THE ALT-RIGHT AS BENEDICT OPTION
|The Benedict Option is Named After St. Benedict of Norcia (AD 480-547)|
The Benedict Option is the proposal that modern Christians should accept defeat in the culture war, learn to live in a new dark age of declining immoral society, and develop alternative thought forms, communities, and institutions outside the dominant infrastructure of the post-Christian West. It takes its name from St. Benedict and his monasteries that helped preserve civilization after the fall of the Roman Empire. In short, the Benedict Option is about creating a viable counter culture.
The Christian Alt-Right is the religious movement inside the broader Alternative Right (which is now displacing the dying conservative consensus that dominated the Republican party for the last several decades). The Christian Alt-Right is working to destroy the liberal Cultural Marxist worldview that currently saturates modern Western Christianity. The Christian Alt-Right seeks to restore identity based upon God's design, and resurrect social order through consideration of God's creation.
The term "Benedict Option" was coined by Rod Dreher (a blogger at the 'American Conservative'). Dreher is not part of the Alt-Right movement, and he naively believes his ideas are unique and original. What he does not understand is that the Alt-Right has been developing his ideas long before he thought of them, and doing so in far deeper and more interesting ways.
As far as this author can tell, Dreher does not understand the implications of his own ideas. He advocates an ill-defined Benedict Option that appears to have no intellectually consistent foundational philosophy. His writings leave readers in constant hazy confusion about what he is trying to communicate.
Dreher's lack of clarity contrasts sharply with the Alt-Right's own vision of a Benedict Option. Thinkers coming out of Neoreaction and Identitarianism have written and produced serious material outlining strategies related to creating alternative communities and thought forms to counter the decadence of a decaying anti-Christian American Empire.
Among these strategies are passivism (not pacifism), the construction of mannerbunds, the intellectual deconstruction of liberalism through attacks on its core principles of equality, freedom, and diversity, and a focus on organic God given identity instead of ideological abstractions.
Dreher's failure to produce a clear vision for the Benedict Option is a result of his fear of deviating too far from the twenty-first century thought bubble. He is either too afraid or uninformed to say anything truly counter cultural.
The most obvious example of this is Dreher's illogical hatred of Donald Trump and his online supporters. While Dreher politely bemoans the new Christian persecution, Alt-Righters have actually developed a strategy to free up intellectual, social, and political space for Christians to breath. By supporting the most radical candidate, the Alt-Right has moved the Overton Window in a direction that gives Christians relief despite Trump having nothing to do with Christianity. Dreher is too moralistic to understand this, and too busy morally signalling his outrage against "racism" to really understand the Alt-Right's strategic objectives.
The Benedict Option is an Alt-Right project. More importantly, the Alt-Right is already the intellectual Benedict Option. By moving outside the thought paradigms and moral concepts of the post-Christian West, the Alt-Right has created space for Christians to develop our counter cultural worldview. Only the Alt-Right has the courage to create true alternatives to this corrupt social era.