Rod Dreher's book Crunchy Cons arrived yesterday by UPS, and I read about half of it in the evening hours.
Crunchy Cons. You know, granola conservatives. Or as Dreher puts it in his book's subtitle, "Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives."
Interesting. I can resonate with where Dreher's coming from. I consider myself a lifelong conservative, but increasingly in the past few years I find that the various strands of mainstream conservatism smell more and more like an ideology. You know, "ideology" as in "a smokescreen to cover and render unmentionable the assorted bad attitudes and hangups of its adherents." "Ideology" as in "an apologetic for shoddiness, lack of quality, harsh rigidity, arid rationalism, and general lack of soul."
Increasingly the best that can be said of mainstream conservatism is that at least it's not liberalism (which is 35 or 40 years further gone down the pathway of ideology), at least it retains some checkered respect for individual liberty, at least it pays lip service (though increasingly only lip service) to tradition, and at least the free market (unlike the command-economy alternatives) basically does work.
I've been reading National Review and other conservative publications regularly for more than 30 years now, and I can remember a time when conservatism in this country stood for something more, something higher, something better than unbridled domestic spending, "total information awareness," and one sterile strip mall after another. I can remember a time when conservatism was a sensibility, a nuanced cultural outlook, a way of conserving and interpreting and perpetuating the profound wisdom of deep-rooted tradition— and not just an armored, carapaced, rationalistic ideology for the "suits" and their flunkies.
I will inflict a full book review on you once I've finished the book and my busy schedule of early July lets up.