Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Crunchy Kuo

That’s the title of my TAS Online piece on David Kuo’s book promotion campaign.

He says that his principal motive is to get Christians to rethink their priorities, which is probably good advice for those who think that they can find "salvation" in politics. But he can’t be so naive as to think that the timing of his book launch--and his ubiquity in the media--is occasioned by anything other than politics and his publisher’s (and his) interest in making money.

Update: In his blog, David Kuo points to this TNR piece by Amy Sullivan and says that she "gets it right." Sullivan spends most of her piece urging liberals to exploit Kuo’s book for political gain. Is that what she gets right, according to Kuo?

Discussions - 5 Comments

Nice work, Joe, although your joke about Dreher at the very end seems more dismissive than merited. Kuo doesn’t even come close to deserving the respect that Dreher does.

I mean, an individual, a small-group, a spiritual advisor, or a church might conclude that some sort of political fast was appropriate for the person or group in question, but where does Kuo get his authority to call for such a thing for the entire nation of conservative Christians? If he doesn’t soon say that this is a conclusion he’s drawn for himself that he simply wanted to share with others, and that other Christian conservatives will have to weigh their own consciences on the matter, and weigh the extent and the timing of such a fast, he will lose whatever shreds of Christian credibility he still has.

And if Mr. Kuo is serious about calling for such a fast, shouldn’t he be preparing to undertake it on his own, regardless of whether he convinces many other Christians to do so? That is, shouldn’t we expect, after a week or two of doing the minimal bare-bones of promoting his book, that we will not hear from Mr. Kuo on any political subject whatsoever for two years? Surely if this turns out not to be the case, Mr. Kuo will forgive our episodes of uncontrollable giggling everytime we hear him speak on politics during those two years.

You see, I’m not being a good Christian right now, because I keep hammering on this political topic. But perhaps Mr. Kuo will say, "Oh, I don’t mean that Christians should refrain from talking and thinking about politics in private, for example, on a wee little blog. What I mean is they shouldn’t do things that seek to have substantial political effect. Only for two years, mind you."

But as Joe points out, a Christian formerly involved w/ the Bush administration policy calling upon Christian conservatives to take a two-year political fast, and in a major-press book with major-press promotion, released a month before a close election, is FAR more likely to have a substantial political effect than virtually any other political activity a Christian could undertake. So Mr. Kuo’s call for a Christian fast from politics is inherently contradictory.

I would not ascribe decisive significance to such a conundrum, were there indications that Mr. Kuo wanted to to make his call in a manner least likely to have a substantial political effect. As of now, his words and deeds suggest the opposite, and so he has no way out of the conundrum he’s set for himself. His fifteen minutes of fame as the willingly politicized prophet of apoliticalism will at least be amusing.

Carl,

I thought I indicated that Dreher is serious about his crunchiness (at least on some level). Kuo, on the other hand, strikes me as, at best, confused. Having said that, my copy of the book arrived today, and, over the next little while, my time on various aerobic torture devices will be devoted to buzzing through it.

Joe, my nit-pick was in terms of emphasis alone--you did indicate you took Dreher more seriously, I simply would have liked that to come out more strongly. Looking forward to your report.

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