RJ Rushdoony’s influence

RJ Rushdoony’s influence July 29, 2006

Reviewing several recent books on the Christian Right in the current issue of First Things, Ross Douthat has this to say about Rushdoony: “What he has instead are the Christian Reconstructionists—the acolytes of the late R.J. Rushdoony—who are genuine theocrats, of a sort, and who also rank somewhere between the Free Mumia movement and the Spartacist Youth League on the totem pole of political influence in America. Yet this doesn’t prevent them from figuring prominently in nearly all the anti-theocrat anthropologies, playing the same role that international communism played for right-wing paranoiacs in the 1950s: the puppet master working from the shadows and the hidden hand behind every secular setback.”

The books Douthat reviews are no doubt expressions of leftist paranoia, but still it seems to me that the leftists have a better sense of Rushdoony’s influence at the grass roots than Douthat does. No doubt no one at the Atlantic , where Douthat works, has been influenced by Rushdoony, but I daresay that if Douthat visited a home school convention, or examined a Christian school curriculum, or talked with a group of Christian political activists, he’d find Rushdoony’s work lurking everywhere, for good and for ill.

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