Two years ago, Andy F. alerted me to a National Review article by Rod Dreher entitled Crunchy Cons.  This was actually a reprint, the original having been published 'way back in 2002.  Andy suggested I might enjoy both the article and the opportunity to turn it into a blog post, and he was right.  It's not his fault it's taken me so long to write.

Dreher has a book of the same title that I haven't yet read, so I'll only be commenting on the article.  But the book's subtitle nearly says it all:  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).

Despite having been a card-carrying Democrat from the day I filled out my first voter registration form, I've never fit well with any political party. I learned quickly that the Democratic Party and I differ in significant respects on many crucial issues, not the least of which is the definition of words such as "liberal" and "conservative." Yet the Republicans haven't won me over, although I confess it's been many years since I've been able to stomach voting for a Democrat at other than the local level.  I consider myself a Liberal Conservative—on some days a Conservative Liberal—when I think of labels, which I rarely do, and feel very much alone.

Yet Crunchy Cons lets me know that I am not alone after all.  I'm not the only one who shares interests and convictions with people of drastically diverse political persuasions.  A number of those who hold conservative views on economic and family issues also realize that homeschooling, home birth, organic farming, locally- and humanely-raised food, recycling and composting, freedom of choice, and putting family and community before profit are inherently conservative activities, important ground not to be ceded to the political Left.  By following our desires and beliefs in these areas we often find ourselves side by side in common cause with those whose views on other issues we find appalling, as they do ours.

This is a good thing.  It's far too easy to demonize an unknown political enemy, but when that enemy has a face and meets you each week at the farmer's market, or works with you to make home birth legal in your state, then is the soil tilled for planting seeds of peace and understanding and hope.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 10, 2008 at 11:09 am | Edit
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