Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crunch Cons by Rod Dreher

I actually wrote this post on my old blog on May 18, 2009, before I had a book blog. Maybe it was what inspired me! 

Somehow I found out about this book and I HAD to get if from the library. It's called Crunchy Cons, meaning crunchy conservatives. Here is the subtitle if you can't read it: 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) It was that "hip homeschooling mamas" that leapt out at me.

This conservative writer had started eating organic vegetables because they taste so much better and he liked the idea of supporting family farms, and he was teased by his fellow conservatives for going "crunchy". As he began to think about that, he started to rethink what being a conservative means.

He makes the case that true conservative seeks to conserve what he calls the "Permanent Things". A real conservative values faith, family, and friendships above politics and economics. Crunchy Cons are those that want their faith in God to inform every aspect of their life, whether that means being good stewards of the planet or favoring economic policies that help, rather than hurt, families. Crunchy cons know that it is only through faith in a being higher than ourselves that we can avoid the hopelessly empty trap of self-worship.

Again and I again I found myself in the pages. One thing of value to a crunchy con is the wisdom and beauty of the past in terms of architecture. How many times have I railed against cookie cutter track homes that are nothing more than places to sleep. These are not homes in the true sense. They don't invite you in. They don't shower you with warmth. And if you decide to customize your house in such a way as to appeal to your sense of hominess, watch out for the Homeowners Association! That's against the CC&R's.

He also nailed my ambivalence for Facebook, et, al... While crunchy cons value technology to the extent it furthers our vision of faith, family, & friends, when technology inhibits those things, it is to be rejected. Many times, Facebook is the opposite of what a crunchy con like me really desires - true relationship. Just this last week, I had other people tell me things they had learned about someone else. "He had surgery." "She saw that movie." "He tried that restaurant." When I asked, "How's he doing?, How'd she like the movie?, What did he think of the restaurant?" The response is, "I don't know. I saw it on Facebook." That's not real relationship!

Like other crunchy cons, I don't worship the Republican Party. But I do believe it is the party that best holds the values I do. One thing that excited me about this book is the possibility that the Republicans, or even a third party, (the Democrats, with their fairly open hostility toward religion would probably never go in this direction) would take these ideas to heart and see a groundswell of support from people like me.

But the book is out of print, which does not bode well for it's transfomative power. So I'm not holding my breath that any politician will start to promote a life that puts faith above all, family first in policies, and seeks genuine, authentic community.

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