Crunchy Conservatism

Origins of the Movement
In 2006, commentator Rod Dreher published a book called Crunchy Cons, with the subtitle being, "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)."

Thus began the crunchy conservative movement.

The book grew from a 3,000-word essay Dreher wrote in 2002 for the National Review, which was founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley Jr. and remains one of the most widely-read right-leaning publications in America. While most of the conservative community disliked the whole notion of crunchy conservatives, Dreher said he received more responses to that piece than for anything else he had ever written.

Crunchy conservatives involve elements of other kinds of conservatism, such as fiscal conservatism and social conservatism, into their ideology, but when it comes to the stereotypical Republican approach to things, crunchy conservatives are decidedly un-materialistic and family-oriented. They raise their children away from television, often homeschooling them.

Crunchy conservatives patronize small business such as organic food stores and markets, and recycle as if the world depended on it.
To crunchy cons, the world does depend on it.

As with most conservatism, religion is a key part of the crunchy con way. Faith and religious duty are meshed, but there is a pronounced emphasis on not being preachy. Dreher says one of the things distasteful to him about the political left is its arrogance.

Since publishing his essay and subsequently his book, Dreher has taken heat from fellow commentators and even politicians, who dislike his criticisms of his fellow Republicans, saying this kind of castigating strikes at the core of the Republican "big-tent" phiosophy.

In his book, Dreher argues that without an element of countercultural discussion, crunchy conservatism won't even be respected, much less embraced.

Political Relevance
Although politics is not a concern for crunchy conservatives, Dreher, who also writes for the Dallas Morning News, nonetheless started a wide political discussion about how towing the conservative line and living a "hippy" lifestyle don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Dreher believes there are a significant group of people in the US who at the same time applaud the works of conservative politician, orator and writer Edmund Burke, practice Evangelical Christianity, oppose abortion rights and still manage to eat organic foods, live in harmony with nature and inject a countercultural philosoophy into everyday living.

nevertheless, mainstream conservatives have failed to embrace the movement, raising the question of whether this two-year-old movement will have any kind of political impact beyond its role of defining a group of like-minded philosophical thinkers.