Crunchy Conservatism

By Graham Glover

It’s been 10 years since the nationally syndicated columnist Rod Dreher penned, ‘Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party)”. I was a fan of the book when it was published and am an even bigger proponent of the ideas Dreher is advocating today.

Yes, I am a Crunchy Con. And you, the readers of The Jagged Word, should be as well.

First, let’s be honest. The conservative movement – at least the conservative movement as we have known it since 1964 – is dying, if not already dead. We may not know how this year’s election will turn out, but one thing is certain, nothing will ever be the same. The successful campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have radically transformed the American electorate (the former more than the later). When the dust settles in November, the conservative movement and the party it chiefly represents, the GOP, will be fundamentally altered.

So, now what? What can/should the conservative movement do? Although not a Republican, I am a conservative and what Dreher outlines in his book and the “Crunchy Con Manifesto”, is how I think the conservative movement can best succeed in the years to come.


Below are the 10 points of the Manifesto, with my commentary bracketed in-between.

  1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

[For the past 50 years, it has been hard, if not impossible, to separate the conservative movement from the GOP. If this year’s election has proven anything, it is that this paradigm in significantly shifting. The mainstream has been tremendously unsuccessful this election cycle. Conservatism is bigger and broader than mainstream Republican politics.]

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

[Just listen to what most conservatives campaign on and talk about and then consider what they ignore.]

3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

[Big government may not be the answer, but neither is big business. Conservatism must sever its unbounded loyalty to big business.]

4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

[Perfectly stated.]

5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship – especially of the natural world – is not fundamentally conservative.

[One need to worship “Mother Earth” to be an environmentalist, but since when does being a conservative mean that one cannot be an environmentalist? The earth is ours, to be sure, but it is also a gift and creation of the Lord. We are wise to tend it with care.]

6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

[Focus on the local. Focus on the community. Focus on things that transcend time.]

7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

[Life is not all about productivity. Nor should our politics or econcomics.]

8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

[Says the one who is writing for an on-line blog. But still, the point is well taken. What we perceive by our daily bombardment with media-driven pop culture to be good and true is in fact bad and false.]

9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”

[Not government. Not business. The family.]

10. Politics and economics won’t save us; if our culture is to be saved at all, it will be by faithfully living by the Permanent Things, conserving these ancient moral truths in the choices we make in our everyday lives.

[Can I get an, “Amen”?! The Law never saves. Only the One who is and ever will be the very essence of the “Permanent Things”.]

Who’s with me?! Who’s ready to embrace the Crunchy Con Manifesto?!