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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The great Crunchy Con debate

Interesting stuff over at National Review's breakout book blog surounding Rod Dreher's new work, Crunchy Cons.

Rod advances a manifesto that criticizes those among the conservative movement who believe money is everything:

A Crunchy Con Manifesto

By Rod Dreher

1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative.

6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”

10. Politics and economics won’t save us; if our culture is to be saved at all, it will be by faithfully living by the Permanent Things, conserving these ancient moral truths in the choices we make in our everyday lives.

Does moral living count for more than naked consumerism? Of course it does. But this whole thing come off as a bit... well, preachy. Isn't naked ambition a valid means to a philanthropic end? Isn't it up to the individual to choose both the means to prosperity and the moral code underlying his daily actions? Isn't it impossible to be an effective steward of your fellow man and the natural environment while scraping by at subsistance level? Is it not true that monetary surplus (a surplus that critics might call excess) is required in order to devote energy to philanthropic and environmental conservation?

In short, can I be a good conservative without shopping for overpriced organic veggies at Whole Foods? I think I can. It would seem to this capitalist that Rod is advancing a "poor yet happy" philosophy. Well, maybe not poor, exactly, but he is relishing in the trappings of middle class stereotypes, and his attempt to enoble the monastic qualities of granola just doesn't sound right to me.

Money isn't everything, but it's a good start, and I refuse to accept a middlin' station in life.

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