Rod Dreher's Crunchy Con Manifesto
Carlos printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 11:31:32 PM EST
Conservative writer Rod Dreher's new book, Crunchy Cons, has been receiving some positive attention in Christian Right circles by people like Russell Moore and organizations like the 700 club. Here is an interview with Dreher and here is further conversation about the book. Dreher summarizes his book in this manifesto:
We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

  1. 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.

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

  3. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

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

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

  6. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

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

  8. We share Russell Kirk's conviction that "the institution most essential to conserve is the family."

  9. 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.

Since we are a blog dedicated to resisting the undemocratic religious control of American political life, it is interesting to observe how a conservative Christian writer resists the economic control of a political party that is deeply connected to conservative Christian citizens.

Several of Dreher's ideas could have just as well been written by a liberal religious or secular democrat. The main point of convergence is that Dreher views the Republican party as the party of greed. What does all this mean for the future unity and strength of the Republican party? Can Republicans afford to lose their Christian Right supporters? Will the Christian Right so easily give up their chance of power and "dominion" that they have fostered through working with the Republican party?




Display:
With roughly half of those points.....

But, I'd also note that Rod Dreher's manifesto is not incompatible with Christian reconstructionist politics.

Indeed, at a personal level I find much that is laudable in the lifestyles of reconstructionist families whose blogs I've read - I too prize self-sufficiency, anti-consumerism, simplicity, frugality.... the list could go on. Now of course there are many values I don't hold in common with reconstructionist homesteaders. But I think it's very important to acknowledge such shared terrain because that cuts through the bogus narrative of "the culture war" . There are not two warring sides, and those who reject consumerism, materialism, and pop culture fall all along the political spectrum or, rather, there are multiple axes or dimension of politics. If lifestyles are inherently political ( and how could they fail to be ? ), then some on the left are bound together with those in the reconstructionist movement who have chosen to earn less, spend less, and live more ( or better ) - those who are living closer to the land, growing their own food perhaps, learning to fix, repair, and make do, and opting for a slower, less affluent life with more free time for family and more time - one might say - for life itself.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 08:41:08 AM EST

Good point Bruce about the culture war. Notice that Dreher is intentionally keeping his manifesto vague to not enter into the specifics of the usual culture war suspects of abortion and gay marriage. There is also no specific mention of the war in Iraq.

by Carlos on Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 11:43:30 AM EST
Parent


...and my reaction is this: dream on.  This guy wants to create the warm fuzzy image of a birkenstock wearing, Subaru driving eco-advocate who just happens to prefer Christ to Buddha (in a kind of ecumenical equivalency).  

That he describes a fantasy-land GOP constituency gets ignored - he should dream on - such people do not exist, other than as a PR spin.  That was my first thought - this is like the moderate window dressing that gets dragged out every four years for the conventions.

To be sure, asceticism knows few 'cultural' or political boundaries.  In and of itself, asceticism is an ecumenical 'value'.  But there's not much else here.  All of the uber-lefty intellectual elites I know also disdain pop schlock culture.  Beyond elitist asceticism, what else is in that manifesto?  There is very little dominion over the private personal lives and morality of others, nor is there much money to be made in pursuit of his manifesto - who else does he really believe

He seems to espouse a Muir-like conservation of our natural world, and the instropective intellectual reflection of Thoreau - while both of these things are solidly 'American' - they are conservative only insofar as the desire to hearken back to classical liberalism may be called 'conservative'.  The traditions, intellectual and activist, in support of this manifesto have been the property and province of the Left for decades.  The guy is just delisional - as a relative told me a long time ago, "you're a Democrat liberal - you just don't accept that yet."

by montpellier on Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 04:06:32 PM EST

I think you make some good points, montpellier, but I think there is indeed a group of people who are attracted to these ideas. It may be a small group, but they are vocal and influential. The tricky part for this group is how they are able, as a nonconformist group, to not be tempted to join the explicit racist and nationalist hard right, or tempted to join the usual liberal critique of popular culture and mass consumerism. Another way to put this is how will they critique the Christian Right? Will they join forces with Christian reconstructionists or will they create a more independent path?

by Carlos on Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 05:17:59 PM EST
Parent


The full title of Rod Dreher's book 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).

There is also a new book out by David Fitch with the title: THE GREAT GIVEAWAY: RECOVERING THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH FROM ... Big Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, and Other Modern Maladies.

Notice the similarity in style and content. Notice also that the traditional Christian Right has invested heavily in parachurch organizations. I think a growing number of evangelicals are revolting against certain overly political and manipulative elements of the Christian Right.

by Carlos on Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 06:32:55 PM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
Mike Pence in 2006 spearheaded a mean-spirited plan to deport all undocumented immigrants
Many of us know Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a nasty homophobe with a carefully-crafted respectable demeanor. But did you know that In 2006,......
By Chip Berlet (5 comments)
What's Past is Prologue: Dominionism is Still Rising
For a half century, a theocratic political movement has been rising in the U.S.  Like any large, successful movement in history, it has a......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
For Salon.com readers - On Donald Trump and William S. Lind
For readers clicking on the first link in Paul Rosenberg's Salon.com interview with Bruce Wilson, here is a link to my recent report (first......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
Education For Everyone: In Defense Of `Government Schools'
Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a story about a trend among far-right conservatives in Kansas who call public schools "government schools."The......
By Rob Boston (6 comments)
Southern Churches and July 4th Celebrations
I have noticed a growing trend that is spreading like a prairie wild fire regarding July 4th.  Churches are  celebrating the holiday as never......
By wilkyjr (11 comments)
Bitten By A Tiger: Huckabee Must Pay For Unauthorized Use Of Song
Former Arkansas governor and Religious Right favorite Mike Huckabee has not been having a good year.Huckabee won the Iowa GOP caucus in 2008 and......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Trump Meets Man Who Inspired 2011 Terror Attack Deadlier Than Orlando Shooting
"It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet" -- President Barack Obama, June 13, 2016,......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
Terrorism as a "Marketing Method"
On the same day in 2011 during which he single-handedly blew up and shot to death 77 Norwegian citizens (mostly teenagers) and injured an......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Let's Can the Name Calling about Islam
President Obama rose to the occasion in the wake of the horror in Orlando. The president made clear in a speech on June 14th......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
50 Shades of Patriarchal Grey
In what must be one of the worst public relations disasters in university history, wealthy donors to Baylor University recently took out a full......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Pious Proclamation Panned: Iowa's Governor Goes Around The Bend With Bible-Touting Document
Some elected officials have a bad habit of releasing official proclamations lauding the Bible, Christianity or religion generally.We at Americans United find these proclamations......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Unreasonable Argument: Sometimes What Everyone Knows Just Isn't So
Over the weekend, a group of atheists, humanists, agnostics and others held a "Reason Rally" in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.Thousands......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Above The Law?: Ala. Chief Jurist Demands No Accountability
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is in legal hot water again and has no one to blame but himself - but, as usual, he......
By Rob Boston (9 comments)
Thomas More Was No Patron Of Religious Freedom
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is preparing to kick off its annual Fortnight for Freedom. This year the two weeks of......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)

History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (14 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (3 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (9 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (3 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (8 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (13 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.