Speaking of Keeping Powder Dry

So I’m just catching up on the Corner. Rod says “we now know the market is not enough” [emphasis mine] and that “I heretically came to realise that Hillary Clinton was right: it really does take a village to raise a child.” He invokes fondly the “small is beautiful” movement of the 1970s. Bob Geldof, quoth Rod, is “admirably scruffy.” Whole Foods is the wave of the future. Etc.

Good grief, Rod. Come on. One or two of these statements, in context, could be forgiven.

I’m trying very hard to keep my powder dry, but this just too much. First of all, the use of the word “now.” What the heck are you talking about? What, exactly, did we learn and when did we learn it since Ronald Reagan was in office that caused this epiphany? The writers you cite — at least the conservative ones — knew that there was more than the free market over fifty years ago. But presumably that “now” means some new data has been thrown into the hopper. I am dying to know what that might be.

Second, I have no objection to you making pro-natalist or other arguments in favor of government helping families. But when you embrace Hillary Clinton’s slogans you endorse her agenda, and if you’ve read It Takes a Village and still say she’s right, I fear there’s no saving your brand of conservatism from the woodchipper. The same goes for “small is beautiful.” Again, I’ve got no problem with embracing the idea that conservatives should be against some of the things which come with industrialization and the like, but why buy into all the baggage that comes with invoking Schumacher?

Third, I thought crunchy conservatism was supposed to be anti-consumerism, ant-dress code and the rest. But them you call Geldof admirably scruffy. Can’t you see that by embracing “scruffiness” as something to be admired you are endorsing a uniform of another kind. The idea that Geldof isn’t being conformist in his carefully cultivated shabbiness is silly. The same goes for your love of Whole Foods. I shop at Whole Foods all the time — because they have better produce and the like than the local Safeway. But let us have no illusions: Whole Foods is the epitome of consumer trendiness not the antithesis. It appeals to the vanity and faddishness of rich babyboomers and bobos. A six dollar bar of soap is in no way a rejection of crass consumer culture, it is the full flower of it.

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