NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 1, 2006

In his new book, "Crunchy Cons," Dallas Morning News writer and editor Rod Dreher attempts to spawn a new political movement, says William McKenzie, a Dallas Morning News editorial columnist. Dreher's strategy consists of countercultural conservatives taking over America, or at least remaking the GOP.

"Crunchy cons" want the economy to focus on individuals more than material goods; conservatives to rethink how they relate to the environment; and Americans to embrace "eternal moral norms" over the fleeting vanities that tempt them.


  • First on Dreher's critique list is the consumerist mentality that he believes dominates American culture; and it's a problem to which Republicans who extol the marketplace have contributed mightily, says McKenzie.
  • Dreher also questions our over-reliance on technology and wonders whether we benefit from so many technological advances or have become their slaves.
  • His list goes on, mostly around his preferences for Small, Local, Old and Particular over Big, Global, New and Abstract.

According to McKenzie, crunchy conservatism will flop unless it progresses beyond an "organic movement." Indeed, Dreher needs a plausible economic model, says McKenzie. If crunchy conservatives want the economy to reward family farmers, small businesses and the individual, for instance, they have to explain how we move there from our big, production-and-service-oriented economy.

Source: William McKenzie, "New Ideas are Welcome, but This Movement Needs to Find a Place for Practical Politics," Dallas Morning News, February 21, 2006; based upon: Rod Dreher, "Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, ... America (or at least the Republican Party)" (Crown Forum, 2006).


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