Crunchy Con's
January 26, 2007 7:50 AM   Subscribe


 
Aah ... "conservatives" who eat granola, thus the "crunchy?"
posted by nofundy at 7:58 AM on January 26, 2007


its not new. Rod Dreher coined the phrase years ago and it was discussed on National Review at the time, well before the book came out. I'm not linking to the discussion, though. Upon broadcast of his recent NPR bit, I think Dreher's excommunication from the 'movement' conservatives was made official.
posted by Dr. Boom at 7:59 AM on January 26, 2007


Kill me now.
posted by psmealey at 8:00 AM on January 26, 2007


Q: What is a "Crunchy Conservative"?
A: Confused.
posted by billysumday at 8:01 AM on January 26, 2007




The opposite of the K-mart conservative?
posted by Brian B. at 8:07 AM on January 26, 2007


I do not think that word means what he thinks it does.
posted by briank at 8:07 AM on January 26, 2007


Crunchy? I would've guessed more squishy/slurpy . But why theorize, let's test this out!

*Holds Sean Hannity by the ankle over polar bear enclosure making kissy kissy noises*
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 8:07 AM on January 26, 2007


"As you can see, I'm pissing into a bottle. Saves some water. Gets those granola girls crunchy cons all moist." -Carl, Aqua Teen Hunger Force
posted by owenkun at 8:09 AM on January 26, 2007


We don't believe it's the government's job to guarantee social equality, only equality before the law and, within reason, equality of opportunity.

Fuggin' commie.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:11 AM on January 26, 2007


Half the shoppers at Whole Foods are conservatives in deed and thought, if not always in overt political identity. Don't let the stylish "Free Tibet" bumper sticker on the Volvo fool you.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:12 AM on January 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Crunchy cons prefer old houses and mom-and-pop shops to McMansions and strip malls.... Many of us homeschool our kids, and cheerfully embrace nonconformity. I read Edmund Burke and wear Birkenstock sandals. Go figure."

Crunchy is the sound they make when you step on their empty heads.
posted by three blind mice at 8:12 AM on January 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't think these people understand what "counter cultural" actually means. Yes, they have some trappings of "hippy" and that was radical --- 40 years ago today it's mainstream, especially for aging boomers. Who cares? Apperantly movement conservatives hate the environment out of spite, or something, but I don't think liking nature is truly a "liberal" value.
posted by delmoi at 8:13 AM on January 26, 2007


Upon broadcast of his recent NPR bit, I think Dreher's excommunication from the 'movement' conservatives was made official.

From the neocons, yes, he isn't getting invites to their tea parties anymore. But you read his stuff and he's still staunchy pro-Israel and anti-Muslim and all about the "culture war."

His blog is here if anyone dare venture into it.

I associate "crunchy cons" with middle-class believing Catholics, who are pro-life and also into environmentalism and social justice. There are some on the Prot side like this, too, but Dreher being a Catholic when he wrote the book, it makes sense to me. He's since ditched Rome for the Orthodox Church.
posted by dw at 8:20 AM on January 26, 2007


Come on now, we can't fit every human being into a neat little pre-labeled pigeonhole. Is it bad that someone who's, say, fiscally conservative is also concerned about organic farming? (I'm not saying that I necessarily believe the two can coexist, just floating an idea.)

And no, liking nature isn't exclusively a liberal value. See also.
posted by scratch at 8:21 AM on January 26, 2007


Gore Republicans?
posted by empath at 8:22 AM on January 26, 2007


i hate this
posted by radiosig at 8:26 AM on January 26, 2007


I read Dreher's blog every once in a while, and even if the organic food shtick gets a bit old, he can be interesting. and he is certainly less shameless than many of his fellow rightwingers -- on Iraq, for example.
posted by matteo at 8:28 AM on January 26, 2007


I'm with fourcheesemac on this one...there are lots of conservatives out there who don't know it. Dreher basically lists a bunch of choices that are traditionally perceived as "liberal" that are actually just self-interested choices, and calls himself special for making them since he's a conservative. (e.g. eating organic food because it tastes good, or because it's healthier, not caring whether or not it's sustainable - although he did toss in how proud he is of the capitalists on the organic farms)

So it's really just an image thing. He wrote a book to explain to his friends why he looks like a moderate democrat when he's actually a moderate republican.

on preview, i also agree strongly with radiosig
posted by pinespree at 8:38 AM on January 26, 2007


Aging hipster likes fresh veggies and Israel. More at 11.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:40 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you're like me and didn't know either, "Bocephus" is Hank Williams Jr..
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:42 AM on January 26, 2007


From the neocons, yes, he isn't getting invites to their tea parties anymore. But you read his stuff and he's still staunchy pro-Israel and anti-Muslim and all about the "culture war."

But isn't that what the so-called "neo-cons" talk about at their tea-parties? Isn't it ALL they talk about? (They certainly don't talk about limited government, balanced budgets and such things real conservatives would be talking about.)

Why would they excommunicate one of their own because he likes organic food and wears sandals with socks?
posted by three blind mice at 8:44 AM on January 26, 2007


Bobos who vote for republicans. Great.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:50 AM on January 26, 2007


But isn't that what the so-called "neo-cons" talk about at their tea-parties? Isn't it ALL they talk about?

Not really. "Culture war" is a term stolen from Falwell and others, then used to apply to this Judeo-Christian vs. Muslim faux religious war. One of the strongest proponents of this "culture war" is Newt Gingrich, who is not a neocon and has been quite critical of Iraq whenever he can get in front of a camera. But he usually frames it up against the traditional "culture war," i.e. Classical Western values vs. The Warren Court, Political Correctness, and Uppity Women.

Neocons could care less about the "culture war." It's just an impediment to remaking the world in their image.

Why would they excommunicate one of their own because he likes organic food and wears sandals with socks?

They could care less about the organic food and sandals, unless it can cheaply get them votes. It's that Dreher has not only 180'd on Iraq, he's taking shots at those still supporting the war, Bush uber alles.
posted by dw at 8:59 AM on January 26, 2007


So if I see a guy walking around wearing Birkenstocks, it's no longer safe to high-five him and yell, "Impeach the war-mongering fool!"?

My god they could be anywhere.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 9:02 AM on January 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


another label that takes more time describing what the hell it means than it does save time classifying people.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:07 AM on January 26, 2007


1. Give self superficial, self-contradictory label.
2. ???
3. Profit!

Actually, upon reflection, it's not self-contradictory at all when the label is applied superficially. So, so long as it's a nice, hallow self-label, there's no cognitive dissonance required. Now, why some people are so driven to self-label beats the crap out of me. It's like that clueless guy that runs around who's all proud to call himself a metrosexual. Actually, wake me for the self-hating metrosexual republican article. That ought to be a fun one.
posted by Skwirl at 9:09 AM on January 26, 2007


His schtick gets old fast.

Read what Rod wrote during Israel's incursion into Lebanon to see how he "thinks" about issues. He craves labels at the expense of thought, so because Israel is in the box of things marked "Good," he was incapable of even asking whether what Israel was doing was a sound moral or strategic policy. But an awful lot of "Hezbollah is a Nazi!!!1!"

He has been brought to reality on the Iraq issue. He said in that NPR piece something like, "It goes against all my instincts as a conservative patriot to question the government." I don't think that he actually read Burke.

And dw's right, neocons are about foreign adventures, "culture war" is about domestic concerns. As in, keeping women in a domestic role.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:13 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, it's nice to see that "Contra-Con" blog. For so long, liberals have been the ones in disarray. It's great to see conservatives tearing each other to shreds over how many Jesuses can dance on the head of a pin.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:18 AM on January 26, 2007


So basically it's someone with a liberal lifestyle who still doesn't believe they ought to have to make any contribution to society or those less privileged then themselves.

Oh, and though they continue to believe the U.S. should maintain the ability to kill everyone else in the world, the U.S. shouldn't exercise that ability if it turns out to be really expensive.

Great. A wonderful new subclass of American.

They didn't mention anywhere in the article what their position is on using cultural laws as a pretext to imprison one out of eight black American males. I guess that characteristic is simply not significant in distinguishing between a crunchy con and a regular con.
posted by lastobelus at 9:32 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


neocons are about foreign adventures

neocons are also wrapped up in that Straussian stuff.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2007


Crunchy conservatives = the petit bourgeoisie?

So what's new?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:54 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Crunchy cons? I thought it was mainly anarchists who played barre chords.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:55 AM on January 26, 2007


"Newt Gingrich, who is not a neocon"

Can you provide some citations to back up this statement? I believe it may be in error.

Former Speaker Gingrich was involved at the Pentagon in the run-up to the Iraq war, and was widely perceived to be an advocate of starting the war.

That he may now be attempting to distance himself from the results of policies he advocated certainly would not be out of character, but it would not alter the historical record.
posted by dglynn at 10:00 AM on January 26, 2007


How is it "self-contradictory"?

I admit, I've not read the book, but what is described as a "crunchy conservative" sounds to me like... well, like all the people I grew up with in my conservative town.

Canning vegetables because it's cheaper. Shopping at the local store rather than the mega-mall because the owner goes to your church. Being president of the local historical society. Living in a neighborhood rather than a development.

The difference being, I suppose, that being conservative, we didn't brag about it and coin cutesy terms for it.
posted by madajb at 10:00 AM on January 26, 2007


"Culture war" is a term stolen from Falwell and others, then used to apply to this Judeo-Christian vs. Muslim faux religious war.

Actually, "culture war" is the right's version of the left's "class war." Both used as wedges to divide the body politic into "us" and "them."
posted by three blind mice at 10:21 AM on January 26, 2007


madajb: The difference being, I suppose, that being conservative, we didn't brag about it and coin cutesy terms for it.

Until, you know, now.
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 10:23 AM on January 26, 2007


He likes fresh vegetables, but he still thinks that liberals are horrible parents. Dick.
posted by brundlefly at 10:25 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Politics in America is a fashion statement. Most people did not choose their political stance based on anything so dull as, say, reading and research. If that were the case, we'd see a lot more diversity of taste and opinion. What we actually see are teams, who self-identify by sporting Birks or Rush bumper stickers. "Crunchy cons" are supposed to rock our world because they combine identifiers from two opposing teams(!!)

In a way, I guess I am actually a little impressed that this guy is able to express his desire to eat tasty vegetables, despite it being unfashionable in the circles he runs in. It's sad that this is what passes for independent thought, though.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:37 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Until, you know, now.

Dreher isn't a conservative. He's a pundit.
posted by madajb at 10:38 AM on January 26, 2007


In a way, I guess I am actually a little impressed that this guy is able to express his desire to eat tasty vegetables, despite it being unfashionable in the circles he runs in.

I'm not impressed. The whole article is nothing but a string of "OMG I ate a vegetable but it's OK because I still luv God and hate taxes and libruls suck!" excuses and rationalizations. This guy shows zero willingness to actually think about the positions of the liberals he's buying his veg from -- nothing in his article shows any reaction to liberal thought other than the usual knee-jerks. His main contribution to conservative thought is the stunning discovery that "hippy culture" or whatever isn't even all that counter-cultural, these days. In his next relevant-for-today article, he will reveal that both mods and rockers can mend their differences and together under the conservative tent!

This quote is particularly odd coming from a guy who is writing an article to defend choosing his own alternative church and homeschooling, manner of dress, etc: "We don't believe that morality is relative, and that each generation is free to find its own truths, and to adopt a moral code that suits its desires." This, after his whole "we picked a church that suits us better, rather than the usual one" lecture? He ought to call it Cake-And-Eat-It-Too Conservatism. You know, where it's not morality that's relative, just allowable behavior! Bah.
posted by vorfeed at 11:11 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


i've got crunchy pants. does that make me a soft-headed nitwit like the author?
posted by nola at 11:42 AM on January 26, 2007


This guy reminds me of Thomas Friedman, if only for his thought process, which seemingly went something along the lines of, "Hey, I just thought of a great title for a book! Listen to it! Isn't that cute?! Isn't that great?! Lemme fill a book by essentially creating every chance to type this wonderful, wonderful phrase of mine. High five!"

Also, I've known some hippies who were truly socially conscious, non-judgmental free-love adherents, but most I've met were just self-congratulatory assholes trying to make a fashion statement and seem important while smoking pot. Also, they loved Ayn Rand, so yeah, this sort of group isn't new. Just now we're going to get the parties trying to pay to them, which is funny and scary at the same time.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:22 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


The entire article just reinforces the fact that privileged republicans enjoy the same lifestyle choices as privileged democrats.


Embracing the tastier organic vegetables that, while causing less environmental damage, take up more resources to make and distribute? And having the type of workplace flexibility to leave early to pick them up? Buying hundred-dollar sandals? Being able to afford having one parent "waste her education" to stay home and school your child, as opposed to immersing them in the bad influences of private school (with public schooling completely out of the equation)?

These aren't values of "left" or "right" - these are just the benefits of economic privilege. While conservatives may be more honest about the desire to preserve that privilege, it's spread across party lines. The leadership of both parties is almost entirely comprised of rich, white people who get to make these choices. All this article demonstrates is that some make these choices publicly while most just entertain them privately.

There's no earth-shattering revelations in what this guy is saying. If he said "I'm a conservative Catholic who supports women's reproductive rights," that would be shocking (and a serious double-whammy). If neocons really shun people for the vegetables they eat and the shoes they wear, they really must be bitterly unhappy people.

He ought to call it Cake-And-Eat-It-Too Conservatism
I love that. It almost seems strategic, doesn't it? Convince guilty white, upper-middle class people that they can have it all?
posted by SassHat at 12:33 PM on January 26, 2007 [5 favorites]


Are there not liberals who like to cook good food and share it with their friends, just as there are liberals who disdain mass consumerism? Indeed there are, and we know liberal families who have decided television is by and large an unwelcome guest in their house, and for much the same reason as we conservatives.

This is a vapid tour through a conservative's stereotypes.
posted by lathrop at 12:58 PM on January 26, 2007


I have no problem with conservatives, it's the reactionaries that are killing us (literally). I think Chuck Schumer's new book describes the other side of the same coin - buttoned-down suburban "liberals". These words, conservative and liberal, are now meaningless, of course - but I think that it is a positive development that political thinkers have started to realize that the electorate does not consist entirely of two homogeneous, monolithic, diametrically opposed, non-overlapping groups of goose-stepping automatons.
posted by Mister_A at 1:06 PM on January 26, 2007


This meme has been around for a while now. I put about as much stock in it as "South Park Conservatives," a made up notion about qualities noticeable in certain people. In this case, instead of snarky white people who want less silly government in their lives and aren't afraid to make fun of Bush, yet still vote Republican rather than for the candidates endorsed by Sean Penn, it was supposed to be the husbands of doting soccer/SUV moms who were common sense, upper-middle class non-movement Republicans who smoked a few joints in college listening to Dave Matthews but not enough to become one of those dirty hippies. Meh.

In both cases, it's a lame attempt to claim theoretical political ground for what we used to call "Reagan Democrats," who actually did exist -- people who were upset over high taxes and big government, and were willing to jump parties after the disaster that was Carter's four years.

And as Dr. Boom noted, Dreher is dead to Conservatives now, as is this meme.
posted by bardic at 3:07 PM on January 26, 2007


Seems like these people are not comfortable with the "liberal" label, because they have bought into the U.S. media pundits' demonization/scapegoating of such during the past two decades or so.
posted by wfc123 at 3:09 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]




From the first link: "Here she was longing for the kind of self-disciplined, responsible son that religiously conservative families tend to produce..."

As counter-anectdotal evidence, I would like to put forth my perception that such families tend to produce emotionally stunted adults who have unhealthy views of sex, humanity, relationships, and community. But maybe that's just me. Hell, we could just say X tends to produce Y all day and have a blast.

Meeting so-labeled "crunch conservatives" in Portland, OR has been very odd to me. They look like Eddie Vedder but they talk like Newt Gingrich. Who woulda thunk?
posted by whimsicalnymph at 3:36 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


"He's since ditched Rome for the Orthodox Church."

You mean he ditched a Maronite church with an Arabic and Aramaic liturgy for an even more "exotic" manifestation? So he's a right-wing version of a "spiritual seeker" or "metaphysical tourist" then, the anti-Hollywood answer to Richard Gere's "Tibetan Buddhism." In that he sounds very much like Charlie Manson, who lived like a hippie and did drugs but was staunchly racist, homophobic and antifeminist. He too had a need to experience "The LORD Thy G_d" in superficially unusual ways.

As for me, as I've said previously, I'm a conservative anarchist: I hold to the time-honored tradition of not voting, even against Bush. And I won't wear Birkenstocks unless I get 'em free for the same reason I can't live on organic food, which'd be the same reason the sneakers I'm wearing are $10 Wal-Mart specials. These "crunchy conservatives" seem to me to be yet another type of "East Coast elitists": they can't speak for me either, and speak to me to their own disadvantage.

I'll bet it's his wife that does the fancy healthy cooking, just as it was her that quit her job to stay home with their spawn. So countercultural!
posted by davy at 5:06 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


"What we actually see are teams..."

selfmedicating gets it.
posted by jaronson at 8:14 PM on January 26, 2007


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