I’m trying to wean myself from the Corner because I’ve got a book to write, but I can’t help myself. Rod’s perfectly capable of defending himself — and flacking his book — but I submit that there’s also an electoral benefit to be gained from Crunchy Conservatism, specifically from its emphasis on good stewardship of God’s creation. Environmentalism, as it’s come to called, is no longer a policy issue, it’s a value, and one that conservatives are widely viewed as weak on. This means that we’re always on the defensive on environmental issues, and even ideas that have merit — like tradable pollution credits — come off sounding to the average voter like more tendentious bull from corporate PR departments.
What crunchiness can do is help conservatives recast the value where we’re seen as weak — caring for the Earth — in terms of the values where we are seen as strong — God and country. A patriotic environmentalism — or conservationism, since that’s our word and we should take it back — would stress Americans’ responsibility to husband our local corner of Creation for our posterity. I’m not pushing any specific set of policies (Steve Sailer floated a few specifics a while back), but a coherent, believable agenda that was something other than me-too environmentalism (or corporate damage-control) could change public perceptions and eliminate one of the few remaining electoral attractions of liberalism.
Yes, it’s true, that I’ve ridden down my local rails-to-trails bike path to the Whole Foods to buy free-range, organic chicken, so feel free to take this all with a grain of (sea) salt. But the second verse of “America” ought to be our guide: “I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills; my heart with rapture thrills, like that above.”