I just finished reading Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher.  Actually, the full title is Crunchy Cons: 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), which is an extraordinarily long title and also a wee bit misleading because he stresses in the book that one does not necessarily vote Republican in order to fit the bill of a crunchy conservative, although most do.

I really, really enjoyed this book.  It helped me clarify my political beliefs and why I believe them.  Some points from A Crunchy Con Manifesto:

  • 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.
  • Big business deserves just as much skepticism as big government.
  • Culture is more important than politics and economics.
  • A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship – especially of the natural world – is not fundamentally conservative.
  • Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.
  • Beauty is more important than efficiency.
  • The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.
  • The institution most essential to conserve is the family.

The book talks about how these principles apply to economic policy (Dreher claims our economy is driven by consumerism rather than capitalism); the food you buy, where you buy it, and how you prepare it; what neighborhood you choose to live in and what type of home you buy; the way you educate your children; how you live in the natural world and view the environment; and the influence of religious beliefs.  As I read it I continually thought, “YES!  That is exactly what I think too.”  Of course I didn’t agree with every little thing, but it is really nice to know that I am not crazy for being repulsed by unchecked urban sprawl or taking my own cloth bags to the grocery store.

I will be happy to do a more in-depth review (or maybe just a summary; it’s pretty straightforward) if any of my handful of readers express interest.  If not, suffice it to say that Crunchy Cons expresses what I love about being a conservative and what bothers me about standard Republican policy.