Yeah, its those guys again.
A repost of the Lamb’s Reign article Kinism, Short Pants, And A Naked Emperor, by Joel McDurmon
Because he thinks I have driven the “cancel car” a little too recklessly and sideswiped Rod Dreher and his beloved pet classical education, Doug gave me a recent cameo. Of course, in his show, he writes the script, so be aware the genre is sure to be fiction. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify a few things. A rambling review:
DW has a warning (and veiled insult) for me:
Winston Churchill once defined an appeaser as one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last. So Joel really needs to be more wary. The day will come when being pals with Rachael Denhollander won’t be sufficient protection. Somebody on the Inquisition Council might look into the contents of American Vision’s book catalog during Joel’s tenure there. I don’t know, man. There’s an awful lot of white people in that thing. There are even Christian histories of America, as white as . . . oh, I don’t know . . . as white as Sequitur Classical Academy maybe. There are defenses of the American founding, and that was a slave-holding era. That catalog is just teeming with Eurocentric concerns, and Joel oversaw it for years. A little more self-awareness, Joel.
We’ll return to the “white people” thing in a minute. For now, a few notes on my self-awareness.
First, I love Rachael Denhollander’s work. I have spoken to her once. Never met her. She has not interacted with me online (to my immediate recollection). She is a careful and very skilled legal mind. I cannot stake a claim to being her “pal,” but I am eagerly her reader, student, and admirer. I expect nothing in return from her, including “protection.”
She is also a model of courage. You could round up all the boasted manhood and manliness from every DW disciple from the past forty years, and their combined courage and fortitude would not budge the needle in a scale opposite hers. Her shadow has more weight than his entire corpus of work. DW has spent his entire career trying to be a prophet of Christian society (albeit the Lost Cause), and yet all of his barbed brambles of rhetoric amount to ashes against the prophetic fire God hath wrought through this diminutive model of femininity. He should give his pulpit to her.
Dragging her name into this is shameful for him, if he could feel shame, but I am honored to be mentioned in the same sentence.
And no, not a bit of that is over-the-top.
Next, more self-awareness is indeed in order. I mean, I can use more, don’t get me wrong; but did DW really think I didn’t consider the risks of my background and trail of published works before entering a purely secular study and work space with a high percentage of secular liberals and leftists?
All throughout my growth over the past several years, I have been more than candid, to everyone involved, about my past views and my changes in views. Even in taking legal internships, I informed them ahead of time about my past. I have been very open.
I don’t think DW understands this, and honestly don’t think he could, because it involves taking initiative in candor, repentance, and confession of things that were not only wrong but very hurtful to many people. Admitting such things, in the view of the faux steely machismo kultur seen in DW and his disciples, is weakness, see. Apology is weakness (except when it may have PR value). Any flinch toward biblical kenosis is early suppressed and trained out as a shameful sign of loss of manhood and is without question a disqualification for leadership.
It is the way of Cain, but more on that another time.
Yes, it is true that there were veiled and negligent histories of slaveholding America in the old AV catalogues. But DW knows well what I did to correct that. I don’t think I am too afraid to have anyone dig through my background on that score (please do!). I made many very understanding friends when they found that The Problem of Slavery in Christian America was the beginning of the end for me at AV.
Or maybe DW doesn’t remember that book, given that he refused to review it. His neoconfederate partner in crime, Steve Wilkins, I am told, refused even to read it.
What DW probably does recall is that the “cancel car” to which he refers was actually driven against me first, not by liberal “intoleristas” digging up my background, but by a band of Christian Nationalist types with a gang of kinists and neoconfederates praying imprecatory psalms in the back seat. When the dust settled, the car was found ditched behind a burned-out warehouse in Moscow, ID, with a copy of Cantus Christi in the seat.
KINISM AS IT WAS AND IS
Speaking of smoking guns, DW works hard to exonerate his boys from the charge of Kinism, especially against my insinuations. He mentions recent overt “attacks” of his on racism. These are nothing new, he says, for he has “been fighting with kinists and their ilk since Joel McDurmon was still in short pants.”
He proceeds to link to three articles as proof, beginning with one in 2005. These articles all create a convenient, false foil of “kinism” as malicious hatred or contempt toward other ethnic groups. Against this, Doug asserts his own view: “I freely assert that honoring my father and mother brings with it a requirement to honor my people.”
Problem: that assertion is the lone universal of kinism agreed upon by all kinists as the fundamental Kinist creed. DW’s strawman definition of kinism as requiring contempt for other peoples is almost universally denounced by kinists.
Compare these attitudes:
While I am not a Kinist, (in point of fact I’ve been severely insulted by them in the past for my rejection of their doctrines) I do believe that Kinism has put its finger on a significant problem (i.e. — the death of the West & the death of the faith, culture and people who made the West the West) and that problem must be addressed with precision and nuance. It will do no good to just dismiss Kinist arguments by ad-hominem. I will go on the record as saying I do not believe that all Kinists are racists (whatever that word means) . . . . The issues that Kinism raise are tougher nuts to crack then many people believe.
Here are a few starting points. . . .
Salvation is by grace alone and people from every tribe tongue and nation will be represented in the New Jerusalem. . . .
It is possible for varying ethnic groups / races to be Christian and yet have significantly different civilizations. . . .
People groups are not to be understood solely as a genetic grouping. People groups also include belief systems. It is the interplay of nurture, nature, and belief that makes people groups, people groups. This is why the subject is so complex and difficult … you just can’t extract any of those three from the other two without involving oneself in significant error. . . .
Just as most family members prefer their family to all other families, so most people groups instinctively and rightly prefer their people group to all other people groups. Even the Apostle Paul reveals this (Romans 9:2f).
The man who wrote these words refused at that time (2010) to accept the label Kinist because it had so much negative baggage attached by its critics. He later accepted it (seeing no better alternative to him), has defended Kinism under that label ever since, and was kicked out of his denomination for it. Today, he is widely accepted as one of the main thinkers and pastors within the Kinist movement.
His name is Bret McAtee.
His expressions here are no different than DW’s. (I did edit out points that were superfluous to our discussion, but not contradictory.)
I am not sure what type of “short pants” I may have had on in 2005 (I was in seminary then), but at least they were pants. Shouldn’t someone tell the Kirk Emperor that he has no clothes on at all?
Do you think it would do any good?
This is why DW tries so hard to redefine Kinism as including hostility to other races. He must do so to differentiate his views (and Wolfe’s and Achord’s) from kinism. But there is no real distinction from what kinists actually teach, with the possible exception that DW inconsistently holds (publicly at least) that interracial marriage is not off-limits (but, by the way, so do some of them). But that is not how he chooses to distinguish his view: he harps, dishonestly, on contempt for other races allegedly expressed in the official views of these kinists. They keep admonishing him for misrepresenting them, but he persists. He has to.
This is also why DW’s CrossPolitic disciples had to fudge the kinists’ views. They unwittingly published an overtly Kinist article on A Christian Defense of Nationalism and were alerted afterward that they had promoted a Kinist author and Kinist views. They remedied this problem by adding a disclaimer that they were not kinists because they did not harbor “racial malice, pride, or vainglory.”
Kinists online were understandably miffed at being used and abused with such dishonesty.
(As an aside, I watched with a smirk as the Fight Laugh Farce guys decided to put their money where their mouth is on censorship and entertain Kinist debate. Their FB group turned into Gab in about three seconds as kinists swarmed and every thread erupted into arguments that the FLF guys were not being consistent with their presuppositions and tradition. It was so overwhelming that after about a week or two, the moderators predictably gave a stern warning that, while we do believe in not censoring, we’ve got to have some limits after all. The message was received; the debates were suppressed.)
In the end, DW has done no real “fighting” with Kinism. He only redefined things conveniently enough to fool some people.
Suppose we go back further, though, near when I was “in short pants.” How hard was DW fighting this specter of “Kinism” then?
Well, we can look back to when his friend, colleague, and co-author Steve Wilkins co-founded the League of the South in the mid-90s (I was in college, still not short pants territory, but closer). Yeah, I know that’s “old news,” Doug, but really, many of your younger disciples were probably not alive or reading at this point. They’ve never had a chance to hear it yet! Someone should tell them the old war stories.
Allegedly Steve only helped found the LOS on the promise there would be no racism. No sir-ee, none tolerated here at all! Got that, guys? No racism in our little League of Southern glory founded on Robert Dabney’s totally non-racist theology!
Over the next several years, the leader of the LOS spewed racist diatribe after racist diatribe, such that by 2003 or so, the handful of distinguished scholars who’d lent the organization some credibility denounced the leadership and left. The organization began to collapse. Without the veneer of respectability, DW and Wilkins left too. Still, with the racist PR surrounding LOS leadership and some national news (including racist-driven felonies committed by one of its leading spokesmen), the Dabneyite wonder twins had to give an accounting for their departure without blowing cover. DW wrote a letter to church members in 2004 still expressing deep admiration for the LOS, praising its work, and expressly denying that Wilkins resigned from the board due to any racism!
Somehow, the two leading worldview minds maintained active connections with the LOS, and one sat on its board, for ten years (!) while its leader expressed all kinds of racist views recorded all over their publications. Yet, DW and Wilkins never once saw any racism.
Nope, no racism here. No sir-ee! None at all.
It was also within this neoconfederate safe space that DW and Wilkins published their incomparable Southern Slavery As It Was. About the time they left the LOS was also when they got exposed for plagiarizing a huge chunk of it. Worse yet, they plagiarized a scholarly work which the author himself later retracted—but DW and Wilkins did not!
For a taste of what DW/Wilkens have not retracted:
We have all heard of the heartlessness — the brutalitites, immoralities, and cruelties — that were supposedly inherent in the system of slavery. We have heard how slave families were broken up, of the forcible rape of slave women, of the brutal beatings that were a commonplace, about the horrible living conditions, and of the unrelenting work schedule and back-breaking routine — all of which go together to form our impression of the crushing oppression which was slavery in the South. The truthfulness of this description has seldom been challenged.
The point of this small booklet is to establish that this impression is largely false.
. . .
Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care.
. . .
Slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War or since.
. . .
The abolitionists maintained that slave-owning was inherently immoral under any circumstance. But in this matter, the Christians who owned slaves in the South were on firm scriptural ground
Nevertheless, at about the same time, DW pulled the book and then tried to whitewash it without actually changing his views in a different book. He has to date, never retracted the racism and pseudohistory in the first one (and this includes his non-retraction “clarification” that I discuss here).
So, about those pants. Are DW’s pants gone in a classic “emperor has no clothes” moment, or was it because of “liar, liar, pants on fire”?
My guess is both. Either way, using a confederate flag for a sarong is not a much better option, but as I can see, that’s about all he has left.
SEQUITUR AND NON-SEQUITURS
There are a couple of random fictions left to discuss. DW said I called Rod Dreher “complicit” in Achord’s racism. Well, no, except maybe very indirectly. I said that I found it hard to believe that the Sequitur school’s board of directors had no inkling of Achord’s “secret” life given that he’d published his Kinist views with a Kinist co-author openly in a large book nearly two years prior, all while being headmaster and a board member of the school. Even his friend Wolfe shared and recommended the book on social media. Yet the board had no idea of these things? For years? I don’t believe that. But since Rod Dreher is not on that board, this critique does not touch him.
Where I did address Dreher more directly, I said that his fluency in the CREC and the Classical Christian School movements at large is sufficient for him to know that that world is filled with racists, neoconfederates, antisemites, and kinists of all degrees. His expression of utter shock at the Achord revelations is not very believable.
DW further represents me as complaining of the “intolerable whiteness of the people” in the school’s brochures and that this “indicates that Rod Dreher was as much in bed with Achord as Wolfe was.”
I said nothing about intolerable whiteness. This rhetorical tactic is common among kinists, though: when you mention diversity, they paint you as hating white people. (This is how pagan tribal thinking works: when members of the klan don’t fall in line with prescribed klanthink, they are exiled as an enemy of the klan. DW exhibits this behavior perfectly. It’s part of how cults operate, too.)
I did, however, highlight the fact that the school’s website presents idealized pictures of only (i.e., exclusively — note: read that again DW) white people, while the school sits in a city that is only about a third white demographically. Baton Rouge is 54 percent black. From such a “brochure” alone, inquiring parents can see that “our schools are different,” indeed!
I also noted Sequitur highlights the same type of coded language all white separationists and supremacists use to advertise who they are while under the radar.
One very common and effective way of doing this in these circles is to speak like this:
By “preserving” our Western “heritage” we mean obeying the commandment to honor our fathers and mothers on a cultural and historical scale. Honoring and preserving our heritage is little different than honoring our own mothers and carrying them when they are old, like Aeneas did to his father. A healthy love for heritage should not create animosity toward others, just as loving your own mother best of all doesn’t require you to hate other people’s mothers.
The writer slipped up here a little bit by being just a tad bit defensive. Why do you think they needed to add that last sentence? Nothing they said before even implied that their view would entail animosity or hating other people’s mothers. Odd, eh?
It’s not odd when you realize the backdrop is that “heritage” in such settings often means the same thing as it did for the Lost Cause: white heritage. For already white families, honoring your father and mother signals that white parents make white babies. “Honoring” by “preserving” means “make sure it stays white.” Honoring them on a “cultural and historical” scale means honoring white history perspectives and white “culture.” Loving your mother more than others means loving whites more than others.
If you had all that in your psyche while writing such copy, you, too, may be tempted to add, “But that doesn’t mean we hate the others.”
By the way, note the similarity to views of both DW and the kinists discussed already. “Preferring our own people doesn’t mean we hate others” is a universal Kinist creed.
Such code is real. I know a guy who, even though he admitted he had no effective biblical argument against interracial marriage, and didn’t want to offend me at the time, nevertheless confessed point blank, “I wouldn’t want my daughter marrying a black guy.” But he never speaks that way in public. Instead, as he showed me, they speak in code of growing “covenant community” against the background assumption of already white families and paedobaptism. In other words, marry whites, have white babies, and grow the church by baptizing your white babies so the church and community stay white. Of course, you can see how, being accused of such a thing, he could easily deny it. “Salvation is by grace, not skin color, and people of all races can join the church!”
Indeed, remember that racialism-spewing LOS leader-friend of DW and Wilkins? Despite his open plans and promises of white domination in his imagined Christian civilization, that guy’s “brochure” read like this:
The League of the South is a Southern nationalist organization. It believes in preserving Southern heritage and culture, believes in states’ rights, believes in Southern independence.
No racism here! No sir-ee!
Indeed, the LOS Kinism sounds just like all the rest we’ve heard:
Each time the League leadership addresses itself to the issue of race, the policy we advance must be free of hatred and malice. This has been our position from the start. [see link, p. 161]
But then racism is in the details:
This does not mean, however, that . . . white Southerners should give control over their civilisation and its institutions to another race, whether it be native blacks or Hispanic immigrants. . . .
[T]he present-day South is the remnant of a nation built on the realities of place and kin that we must revitalise to the best of our abilities. At its core is a European population, especially Anglo-Celts, that must be preserved as the dominant majority. [p. 159; my emphasis]
(Note: that last statement is not only pure racist kinism, but it was also published in the LOS’s magazine in 1996, when Steve Wilkins sat right smack in the middle of the Board. He remained on that board for eight more years. DW never made a peep. No racism here!)
Perhaps they don’t think it’s racism as long as they claim to do it without “hatred and malice.” Do just speaking those words change the hatred and malice of racist realities?
I think they realize their views are racist, so they use the code language: “Let us in the League, then, confidently defend our ethnic, cultural, and religious heritage.”
Did I mention this LOS leader/author frequented Wilkins’s church? DW never made a peep.
DW didn’t like me alerting people to such code language. So, he accused me of smearing Dreher. His logic is impeccable:
McDurmon said there are white people in the brochure,
Therefore, McDurmon indicates that Dreher was as much in bed with Achord as Wolfe was!
Do they teach such non-sequiturs at Sequitur, or do we have to go to New Saint Andrews to learn that?
Does my noting a type of code language indicate Dreher is as much in bed with Achord as Wolfe is? Aside from DWs passing admission that Wolfe is indeed in bed with Achord in all this, DW again misses the mark. I think Dreher is at best negligent if his alarm at finding racism in that community is honest. Perhaps he has been naïve all along? I admit that is possible, having been naïve to many things in that world myself for a long time. But as in bed as Wolfe is? That is as far from clear as the notion that I “indicated” any such thing.
A FEW RANDOM CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
Kinists routinely say that they just want to return to old conservatism, what they think is Christianity of old: a world in which racial separatism is freely accepted and unimpeded even by social pressure, but of course without racial animosity, supremacy, or inferiority.
DW can’t really distinguish his views from this kinism, so he claims kinism is something that requires racial animosity. Card-carrying kinists deny this.
Either way, the teaching that kinists themselves say is actual kinism finds clear expression in DW, as well as Wolfe. It hardly needs to be as overt and hateful as Achord’s posts, but the DW/Kinist variety always seems to create space for the Achord types, who just always seem to emerge from that space when their more explicit statements are outed.
Still, let’s presuppose the type of Christian Nationalism that DW and Kinism both say they want — a familial and klan-centric society freely self-separated by ethnic and racial preferencing, people sticking with “my people” over others, but not officially expressing malice or hate.
Well, congratulations, Doug. You just arrived at Plessy v. Ferguson — separate but equal! Listen to the classic American paleoconservatism of 1896:
The object of the [14th] amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but, in the nature of things, it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races. . . .
Laws permitting, and even requiring, their separation in places where they are liable to be brought into contact do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to the other, and have been generally, if not universally, recognized as within the competency of the state legislatures in the exercise of their police power. . . .
We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it. Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 544, 551 (1896).
Granted, DW is not proposing state laws for “separate but equal” public services, but if the authors of Southern Slavery As It Was get their way on states’ rights, could we really prevent it?
We already hear from all of them that social inequality is natural, preference of their own race is natural and desirable, and upholding that view does not mean they find others inferior. If blacks feel white separationism is a statement of black inferiority, then that’s clearly a problem of the blacks’ imagination! Blacks’ feeling of rejection from being excluded is their own problem!
My great sin in all of this has been to maintain, in my books and articles opposing all these guys, that we ought to be proactive in advancing social equality as well. There must be conscious and concerted efforts at being a bridge and healing those divides. I want to do this to my ability in the area of criminal justice and criminal justice reform. I also do it by writing and speaking. But most of all, I have to start by building relationships in humility, listening, and learning. That requires humility and selflessness.
I have a tremendous amount to learn in all those areas. But I don’t quit, and won’t quit working for progress. I encourage you to do so, too.
I encourage all young men and women to liberate yourself from any would-be thought leader, gluttoned on their delusions of grandeur and sense of self-importance at the center of some imagined reformation, who would hold you back from investigating the full truth of such matters as racism, the Lost Cause myth, women’s rights, equality, a career, and any other disapproved education in which you may be interested. Rebel against their self-professed authority on such matters. Tell them to take a hike, you’ll follow what you want to read beyond your primary studies.
There are, of course, costs to standing up to their shaming and threats. Some costs are social shunning or may even be physical. That is awful to say, but true. I have found there are long-term rewards that outweigh the immediate costs. Don’t be bullied, especially by paleoconservative bullies who claim to be protecting you from bullies.