… “This is so asinine that only a PhD could utter it”… wouldn’t you agree?
Yet, the most important conclusion about this point is that Dreher’s so stupid that he didn’t recognise Cutsinger’s blather as neophyte bullshit. Truly, none of us was taken in… I wasn‘t, and neither was you. The very spirit of it was… UNORTHODOX… in the most extreme way. It also tells one that no matter how “educated” one is, that doesn’t give one any additional insight into truly spiritual matters.
The Church doesn’t condemn socialism… or the Left… here, HH honours the Red Army soldiers who fell in the VOV against Fascism.
2. Dreher refuses to see the contradiction in his own confused thesis
Look at this juxtaposition:
As one Orthodox professor told me, “It’s not true that Catholicism is conservative. It is, in fact, the mother of all religious innovation, and has been for more than a millennium”.
Orthodoxy’s deep conservatism, for better or worse, has much to do with its ecclesiology.
Well, Rod; is Orthodoxy “conservative” or is it “innovative” and “liberal?” You can see that Rod didn’t proofread this well. He certainly didn’t read it over before publishing it. A judicious reader can see the contradiction in the submissions only a full stop apart. Of course, Rod uses the false and cranky American misdefinition of “conservative”… to him, conservative is a synonym of “Right Wing, the further right, the better” (with more than a tincture of reaction and overblown nostalgia for a nonexistent Mayberry). Anyone with knowledge of real history sees this as uninformed childish bloviation. Prince von Bismarck launched the world’s first single-payer healthcare system. Graf Stolypin expanded the extent of state-funded social services such as education and doctors in rural areas (“The zemsky doctors did it all!” as a modern Russian doctor said). TR busted the trusts and cut John D Rockefeller down to size. John Diefenbaker was a Red Tory to beat the band. Ike warned us of the military-industrial complex (which came into its own in the GWB years). All of these men were “right-of-centre”, but they weren’t “conservatives” according to the definition of King Rush and Queen Ann (along with their running dog Rod). They were RINOs! All of ‘em!
Orthodoxy isn’t “conservative”… it’s never been such. It’s always been a RADICAL faith, demanding the utmost from the believer. If something’s proven true, then, why allow some uninformed jerk (like Dreher or the Schmemann/Meyendorff duo) to muck with it? That’s not “conservatism”… that’s mere good sense, and you don’t need an education to have it. However, get a load of this one:
Though there is some controversy among the Orthodox about when the last Ecumenical Council was, the last one everyone agrees on was in the year 787.
There is NO controversy in Orthodoxy about the last ecumenical council. However, by this, Dreher betrays his ties to the nutters at SVS. They have the snarky idea that they’re the leading lights of Orthodoxy, at least as far as intellectual discussion goes, and they do such things as laugh at the Mountain, distort history, kiss up to Uniates, and have pointless Laputian disputes over things that normal people solved MANY moons ago.
HH doesn’t pal around with the Extreme Right as Paffhausen does… here, he shows what the Real Church teaches about Islam…
3. Dreher is part of the konvertsy coterie centred on Freddie M-G and Gleb Podmoshensky
Look at this drooling introduction:
Baltimore writer Frederica Mathewes-Green, perhaps the best-known American convert, contends that Orthodoxy’s stability in this regard appeals to conservative Christians weary of doctrinal and liturgical tumult within their churches and traditions.
Firstly, Freddie isn’t the “best-known American convert”… she’s a “public speaker”, author, and internet phenom (with about 5-10 percent of my readership, by the way). You must realise that people have sighted her at Platina CA over the years. She was close to Gleb Podmoshensky (GP) after his deposition by the ROCOR. This is important, as the ROCOR Holy Synod shitcanned him for nasty doings that were so bad that all of the brotherhood left except for one Damascene Christiansen. GP’s had a baleful influence not only on Freddie, but Rod Dreher was spotted there in her company, and Jonas Paffhausen was a drooling devotee of GP (he went to Russia under GP’s auspices, not those of the Real Church).
Secondly, do we need “conservative Christians” (Dreher’s definition, not the Church’s)? NO! Definitely NOT! These people are tied up in the lunatic “Culture War”; they take such notional things as the so-called Manhattan Declaration and the Pro-Life movement (in the sense that it’s a Trojan Horse of the Far Right) seriously. There’s considerable overlap with such Neanderthal groups as the teabaggers and John Birchers… which is against the usual run of ethnic Orthodox, who’re union-card-carrying Democrats, in the main. These people do NOT have tserkovnost, not in the least! They want to use the Church as their ally in imposing a Corporate/Evangelical dictatorship, with unions outlawed, Leftists in detention, social and political discrimination against the “immoral”, abortion criminalised, and the Church being the willing lickspittle of the State. They also wink at torture, indefinite detention without trial, and warmongering in foreign parts. The Church stands foursquare against EVERYTHING that they believe in. As HH said:
The modern economy is built largely on fraud; it creates money out of thin air. Money’s a token of human labour and of our God-given resources, such as coal, ore, and oil, along with our intelligence, physical labour, culture, and spirituality. However, every company produces its own money in the form of shares, which is passed onto the secondary market, becoming not just simple securities; they’re traded and used as items of speculation. If these mere phantasms earn billions, not even backed by labour or real capital, then, how can such an economy exist? Who is going to pay for all of this? Why, the simple worker is going to, who produces the value behind all of this bubble. We need a fair economic system where money and capital are equivalent and are the expression of real work.
That is, Dreher posits that the Church should adopt an ideology and Weltanshauung that’s completely alien and toxic; that we should take this adder to our breast and caress it, because the Church is “conservative”, dontcha know! Know this… most priests in Russia counselled their parishioners to vote against the Liberal candidates in the last election. “Liberal” in Russian usage retains its classical meaning… anti-Tradition, anti-hierarchical, laissez-faire business regulation, and a belief in Social Darwinism (“the race goes to the swiftest”)… all of which are prominent components of American “Conservatism” (one of the more degenerate forms of Neoliberalism out there). This is the heart and soul of American “Conservatism”… do we really want or need such sorts who are completely opposed to and antithetical to the real Mind of the Church? The American Right bows down in adoration before Ayn Rand… “The Almighty Dollar is God… and Ayn Rand is its Prophet” (so says Wafflin’ Willy, Paul Ryan, and all the rest).
The Church wants “cooperation”… NOT “looking after your own affairs” or “rugged individualism”
4. Dreher makes it clear that he does believe that Orthodoxy is the “Republican Party at prayer”, despite protestations to the contrary
Look at this:
Though many vote Republican, nearly all the conservative intellectuals I spoke with for this essay express gratitude that Orthodoxy avoids the “Republican Party at prayer” feeling that pervades some Evangelical churches.
Huh? Nutty-squirrel convert priests are known for their linking of Republican notions and Orthodoxy. Classic examples are Patrick Reardon and Jonas Paffhausen. Paffhausen signs such Culture War rubbish as the “Manhattan Declaration” and Reardon drives out people who don’t agree with the Rightwing Republican take on matters. For instance, JP and Reardon attack anyone who doesn’t agree with the most extreme Pro-Life position. Under their reasoning, Vlad Legoida, the communications chief of the MP, would be suspect as he’s said that we shouldn’t make abortion illegal, but that we should make it an unacceptable choice morally and socially. Their only solution is to make abortion illegal and cut social services at the same time (which is the notion of the woollier parts of the GOP). Such a combination is diabolical and flies in the face of HH’s views… he thinks that the Church and state should have a partnership. The Church would handle the morals aspect and the state would give material support and aid to unwed mothers to avoid abortions (that is, HH knows that serious money is needed to address the problem). HH also believes in family subsidies and free education for all; he thinks that these are central parts of a REAL Pro-Life stance… and he’s correct, absolutely so!
Dreher, JP, and Reardon attack the proposals offered by HH as “socialist”… that tells you that their faction is, indeed, “the Republican Party at prayer”, and that we should show this group the gate as soon as possible to avoid them contaminating the rest of the Church here with their cockamamie notions.
THIS is what the Church is all about… not the unhinged maunderings of Rightwingers trying to tie Our Lord Christ to their perverted “conservative” ideology. I choose Christ’s Love… not Satan’s Dollar… and I’m NOT alone.
5. Dreher hasn’t the faintest notion of “Sobornost”
Dreher quotes another academic windbag:
Alfred Kentigern Siewers, a literature and environmental studies professor at a mid-Atlantic college, says the social teachings of the church fathers, as adapted by modern Russian Orthodox theologians, taught him to think of society “more as an extended household, and less as an impersonal economy, whether Free Market or Socialist. Orthodoxy taught me how Christian notions of human dignity are more central to being authentically human than impersonal notion of rights by themselves alone. I think Orthodoxy encourages an awareness of the importance of living tradition and community, and the need for caution in embracing either Free Market or Socialist economic models as social models”.
This one’s interesting… does Mr Siewers truly believe what he wrote above, or, is he a rightwinger trying to camouflage himself in academia? If he’s a Republican, he’s a Free Marketer, there’s no doubt on that score. Dreher didn’t give us enough information to go on. If he’s Republican, Siewers is a liar, and consciously so… if he’s politically unaffiliated (Dreher wouldn’t quote a Democrat… he’s that narrow and bigoted), why would Dreher label him a “conservative?” For instance, does Siewers embrace HH’s social vision? Does Siewers even know of HH’s teachings on the subject? I doubt it highly. Has he read such things as Tikhon Shevkunov’s Unholy Holiness? Again, I doubt it highly.
Indeed, the above bloviation betrays an ignorance of the very idea of Sobornost (“collegialness”, to use an inadequate and creaking translation). Americans have NO idea of the soborny (sobornost is the adjectival form of the word)… Americans don’t exist as a people as much as the French, Germans, English, and Russians do, ergo, they’ve no clue as to what people mean when they speak of Völkische, Narodnost, or nationalité. They have NO glimmering of what the Englishman means by “homely”. Yet, this overeducated clown speaks as though he understands the unspoken national consensus that underpins the concepts that I just mentioned. Orthodoxy IS part of that consensus (for the Orthodox peoples, that is)… truly, it’s not a matter of intellectual speculation. He ignores (or does he even realise its existence?) the shared national life that leads to such a consensus, a shared life that the konvertsy do NOT share at present, and this submission tends to make me think that they won’t in future, either (I think that such people are going to spin off into vagante irrelevance).
Finally, Siewers shows in his unfocused bloviation his REAL affiliation… “as adapted by modern Russian Orthodox theologians”. That means that he’s bowled over by the lot at SVS and thinks that they’re in synch with grounded Orthodoxy. Silly wabbit! He’s probably one of those influenced by the pabulum of the Not So Dynamic Duo (Schmemann/Meyendorff). However, an infatuation with those two is common amongst nappy-wearing babies. Is he going to outgrow it, or, is he going to stay in the playpen? Only time will tell us.
Fr Mikhail Shuvar (1958-2009), who went to an early grave due to injuries inflicted by a Uniate mob… does Dreher even know of him?
6. Dreher drools over an Orthodox/RC reconciliation that isn’t there
I have no animus against Latin Catholics… they are what they are. I wish them well, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart. That being said, there’s no chance of ANY reconciliation between the Church and the Papists. NONE. ZERO. NADA. Nichevo. HH has made it clear. There’ll be no visit of the Pope of Rome to Russia until the papists rein in their Uniate attack dogs. Full stop. Look at Dreher’s tomfoolery:
Pope Benedict XVI, who has made generous and well-received overtures to Orthodox Church leaders, has said that the regeneration of Western civilisation will depend on a “creative minority” of Catholics willing to live the Gospel in a post-Christian world”.
There’s only one leader in the MP who would describe the Pope of Rome’s overtures as Dreher did… the Blunder. Alfeyev’s the most hated hierarch in the MP, bar none. Not even Dmitri Banditsky matches the level of animus directed at the Blunder. The only reason that Alfeyev has a white hat is that he’s well-known in Catholic circles and he’s a channel of communications to the West-leaning oligarchs in Moscow (y’know, the Vanil Restoran crew in Ostozhenka, with such dubious hangers-on as Marat Gelman, Ksenia Sobchak, and Dickie Wood…). Don’t forget… HH took 2/3 of the DECR away from him on 31 March 2009 (and the Blunder had to SMILE, poor baby).
Dreher’s part of the Blunder’s informal apparat in the USA, as are SVS and Freddie M-G. The Blunder possesses three things that bowl over ignorant konvertsy:
- He has “gee-shucks” photogenic good looks
- He has a fruity Oxbridge accent
- He has “correct” pro-Western opinions
Is it any wonder that Dreher’s the Blunder’s willing running dog? Dreher’s not overly-bright and he’s ignorant of currents in the real grounded Russian Church. The reason that chowderheads such as Dreher reject such good people as Vsevolod Chaplin is for another set of three reasons:
- He looks like a stereotypical Russian Mafia hitman
- He sounds like Boris Badenov with a bad cold when he speaks in English (that is, he SOUNDS like a stereotypical Russian Mafia hitman)
- He points up the illogic and shameless hypocrisy inherent in the West’s moralising stance towards the rest of the world (how ungracious and unkind of him!)
Again, for the slow learners, Orthodoxy and the Pope of Rome are NOT on the fast track to reconciliation. There’s not even going to be a quick snack and photo op at Yalki-Palki. If Dreher thinks so, it’s because he’s part of a marginal faction that has no real influence at the Centre (the Blunder is the first head of the DECR not to be a ruling bishop… he’s just a fancy Vicar Bishop with a white hat).
It’s the PEOPLE… that’s the Church for me…
7. Dreher overstates the number of konvertsy in the American milieu
Look at this:
One-third of Orthodox priests in the USA are converts… a number that skyrockets to 70 percent in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, a magnet for Evangelicals. In the Greek Orthodox Church, around one-third of parishioners are converts, while just over half the members of the Orthodox Church in America came through conversion.
Dreher gives NO backing for his contention. That’s to say, he’s bugling… he’s braying at the moon… it’s nothing but unsupported assertion. For instance, in the OCA, the number of Alaska Natives has always been understated. In Alaska, there are whole native villages that’re Orthodox. It’s the only American locale where the situation’s analogous to that in the Rodina. Easily, there’s 20,000-30,000 baptised Orthodox in Alaska living in the villages, but the Superior White Men have said that it’s less than 10,000, so, Dreher swallows it uncritically (it’s from his SVS mentors after all, and Freddie M-G says that it’s true). Therefore, Alaska natives are 25 to 30 percent of the OCA all on their own… something that Dreher and the rest of the konvertsy brats refuse to acknowledge.
Secondly, I know of NO GOAA parish where converts make up a quarter of parishioners, let alone a third. On top of that, you must discount those who “marry in”… that means that the number of converts in the GOAA’s not very high at all. As far as the AOCANA’s concerned, there’s been a large influx of Arab faithful from the Middle East (as a Toledo informant said, “We outnumber the suckers”) due to the US-fomented wars and instability in the region. Dreher’s passing on the mantra of the SVS crowd, who’re looking for excuses to muck about with Church Tradition (as Dreher thinks that they’re “traditional”, that gives you an idea of how shallow and superficial he is).
Dreher wants us to vote for Wafflin’ Willy. I say that we should listen to Ike, not Rod. Ike was right when he said:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must NEVER let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.
Rod Dreher’s an unashamed apologist for preventive detention, black sites, torture, perpetual warfare abroad, and pervasive corporate dictatorship over the economy and state through his support for the contemporary Republican Party. He’s a shill for the military-industrial complex… as is anyone who supports the current GOP. That’s the ultimate end of King Rush, Paul Ryan, and the Koch Brothers… and Rod Dreher drools his dog-like support of them. In short, Dreher’s apologia is nothing but an attempt to link the Church with the worst portion of the Republican Right in the USA. If anyone takes his braying seriously, know that they’re the opponents of Christ and His Church. As for me, I take my lead from REAL Orthodox leaders like HH, Vsevolod Chaplin, and Mark Golovkov (the Big Three at Peredelkino)… not jumped-up frauds such as Dreher, Freddie M-G, Reardon, Schmemann, Meyendorff, and all the rest of their drooling followers. Bite the coin… it may be base metal…
Tuesday 5 June 2012
Now, for a Word from Our Sponsors Department:
A friend sent me this intel:
Gerasim Eliel was tied up with Podmoshensky, too. Eliel looks to be the leading candidate for bishop in the OCA’s DOS. Eliel, Christensen, and Paffhausen were all part of a group of UC Santa Cruz students who converted under the influence of Seraphim Rose and Podmoshensky.
This means that the OCA’s under the leadership of those who wink at nasty doings. JP and Eliel KNEW the charges against their guru. By the way, Lazar Puhalo’s involved, too. He took communion to Podmoshensky after the ROCOR booted him. In short, all roads lead to Platina… and that’s NOT good, kids. There be some real nastiness there.