I think I have mentioned that I am reading through Crunchy Cons, by Rod Dreher, right now. I’m about 2/3 done, and it has been a fun read. I thought that the chapter headings might make for some interesting posts.
You can read my post that replicates the Crunchy Con manifesto here.
The book begins with an introduction to the general concept of what it means to be a Crunchy Con. The premise of the book is that true conservatism must begin by being value-based. There are certain things that are more important than what is typically the focus of conservative politics. Some of these value-based concepts may overlap with concepts promoted by people on the left, but they often arise out of religious or faith-based beliefs rather than secular beliefs. Dreher argues that it is possible to be conservative and not buy into the conservative mainstream agenda.
Dreher states that conservatism did not begin with Ronald Reagan, and he continues on page 12,
There is an older, less-ideological tradition, a sensibility that comes out in people I call crunchy conservatives. We are conservatives by conviction and temperament, and usually vote Republican (though to call us “liberal Republicans” is to fundamentally misunderstand us), but we’re “crunchy” — as in the slang for “earthy” — because we stand alongside a number of lefties who don’t buy in to the consumerist and individualist mainstream of American life…. A life led collecting things and experiences in pursuit of happiness is not necessarily a bad life, but it’s not a good life either. Too often, the Democrats act like the Party of Lust, and the Republicans the Party of Greed. Both are deadly sins that eat at the soul, and crunchy cons believe that both must be resisted in our personal and communal lives. Mainstream liberalism and conservatism, as agrarian essayist Wendell Berry said, are “perfectly useless” to combat the forces in contemporary American society that are pulling families and communities apart. Berry says most liberals won’t take a stand against anything that limits sexual autonomy, and most conservatives won’t oppose anything that limits economic freedom.
For all the benefits of America, its citizens do not always find meaning, fulfillment and happiness in their lives. We must begin by asking what is truly important in life, and then arranging our lives around these principles. Pursuing these convictions will place us at odds with the majority of culture. We will no longer be blindlessly led by the dictates of American society, but we will pursue a lifestyle that is intentional and filled with meaning. Our lives may look odd to most, but the shock we evoke will be worth the price.
Whether you lean to the right or to the left politically, this counter-cultural stance is essential for the Christian!