A new kind of conservatism is emerging that blends environmental concern, a disdain for mass culture, and religious faith, writes Rod Dreher in National Review (Sept. 30).
In a cover story on “granola conservatives,” Dreher reports that he and a growing number of other conservatives find themselves ill at ease with mainstream conservatives who praise suburban life, big business and ridicule environmental concern These new style conservatives, whom Dreher dubs “crunchy cons,” borrow the critique of the 1960s counterculture against mass culture, viewing the proliferation of suburban sprawl, chain restaurants, and scorn for the arts as an inauthentic way of living that are inimical to true conservatism.
Dreher finds that for many crunchy cons, “religion is the starting point from which beliefs about everything else follow.” Thinkers such as Russell Kirk and Wendell Berry are popular among these conservatives. Many are converts to rigorous faiths, such as traditional Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and conservative Calvinism, and tend to see nature as sacramental — something “to be revered, embraced, and celebrated within limits . . .” Many religious crunchy cons have large families and practice homeschooling, viewing the family as a bulwark against the wider culture.