From Publishers Weekly
What do you call people who vote for Bush but shop at Whole Foods? Crunchy cons. And according to Dreher, an editor at the Dallas Morning News
, they're forming a thriving counterculture within the contemporary conservative movement. United by a "cultural sensibility, not an ideology," crunchy conservatives, he says, have some habits and beliefs often identified with cultural liberals, like shopping at agriculture co-ops and rejecting suburban sprawl. Yet crunchy cons stand apart from both the Republican "Party of Greed" and the Democratic "Party of Lust," he says, by focusing on living according to conservative values, what the author calls "sacramental" living. Dreher makes no secret of his own faith in Christianity, and his book will resonate most with fellow Christians. His conversations with other crunchy conservatives—e.g., the policy director of Republicans for Environmental Protection, a Manhattan home-schooler, the author's wife—are illuminating, but the book fails to offer any empirical evidence to connect these individuals to a wider "movement." Instead, it works best as an indictment of consumerism and the spiritual havoc it can wreak. While his complaints about consumer culture are similar to those advanced by liberals, Dreher frames his criticism of corporate America in explicitly conservative terms, painting rampant consumerism as antithetical to true conservatism. (Feb.)
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*Starred Review* "Ewww, that's so lefty," Dreher's editor at his old National Review
job sneered when Dreher said he was picking up some locally grown organic produce. And what's with the sandals I'm wearing, he then thought; am I going liberal? Not a bit, he concluded, though if associating with liberals could help him have healthy, flavorful food and a beautiful, durable home; be involved in his children's education; protect and nurture the environment and other species; and live with religious integrity, then associate, befriend, and work with liberals he would. That made him a crunchy con(servative), and since leaving NR
and NY for Dallas, he has just become crunchier--and met scads of comrades, including literary patron saints G. K. Chesterton, Russell Kirk, E. F. Schumacher, and Wendell Berry and articulate representatives of the types recorded in his book's expansive subtitle. His engrossing report on his encounters and his own motivations and endeavors stresses that crunchy cons follow principles more than formulate policies; their most cherished hope is to overthrow the consumerist mentality that has made the Democrats the party of lust and the Republicans the party of greed. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved