Shop Wisely and Live Not by Lies
A Reminder of the FDC online Zoom Event on Tuesday July 25th at 7:30 p.m. called “Rod Dreher’s Live Not By Lies. Strategic Ways to Make a Difference.”
Guest Post for FDC by Nicodemus
It won’t come as a surprise that there’s now an app for iPhone which helps consumers shop according to their ‘ideological values.’ Called Veebs and available in free and paid versions, the app works by turning a smartphone into a barcode scanner, which is then used to scan products in the supermarket. The app gives each product a rating based on the user’s ideological preferences, helping customers avoid corporations that have an extreme political agenda, as well as suggesting alternative consumer choices. The online Daily Mail puts this a bit more bluntly in their recent article titled ‘Woke-busting app allows shoppers to scan grocery items so they don’t buy from brands owned or run by bleeding-heart liberals.’ Regular readers of FDC’s blog might be amused by this example of digital resistance to the woke war on normal, but readers might also express some skepticism along the lines of wondering why an educated person would even need such an app in the first place? Such a response gets to the heart of the matter, because the woke war on normal includes the ongoing destruction of Western education and the knowledge of our Judeo-Christian heritage, in favour of leftist ideological indoctrination.
In a recent blog post, FDC’s Perry Foster argues that there are ‘two fundamental truths’ that we need to remember when attempting to recover our heritage and thus, I would argue, our ability to learn: ‘First, that Christianity and the Judeo-Christian ethical system are the foundation of our civilization’ and second that ‘the fountain of our spiritual life comes from the Judeo-Christian world we have inherited. It has been the source of our cultural and religious life for centuries, and it is worth defending’ Read the post. I suggest that in our era of woke indoctrination in schools and universities, the only way we can recover educationally is to deliver the content ourselves. We need to help others develop literacy and numeracy skills, as well as discernment abilities and strategies. Let’s be honest: the woke war on normal is also a war on Western wisdom (and in the Christian tradition, wisdom is of course Christ). The double whammy of woke is that we are enslaved by ignorance, as facts are replaced by feelings, knowledge by nonsense, and truth by lies. By abandoning false idols, we can start to engage once again in authentic cultural and spiritual knowledge. But this will take discipline, as The Book of Wisdom puts it, since the ‘true beginning’ of wisdom is ‘the desire of discipline’ which also translates as ‘the desire of instruction’ (6:17). The danger is to remain at the level of such fine-sounding generalities, and this is where guidance is needed for moving from thinking about such topics to putting them into action. Rod Dreher’s Live Not by Lies is a prime example of a book that can move folks from theory to practice, partly because it is based on the experiences, memories and strategies of those who lived through totalitarian communist regimes. Our own ‘soft totalitarianism’, as Dreher puts it, is harder to survey and analyse because of its all-pervasive, amorphous nature. But Dreher makes a strong case for the analogies between communist totalitarian regimes and our own soft totalitarian governments and institutions.
Dreher offers a blueprint for those who wish to recover their Judeo-Christian heritage, as well as the concomitant benefits of literacy, numeracy, and factual knowledge and understanding. Dreher’s comprehensively articulated notion of small cell-based study groups is one that can work for Christians and secular folks alike; the intersections between religion and all other aspects of knowledge and culture, as Perry Foster points out in his blog referenced above, are many and are worth exploring more thoroughly. It is important that disciplined, focused, highly motivated study groups plunge deeply into all aspects of Western knowledge, culture, history and religion, so that group members can escape from the ‘dictatorship of thought and word under construction by progressives… [in] a regime based on lies and propaganda’ (Dreher, p.107). Personally, much as I like the idea of the Veebs app doing some of the work of discernment for me, it is of course better to learn discernment oneself, to embrace the love of discipline/instruction described in the Book of Wisdom, a love which is also a desire and commitment to keep wisdom’s ‘laws’ and thereby a rejection of the perversions of woke corruption and lies.