Tuesday, March 07, 2006

BreakPoint | A Peculiar People

Specifically, Colson addresses a new term in the political lexicon: "crunchy conservative." That's crunchy as in granola, as in trail mix. Crunchy conservatism is a new kind of political package. It includes respect for certain rights (and with them the responsibilities) that are essential to the functioning of a free republic. This includes homeschooling and the right to keep and bear arms. But it also includes an explicit rejection of many material trappings. You will find such people willing to support certain techniques of farming, and certain schedules, that appear to sacrifice efficiency, but make life a much more family-oriented enterprise.

What, then, sets them apart from conventional conservatives? Simply this: conventional conservatives seek to maximize economic efficiency. With that comes an emphasis on mass production, and a distaste for regulation of large businesses.

In contrast, a "crunchy con" will insist on doing things himself that he would otherwise hire someone else to do. Or rather: he will assign such tasks as household chores that the whole family will do. These include many things that we outsource today but used to do as chores--things like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and preparing meals in the home rather than buying prepackaged civilian-style MRE rations (which is a fancy way of saying that today's Army eats TV dinners), or--the cardinal sin--eating out.

Colson locks in on two features of this new movement. One, they tend to home-school. Two, most of them are Christians--and my kind of Christians, from what I can tell.

By far the best look at "crunchy cons" is this new blog on National Review Online.

So tear open a bag of trail mix and knock yourself out.

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