Hubris: Thy Name is Rod

One last post on Dreher.

I almost didn’t post this, as it feels a bit like piling on, but I see that the thread of James Joyner’s post on Rod Dreher’s migration from TAC to Substack is still active (including an insightful comment from Kingdaddy) let me note one other central example that makes me wonder about Dreher’s psyche (and always comes to my mind when Dreher comes up).

(Plus, you know, the site needs content).

It is a now-deleted (I think) tweet (but as we know, the internet never forgets):

Setting aside, for a moment at least, his obsession with LBGTQ+ issues, this tweet struck me at the time as one of the more remarkable public displays of egotism I have ever seen (and I study politics for a living).

The Pope is one of the most famous/significant people in the world (this is objectively true regardless of one’s view of the Catholic Church or of any given Pope). He oversees a large organization and encounters thousands upon thousands of people on a regular basis. The notion that Dreher thought the Pope would know who he was and would know his book, is amazingly absurd. That Dreher further thought that the head of the Catholic Church (you know, the Vicar of Christ) would also make sure to give some message-laden blank stare is beyond amazing.

There was also a tweet from Dreher I remember (I want to say in the same timeframe) that shows a photo of him praying at some holy site in Europe (I am too lazy to see if I can track it down). It was obvious that either someone had taken it with their phone and given it to Dreher or Dreher asked someone to take it for him. Which makes me think of this passage from the Book of Matthew:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

I haven’t reaad the Benedict Option, so perhaps I misunderstand, but Dreher’s very online life seems to contradict the notion of separation.isolation that I thought the book preached.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    It’s like going up to a former POTUS and saying: “You and I have so much in common. I was president of my science club in middle school.”

  2. gVOR08 says:

    The Benedict Option reminds me of the fad a few years ago of people threatening to go Galt. In both cases the obvious question is, “Why can I still hear you?” Go already.

  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Beyond the points you made, is the additional problem that although Pope Francis speaks English (slowly, according to my quick look up) it is really really easy for native speaker to talk so quickly that a non-native speaker cannot understand what the native speaker said. Which could also link to the act of taking Rod’s name tag in hand to read the name.

    And the people at the Vatican only gave the book a poor review because it’s nonsense. (Didn’t read the book but a couple of selections from it represent most of what I’ve read by Dreher. If other people liked it, to each their own, BTW. The view expressed previously is that of a cracker and can be taken whatever way pleases people.)

  4. gVOR08 says:

    This shouldn’t really be a problem. First, Dreher’s not RC, unless he’s switched again he’s Orthodox. Second, he became Orthodox because he’s holier than the Pope.

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    Dreher maybe is closeted as a gay man, but I’m sure he doesn’t believe in God other than as a social doctrine to justify why he’s angry and to set himself apart from other people. I don’t know which closet is worse, to be honest. He also seems to be post-literate. He can write 10 million words about himself, but a terse but accurate paragraph in third person about Rod Dreher would mystify him or cause him to fly into a rage.

  6. Not the IT Dept. says:

    The thing about the Benedict Option and Dreher’s apparent obsession with it is – okay, so start a religious commune and tell us how it’s working out. *Crickets*

    But with Dreher it’s always about how other people should be doing what he says, never about him doing it himself. It’s always about judging other people by his (ever evolving, ever changing) standards.

    He really needs to make up his mind what he wants to be when he grows up. He’ll make more sense then.