Yesterday I happened to watch ′The Mclaughlin Group′ on PBS. Before cable, it was almost a religious act watching it weekly. But now, with so many other viewing options, its hard to stomach the likes of Eleanor Clift, or even John Mclaughlin when he says, ″Issue One…″. Nothing said during the first 25 minutes of the show was worth repeating. But at the very end, when Mclaughlin did his usual ′predictions′ survey, our old good buddy, Pat Buchanan came up with a winner! ′Pitchfork Pat′ said, ″…issues like abortion and Planned Parenthood and the gay rights thing has caused a number of folks on the paleo-right, if you will, to talk about something called a Benedict Option, which is basically a secession from the society sort in general. You know, it goes back to the old monasticism of the 13th Century.″ Ah-Hah! The Benedict Option! I am now intrigued…
So what is the ′Benedict Option′? The term was coined apparently by a philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre, from his book, ″After Virtue″, published in 1981. MacIntyre attacks the lack of a rational morality in the modern Liberal ideology and how Liberals are so devoid of reason that they do not even realize how irrational they are. Sounds about right to me, so far. He also goes on to promote Aristotle, which is always a good thing. That the Enlightenment led to Marxism and similar, ill-gotten philosophies because they lacked Aristotle′s ethics. Due to this, modern Liberalism is a house of cards, doomed to collapse.
As the Roman Empire declined into chaos and barbarism, Saint Benedict of Nursia left Rome and headed for the hills. His goal was to pray and seek guidance from God as to what to do next? Before Benedict knew it, others had followed him for the same reason. So they started a community of like-minded individuals and became the first monastery known as the Benedictine Order of monks. Sort of a back-to-nature retreat where they also busied themselves copying important documents still available. They became a depository of knowledge, preserving what they could for future generations.
In modern ′Prepper′ terms, the Benedict Option is a form of Bug-Out. Get the heck out of Dodge before the town burns down! If opinion polls are correct, we see that American society is very pluralistic. On the one hand, a majority of the population opposes abortion, especially late-term abortions and those performed for whimsical reasons. On the other hand, the population is more favorable on other moral issues, like supporting same-sex marriage, access to pornography or acceptance of what in the past would be considered ′deviant behavior′. If June and Ward Cleaver were to get a taste of what passes for modern entertainment these days, they would be horrified! Family values are dubious at best.
Back in the 1990s when I was publishing my old newsletter, ″SERF′S UP!: Common Sense for the Common Peasant″, I had argued that the only rational, peaceful option available to those of us who believe in liberty is to drop-out of society. To relocate to some quiet, corner of the world and become as self-reliant as possible. Also that the best, non-violent way to challenge authority and the rise of The State was to modify your lifestyle, shunning base consumerism and to live modestly, needing as little income as possible. The only way to fight The Beast of Big Government was to defund it, starve it of tax dollars, but to do so in a legal fashion.
So the Benedict Option makes a whole lot of sense to me. As to does the more recent political evolution known as Neo-Reactionary, which pretty much falls along the same lines as a counter to modern Liberalism, or Marxism if you prefer. The Neo-Reactionary believes that we have already passed the point of no return. That our whole structure of civilization, from our fiat currency and sovereign debt issues, to just the basic cultural struggles have already reached a level that no simple tweaking by one administration can ever fix. The old ′cathedral′ is rotten and needs to be condemned and torn down, replaced with a new structure made from scratch.
I am delighted that ′Pitchfork′ Pat Buchanan mentioned the ′Benedict Option′ this week on the PBS show, ′The Mclaughlin Group′. He may have erred in still clinging to the concept of the paleo-right as a Conservative, but this does show that Pat Buchanan is starting to inch his way to becoming a Neo-Reactionary. Next thing you know, he′ll start talking about Calvinism. Oh, what a day that will be!