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Crunchy Con and Localism


Caleb Stegall of the estimable theocon webmag The New Pantagruel points out this essay by Allan Carlson on Localism, excerpted from ISI Books’s forthcoming American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Caleb indicates that this is a good expression of the crunchy-con sensibility and how it fits into the broader conservative movement. Caleb is right. Here’s a characteristic excerpt:

Localism is the jealous defense of spontaneous, organic communities resting on custom or on “ancient” and distinctive identities. These bodies include vocational guilds, villages, municipal corporations, religious fraternities, communal hierarchies, and family or kin. Such localism builds on attachments to a particular place or geographic location. Its disposition is to favor that which is directly known or experienced and to limit sympathies and ideas to such attachments.

…At the same time, there were also conservatives who held fast to a vision of localism rooted in the good community, one that placed “high value on neighborly love, marital fidelity, local loyalty, the integrity and continuity of family life, respect for the old, and instruction of the young,” one that “draws its life, so far as possible, from local sources” as Wendell Berry argued. These conservatives looked for ways to restore function-rich homes (e.g., through such seemingly insignificant measures as homeschooling and family gardens), to promote small-scale agriculture and family-held businesses, and to protect religious communities and other spontaneous associations from state interference.


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