If we want our children to “be born into strong extended families, to know and love and be loved by their great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a legion of cousins,” as Isker says, our axe at the foot of Donar’s Oak will first need to be sharpened with the impenetrable steel of Christian love for our families. This love, once acted out, will then disperse into our communities like dropping a rock in a pond.
My commute to work is approximately 40 miles. Every weekday morning, I pass a billboard that reads “See The Good” in big white letters. Before reading The Boniface Option this billboard would elicit a flicker of romanticism. Though soon after passing the billboard that flicker of romanticism becomes superseded by a reactionary wrench from my insides, “Hell—What ‘good’ is there to see? Educational predators are likely foaming at the mouth for the soul of my coming daughter, our dollar has quickly been leached, and The Lord knows that Whitehouse bureaucrats will continue to punch down at my kind any chance they get. What will come for us in the next 10 years? What a joke.” The sign doesn’t exactly improve my drive.
These thoughts and others like it eliminate any possibility that the sign brightens my morning more than the millisecond of gnostic romanticism. I think my reaction to the billboard is par for the course of any politically conscious evangelical. But now, after reading The Boniface Option, I do not fall prey to the brief romanticism and let down the billboard imposes on me during my morning commute. I now immediately view it with disgust. I now burn at it through the windshield, and I see the billboard is an analgesic aphorism that encourages turning a blind eye to a reality that is turned upside down and hung up gutted. It is a literary opiate that dampens the urge we should all have, and that which The Boniface Option recovers: a hatred for evil.
Removing The Shades
Andrew Isker opens Part 1 of his book by telling the story of the book’s namesake, Saint Boniface’s God-aided takedown of Donar’s Oak. I am sure American Reformer readers and adjacents are familiar with the story. Thus, I won’t retell it here. Moreover, a retelling would rob future readers of Isker’s inspiring rendition of Saint Boniface. Isker also lays the foundation of his argument as to why a retreatist Benedict Option is no longer feasible. Perhaps Rod Dreher’s thesis could have worked in The Neutral World. But by Isker’s lights, “Trashworld” will not allow for such an option. It’s a category error. Trashworld (Isker’s categorization of our current society) is not like the European Dark Ages that gave birth to Benedict’s monastic isolation.
Isker calls the reader to reality:
“Ours is a society that went from a space-faring people two generations ago to one that cannot even keep air-craft carriers from destroying themselves while at the port. …and we have to go out of our way to pass laws to keep teachers from grooming our children into having their genitalia removed. …rather than being sacked by Goths, we have been consumed internally by an insane and suicidal death cult.”
Those who have identified Isker as an extremist a priori, will charge that he employs emotional rhetoric to convince his readers, without substantiating the claims he makes. But is this actually the case? Consider that the shrine of Moloch has never been supplied with its preferred kindling before like it has now in recent history. And, if you dare to utter that child sacrifice is murder, losing your job is in the cards. Those working in pregnancy crisis centers also need to be aware they may receive a Molotov cocktail on a whim, too. Christian parents should probably look into the sitting superintendent of their school district as well. In August, a Virginia superintendent released a statement in response to recent anti-grooming policies, in which she said: “I want to be clear that FCPS remains committed to an inclusive and affirming learning environment for each and every student and staff member including those who are transgender or gender expansive.” Indeed, Isker is not being flamboyant. The man is only telling the truth, and writing to remove the shades over the reader’s eyes that have more than likely been placed there by complacency and desensitization, or worse, intentionally by invisible actors.
The rest of Part 1 presents various sprouts of Donar’s Oak. Isker proceeds to dismember them in a mead-fueled frenzy armed with nothing less than a 60” diesel Husqvarna chainsaw. The Trashworld social ordering, transgenderism, feminism, and the pseudo-human bugmen way of “life” all suffer a charge that is easy to resonate with: they are fake. By fake, Isker means they distort the created order in which God has fashioned nature. Such is undeniably true on empirical and theological grounds. Isolation is undeniably anti-human; look at how the COVID lockdowns waged psychological damage on thousands of Americans. Men are not women. Look at the injustice being done to schoolgirls. Feminism is poison. Feminism is a causal factor in birthing the monstrosity which is OnlyFans. And the bugmen way of living is meant for hive-minded arthropods. We must learn to hate these sprouts of Donar’s Oak if we love anything at all that is true, good, and beautiful. Big Eva and Thirdwayist types will object to Isker’s use—integration!—of the hateful emotion. Though Isker orients this hate towards righteous ends: “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9).
In Part 1, the third chapter of The Boniface Option is my favorite, “Atomized Man.” I grew up a military brat. I never really associated with a geographic region by necessity. It was difficult to answer the natural question, “Where are you from?” I didn’t even know what the question was asking, much less how to answer it. Most military kids answer this question with the last duty station they were sent off to. I was a nomad in my boyhood. My father—an extremely successful colonel—has now retired in Russellville, TN after serving over 35 years. He owns 82 acres in the foothills of the Smokys. Now when I answer this question, I say I’m from Russellville, because this is where my family is and our land is. I yearn to make it back up to those green hills and forests after completion of my PhD. I no longer fear the question like I did when I was a boy. I love answering it.