18 thoughts on “Beyond the Benedict Option

  1. Pingback: Beyond the Benedict Option | Neoreactive

  2. Reblogged this on Unthinkable Thought and commented:
    Incredible work. I’m slowly coming to the realization that separatism is becoming the only logical choice for Christian/traditionalist preservation. The one gripe that I have with the article is that it should have considered the partition option (Deseret option) in a little more depth. I don’t think that it’s immediately feasible, but it could become feasible in the long run. Leaning towards expatriation myself.

  3. Pingback: Beyond the Benedict Option | Reaction Times

  4. People interested in MacIntyre’s thesis should read MacIntyre, not Rod Dreher or Mormons. Of course the Benedict Option is $omething “orthodox” Christians need to con$ider now e$pecially $ince Dreher will $oon be publishing a book on the $ubject.

    • I am surprised at your hostility towards Dreher, as if a book-not even written yet-cannot be allowed to follow another after more than three decades, even when it praises the Benedictine heritage, and as if being an author (a non-fiction author at that) is not an honorable profession.

      • Dreher is a hack who lets leftists overrun his blog comments instead of keeping them off as someone more serious about something like Benedict Option would. Then again, this is a wider problem with the magazine he presently does a lot of his writing for.

  5. This is a nice article, it resumes most of the options we have.

    I frankly don’t see how we’re going to be able to go for segregation-based options like dhimmitude or millets. Our enemies have spent 2 centuries, and became even more militant after WWII, trying to fight segregation and instead create a homogenous society where we’ll all share the same social moors. An “infidel” may be able to have the right to live by his faith if he pays more taxes and becomes a sub-citizen of sorts, but modern secular society would be “immoral” (in Marxist terms) if it tolerates “homophobes”, “patriarchists”, “sexists”, “racists”, etc. This could only work in a minarchist/libertarian society, and I am not sure the future of libertarianism is all that promising.

    The closer you get to the Benedict option, the better. If things start getting out of hand, don’t wait for a mass exile of Christians, save your family before our enemies end up installing strong international governments, go to somewhere where you’ll be safe to practice your faith.
    As a strict minimum, depend on your family and/or your parish. As long as you belong to a community of Christians who live the Christian ethos, you’re doing the bare minimum.

  6. A Barcelona moment may occur-a short, intense persecution followed by mass reaction–perhaps military.
    Also, there is need to estimate how many Taoists would there be. B16 estimated 3% in Europe.

  7. There is only one plan worth considering: victory. Planning for slow defeat will lead to just that. Most people vastly overestimate the strength of the Enemy: this is because they have been spending too much time listening to the Enemy’s propaganda machine. This includes you, Bruce! Don’t be Denethor, you’re too smart for that.

    The problem is one of organization. State the goals, define what victory means, recruit good people, and then get to work. (Oh, and keep out entryists.) With the Internet, coordination can be achieved by elements widely separated in both space and time — this is an enormous capability that has yet to be fully exploited.

    The general population viscerally understands the Tao — that’s one of the reasons it is the Tao. A strong and clean enough demonstration of the Good does wonders to cut through the ick.

    • Robert Brockman II @ Absent grace, the people have no understanding of the Tao. “The dog is turned to his own vomit again, the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:22). I don’t like to disagree with C. S. Lewis, but it’s hard to believe that knowledge of righteousness is the default position of the human heart. We are not naturally upright. That takes work. We are naturally supine, and wallowing in the muck. And we are always on the lookout for excuses or permission to adopt this position.

      Bruce often talks about the need for repentance. He’s right about this. Repentance is very different from the AA notion of hitting “rock bottom.” Rock bottom presumes there is some threshold of loathsomeness or degradation beyond which a man will not pass. Eventually a man will be filled with disgust and turn back. There is certainly an element of disgust in repentance, but its not because a man has reached the threshold of disgust. Its because the Holy Spirit has illuminated his mind and he suddenly sees that he is miles and miles beyond that threshold.

    • Robert,

      I agree that selecting the color of our funeral shrouds while discussing the virtues of martyrdom is the wrong way to go. Our opponents, in contrast, have increased their resolve after their defeats.

      I agree that the problem is lack of organization and strategy as well as a comparative lack of deployed and concentrated financial resources. I recommend supporting, among others, the Becket Fund (http://www.becketfund.org/) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/). These are not perfect organizations, but they are practical and often successful umbrella groups. When it is raining, we need an umbrella. Also, check out the meta-church option referenced in the original post. I know it won’t be popular with many readers of this site, but a strong case can be made that it needs to happen to avoid dhimmitude.

      You are right that most people most of the time at some level understand the Tao. The original post discusses the question about what to do when the general population is in revolt against the Tao and in favor of an inversion of the Tao, in Bruce’s phrase, in favor of imposing the worse as the better, the pathological as healthy, the sin as a virtue. It does happen from time to time, as when a state loses the mandate of heaven, not just occasionally and absentmindedly sinning, but actively, consciously, and strategically promoting sin. I do not think the mass of people in America or even in Europe are in revolt against the Tao yet, but their elites are, especially in the media and the universities, and they have led many in the mushy middle astray. That is our problem.

  8. The best post on the Benedict Option is still the original:


    I am not Christian, but then the idea of the Benedict Option is not specifically Christian either. Moses basically exercised the Benedict Option, as did the Essenes. The core idea of forming communities away from mainstream culture is applicable to any religion or cultural movement.

    Christians talk and do nothing. This depresses me, so I stopped reading Christian writing until I stumbled on the Benedict Option, and I found this post by googling “Benedict Option”.

    I have a tiny group of people who share my religious views, just 4 people. But 4 people willing to take action is better than all the Christians put together. We are looking for land in rural Texas where we can settle and live according to our values.

  9. You can’t have cultural secession unless it’s backed up with political secession. Unfortunately in America, all talk of secession is paralyzed by the odium attached to the 1861 movement and gets one immediately relegated to the intellectual fringe. But history is replete with many secession movements and many such movements have been noble (e.g. 1776).

    I’m not talking about gathering a convention of people who will vote secession next month, or next year. Instead secession is something that needs to be thought about, discussed, written about, promoted endlessly. One must frequently mention the word “secession”. Imagine frequent blog posts that end with the statement: “That is something only secession can resolve”. Secession must incubate in political discourse for ten years or more, only then could it have a chance at being a movement.

    In the end, political secession is cultural secession, with the added necessity of re-ordering the application of government force.

  10. Great thoughts on the topic from Joseph Shaw (http://www.lmschairman.org/2015/06/the-supreme-court-and-call-of-ghetto.html):

    “I can understand the reaction, but we need to remember the differences between our situation and St Benedict’s. St Benedict lived at a time when the power of the state was at an extremely low ebb. We live our lives during a time in which the reverse is the case. Moving to the countryside is going to make no difference at all. If social services are going to enforce gender theory onto homeschoolers, they’ll do it in the countryside just as much as the towns.

    “In any case, St Benedict wasn’t running away from an oppressive state. Had there been a state wanting to stamp out monasticism, he would have been a sitting duck. The Protestant rulers of Ireland found it extremely difficult to impose Anglicanism on the hearts of the people, but childishly simple to burn down the monasteries. Later there were secret seminaries, but even this had to wait for the persecution to move into a less militant phase.

    “St Benedict is the wrong model; his was a capital-intensive approach to preserving learning and Catholic orthodoxy. We are going to need to be lighter on our feet. St Edmund Campion and St Oliver Plunket are the people to study. The exiled institutions, the secret printing presses, the underground Cathedrals, the network of trusted Catholics, and a resistance to torture.

    “A ghetto has a lot to say for it, for a beleagured cultural minority, but it requires at least a degree of cooperation with the civil authorities. The original ‘geto’ was the Jewish quarter in Venice: half protected space, half prison camp.”

  11. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2015/07/05) | The Reactivity Place

  12. St. Benedict had the luxury of isolation, which is impossible in modern society. The State will enforce it’s persecution […]. Rome is unwilling to fight and protect her flock. We need a hierarchy willing to confront secular governments and politicians with condemnation. She’s currently paralyzed.

    • There are things that can still be done. Above all, take heed to yourself (1 Tim. 4:16). You can be your own citadel. You can protect and strengthen your family and your friends, especially those wavering under pressure and assault. You can strengthen your church or for those who find themselves in churches hopelessly on the wrong side of this great modern schism, you can find and support a church still holding out. And while we cannot put our trust in princes (Psalm 146:3), we can on occasionally find and support faithful ones.


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