If any question why we died,Dreher, you'll note, says he was thirteen when Reagan was elected to his first term. So he's either lying about his age of lying about the hippies. I suspect it's the hippies. There may have been a few already-aging acid flashbackers putting daisies in rifles circa 1976, but most of them had hung up the bong for the cocaine spoon, the dashiki for the wide lapels, the sandals for the heels, and, by the time morning broke over the right coast of America, the pursuit of love was being everywhere exchanged for the pursuit of real estate profits. The mother symbol of Dreher's adolescence wasn't Joan Baez; it was Roxanne Pulitzer. During the Tet Offensive, Rod was exactly zero years old. While Hendrix played "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock, someone read Dreher Good Night Moon.
Tell them, because our fathers lied.
I had a heretical thought for a conservative--that I have got to teach my kids that they must never, ever take Presidents and Generals at their word--that their government will send them to kill and die for noble-sounding rot--that they have to question authority.
On the walk to the parking garage, it hit me. Hadn't the hippies tried to tell my generation that? Why had we scorned them so blithely?
Uh, no. It wasn't "the hippies" who tried to tell Rod Dreher that. It was EVERYTHING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED IN ALL RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY. But I can see how it's easy to mix that up with "the hippies."
Dreher, like most thirty- and forty-something conservatives of my acquaintance, got a tremendous hard-on for Reagan and went absolutely bonkers for Operation Just Cause. Reagan, of course, was an habitual prevaricator and a liar of the first order. Say what you will about the lies of George W. Bush, at least he never told an Israeli that he had personally filmed the liberation of German concentration camps when in fact he hadn't been in Europe . . . or the army at the time. Carter, for whom Dreher holds a bottomless disdain, was of course the American president who did the most to shove us into the morass of Middle Eastern politicking with his "Carter Doctrine," and Reagan continued the royal pooch-screwing by dealing weapons to Iran and Iraq and the same time, using Israel, everyone's favorite shining white Knight, as a hack-job intermediary.
Dreher hitched his car to the train of official mendacity and imperial officialdom, and scorned "blithely" the few people erecting warning signs along the tracks, thinking them pussies for refusing to masturbate at the spectacle of the gloriously un-American dead. It was only when the train went spectacularly off the tracks that he decided that maybe he should've paid attention, thus joining the likes of Andrew Sullivan and the rest of that tribe of self-pitying fools who insist on blaming the burden rather than the white man.
These are the sorts of people who buy into pyramid schemes. They'll give credence to anything as long as it's sold with a firm handshake, a soulful look in the eyes, and a series of assurances that anyone shouting about unworkability and unsustainability is afraid of success and afraid to take risks for benefits. As I've written before, theirs is the mindset of the failed investor, who always imagined himself prescient, who thought that prognostication is an economic virtue, when what was really needed was a judicious evaluation of present circumstances. Dreher et al. bought the Iraq lies because they thought they were going to ride the wave of the next big thing. They thought they'd sign up just eight more investors and get their reward. They liked the promise of extra steak knives and vegetable corers for free with just a few easy payments of $9.95.
"Why had we scorned them so blithely?" Because you're all a pack of goddamn morons, that's why.