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I Dont Get It...
Posted by: Dale Franks on Monday, March 20, 2006

And I don't much like it either: This whole "Crunchy Conservative" deal that some people at NRO are getting all gooey over.

I haven't read Rod Dreher's book, but the more of his comments I see on that blog, the less interested I am in doing so. For instance, Mr. Dreher apparently thinks we need to have more communitarian sensibility.
When people have front porches close to the sidewalk, and use them, it encourages pedestrian culture, and all the neighborliness that implies. Likewise, when it is possible to walk to the store to do your marketing, you get more of a community sense because you actually see your neighbors out walking instead of driving from place to place in the car.
And, yet, people have been fleeing the urban spaces with their front stoops for the suburbs. Maybe people don't want to be jammed in with their neighbors and encounter them every day. Maybe they want a bigger house and yard, sturdy fences, and some greater sense of privacy. Moreover, the provision of housing is overwhalmingly a private function in the US. If people didn't want to live in the suburbs, they wouldn't buy houses there.
[T]he capitalism of the housing developers is not working to protect traditional values...
That's not the job of housing developers. Their job is to build properties that purchasers want to buy. They have no obligation to build housing that conforms to Mr. Dreher's sensibilities.

But this goes to the heart of this whole Crunchy Con hogwash. It's a complaint that we've become to individualistic, too unconcerned for the environment, too centered in the free market, too consumerist. Now, I don't mind if people want to live in smaller houses, walk to the farmer's market for their produce, and educate their kids at home. More power to them.

I especially don't like it when phrases like "the cult of individual freedom" start getting bandied about. That implies a wish to close down that "cult", in favor of a more "communitarian" sentiment.

One wonders what Mr. Dreher and his ilk would do to help move that communitarian sentiment along if they gained signifigant political power. How, precisely would they modify the cult of individual freedom? How wouls they use government power to "help" developers build the type of communities they find congenial? How would they ensure we respect the environment properly?

Not in any way I'd agree with, I'll warrant.

No, I am an OTIII, "fully clear" member of the cult of individual freedom, without apology. Our problem isn't that we have too much individual freedom, or are too wedded to the free market. Our problems is that we don't have nearly enough of those things, and have less of them every day. And we will turn over to our children a country that is substantially less free than the one we grew up in.

I get the same whiff of totalitarianism from the whole crunchy con foolishness as I do from the Left. The only difference is that each of them would enforce a different type of totalist philosophy.
 
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My reaction is very simple: Dreher has every right to his own sentiments, preferences and philosophy, and godspeed to him in preaching it to others and living it to the best of their ability. But the moment he tries to enforce it on me, he becomes my enemy and we’re going to have a fight.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
The difference between "you ought to" and "you will punished if you don’t" is the difference between a working fusionist coalition (libertarians and conservatives coexisting fairly happily in the big tent) and "well, maybe I’ll stay home instead of voting for that guy again."

Social conservatives should be the ones trying to figure out how to keep fiscal conservatives and libertarians in the party so they can keep winning elections. Luckily, that’s increasingly the case: this "crunchy con" garbage I’ve been wilfully ignoring whenever I stop by NRO (every day, btw) isn’t reflected in the internal dealings of the Republican party right now. Yes, one kind of environmentalism or another (i.e., conservation) is working its way across several parts of the Republican big tent, but most of this "crunchy" communitarian stuff is on the ebb.

Hence the RSC and others distancing themselves from Bush on domestic policy, and often only paying lip service to social conservative causes as they hope to hang onto key seats in November.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Agreed. Dreher’s vision of conservatism really only "conserves" a small number of things he considers to be important. I believe he had a term for them in his book, but it escapes me at the moment. Everything else is up for grabs. Frankly a lot of that stuff that Dreher considers up for grabs is important to a lot of other non-crunchy conservatives.

That said I can’t drink the libertarian free market Kool-aid. The free market has some great benefits in that it free as in both speech and beer. On the other hand it is often chronically short-sighted. It breaks rather easily and predictably. It lacks internal mechanisms for securing the rights of individuals from abuse of power. Etc. But I would like to see the government move back towards the position "Lets make the markets work better" that we last saw before the Depression instead of the current position of "Bah! I know what to do better than the market does."
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
I’ve been trying to follow the debate at NRO, and I confess to complete confusion. As best as I can tell, the problem here is that Dreher’s crowd seems to equate "crunchy non-socialists" with "crunchy cons".

There are plenty of folks who realize leftist/socialist philosophy is a complete failure. But they may still like their art shows and bike trails. They might vote for Republicans and even be enthusiastic Bush supporters because they grasp that the Democratic Party has come completely unmoored from reality. That doesn’t make them conservative. After, Bush is not conservative either.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
On a more general level, it would be helpful if Q and O would articulate its position or positions concerning development issues. There are a myriad of issues, on many levels, with many dimensions. Given the recent real estate boom, and given that libertarianism is very concerned with property rights, it would be helpful if Q and O would issue a White Paper concerning where it stands (or differs) on development issues, i.e., what rights of development should property owners have? what power should government have? how should power be allocated on the local, state and federal level? and between public or private interests? how should land use decisions be made? what is relevant to those decisions, what is not?



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
We should distinguish between a "cult of individual freedom," which is a good thing in your view, I gather, and a "cult of individual irresponsibility," which masquerades as a cult of freedom, but really is about avoiding duties and responsibilities in order to try to get a lunch at someone else’s expense. Someone who pollutes a stream, for example, should be held accountably for it by users downstream. Individual freedom does not include such license.

My experience is that neo-cons and "crunchy cons" tend to favor letting their buddies have license to pollute the stream. It’s not freedom they ask, but license from nuisance suits. That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but a useful distinction, I hope.
 
Written By: Ed Darrell
URL: http://
Careful Ed. You might get a splinter from attacking that straw-man so hard.

First off, "cult of individual irresponsibility" and "is about avoiding duties and responsibilities in order to try to get a lunch at someone else’s expense". Wow. You’ve just described welfare, social security, medicaid, and practically every other lefty (and Bushie) social engineering scam out there. Heaven forbid you make the wrong choices in life and have to deal with the repercussions! No! Let the State give you other taxpayers’ money instead.

Now, onto your straw-man. Polluting a stream is not libertarian. It’s not your stream to pollute. Yes, part of it might run through your yard, but the water in it is only there for a short moment. Same with polluting the air or the ground. If that’s your experience, I highly suggest you get out more.

I’ve got 2 beautiful daughters. I want them to be healthy and safe. Allowing people to destroy the environment willy-nilly is detrimental to them. While you appear to think that people who are conservative are heartless bastards, I hate to break it to you but we’re feeling, loving humans too. We care about the environment but also understand that humans need certain things to survive and that being natural parts of this planet’s ecology anyway, should use what we have to our advantage.

Besides, polluting crap randomly isn’t the most cost effective solution. Wasting land drives up costs. Unsafe work environments drive up costs. And since us heartless conservatives only care about profit, it behooves us to conserve what we have.
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
Social conservatives should be the ones trying to figure out how to keep fiscal conservatives and libertarians in the party so they can keep winning elections.
Pretty funny...tell me how many times has the US populace supported a DECREASE in Federal spending? The best that has happened is a REDUCTION IN THE RATE OF GROWTH. Sometimes growth was LESS than GNP growth, so the government SHRANK as a percentage GNP, but it never shrank. Now it is a little simple to believe that gay marriage and other issues pushed Bush over the top, but I can tell you that it was NOT libertarian issues. So you Fiscal Cons and Libertarians, don’t over-rate your influence, please.

On the happy note, trying to avoid a nasty argument, I would agree that Social and Fiscal Con’s need one another. However, I think that many Social Con’s are unhappy with Bush’s spending too. Just don’t think that Fiscal Conservatism is going to win a lot of NATIONAL elections, it doesn’t and it hasn’t. If it was so freak’n popular the Government Shutdown of ’95 or ’96 would not have been a Republican defeat.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Polluting a stream is not libertarian. It’s not your stream to pollute.
Actually since the stream is probably owned by the community, it is partly your stream to pollute. And of course morally responsible libertarians will not do such a thing. But we aren’t all morally responsibile now are we?

I’ve heard way too many libertarians use "stop environmental regulation" rhetoric. Depending on how you restructure government (or do away with it entirely) polluting that stream becomes consequence free. So everyone will eventually be doing it because market forces will seek to minimize waste disposal as a business cost center. Of course part of the reason Dale and Co. are "Neo-libertarians" is that they realize this.

The truth is we need a "cult of individual freedom and personal responsibility" in order to have a society that works. You can do what you want, but you must face the consequences for your choices and cannot require that others bail you out. But you can ask us nicely. But as with this article, rarely do you see the second concept paired properly with the first.

Oh and an editorial comment here, I don’t think this was Dale’s best written post ever. It just doesn’t seem to flow well to me. But that’s my opinion.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
On a more general level, it would be helpful if Q and O would articulate its position or positions concerning development issues. There are a myriad of issues, on many levels, with many dimensions. Given the recent real estate boom, and given that libertarianism is very concerned with property rights, it would be helpful if Q and O would issue a White Paper concerning where it stands (or differs) on development issues, i.e., what rights of development should property owners have? what power should government have? how should power be allocated on the local, state and federal level? and between public or private interests? how should land use decisions be made? what is relevant to those decisions, what is not?
Quite frankly, MK, this is a great idea. I’d happily contribute to such an undertaking if anyone wants to help with drafting it. I’d even happily work with you, MK, if you think you can stomach my free-market tendancies:)
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
On "Crunch Cons" I wrote Jonah Goldberg, an e-mail of course, and simply said that Crunchy Cons are folks who want to be thought of as "Kewl" but still can vote Conservatively. I think that they insult Conservatives, "I’m not like them, I shop at Whole Foods." Whatever, dude... I suspect that Crunch COns will eventually wonder off to the Democratic side of the aisle, "repelled" by the Right’s "intolerance" and "bigotry", kind of akin to Andrew Sullivan.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Because I’m a "crunchy libertarian" who believes in being helpful to the community along with swinishly wallowing in my own self-indulgence, I’ll translate some frequently-encountered communitarian obfuscations (examples of which can be seen in the posts above) into plain English:

"Cult of individual freedom"="people making choices I don’t like
(and would probably eliminate at gun-point if I had enough
political power to do so)"
"Personal responsibility"="people making choices that I do like"
"Duties and responsibilities"="things I think you should do* (and if
I had enough political power I would force you to
do)"
"cult of the market"="people spending their money in ways that I
dislike"

*Usually based on nothing but faith and feeling.

Now that I’ve cut through the, shall we say, bovine excrement, please continue the discussion.






 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
I meet a lot of "crunchy con" types in my line of business, since I sell organic cotton items in Utah. (Yes, Virginia, there are people in Utah who buy that kind of stuff, and no they’re not all tourists.) I also used to run a sort of co-op for buying bulk grains, and it served a lot of people who would only buy organic stuff. In my experience they are great people, but their one fault is that they get horribly indignant at you if you disagree with their environmental stance. I noticed this same indignation in abundance on the crunchy con blog. They buy organic cotton stuff and other "green" products the way that medieval people bought papal indulgences: to prove their piety and absolve themselves of original (and non-original) sin. They will yell at you if you deny the truth of global warming and/or our complicity in it. Just don’t get them too riled up, because likely half of them have concealed-carry permits. ;)

A typical example is the lady whose booth was next to mine at last year’s holiday gift market. She was selling cotton bags. She had attached the tags to her products with staples, and they weren’t holding the tags on well. I showed her my tagging gun and offered to let her use it. She declined, because the tagging barbs were made of plastic and plastic is less virtuous than metal staples. She didn’t use the word "virtue" (IIRC the words she used were more like "environmentally responsible" and "not made out of oil"), but that’s what her argument against plastic boiled down to. She had no evidence whatsoever that her metal staples had less of an environmental footprint than plastic tagging barbs, so she had to have been deciding based on some intangible virtue.

I’m not b*tching or complaining, just making anthropological observations.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com

 
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