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Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher

- Abstract

Conservatism, Edmund Burke wrote, is a philosophy that embraces tradition and experience while shunning radical abstractions. But according to Rod Dreher, a member of the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News, American conservatism has become enraptured by just such an abstraction: laissez-faire capitalism. And it is in the image of this brand of capitalism that our society has been remade since World War II. Working mothers, suburban sprawl, day care, sterile architecture, factory farming, and television culture—all, Dreher argues, are symptoms of an obsessively consumerist society that venerates financial wealth above all else, including the spiritual health of American families.

But as its attention-grabbing title suggests, Crunchy Cons aspires to be more than just an alarm bell, or a call to arms for conservatives in the traditionalist, Burkean mold. Dreher also seeks to claim ownership of ideological real estate that the modern Right has ceded to the beaded Left: environmentalism, pastoralism, and—yes—the organic-food movement. If that puts Dreher at odds with mainstream Republicans, he does not mind. “It is impossible,” he writes, “to be truly conservative nowadays without being consciously countercultural.”

About the Author

Jonathan Kay is managing editor for comment at Canada’s National Post.