I have to confess to a little crunchiness, by Drehers standards. We buy organic milk and eggs; we homeschool; my wife owns a pair of Birkenstocks; we occasionally consort with what I have in the past called "Calvinist hippies"; my wife has a pretty wide green streak (mine is narrower); were not free market absolutists or dogmatic rationalists.
Torrance raises the following question:
But conservatives and libertarians may wonder, at times, why Dreher thinks he has so much in common with them. Crunchy Cons is mostly an inspiring guidebook to living your life with more meaning. Dreher realizes that it’s easier to change ourselves than to change society. He counsels infusing the political into your personal choices, which sometimes can be empowering, sometimes “spirit-killing,” to use the word Dreher says his detractors throw at him.
There are some policy prescriptions, however, and most of them involve bigger government. His frequent rants against modern agriculture ignore how many people those methods have fed. He also advises, “Use government, within limits, to look after the poor and the weak without creating a culture of dependency.” Politicians and social scientists have been trying to devise such programs—without success—for decades now. Dreher’s earnestness sometimes gets the better of him. Perhaps his happy medium between a free market and a cohesive but overpowering society tilts too much in one direction at times. He’s learned a lot from Russell Kirk. But he may have forgotten some of the lessons of Milton Friedman.
Earlier in the essay, she makes reference to Drehers conservative Catholicism, which strikes me as the correct point of departure for examining this issue. It isnt particularly original to observe that theres a gap between religious and non-religious conservatives, or between "traditionalists" and "free marketeers." Torrance rightly points out that religious conservatives dont or neednt abandon their reason and could learn from their secular counterparts. Prudence, even informed by a religious vision, requires worldly knowledge. But it seems to me that the "information should flow in both directions. Secular, rationalist, and free market conservatives (I realize that these adjectives describe different, but overlapping categories) have something to learn from their religious brethren, especially about the limits of their knowledge and their solidarity with others.
So? Any crunchies out there?