Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Crunch Time (or insert your own stupid pun)

The original article was sent to me by countless friends in 2002, and the discussion practically stopped with the election cycle, but Rod Deher has taken his much discussed term Crunchy Conservatives to the next level by writing Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party) -What a title, huh?

From the mini debate raging (not really, I only wish), it is one of the first signs of hope for the future of the Republican Party. CCs seem to be more concerned with working with Liberals in the areas of agreement and decry the demonization of those they disagree with. They tend to end up Republicans because they feel they have a better hearing from Republicans on issues such as the environment and the death penalty (against) than they do with the Democrats on abortion (against). Sadly, this is all too true, but seems to be changing as Democrats want religious voters and some Republicans don't want moderates in their party. Only time will tell how this winds up.

From the NY Times review, comes this description of a crunchy con:

"To us, to be a committed conservative today is to go against the grain of the broader, lifestyle-libertarian culture," Dreher writes. "And to be devoted to things like preserving the environment, resisting television and the depredations of big business, and encouraging sustainable development is to pitch one's tent off the Republican reservation." The core of the crunchy-con perspective is that "industrial capitalism and conventional left-wing bohemianism are two sides of the same coin." Both glorify consumerism and individual choice above all else, at the cost of undermining traditional mores and ways of life.
Crunchy Cons have much more in common with the Sojourner Red Letter Christians than they do with the Focus on the Family crowd in their own party. They understand that the God of the Free Market is at its core flawed and at odds with an ethical and compassionate form of Capitalism (capitalism without its extremes and with limitations). I honestly do not see how these old school conservatives, with much in common with Teddy Roosevelt will have a place at the table with the power brokers of their party, including the extreme libertarians and theocrats who own it.

Understanding true conservatism, which must be at odds with extreme libertarianism, theocracy, big business and big government, Dreher says this,

"It seems to crunchy cons that most Americans are so busy bargain-shopping or bed-hopping, or talking about their shopping" and bed-hopping selves, that "they're missing the point of life,"


"Sex and commerce are fine things, but man cannot live by Viagra and the Dow Jones alone."

And as an Independent I can agree with his assessment of the major political parties, "Using hyperbole, I say the Democrats are the party of lust and the Republicans are the party of greed. Both are deadly sins, but in a lot of conservative pulpits you hear denunciations of lust, but you don't often hear denunciations of greed."

The New York Times calls them pre-sexual revolution Liberals (most have traditional views on abortion, gender roles, sexuality) because of their views on less military, restraint of big business, environmental responsibility, limited government and genuine concern for the least amongst us.

While I would not classify myself as a Crunchy Conservative I must say I resonate with this demographic and could play nice with them pretty much all the time, moreso than many Liberals that do not think about the complexity of many issues, choosing instead to react strongly to everything Republican or conservative.

Christianity Today article
The National Review article that got it started
Peter Kreeft on how he had more in common with a communist than other conservatives on many issues
The Crunchy Con blog
NPR has an interview and excerpt


Alex F said...

I've heard of the term and read brief descriptions like yours. Though I have largely eschewed politics, my wife and I are wondering if we are, in fact, crunchy cons. From the little I've read, there's a good chance we are.

Mike said...

i wonder if there could be another supra group: Crunchy Con-Grup/Yippy. They are conservative but cool.