My review of Rod Dreher’s book, The Benedict Option, has been replied to by the author. I will
compose write a reply to it tonight, but before I do, I think it is important for me to mention some reasons why I think Dreher should be defended from some of his critics online right now.
- Credentialism – I don’t care how many degrees or diplomas someone has or doesn’t have. MacIntyre, for instance, does not have a Ph.D., and good for him. To put down Dreher for credentialist reasons is not something I will stand for. As a first generation college student, I do not welcome accidental put-downs of my family or heritage.
- Ad Hominem – I don’t think the ad hominem fallacy works here. I wrote about Dreher’s book being personal and I tried to show how personally I took it. That he then attacks me as a person is a fair game. I think I was critical of him within the context of his book, but his less contextualized comments are not beyond the pale here. Plus, they are really funny.
- Links – There are some unwritten rules in online sparring and argument. One of them is a principle of credibility and generosity, which means linking to people’s stuff. Dreher knows very well that a link to my forthcoming book by him is value-added, regardless of what he thinks of its value or merit. That he did link to it is generous and I thank him for it.
- Wit – I don’t care what you think of Dreher or me personally, but I hope you can appreciate the exchange of wits that real conflict brings. I would have personally preferred more substantive responses to my claims, but he took the route of being entertaining and fun, with numerous memorable moments. The dialectic is set. I only wish his title would not have been so matchy matchy with his image. But free trade kombucha and daiquiri music is really worth a golf clap.
- Photogenic – Dreher thinks I’m pretty. I’m aware that he was calling me vain but I am vain enough to take it as a compliment anyway.