Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cunchy Cons

I read the book Crunchy Cons by Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher over the weekend. Wow! What a read! He writes about "crunchy conservatism," essentailly a renewal movement within the conservative tradition to eschew the "modernist" conservatism of comtemporary Republicanism in favor of reembracing the traditionalist conservatism like that advocated by Russell Kirk. My own political sensibilities are eclectic (or even "anarchic" in the sense in which that term is used in political philosophy) yet I found in Dreher and those whose stories he tell in his book folks with whom I sense I could talk (really talk, not just trade slogans and shibboleths with one another) and ally myself at many points.While there remain things we might not ever agree about (e.g. I am a pacifist and Dreher is not; it is not clear to me that the emphasis on "family" in his book does not preempt the centrality of the church as the primary "family" to which we belong and thus teeter on the edge on one version of idolizing "hearth and home"), nonetheless I think we could find substantial common ground to work on.

Two main arguments of Dreher's book are dead-on:

1. He argues that the findamental divide in our country is not between "liberal" and "conservative" but rather between those (on the right or the left, or the center for that matter) who believe in the vision and values of modernity and those (again on the right, left or center) who do not. If this is correct, as I believe it is, might it not be possible for those of us who deplore and resist modernity and its consequences to begin conversations that might at least dream at forming some sort of alternative to the bankrupt and dysfunctional two party system with which we are currently saddled. It is a conversation definitely worth having, in my view!

2. Dreher and friends are attempting to form their families (and evetually communities) into centers of resistance to the consumeristic materialism that is eroding not only the creation we have been gifted with to steward but our souls as well). What touched my heart in the stories Dreher tells is that these are folk willing and intentional about shaping their and their families lives in accord with their core convictions, making the sacrifices necessary to do that, and finding in that life so ordered deep fulfilment. They are doing what the church should be doing but is not not and seems not to want to do!

Well, read the book! It's well worth your time. And may the tribe of "crunchy cons" increase! And may the rest of us, wherever we find ourselves theologically and politically become "crunchy" if not conservative. And may we find each other and begin to talk!