Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Prefer Mine Crunchy

This touches on why I consider myself to be a conservative rather than a libertarian. Although I am an ardent free-market capitalist, I do not consider that to be the most important value. I, therefore, consider myself to be a "crunchy con".
Four years ago, Mr. Dreher coined the term "crunchy conservatism" (as in crunchy granola) to describe hybrids like himself: political right-wingers with countercultural sensibilities. Now, in a book based largely on interviews and his own experience, he explores the type in depth. But "Crunchy Cons" is not a pallid work of sociology. It is a rousing altar call to spiritual secession from an America that Mr. Dreher sees as awash in materialism, consumerism and "lifestyle-libertarian" thinking.
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And therein lies the significance of "Crunchy Cons." It is a reminder of the enduring tension on the right between those for whom the highest social good is freedom--the emancipation of the self from statist restraint and oppressive custom--and those for whom the highest social good is virtue: the formation of character, the cultivation of the soul.
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America today is more broadly free and prosperous than any society in human history. We are gloriously "free to choose." But choose what?