Crunchy Conservatism

Perhaps you have heard about it by now (there appears to be a well co-ordinated publicity machine at work), but there’s a new book out by Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News called “Crunchy Conservatism”. The National Review Online even has a blog/book group discussion about the book going on here. (The discussion right now seems a bit esoteric, but there are some definite gems as well.) My husband and I had a chance to read the first two chapters of it prior to publication and while we’re not sure Mr. Dreher makes the strongest argument possible for his POV, the fact is that he’s talking about people like us. People who are conservative in bent but who no longer see either our culture or even the Republican Party as allies in raising sound families in a just society. People who care about the environment, homeschool their kids and while appreciative of a strong economy and prosperity do not view such as the be all and end all of life.
It is Mr. Dreher’s contention that while Democrats often act as the “Party of Lust”, acting as if any restriction – be it practical or moral – on sexual behavior is the source of all evil, Republicans often act as the “Party of Greed”. In the view of the party, it seems, any restriction – be it practical or moral – on business and the acquisition of wealth is the source of all evil. Of course both lust and greed are traditionally members of the 7 deadly sins club.
My view is that just as the founding fathers believed that people of virtue were necessary for the success of a democratic government such as ours, people of virtue are necessary for the success of the sort of free market system we have. Unfortunately the people we have in office and in some corporate board rooms are very, very rarely people of virtue. And too often, even the idea of a free market system is put to lie in favor of already established big business by supposedly free market Republicans. (For a good example of this, look at this article about attempts to change federal law to protect milk monopolies against entrepreneurial competition.) I’m also willing to bet that in their quest to create favorable market conditions for favored businesses, how their actions are going to affect families, family formation and a family’s ability to invest the time needed to raise their children never crosses their mind. For most politicians and many political thinkers, wealth creation and strong families are seen as interchangeable.
Not to harp on it, but the tax credit for child care is a perfect example. My family has made huge sacrifices for me to be home with our kids, but we’re supposed to subsidize another family’s decision to put their kids in day care? Obviously, more people in the work force is good for businesses but how is it good for families? Yet I don’t see any Republicans protesting or trying to secure a comparable incentive for those of us who make do without putting the kids in daycare – and who probably have a greater economic need than many of the people whose tax credit we’re subsidizing.
Anywho, as you might expect, I could go on and on and on about all this. However, I have children and a dirty bathroom which need attending to. Just thought you ought to know that they’re talking about people like my family and maybe yours as well.

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