Crunchy Cons…

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading the book Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Retrun to Roots written by Rod Dreher.  I had been wanting to read the book for awhile, pretty much since he posited his thesis over at National Review Online a few years ago.  He raised a bit of a ruckus with his posit that he and others of his ilk are different from other Conservatives because they eat organic foods, wear Birkenstocks and homeschool their children.  Yeah, there were some other things in there too but I’ll get to that later.  Anyway, he seemed to be complaining that Crunchy Cons were eyed suspiciously by regular Conservatives and often faced the accusation that they were actually closet Liberals.  Naturally, most of the NRO Conservatives balked at the idea that Crunchy Cons are the truest of conservatives.

The exchanges between Dreher and Jonah Goldbergtotally sucked me in.  And it wasn’t long before Dreher turned his thesis into a full article for the print editionof National Review.  I thought it was a great article and was happy when I read that Dreher was turning the Crunchy Con idea into a book.  Of course, I had to wait for it to go into its paperback edition.  And in the course of waiting I forgot what I was waiting for.  Luckily I remembered what I wanted to read when I happened upon Crunchy Cons during one of my February book buying benders.

Crunchy Cons is an easy read.  At 264 pagesit is not especially taxing either.  Dreher’s original NRO thesis had generated responses from all over Americafrom people living the Crunchy Con lifestyle even though they hadn’t put that label on their living.  So Dreher went out and interviewed several families and he writes about them so well that I, too, felt like I had sat down at their kitchen tables and talked with them.  I was too shy at the time of the NRO unveiling of Crunchy Cons to send Rod Dreher an e-mail to tell him how much S and I identified with the Crunchy Con label.  I kind of wish I had now.

The drawback of Crunchy Cons, the book as opposed to the original thesis on NRO, is that Dreher’s fleshing out of the idea brought forth the idea that it is heavily drawn from conservative religious values.  I was not able to identify with that because I am not religious.  Yet, I share so many of the Crunchy Con values that I believe they don’t have to be so tied to religious values.  I love to eat chicken that is not pumped full of antibiotics.  It tastes better.  I support small farmsand think we should have policies that encourage them rather than dissuade them.  I love Craftsman architecture.  I think we should save our historical architecture and save our past.  I think the federal government should encourage marriage and children through tax policies.  There should not be a marriage penalty tax and child tax credits should be greater.  I want to support families and encourage them to have as many children as they have the capacity to love.  If I had children of my own, I would favor homeschooling them.  I think that Americans have the brilliance to invent alternatives to oil and coal for energy, but I favor private investment rather than government subsidies.  I think that local communities know best what their schoolsneed rather than the increased involvement of the federal government.  And, of course, I love my Birkenstocks, though I prefer to think of them as Burke-en-stocks.  These are values that Dreher embraces as Crunchy Con.  But his jumping off point is his religious values and that isn’t mine.  However, his religious values didn’t discount gays and lesbians in the Crunchy Con groupings, which was a pleasant surprise.

I did enjoy the book. I whole-heartedly recommend it.  Especially to people of the more liberalmindset so that they can “meet” conservatives who share so many of their values and concerns.  I think this book feeds the thought that there are more things that enjoin us than divide us.  I just didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wanted to.  If you can get your hands on a copy of Dreher’s National Review article, please do.  Also, if you are a fan of Cruncy Conservatism or Rod Dreher, I recommend his blog, Crunchy Con: Conservative Politics and Religion.

Soon, hopefully today, South Park Conservatives, will arrive on my doorstep via the US Postal Service.  I can’t wait to see how it measures up to Crunchy Cons.