In 2017 Rod Dreher published The Benedict Option shortly before Donald Trump’s installation to the presidency. He prescribed the creation of geographic Christian communities, which some critics unfairly likened to societal withdrawal. Nonetheless, an example of a community one might envision of people living within their faith despite being surrounded by corrosive cultures would be the Amish, and perhaps their Anabaptist cousins, the Hutterites and old-order Mennonites. All three religious and agrarian communities take turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) to levels of pacifism that would be suicidal in a lawless regime; let alone one orchestrated by woke public officials funded by George Soros.

Given the abysmal results from the last mid-term, the Left seems poised to not only be ratified by re-election of the Brandon administration, but also maintaining control of the Senate and possibly retaking the House. With this trifecta, could we expect the Supreme Court to be neutered by justice-packing, followed by national red-flag laws to nullify the second amendment, and financial access determined by social credit scores to negate the first? With command of the entire enforcement apparatus of the state, from law enforcement to the military, will ordinary citizens deemed deplorable be relegated to a kind of dhimmi status?

Is Being Left Alone a Feasible "Option"?

Whether any of this would lead to another civil war remains an open debate, as does the probable outcome by internet historians. On a more optimistic note though, one assessment speculates that sparsely populated flyover country would prevail, given the expected political leanings of disciplined military personnel. Its pessimistic retort points out that government controlled institutions maintain a natural logistics and organizational advantage to crush opposition, irrespective of private sentiments.

This is why the canary in our political coal mine will be the Amish – mutually interconnected and largely self-sufficient economically, their integration into society relies largely on consumer demand for high quality carpentry and farm-grown foodstuffs. Due to their austere theology and inauspicious lifestyle, few outsiders seek to join their community. Their political involvement has been minimal and thus they constitute no genuine threat to woke hegemony.

The illiberal progressives could leave them alone without consequence. In that event, the Benedict Option may yet become viable, assuming such an activity could be organized and funded at scale. The motivation towards organizing such redoubts might avail from the lack of other practical alternatives, as there may come a time when all political and legal avenues to prevent our children being kidnapped to “gender affirming” jurisdictions and then surgically and hormonally mutilated will have been eviscerated.

Realistically though, one might doubt that the woke will let sleeping dogs lie, as their taste for cancel culture seems well-neigh insatiable. What percentage of Anabaptist elders are trans persons of color? How many of their horse-drawn wagons feature rainbow themes? Probably not enough to satisfy the quota-mongers. Christian principles would preclude resistance by the Amish from being herded into cattle cars and shipped to Manzanar. What then? Well, obviously we’ll be next.

Is There Another Option

In 2008 Paramount released a movie titled Defiance that provides an alternative to the Benedict Option, albeit an uncomfortable one. Directed, produced and written by Edward Zwick (best known for The Last Samurai five years earlier), the film stars Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell. This survival tale centers around the 1993 eponymous history by Nechama Tec, Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, about how the Bielski brothers and a beleaguered handful of Jews hid from their enemies, following Germany’s invasion of Poland.

Beginning in 1941, the Einsatzgruppen (Schutzstaffel or “SS” death squads) captured and executed Jews in eastern Poland (now western Belarus). Having escaped the slaughter of their parents, brothers Tuvia, Zus and Asael, assisted by Aron, band together with local Jews in the Naliboki primal forest. Lack of food, harsh winters, continual evasion of Nazi patrols made for a precarious existence. Reprisals enabled the brothers and other men in the company to collect military weapons and ammunition. Food and supplies were gathered from related encounters with the civilian population, triggering resentment among the locals.

Groves can be unforgiving, coupled with the stress of being hunted like feral animals. Such suffering inhibits reflection or a tranquil disposition, and thus on occasion, Tuvia succumbs to rash decisions under circumstances no rational person would volunteer to experience. Zus briefly teams with Belorussian paramilitary forces, while the remaining brothers focus on their group remaining out of sight and staying alive. Anti-semitic propaganda is used to incite the occupied populace to report on these hidden people. But as information spreads to the ghetto, Jews escape the cities to join their co-religionists in the forest.

The film juxtaposes the stark allure of the untamed wilderness with the struggles faced by the scores of people hunkering down to endure one more day while cold and hungry. Bereft of family, and ever on the run through woods and marshes, the rescued and recruited Jews suffered frequent illness with no medical facilities. Filmed in Lithuania, the rustic scenery exudes a haunting beauty that masks its hostile nature to human occupation.

Despite setbacks, the brothers sustained their ragtag community through the end of enemy territorial occupation. By the war’s end, about twelve-hundred had been saved from the Holocaust. In 1944, the Soviets conscripted Asael into military service resulting in his death in battle. About a decade after Germany’s surrender, Tuvia, Zus and Aron immigrated to the United States, joining their older brother Walter who arrived before the war.

Defiance is a story of heroism and perseverance. One that should remind us that while we do not know what the future brings, we trust God will watch over us and mete out justice in the afterlife. While currently enjoying impunity from civil authorities, today’s woke can be savage, whereas conservatives face a double-standard regime that no longer governs on behalf of its ordinary citizens. It might be prudent to reckon with the consequences of that situation and prepare, at least psychologically, for a coming tribulation when deplorables or other conservatives might find themselves needing a Benedict Option, but one with more grit. Call that contingency the Bielsky Option.

Photo Credit- Common Sense Media