The Corner

Not Exactly

Jonah, I think you are forgetting my crunchy-con argument. In my NRODT piece I mentioned that the crunchy-con sensibility can be found in older sources and among older writers, e.g., Kirk, Tolkien, Weaver–and perhaps I even mentioned the Southern Agrarians. I think it’s simply a reclaiming by some modern conservatives of a certain strand of conservative thinking about culture and society that has been marginalized and/or neglected in recent decades. One reader described it to me as “paleoconservatism without the isolationism and racialism.” That’s not a bad way to look at it. Those who identify themselves as crunchy-cons are people who generally believe that mainstream conservatism is too uncritical of the free market, and the need to rein in individual liberties, or live counterculturally in specific ways, in order to conserve certain social and cultural institutions and values. I don’t recall ever claiming that this was a new movement. I consider myself a conservative, and if pressed, would define myself as of the crunchy subset, because I don’t share all of mainstream conservatism’s views on things like the market and environmentalism. My whole crunchy thing doesn’t differ all that much from Derb’s distinctions about the difference between rural and urban conservative sensibilities (although I would argue that there is more ideological and moral content to crunchy-con, particularly with one’s beliefs about consumerism; what Derb writes about is, essentially, a question of style, which is why, if severely pressed by a pushy woman, I would describe myself as a crunchy-metro-con).

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