Monday, December 27, 2021

Would that we got speeches like this across the pond

A speech from French presidential candidate Éric Zemmour.

My dear compatriots, my friends,

This evening Christendom celebrates Christmas. But not only Christendom, because it is quite possible to be non-Christian and to celebrate Christmas. You just have to love the West in general and France especially.

Christmas eve celebrates the birth of a civilization: ours!

A civilization which has enlightened human history.

A civilization which considers that Man is completely free. Whatever his birth, his past, his environment, his journey… In the Christian world, freedom is of divine nature and must be protected as the most precious treasure.

A civilization which considers that all men are absolutely equal in dignity. All of them! From the prostitute to the king, the beggar, the rich, the widow, the orphan, the soldier, the leper…

God's children and everyone else are therefore equal before him. There is no race, there is no class. Equality is sacred.

A civilization which considers that Beauty is sacred too. The civilization of Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven… Paintings, sculptures… Works of technical perfection and stunning depth! The whole world admires Western art. It's impossible not to be astonished by Michelangelo's Pieta.

A civilization which considers that Truth is neither theoretical nor relative but concrete, embodied, and sacred. To refuse Truth is to refuse Good. Lie is the daily and eternal figure of Evil. This infinite respect for Truth has allowed the colossal development of philosophy and of hard sciences in the West.

A civilization which considers that Heaven on Earth does not exist and will never exist.

A civilization which refuses to believe in utopias, those projects of perfect societies: communism, nazism… they destroyed the 20th century and threaten the 21st with new but worrying faces.

A civilization which opposes totalitarianism like the day opposes the night.

A civilization which considers that sweetness, tenderness and love are superior to all other human behaviors.

Knowing how to win the war is good and the Christian world must never refuse to do it when it is attacked. It must vanquish! But knowing how to win peace after victory is even stronger. It is to this idea that we owe the incomparably peaceful character of Western societies when they are faithful to themselves.

A civilization which has committed many errors, mistakes and crimes, obviously. Because it is built by men and all men are imperfect and selfish, whether they are believers or not. But it is a civilization which must be considered as the most evolved, the most sophisticated, the most creative, the most tolerant that the world has ever known.

France owes a lot to Catholicism and the world owes a lot to French Catholicism.

The long adventure of Catholicism in France is of unparalleled splendor. Saint Irénée of Lyon, Clovis, Saint Louis, Joan of Arc, Thomas Aquinas who taught at the Sorbonne, Bossuet, Fénelon, Blaise Pascal, Thérèse of Lisieux, Paul Claudel… and so many others.

The "Eldest daughter of the Church" [France] gave birth to so many magnificent children!

And our 86 cathedrals is the most beautiful of them, which Victor Hugo made a symbol that is loved on the five continents.

General de Gaulle, in the greatest secrecy, confessed regularly. His faith has played a determining role in the destiny of our country. Without the Cross there would be no Lorraine Cross.

And let's not forget the hundreds of millions of Christians, because there are hundreds of millions persecuted in the world as I speak to you. Censored, threatened and tortured, murdered… Never in its long history as this religion been so martyred in a frightening silence. I swear that France will make their voices heard on the world stage.

So, this evening, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus but others in France —all the others!— can also celebrate Christmas. This is what the trees, the gifts, the kisses and the amazed smiles of the children are for!

My name comes from the mists of time and, in Berber, means "olive tree", the "tree of peace". Tonight I wish you all to find peace. Peace in each of us and peace between us. Christmas is the opposite of civil war, it is the reconciliation that shines in the night.

The humble and moving nativity scene present in so many families delivers its message through the centuries. The miracle returns every December 24 at midnight.

Dear compatriots, Merry Christmas.

Long live the Republic and above all, long live France!


  1. Xenophobes of the word unite! Orthodoxy is the religion of xenophobia par excellence.

    1. The Middle East and North Africa are good examples of what happens when the Christians let in Muslim Arab migrants.

    2. Yeah, what happened then was immigration. The better example of migration as occupation was the Serb migration north of the Danube into what was then Hungary. Or, European "migration" to the Americas. Opposition to immigration on the Right today is the projection of a guilty, unrepentant social conscience mixed with immigrants' penchant for aligning themselves with the powerful against those next down the socioeconomic ladder or last in the door (to often include the adoption of American racism) as a defensive strategy.

    3. "The Middle East and North Africa are good examples of what happens when the Christians let in Muslim Arab migrants."

      Well, when the Christians have been conquered by Muslim Arabs the former don't have much by way of options about "letting the in" the latter.

    4. William - the effect is the same. It is a distinction without a difference.

      123 - opposition to immigration is based on the observation that the immigrants will create a different country. That's why Palestine is now "Israel," everywhere from Morocco to Iraq is Muslim and speaks an Arabic dialect after homogenization by Muslim Arab migrants, and what was formerly "Seminole country" is now the State of Florida, USA. By the way, if all immigrants voted like Cubans, the Democrats would build that wall tomorrow.

  2. A speech that reduces the Incarnation to a political prop, Catholicism (and Christianity in general) as an ideological opinion.

    The Secularists are more honest in their apostasy. Give me the Pagan who wears it on their sleeve like Julian the Apostate, rather than the Platitudinal Emperors of the Late Byzantine period with no clothes.

    He isn't talking about Christ at all, he is talking about that comfortable 19th Century Edifice of "Christianity" that was knocked down due to their own hubris and hypocrisy. This is renovating the white-washed tomb.

    I find it repulsive. Nostalgia politics is the worst kind, as it is devoid of reflection, honesty, and discernment. I don't like the ideals of the Secularists, but they have an honesty to them that the "restorationists" lack.

    1. Geez, I did not take you for such an angry anti-Christendom Christian David. What is "honest" about the secularist ideals - they certainly not the *truth*. What is so bad about Christendom? Sure it was never as good as some Christian's believe, but was it really as bad as the modernist myth (i.e. unrelenting "wars of religion", unrelenting intellectual and personal darkness, etc. etc.) makes it out?

      Nostalgia politics is in no way "the worst kind", though it may be impotant. Even here however I wonder if there has not been a genuine re-reevaluation by many given how dark and nihilistic and suicidal modernity has become. I don't look for a "restoration", but I do think many many western people are starting to reconsider some sort of re-balancing with our Christendom past, one that maybe does not make it out to be the very devil itself and looks to its very real virtues. One can hope that at least a little of this has an impact...

    2. David - Your Patriarch is a Greek supremacist, and there is really no other way to put it. He presides over a See that no longer exists and will gladly dole out ethnic exarchates all over the globe so this or that ethno-nationalist group don't have to get to know their neighbors. His office agreed with the Islamist Turkish government to a hereditary ethnic qualification for his successors based on the one-time presence of a long-dead Hellenist Empire. I'd say the EP is probably the ultimate in nostalgia politics.

      So an Algerian tells the French that they should preserve and defend the things that make France a far better place to live than Algeria (after all, that's why he's in France, not Algeria). I really don't see why you take such umbrage at that.

      Honestly, you practice a Faith that hasn't changed since its last ecumenical council in 787 A.D. (excuse me, "Common Era") and you have a problem with "nostalgia politics?"

  3. Replies
    1. Yes. I'd like to hear more about this unflinching candor of secularism which traditionalists like Zemmour are said to be lacking.

  4. Jake, Anti-Gnostic, et al.

    They are honest in that they saw the rot in "the West" and were rightly contemptuous of it. If we had not been so comfortable and weak in our Faith, we would have done the same. To paraphrase GK Chesterton: Reformers are usually right about what is wrong, but they are usually wrong about what is right. The Secularists are not focused on God's Kingdom, as they are too busy trying to build their "utopia" with their own hands. The "honesty" is in they're wearing their apostasy on their sleeves. Many of the Politicians who speak about Christ are in reality practical atheists. Multiple generations of children who saw their parents do one thing on Sunday and another the rest of the week has had its effect. I don't blame the 60s. I blame us (me included, as a Gen Xer I drank deeply at the well and enjoyed my "comfortable Christianity").

    The speech above was standard "traditionalist" boilerplate, but his going on about the "greatness of France" rubbed me the wrong way (granted I could have been more gentle in my reply, my apologies), because it is reducing the Faith to a political prop, AGAIN. That speech could have been given in 1921. I have no problem with Christendom----but Christendom as we knew it is finished, and God allowed it because of our sins, because of our hypocrisy and arrogance. Appealing to that past is not helpful, because it was that past (the French Republic among the line up, let's be honest) which got us here in the first place. If he wasn't going on about "French greatness" and gave a more modest speech, I might have been impressed by it as well (given the fruit of the French Revolution, it was a little eyebrow raising).

    Do you want to know what I think the greatest political speech of modern times is? President Carter's "Crisis of Confidence" speech. I have never seen in my lifetime a president (or any leader) lean forward and level with his people in that way, telling them what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear.

    I don't care about any nation's "greatness." I care about holiness. "Greatness" is a blessing from God, and nothing else. I want a Jeremiah and Isaiah, not a Car Salesman. I want a leader who is willing to look me in the eye and say how things really are, and tell me truthfully that it is partly my fault. I want honesty and integrity, and a loving, swift kick in the 4th point of contact, not platitudes or appeals to a by gone era. This speech is thoroughly modernist, with Christian window dressing.

    IF America (and the West) is to die because of our sins, then I want someone willing to lead us in the wilderness, not somebody who talks about "going back to Egypt" because it was better there and we could practice our faith "in peace."

    My apologies for sounding like a crank, as it is not my intention. The West is terminally ill. Speeches like this rub me the wrong way, because it is akin to telling a dying patient that they are going to be all right and that they can get better. When a doctor does it, it is malpractice, so why do we let politicians do it?

    1. You don't sound like a crank. You sound like a victim who's decided to lie back and enjoy it.

      Carter was of course followed by Reagan and a decade of great national optimism and a strong dollar, after four years of Carter lecturing us about our "malaise."

      I will grant you this: it's the future you chose. But you should spare a thought for your younger relatives instead of lecturing them about how awful we all are and how everybody just needs to go off somewhere and die. Are you not commanded to love yourself? I don't see the Amish, Jews, Muslims, Chinese, Hindu, Iranians or others telling themselves what awful people they are and how they don't deserve to continue as a people. I mean, is the point of Christianity to thrive and have families in God's Creation, or are we supposed to be just ascetic Shakers, slowly creeping toward extinction?

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    3. I would have agreed with you in essence David not that long ago, but lately I have been having a rethink. I would not put it as harshly as Anti-Gnostic, but he has a point: your people are your people, your village your village, your time and place yours. You might be able to say with Christ (as he did to the Samaritan women) "we *know* what it is we worship" as an Trad (Orthodox) Christian, and yes Christians have failed Christiandom, but now what?

      The problem with declaring the west "dead" is that it is not - it's just post-Christian, which (as you know Chesterton pointed out) that its taken piece of Christianinity (e.g. virtues) and untethered them from their source. There is and will be no "clean break".

      Not only that, France is great, it is. Plenty of people live there and never find Christ, or don't seem to, and others do, and much good (and bad) lives are lived there. It's a better civilization objectively than many, if not most others. To top it off Christianity, as that which informed (if not ruled, sin found a way of course) its culture for 1400 years or so Zemmour and others are right to point out this truth - this is not mere politicking and salesmanship, at least it does not have to be.

      The world will always be ruled by "practical atheists" it seems. Given that, symbolic grammar and understanding of people in habit/heart/"folk ways" matters as much if not more. If Zemmour can help move (or even better, if he is a symptom of a real yearning) some towards something healthier than secularism, then this would seem to be a very good thing.

      You are right about the essence of greatness. Desmond Tutu died this week as you might know. His Christianity was of the insipid theological liberal variety, and his politics was of the insipid leftist sort. I did not find him interesting or helpful at all. He is still a Great Man of History, given his time and place and being "right" about Apartheid.

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  6. Anti-Gnostic,

    This isn't about "victimhood." This is about seeing past the smoke and mirrors, even if it is pleasant to our ears.

    I didn't say Carter was a great president, I said that his speech was the greatest of modern times because it was a leader telling people what they needed to hear, rather than what they wanted to hear. Reagan was elected because he told people what they wanted to hear. He leaned back on "Americana" that made people feel good. Shared sacrifice, and "pull yourself together" tough love didn't "resonate." Carter's speech was derided at the time, but subsequent events have made it more and more prophetic. That was my whole point: We need leaders like the Old Testament prophets who have God front and center, have no delusions about Israel (America), and are willing to tell the people hard things.

    Appeals to a "glorious past" are something I have no interest in. For the record, when HAH Bartholomew waxes about the "greatness" of the Ecumenical Patriarchate I cringe. I wish he, and our political leaders would stop doing that.

    PS. The Reagan Era had a hefty price tag. It is very easy to have a good time when you have a credit card with no limit (and can pass the bill off to someone else, in this case our descendants). It would be good for older folks to reflect on why "Ok, Boomer" became a thing.

    1. I'd be interested in your list of "hard things." Mine would include that all multicultural empires end and the USA is not the end of history; that sexual licence just brings disease and atomization; that "transgenders" are not mis-gendered, they're just appallingly mentally ill; and that welfare mostly just enables poor lifestyle choices. I'd also tell you the three Dont's for advancing civilization are Don't do Islam, Don't do polygamy, and Don't do cousin marriage. Give me some time, and I can tell you the Tradition and/or historical lesson backing every one of these hard truths, and I can think of others.

      Remember, we are analyzing a political speech from a candidate for head of state, not pondering individual praxis. There is no end to what I can find of my individual imperfections until indeed I just into the wilderness to die. I wouldn't recommend it as a political strategy though, unless you really are determined that you and your relations should go extinct.

      My impression from people like you, Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat and others is that the political questions have become so fraught that you burrow down into individual praxis and social justice rather than discuss the truly hard things. The truth is the US regime at all levels is so stupid and evil its very existence thwarts wholesome Christian life. You basically have to be wealthy enough or mobile enough to price yourself away from all the stupidity and evil. For our less affluent Christian brothers and sisters, they need a Christendom, i.e., a Catholic or Orthodox nation-state. Or Amish plantations or Hasidic townships. Probably, someone's already calling Homeland Security over this comment.

      Finally, I'd like to understand the bracing honesty you find in secularism that you find lacking in traditionalism. My impression is that secularism is among the bigger lies foisted on mankind.

    2. Individual praxis is at the heart of it. There is no separation. THAT is part of the modernist delusion (Father Stephen Freeman has written brilliantly on this point).

      Christendom was only possible because holy people consecrated the ground, with their prayers and with their blood. Even today, we are saved from total destruction because of the 10 righteous. A holy nation can only come about from a holy people. Our politics merely are a reflection of our moral and spiritual state. We get the leaders we deserve. A Christendom cannot exist without real Christians. Movement Conservatism puts the cart before the horse---or building a house without a sold foundation.

      I don't have "a list," because that is just casting about to blame somebody else, when the "blame" is as far as the bathroom mirror. Would manufacturing have disappeared if we weren't so enamored with cheap stuff (lookin at you, Amazon)? Would we have so many migrants and immigrants if Americans were willing to take the jobs that they do? Would there be so much crime and violence, if there wasn't such a lucrative market for drugs and other illicit things?

      The "hard things" that I want leaders to tell, is that they are willing, like our spiritual fathers, to give us the hard truth about ourselves, or to tell us the truth about our national situation.

      Those factories are not coming back. Andy Griffith's America is gone. Rock and Roll is finished (its now a niche genre, like Jazz). THAT is the true "hard thing" that has to be told. Because the memories of that America (the Norman Rockwell painting) is all that some people have to hold on to. It can be argued that it is a cruel thing to rip it from their hands, because that is akin to taking away their hope. I would say that this misplaced hope is the biggest spiritual crisis we face among American Christians today. My wish is that we focus our energies there, to help people see beyond "Americana."

      I view this Nostalgia as the most corrosive and destructive thing there is in our political body. We used to look forward, and now we are only looking back. THAT is the biggest tell-tale sign of decline.

      To answer your other question:

      The "honesty" of the secularists, is that they don't pretend to be Christian in their outrages. They make no bones about their paganism, and "progressive Christianity" is put in the useful idiot category among those folks.

      I don't know about you, but I respect the person who can tell me to my face that "my stone age religion is a laughable joke." I know where they stand.

    3. Christendom was possible because armed men kept non-Christians out. When they couldn't do it anymore, it stopped being Christendom. In Israel, Jews have their Zion because of Moshe Dayan and the IDF; by blood indeed. I'd like to see you lecture you an Israeli on his or her "nostalgia politics."

      You return (QED) to individual praxis which of course is the key to Salvation and hence your dialectic fallback. But providing a safe space for that praxis, and not having your tax dollars fund Satanism (secularism) means you have to leave your prayer corner and get yourself some territory in which to be Christian. Again, that's very fraught stuff though the Amish seem to have pulled it off. People risk losing their entire livelihoods for pointing out the obvious, much less marking out the bounds of an actual Christendom.

      BTW, the lie at the center of secularism is that there's actually no such thing as a non-religious State; so much for the unflinching honesty of the secularists. The Episcopalians/progressives are an easy target though so you pick on them (not that there's anything wrong with picking on Episcopalians).

    4. David,

      As much as I like Fr. Freeman, there is a weakness in his thought: Individual praxis can not be THE heart of it, though it is *at* the heart of it. If it is *the* heart of it, well then individualism/atomisation, starting with the spiritual life, is true! Fr. Freeman himself realizes this when he rightly discusses how our life and its brokenness in this world are inherited and formed from the outside and others (through our family, our culture, our time and place), how we can not bear the sin of the world or even our own little portion of it on our own, etc. etc. He recognizes the place of the Cult - the Cult-ure (and of course God and His Grace) in our formation/salvation but at the same time he too often preaches in such a way that its up to us and us alone, our "individual praxis", our own (and only our own) holiness that will save us and "a 1000 others". Don't you see the schizophrenia, even the outright contradiction in this?

      Orthodoxy has a real weakness when it comes to thinking/theologizing/acting beyond the personal to the *community* and the communal dimension of our formation/salvation. This was noticed in the gulags by the Roman Catholics and Protestants, who often criticized the Orthodox (yes, even those we Orthodox now recognize as martyrs/saints) as focusing too much on "personal holiness" and not the need for a communal response. I have speculated on why this is so. Did the last 1000 years of Orthodox culture/church life in the Ottoman oppression and Slavic isolation retard its ability to even see (let alone address) the other main dimension of salvation?? Are the Orthodox now so unconsciously used to presupposing a generally "Orthodox" village culture (behind all the focus on individual praxis and liturgical life) that they can not even see (let alone adequately address) the communal dimension, let alone something as complex and problematic as a Post-Christian Christiandom?? I don't have the answers, but I see the weakness.

      My wife and I are good examples of what Anti-Gnostic calls "pricing" ourselves into out of the secular gulag into a Christendom (albeit one that is a fragile, a little bubble of our own making). Because we have been blessed with above average intelligence, discipline, and resources we can afford to purchase a RC school for our children and other sub-cultures (such as our "christian" swim team). Heck, we and two other families "purchase" an Orthodox mission church - without us it would not be viable financially! I don't say this to boast, but to point to the truth of what Anti-Gnostic is saying here. What about those, the majority in our culture, who can not afford these things even when they see the need - the majority *not* seeing the need because most of them don't have the personal resources to buck the intellectual/spiritual formation of the secular gulag?!? It is here that Orthodoxy's lack of attention to Cult-ure, Christendom, and the importance of the beyond-personal-holiness shows it's ugly underbelly....

    5. ...I use "ugly" here on purpose, because Orthodoxy sometimes strikes me as having the arrogance to speak as if it has a monopoly on Beauty and all it's significance. Even Schmemann, who really got the essence of secularization, all but ignored the Cult-ure, seemingly thinking that a properly framed/thought Liturgical life was enough. Why is a formally RC political journalist (Rod Dreher) THE leader, if not a prophet in Orthodoxy, when it comes to Christ and Culture thought within it? This reality sometimes makes me feel *guilty* in leading my family into Orthodoxy, the real possibility being that I have led them into a "personal Holiness" cul de sac, a "revolving door book club of religious seekers" as Anti-Gnostic so aptly put it one time.

      As much as Orthodoxy speaks about the Body of Christ, it's almost as if it has forgotten what a body actually is - its very nature being a *community* of interdependent things (persons in this case) that can not be themselves (i.e. saved or "Holy") without the other also being what they are supposed to be.

      In the end you can point out all the real weakness of "movement conservatism" and more often than not your right, but at least it recognizes the problem because individual praxis/Holiness is not the answer, instead it's a category error.

    6. Jake - It's the Orthodox equivalent of the lone Protestant with nothing but his King James Bible. Steve Sailer points out that the faiths that seem to be growing are the ones that can help knock some of the sharp edges from the lives of their members, like the Mormons, the Amish, the Hasidim, etc. If we can offer that then we can truly offer something to the non-Orthodox to "come and see."

      Sincere appreciation for what you've done to take care of your family, and happy Holidays.

  7. Jake,

    The "Now What?" is the same answer it has always been: Doing what we can, where we are.

    I think where you and I disagree is in the usefulness of these kinds of speeches. You see the actions of politicians like Zemmour as something that can work for a good. I see them as a distraction, keeping people's heads in the clouds in the world of abstraction---political chatter---rather than helping people see the concrete, the REAL.

    In short: I am weary of these "pep talks" and increasingly find them distasteful and in the long run, counterproductive. It doesn't have to be politicking, but it is. President Carter showed what happens to politicians who have a moment of conviction. So we get platitudes and abstractions, appeals to a nebulous "glorious" past (with some references that people will "get"), and a "call to action" AKA VOTE FOR ME.

    Good can come from any situation, this is true. And perhaps I am being unfair to Mr. Zemmour.

    I think the big challenge of our century is just to be present, and to cut past abstractions. To be real.

    1. I agree we have to be real. See longish reply to you above. TLDR: Orthodoxy itself is not very "real" when it comes to community, culture, and Christendom.

  8. Anti-Gnostic, Jake:

    A community is made up of persons. "People" is an abstract label that can only take us so far, and in our modern era has been abused to a pulp.

    I am not advocating that everyone go into a cave and become ascetics (the Lord Himself said such a thing was only for those who are called to that).

    I wouldn't "lecture" the Israelis, because their situation is different from America's. We're talking about "our people."

    DISCERNMENT is what I am talking about in regards to Caesar. We lost the "Culture War." Why is Conservative Inc. still droning on like its 1992? It's absurd.

    You are quite right about America, which is part of my main point. The time for a "political" solution has passed (if it was ever possible). Constantinople has fallen. I'm all for fighting when it is called for or needed, but that battle is already over. A new battle is upon us, and yet people still insist on remaining stuck in past wars.

    What would you have us do? Take up arms? Continue voting Republican, investing precious time in a system that by your own admission is corrupt and debased? Or is it doing what we have already been doing---taking care of each other, doing what we can. The Greeks during the Turkish Yoke certainly didn't just sit back and "do nothing." The social networks, "secret schools," and other works preserved their life and bound them together.

    I would answer you Jake, in that Orthodoxy has not forgotten what it means to be "communal," but that it has a different idea of HOW to be "communal," in that it is more accepting of Divine Providence.

    You fight if God blesses the fight. You die if God calls for you to die (martyrdom). That's it, really. The "Activist" spirit is modernism. That is the main element of Father Stephen's political thought that I thoroughly agree with (I agree with you on your criticisms of his work also---I don't read his blog anymore, as I no longer find it useful).

    If it is time to fight, we fight. I am no stranger to fighting (Iraq War). What I am contending, is that the time for "fighting" is all but over. We are entering a period of martyrdom now. The "Never Surrender!" ethos is strong in American life, but there are times where you have to "surrender" because God has ordained it.

    Can we accept martyrdom? Can I accept martyrdom? That is the question I am asking myself these days. I look to the Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke as inspiration for these dark times we are entering.

    1. An addition to my thoughts: I don't begrudge anyone their conscience. I too am saddened by the turn away from God. I think our big difference is in "what to do about it."

      This is a spiritual battle, and I think that is where our focus should be. I am not saying we are indifferent to what is happening in our communities, but proper spiritual formation will lead to the proper action. Ours can't be simply an act of morality but of Faith and Evangelization. Blatant hypocrisy is fatal to any "movement" that is trying to be made, and it is this hypocrisy that I believe has contributed to the rise of the "Nones" (with all of the problems that go with it).

      Can I accept martyrdom? Be it red or white? That remains the question, I think.

    2. I am really embarrassed if you mistake me for a conservative. I try to avoid the impression that there is anything about the current US political regime or its regnant culture I'd like to conserve.

    3. "I would answer you Jake, in that Orthodoxy has not forgotten what it means to be "communal," but that it has a different idea of HOW to be "communal," in that it is more accepting of Divine Providence..."

      I don't think so, as I think Orthodoxy - certainly in cataphatic theology but also as a historical lived praxis - is mostly missing in action here. In other words its apophaticism is not conscious and considered on this subject (and thus a real apophaticism), but rather an unconscious and unconsidered lack. You can't walk into the middle of the highway, get struck by a car, and say "it's Providence - it's God's will!", well you can but that's blasphemy to the extant you really believe it. You can't rightly say of those who warned you about the reality of the highway that they are "activists" or unreflective "modernists".

      Dreher pointed me to this essay which you might enjoy and supports your stance to a certain degree, at least if you assume that Zemmour are *merely* turning back:

  9. I think 2022 will hold many answers and more questions. I pray everyone has a Blessed New Year.