Wait a minute, what you quoted wasn’t him denying these things. Sure, he generically implies these things aren’t concerning. But in the list are a certainly things that I don’t find concerning. And if this is how Wolfe ends the book, I also find it utterly baffling.
Are we really bothering to discuss and take seriously a book that ends with a self-help section on what the “wrong” foods are for real men to eat?
Here are some quotes from Dr. Wolfe (pulled from what I cited above) that are essentially just affirmations of reality:
We live under a gynocracy—a rule by women. This may not be apparent on the surface, since men still run many things. But the governing virtues of America are feminine vices, associated with certain feminine virtues, such as empathy, fairness, and equality.
Are you a minority and have a grievance? Signal displeasure to white women, even blame them for your pain, and women will shower you with money and retweets. . . . Consider also child transgenderism, which seems to be facilitated in large part by over-empathetic and sometimes deranged mothers. The most insane and damaging sociological trends of our modern society are female-driven. The gynocracy is self-destructive and breeds social disorder.
As academic institutions cater to and graduate more and more women, credentialism is on the rise. . . . This is why women place their credentials—“Dr.” or “PhD” or “Professor,” or even “MA in theology”—in their social media name. (453)
There is no robust common ground here. There is no credibility we can establish with them. Unavoidably, we are threats to their regime. Christian nationalism is an existential threat to the secularist regime. They are enemies of the church and, as such, enemies of the human race. (456)
Pastor DeYoung says in response:
That Wolfe thinks all this is concerning.
I don’t know how else to interpret this statement besides “the fact that Wolfe believes all these things about our world and culture is concerning.” Why would it be “concerning” for someone to hold to a true belief?
Well, I don’t think DeYoung denies all of it. He would probably deny some of it. Do I trust his judgment on these things? Not particularly.
Nevertheless, this seems like his main point to me:
Is this the civilizational answer we’ve been looking for—living off the grid, complaining about women, complaining about the regime, complaining about how hard it is to be a white male, warning about the globalists, calling out the dangers of vegetable oil, and chastising Presbyterians with dad bods?
And I think it’s a valid question, assuming he’s not misrepresenting the end of the book with these quotes.
Regarding MereO, I think you’re referring to the issue around Tara Isabell Burton. While I don’t know a lot about her, I know she is married to a man. I believe she’s very recently come to faith, and while I have concerns about some of her writing, it was not accurately represented in some of the online discourse. I had already read her book Strange Rites last year, and I read The World Cannot Give earlier this year. I borrowed Social Creature when I saw the claims made about it. They aren’t accurate.
This isn’t to say there are no concerns around MereO, it’s just that the specific claims that were made just aren’t true.
I don’t think he’s misrepresenting the end of the book. To be fair, Wolfe is the first to admit he doesn’t have actual definitive answers in the end. Just a series of observations self consciously in the mold of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. I do very much doubt Wolfe or his publisher’s wisdom in including this part. Especially with so many of the observations being as half baked and needlessly provacative as they are. But again, Wolfe would probably cop to a little of that being on purpose. Fwiw.
Well, to the first question, it was that I leave her fiction writing with some uncertainty as to what her actual point is (specifically regarding sexuality, which is definitely a secondary point, and not at all what either of the novels are about), and while I’m hesitant to make sweeping generalizations about someone’s perspective on ethics from their story writing, there certainly are lesbian characters in her fiction.
I tried to be clear that I was not criticizing your overall thesis, but only saying that the allegations originally pushed by William Wolfe and repeated uncritically by Doug Wilson, specifically that Burton wrote lesbian erotica, are just flatly false.
Bringing that back around to my original comment, and your concerns, MereO and Theopolis both are shaky (at best) on issues of sexuality. But it’s untrue that they publish a lesbian author.
Her latest novel, What the World Cannot Give, is a novel about the desperate desire for transcendence in modern world stripped of deeper meaning, and about how young people without deep stories where they can find themselves will attempt to create their own “world-historical” stories (that hyphenated term is one used throughout the novel), with predictably disastrous and painful results. It’s a painful and powerful book.
Her older book, Social Creature, is the one the kerfuffle was about. I’m still working through it, but at this point, I’d say it’s about the superficiality of social media, and the struggle for young people to figure out what’s real and what’s not, what’s important and what’s trivial, and how to make life meaningful for young people with no roots.
Under no definition could the books be described as “lesbian erotica”. I don’t know if I’d recommend them to everyone, but there are certainly important points being made, and from Burton’s writing in Strange Rites (her nonfiction work, on the draw of “remix religion”, Christians who fall into modern pagan practices), these novels are exploring issues she herself was drawn into before coming to faith.
What would you call an effete man who writes books with guys with intensely strong relationships, retweets sodomites online, and names himself after one of the most progressive, feminist judges in history?
I was, when I heard about the types of books she’s written, I assumed she was a lesbian.
Now you’re telling me that she’s not actually one who has performed or continues to perform the act, fair enough. But there are a lot of things we would call a man “gay” for, when the act is not actually done.
My larger point was that she is no Rosaria Butterfield, who is pushing for a return to biblical norms. She could be, but she’s not.
She’s confusing the issue with her books, her tweets, etc.
Stay away, far away, and encourage others to do so.
The “type of books she’s written” was exactly what I was responding to. And no, I don’t remotely agree that they are lesbian erotica, in any way. Doesn’t mean she’s Butterfield, but again, I’m trying to respond a specific issue, and it feels like we are moving thru multiple topics. I can well understand assuming she was a lesbian when you heard she was writing “lesbian erotica”, and all I was attempting to explain is that the specific claim was untrue, as was the claim that she is a lesbian.
I don’t accept moving the goalposts when each of the specific claims made about her were factually false.
I have no problem with someone saying, “MereO has published pieces from a writer who has also written novels with a lesbian protagonist, and that makes me distrust them/not read from them/etc”, I’m just saying we should be careful to stick to facts.
She self described the books as having female relationships that are “intensely personal”. Sounds like emotional erotica, and at least a nod at that being OK. This was a retweet of a lesbian who was excited to promote the book.
Is Dr. Wolfe just too vague and general? Does he sound too angry and mocking, and you’re concerned he will stir up these emotions in young men? Did he not emphasize baseline individual piety and repentance from personal sin enough? Are you primarily annoyed by his comments about homesteading, food, and “aesthetics”?
I’m not asking rhetorically or being sarcastic.
It seems like Dr. Wolfe is being viewed with lenses that mark him as a belligerator (not just on this forum, to be clear) because Canon Press published him and because of some isolated quotes from the epilogue, but many of his main arguments can be wielded to silence actual belligerators rather easily.
It is not possible to consistently hold Dr. Wolfe’s view of the civil magistrate and then turn around and howl about something like mask mandates, for example. Many of the “Defy Tyrants” crowd are unserious paper mache intellectuals who love to trot out quotes from Lex Rex minus context and fabricate statements from Knox and Cromwell. They have no meaningful response to being shown their Reformed™️ heroes were not Libertarians and defended the magistrate’s prerogative to make light-of-nature judgements, and any honest participant or bystander in a debate will recognize this immediately.
Before, it had been easy for belligerators to shirk away from real engagement because “your presuppositions are informed by Big Eva propaganda.” Now I can just show they are refuted by a guy who got published by Canon Press.
To dismiss the book out of hand because the epilogue has too many colloquialisms, flows awkwardly from the thesis, or even speaks too blanketly in certain respects (I’m likely never going to homestead) leads to more radical men doubling down in addition to burying the solid historical arguments made. “See, even the conservative church just doesn’t get it. They are angry he said ‘dad-bod.’ I’m gonna go listen to Nick Fuentes.”
I’m not saying that response is righteous. I’m just saying that’s what happens.