Young, Restless, and Red-Pilled

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Dear Gavin,

Thanks very much for contacting me. I am glad that Dawson encouraged you to do that. Dawson is a great kid, the best of relatives.

From what you wrote, and from what Dawson told me, you are struggling with how you are supposed to understand your “whiteness.” You grew up in the public school system, which inculcated in you a deep loathing of your supposed heritage, against which you red-pilled hard your second year of college. Your parents divorced when you were in second grade, and so you grew up with your mom, with your father being always friendly, but somewhat distant. You did a stint in the Proud Boys, but that got old after about six months, leaving you feeling emptier than before. At the same time, you are resolved to never go back to the self-loathing you grew up with. Do I have all that right?

Dawson tells me that you are a Christian, but that you think the church you periodically attend is pretty “lame.” He said that you told him the sermons are TED Talks with a handful of limply applied Bible verses. On top of that, you are increasingly hearing things from the pulpit that remind you of all that woke stuff you learned the purple-haired lady in junior high school.

So the first thing for us to do is to find you a good church. You will need a place that will provide a healthier context for the things I am about to tell you. I have some friends in your town that I can ask for recommendations.

All that said, on to your questions. And first, thanks for your willingness to ask someone like me—because I picked up on your hesitation. I don’t identify as a boomer, I am a boomer. But even though you already asked me, meaning that you are willing to hear from me, the chances are good that you had to surmount an internal hurdle in order to ask. So let’s talk about generations first. We can get to the other questions later, and I suspect it will take more than just one letter.

One of the things that the deconstructing and corrosive left has done very well with their identity politics is create deep suspicion between virtually every discrete and identifiable group. Nobody in Group A has any idea what it is like to suffer like they do over in Group B, and because this is a fallen and sinful world there are frequently actual grievances that can be identified. Now suspicion between disparate groups has always been around—Greeks, Jews, barbarians, and Scythians have always had their various difficulties (Col. 3:11).

But what the left has done is transform this very natural human failing into a high virtue. But it is only a high virtue when they are wielding it. This means that those who are trained in this way of thinking are deeply suspicious of everyone’s motives but their own, and this obliviousness is taken as a seal and proof of their exceptional purity.

I bring this up because I am sure there will be some things I say to you that will tempt you to think okay, boomer to yourself. Now some aspects of this reaction could be legit, but there are some other important considerations that I want to remind you of at the front end. When older Christians from my generation seek to caution you, teach you, or warn you, you will need to understand that if you have a reflex action of defensively pulling away, this is the result of the very indoctrination that you are trying to disentangle yourself from. Some things are cringe because they are just cringe. But other things are cringe because our propaganda-mongers in the media have assigned it that status. And so you need to think through this because I am not trying to throw a “respect your elders” blanket over your head.

Here is an illustration that I think will enable you to see the principle immediately. Suppose a young man, barely out of high school, showed up at your college group at church and started talking loudly (in an artificial deep voice) about what home school curriculum he was going to use with his seven kids, and how his wife was never going to work outside the home, nossir, and let us say there were three or four other bravado pronouncements. All the young ladies within hearing would have every right to cringe as much as they wanted to. But if they attended a wedding, and in the homily the minister drew attention to the fact that the bride’s vows contained the word “obey,” and that the groom’s vows did not, and he went on to ground this difference in the Scripture passage he was using in the homily, the only reason for cringing is that the world of feminism had instructed them to.

The same principle applies to how you should learn from your elders.

Think of it this way. Let’s say you get some boomer input from somebody, like from me. That input could be coming from at least three different places: 1. wisdom from an older, more experienced Christian, 2. a boomer quirk, or 3. a vestige of the Christendom we are all trying to rebuild and restore. To summarize, the things you hear could be the sorts of things that older believers have always cautioned younger believers about, they could be things that are unique to the personality of those born after the Second World War, or they could be a broad cultural value that we have now lost, but which the boomer generation had some real experience with, or memory of.

Here would be a sample of each. The first would be “young men need to guard themselves against being impetuous and rash.” And example of the second would be “you guys just need to admit that our music was way better.” An example of the third would be that when someone is accused of a crime, we should withhold judgment until the evidence is produced and examined, and the ethnicity of the accused does not constitute part of that evidence.

The second category is easy enough to see. I am seventy now, and this means I have certain things in common with all seventy-year-olds throughout the ages. But I also have certain things in common with my particular age cohort, born into the same general circumstances that I was. This means that some of what I say is because I am older, and some of what I say is because I am a boomer. Now the fact that it is a boomer-sentiment doesn’t make it wrong—our music really could be better—but that should be evaluated with different criteria. The Bible does talk about about the one directly, and not about the second.

And if the counsel from an older Christian is sound, the first category, you should expect that the counsel will highlight certain things in the third category. And that third category contains a lot more wisdom that you might initially suspect. I think it can be agreed that in the last few years our culture has gone off a cliff edge, and this is one of the central reasons your generation is so disoriented and so disillusioned. And it also has to be acknowledged that it wasn’t your generation that was behind the steering wheel when all of that happened.

At the same time, my father was born when Calvin Coolidge was president, and your father was born when Jimmy Carter was. If part of our cultural dilemma is that we have forgotten who we are, and where we have come from, it is at least possible that I might have more of a recollection of what we are talking about, and what we need to recover.

Let me finish with an exhortation from Psalm 78, and then invite you to ask more specific questions, if you have them. I suspect you do.

Here it is. You are supposed to respect your elders, which is not the same thing as following them blindly.

“For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; Who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; A generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.”

Psalm 78:5–8 (KJV)

In this passage, listening to your fathers’ wisdom is one of the central ways to prevent becoming like your fathers in their folly. This obviously invites further questions, like “which fathers?” And my very favorite question, which would be “by what standard?” I hope to hear from you soon.

Cordially in Christ,

Douglas Wilson

Comments are open. If you would like this to be a series, please suggest questions you would like Gavin to ask. And also, please, behave yourselves. That’s what Gavin would want.

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Jeff H
Jeff H
8 months ago

“It’s hard to maintain much hope when it seems so much is stacked against me and my generation. Meaningful work is hard to find, and although some wages are rising, housing prices are basically out of reach. And it’s nearly impossible to engage with females, and even harder to find ones that don’t believe what we were taught by the purple-haired lady in junior high. I want to believe there is a way out, but I don’t see it from here.” – a potential Gavin

A
A
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeff H

I second this suggestion. A few years ago, I would have asked the exact same questions. In the intervening years, I met and married a godly woman, both of us in our 30s, and much to the surprise of us both. So I don’t ask these questions nearly as much anymore – because I have seen the grace of God in this area – but I deeply remember the days – not so long ago – when I was asking these questions.

Tim Roach
Tim Roach
8 months ago

Zero Sum Game fallacy.
If the youth group gets another $100 a month, their won’t be enough money for the annual picnic.
Because the rich men north of Richmond have all the money, I can’t get any.

John
John
8 months ago

I see a lot of elders who lack self-control, maturity, or just gravitas. They offer very little in the way of role-modeling, often being as entitled and narcissistic as their juniors, if not more so. I am a nurse serving a geriatric population, within which I have found very few givers of wise counsel, and a whole lot of whiny babies. This morning I felt the need to (gently) remind a gentlemen that if it weren’t for the antibiotic IV he was on (about which he had been complaining sourly) he would be dead from bacterial sepsis. Can I do… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
8 months ago
Reply to  John

If they’re wrong, it’d be disrespectful *not* to correct them. The key is *how* you correct them, your words, your tone, your heart. If you’re rude, arrogant, condescending, or even patronizing, it’s not respectful.

Jsm
Jsm
8 months ago

As an actual millennial, and not someone that just identifies as one, two statements you made really stood out that seem to contradict each other. They both are in reference to the third kind of boomer. “. a vestige of the Christendom we are all trying to rebuild and restore” And “An example of the third would be that when someone is accused of a crime, we should withhold judgment until the evidence is produced and examined, and the ethnicity of the accused does not constitute part of that evidence.” That old christendom did very much consider the ethnicity of… Read more »

pd
pd
8 months ago
Reply to  Jsm

Hi Jsm! My history education is pretty unspecialized. Could you add some more detail about the time, place, and maybe characters of “that old christendom” that “did very much”? I can think of some things you might be referencing but I don’t want to assume.

Sometimes people write/read questions like this in a spirit like “oh yeah? name one example!” but my goal is to more clearly understand “old Christendom”, or both ideas of it if you and Doug are considering different ones.

Jsm
Jsm
8 months ago
Reply to  pd

Anytime someone mentions the old christendom or Christendom 1.0 like Pastor Wilson does, defining what is meant by that is difficult and often means cherry picking the parts from history agreeable while ignoring the more embarrassing parts. For instance, christendom in Europe during its early stage considered class as evidence of guilt if an accusation was made. Later, after the reformation, what denomination one was a member of played a role in determining the kind of treatment under the law one could expect. In Ireland the Calvinist Ulster Scots had all their weddings functionally annulled, among other things, because the… Read more »

My Portion Forever
My Portion Forever
8 months ago
Reply to  Jsm

“We believe many of the abuses and assumptions held to by that old Christendom will always and inevitably lead to its destruction by economically envious sexual perverts.” Nice phraseology, lol. I sympathize with your statements, but it all comes down to the details. Perhaps the ethnicity of the accused was wrongfully judged in the past in Christendom, but perhaps it was not in many places and at many times. So, which abuses and assumptions do you believe the old Christendom is now paying for? (I firmly believe that what we are going through is a result of the failures of… Read more »

Jsm
Jsm
8 months ago

Pierre Viret said it best in his book, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”. “How is it possible in a Christian society that we ignore God’s law in regard to sexual sins. We have brothels and adultery goes unpunished despite God’s prescribed penalties for them. At the same time we go far beyond the prescribed penalties for theft by God’s law” Christendom 1.0 in many places and times worshiped its material wealth and indulged in unrepentant sexual sins. This is why it has descended into economically envious sexual perverts. Many boomers who lived through the sexual revolution act as if everything… Read more »

Joel Jones
Joel Jones
8 months ago

I think it would be great to have a blog topic covering how to discern helpful right wing voices from less helpful, and productive ways to use time versus less productive . Sometimes as a young man I get so absorbed in the political news cycle and podcasts from conservative commentators who are not necessarily Christians, and eventually I am left with my head spinning and my soul dry. Is it a good idea for a young conservative Christian man to closely follow someone like Ben Shapiro, Matt Walsh, or Jordan Peterson for example? What are the benefits and dangers… Read more »

My Portion Forever
My Portion Forever
8 months ago
Reply to  Joel Jones

I struggle with this as well, listening to the same names, plus James Lindsay. I must admit it’s mostly for entertainment, but at least I feel like I know something about what’s going on (since I pretty much avoid all news outlets). The intrigue and novelty can make Bible reading and listening to sermons feel passe’, but I know this is a lie of the enemy. Recently, I’ve started listening to worship music in the morning and this has led me into more prayer throughout the day. This gives me less of an appetite for that kind of thing. I’ve… Read more »

Legitimate complaints
Legitimate complaints
8 months ago

“When older Christians from my generation seek to caution you, teach you, or warn you, you will need to understand that if you have a reflex action of defensively pulling away, this is the result of the very indoctrination that you are trying to disentangle yourself from.” Sometimes, definitely! However, most millennials ignore boomers because: 1. “Respect your elders,” to the standard boomer, means laying out the red carpet and never asking questions, disagreeing or pointing out failures. The vast majority of boomers live in a fantasy world where they are perfect parents and perfectly productive patriots. These are obviously… Read more »

Isabel Savé
Isabel Savé
8 months ago

In your point #1, I would like to mildly suggest that ‘ever’ is a strong word. There are both terrible and admirable people in any group one picks. I’m sure some older people are sour and overbearing (and one ought to remember that a lifetime of struggling with vice often does leave blind spots) and some older people have conquered themselves a bit more and so are good people to be around. P.S. I am also, in case motives should be discussed, not a boomer. I believe I am Gen X, but I do not keep tabs in that sort… Read more »

Jennifer Mugrage
8 months ago

“Show me one non-white culture that has been responsible for the spread of Christianity, technology, or civilization.”

(I have seen Gavins argue this)

Barnabas
Barnabas
8 months ago

Easy to cite many historical examples of great non-white cultures, particularly in the East. Multicultures, however, are garbage and white cultures are being engineered into multi cultures to destroy the possibility of solidarity. You might say, to prevent greatness. I’m long on China, though.

James
James
8 months ago

Technology and civilization: If white means Caucasoid, you have China and Japan, and to a lesser extent the Southeast Asians. Also, the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayas, in the Americas, had full-blown civilizations minus the wheel (probably due to environmental factors) though the Mayas, and especially the Aztecs, were extremely wicked compared even to most pagan civilizations. If white means European, you have the middle East, the Berbers, The Egyptians, and the Persians and Indians (unless the latter two are quasi-European, given the common origin of their language. Christianity: Old Israel, and the Berbers were prominent among early theologians. Egypt, I’m… Read more »

Barnabas
Barnabas
8 months ago

Boomers should be seriously humbled by the world they are soon to leave behind to their grandchildren but they don’t seem to be. They don’t seem to be willing or able to process new information to an extent that they might even honestly discuss the problems we face. Such a difficulty with processing might be expected at a certain age and could potentially be offset by valuable life experience. The Boomers don’t seem to have much to offer here either, partially because many problems we face are unprecedented and partially because their minds are stunted from a lifetime of mass… Read more »

Zeph
8 months ago

How should American kids think about the racial things we are taught about in school? Slavery, Genocide of Indians, Chinese Exclusion Act, Etc?

Armin
Armin
8 months ago
Reply to  Zeph

They shouldn’t. Nobody self-flagellates over this stuff except for whites. 

Zeph
8 months ago
Reply to  Armin

Who said that Gavin was White? If Gavin is Black, what should he think of how his family came to the States? If Gavin is Native, how should he think of the Boarding Schools? If Gavin is…fill in the blank and fill in the problem.

Last edited 8 months ago by Zeph
Armin
Armin
8 months ago
Reply to  Zeph

Of course you were talking about white Americans, whether you realize it or not. No one asks what blacks “should” think about slavery. Everyone already knows what they think and no one questions it, and certainly no “racist” like myself is going to try and convince blacks to think differently. Whites are the only morally introspective race on the whole and thus the only group for whom the question of “how should we think about this past immorality?” would be applicable. For every other race these questions only matter to the extent that they serve their own material interests (i.e.… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
8 months ago
Reply to  Zeph

The problem is these things are taught in government (and some private) schools on a never-ending loop, along with similar coverage from Hollywood, the MSM, etc. Slavery of black in the U.S. Mistreatment of Indians by Americans and explorers Nazis While these things are largely ignored Slavery has taken place on every continent and is still practiced today in the Middle East and Africa. And human trafficking/sex slaves are practically everywhere. But there’s no particular racial angle to exploit for this White slavery (and not just indentured servants) was also common in the U.S. and the Carribean They Were White… Read more »

RogWils
RogWils
8 months ago

what are some birthmarks of a healthy church with a spine? how does a single young man choose a good church to find a wife and raise a family?

John Mountain
John Mountain
8 months ago

I think there are a lot more boomer opinions that fall under number 2 (boomer quirks) than you may be aware of, and most of them are a lot less innocuous than what kind of music is best. Conservative boomer opinions on economics, politics, and race are almost universally unique to your generation, except to the extent that you all have inflicted them,despite all evidence that they are wrong, on your children. The clearest example of this is your individual (as in Doug Wilson, the individual) and collective attitude regarding the question of Jewish power and hostility to Christians and… Read more »

Matt
Matt
8 months ago
Reply to  John Mountain

This really is the point. The Noticers really do want to prevent a Holocaust. Those that want to sweep this under the rug are guaranteeing that the West will have its Hitler moment.

M
M
8 months ago

I have fallen into a sardonic mood. Why should young men make an effort? The theft of my wages, the rigged court system, alimony, diversity hiring, inflation, statism, feminism, red tape, the death of meritocracy–all these modern pathologies make me not even desire to try. I have tried for the last decade, and it availed not. I’d rather just put in minimal effort: more effort (in career, family) seems unlikely to yield much with things as they are.

nemo
nemo
8 months ago
Reply to  M

You should make an effort because, even if you don’t profit money- or status-wise (though you eventually will), you will grow in character and wisdom, which is better than money (Prov 16:16), and you will become a better man. That is its own payoff.

Nobly Attempted Gavin Facsimile
Nobly Attempted Gavin Facsimile
8 months ago

“In view of current divorce laws, why should I think of marriage as a good to be pursued rather than a trap to be avoided? Given the biological distinctions and general traits between the sexes, are men even wired for or bettered by monogamy?”

Nice One, Gilder. Very Cool
Nice One, Gilder. Very Cool
8 months ago

Even if the answer were to be that “men derive no benefit” from marriage, George Gilder’s point still stands that unmarried men don’t have a stake in the future and thus are the most destructive force in any society. So if you’re looking for a self-interested reason to get married: “So you don’t turn your country into a third world sh**hole”

Gregory Treat
Gregory Treat
8 months ago

One of the things that really makes it difficult to get the conversation started is that “respect your elders” is interpreted as an inherent right to what you might call a victor’s honor. The central issue of our time is that something went terribly terribly wrong in the last 40-80 years in our country. That does not mean that all boomer pastors are cowards and traitors, many of them served faithfully and with honor. But the overall strategy they pursued was one that was an unmitigated disaster. I am remembering a recent Twitter statement by Josh Buice in the context… Read more »

Joshua
Joshua
8 months ago

Great commentary Doug! I’m a millennial and had no idea you were a boomer. I forgive you ;^D….

Auz
Auz
8 months ago

As a millennial, I appreciate the way you put this, Doug. You have been a great “father figure” to me through your writing, and preaching. The generational divide is definitely a reality. A question that comes up in my house a lot is how do we honor our father (and father-in-law) when he’s a stubborn boomer with an unrepentant heart? A fella below made a comment that boomers refuse to acknowledge they are ever wrong, and this is a reality in our family as well. We are ready to forgive, but the repentance is not seemingly on the horizon. At… Read more »

nemo
nemo
8 months ago

As a Gen Xer (the invisible generation), this is all very interesting to watch. (We were raised by “Boomers” and I still remember when it was cool, and even enviable, to be in that group.) The thing that sticks out to me was how we (Gen X) were pretty much just put out there in the world to figure it out (and we have done so with very little fanfare). No one really noticed and no one really cared. I can tell you for sure that I was met with a very harsh reality upon entering the world of adults:… Read more »

John Mountain
John Mountain
8 months ago
Reply to  nemo

You’re a spiritual boomer. Your parents, your elders gave you nothing, profited from your labor, and you hope to do the same to younger generations. Sad. Many such cases.

nemo
nemo
8 months ago
Reply to  John Mountain

You missed the point of my post, which was about taking personal responsibility. Anyone in any generation always has that option.

I will personally do nothing to younger generations (except possibly offer some hard-won wisdom), but the world will do exactly what it has always done. Obstacles are opportunities. There is nothing new under the sun.

Matt
Matt
8 months ago
Reply to  nemo

I think John’s point is this:

You’re not supposed to start at 0*. Boomers really did plunder and stunt subsequent generations. And it’s Boomers that are spending all of their children’s inheritance.

*Actually, it’s worse than 0. Future generations are born with debt they inherited, much of which is a result of Boomerism.

John Mountain
John Mountain
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Only we can break the cycle. I’m helping my children start their own businesses rather than kicking them out of the house. The boomer cannot conceive of such a thing, unless they are collecting their usury from a loan to their own children.

And, yes, the amount of debt boomers are leaving their children, or in the case of these childless hags, others’ children, is absolutely staggering.

Matt
Matt
8 months ago

It’s nice to see that the Overton window has shifted enough that you can conceive of talking to an ex PB. Maybe one day you will conceive of talking to someone a bit further right. Whites in the West today really are demonized and attacked *for their Whiteness*. At the same time, I have to believe that God made those people White *on purpose*. What are we to do with this? I maintain that whatever Christians are doing with this now, it is NOT (nor has it been) what they would do in response to other races being targeted elsewhere.… Read more »