Friday, March 24, 2006

CRUNCHY CONspiracy

Only one thing can adequately explain the bull-headedness of Rod Dreher and his compadres in the face of devastating criticism. This is a question of product placement. Whole Foods and Birkenstock were getting tired of the same old marketing ploys to attract liberals (for example, Birkenstock's disproportionately high ratio of brown suede birks as opposed to other colors in the rainbow ... Yoga magazines at the Whole Foods checkout ...). Both companies were between a rock and a hard place; they were forced to cater to their liberal base, but simultaneously were alienating the conservative half of the country. Enter Rod Dreher, new marketing genius! He offered to lessen the liberal stranglehold on both beleaguered companies by writing an entire book justifying, indeed GLORIFYING, conservative consumption of Birkenstocks and organic leeks. Dreher is doing nothing less than creating an entirely new marketing demographic. Birkenstock is prepared for the new onslaught of nascently-crunchy conservative customers -- they market sandals in precious metal sheens now. Whole Foods is prepared too -- they sell non-organic vegetables and non-microbrew beer. It all makes sense ... even Dreher's citation of an article critical of Whole Foods was an obvious ploy to put us off the scent.

But I think we should be told.

41 Comments:

Blogger Bubba said...

I wonder what other professional opportunities will present themselves to Mr. Dreher. Personally, I think he should consider being the next "compensated endorser" for Old Glory Insurance.

9:08 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

oh man! you're right! there ain't NOTHIN less crunchy than a rampaging robot. what a fabulous way to earn big bucks and simultaneously work to preserve the American home and hearth.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Rayne said...

Ha! Great expose - now Whole Foods & Birkenstock should fire their entire PR departments for this colossal advertising failure! Dreher has only served to repulse everyone except his Cruchy Choir with his santimonious and hypocritical I'm-so-much-better-and-holier-than-you attitude; basically, just being a crashing bore. What does Dreher care that it's all a scam? - he's laughing all the way to the un-crunchy bank. Anyway, no one is even pretending to dignify it anymore by responding on the NR blog - only Dreher and a new poster (Amy Welborn) already in his Crunchy Corner have appeared today. Not surprisingly, Ms. Welborn has posted 2 nonsensical and irrelevant musings in attempt, I think, to be profound. Someone wake me when this is over...

5:11 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

In Mrs. Wellborn's (partial) defense, I think she's right to some degree: as corporeal beings who are limited in space and time, we can make ourselves of the eternal and omniscient Creator not only through escaping the rhythms of life (as best we can) in things like prayer and meditation, but also through a thoughtful awareness of what we do to get by, day to day. We can, for instance, begin every meal by remembering Who is ultimately responsible for it; even if we're eating the fruits of our own labors, there are a thousand different variables completely outside our control, and the talents and opportunities within our control were given to us by God.

My biggest problem has been that, while they're right in pointing all this out, I think they're wrong in focusing on the material details.

To give you an example from Christianity, we have the ordinance of communion. Regardless of the question of transubstantiation, communion is important because it reminds us of the sacrifice Christ made in order to restore man's relationship to God. It is very, very easy to get distracted by the details of the act -- whether we should use grape juice for reasons of temperance or tee-totalism, or whether we should use wine because that's what the Bible says was used; whether we should use wafers to save money for helping the poor or use freshly made bread to be more historically accurate.

We can have these sorts of discussions, and they're not altogether unimportant, but their importance is next to nothing compared to the question, is the person meditating on the Cross?


If one were to tell the crunchies that they're focusing too much on the incidentals, they'll be damn quick to tell you that they're not. But what do they tend to discuss?

Birkenstocks. Convivial chicken coops and dandelion wine. Wal-mart and suburban development. Latin mass, ancient liturgies, and the notion that tradition is as important as conversion.

One of the things that the Easter holiday does is let us ask ourselves, where do we fit in the Gospels? Am I like Pilate, using relativism ("what is truth?") as a cover for my atrocious behavior? Am I like the nine sick men who forgot to thank the Savior who healed me? Would I -- God forbid -- betray or deny my Lord?

When I look at the crunchy con sensibility/movement/platform, I don't see a contemporary expression of Christ's universal message; instead, I see the modern-day equivalent of the religious leaders who were overly concerned with details about the Sabbath and kosher dietary regulations.

In my own way, I'm almost certainly no better; my growth as a Christian is sporadic at best. But, I haven't written a manifesto in a book suggesting the way of life I share with like-minded people might save America.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

In the first 'graph, I meant to say, "we can make ourselves aware of the eternal and omniscient Creator."

12:02 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

I was starting to think the crunchblog had dried up and blown away. But Rod just put up a post. Wasn't much, mostly just a quote from a LA Daily News column that repeated some familiar crunchy-isms. Seems that the columnist's family watches no TV. Too bad they missed Rod's appearance on Rupert Murdoch's news channel.

The columnist also drinks organic milk because he doesn't like...antibiotics? Is he trying to keep the world safe from penicillin?

Anyway, the crunchblog has really slowed. Nobody else on NRO seems to be paying much attention because they're too busy with immigration and other issues.

Jonah posted something on the Corner about his Lost Wages trip. He complained about impolite dealers at Mandalay Bay. Maybe Rod should say that's what Jonah deserves for visiting the anti-crunchy capital of the world.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

Rod just announced that the crunchblog is going out of business after this week. He kicked off the final festivities with a call for comments on...St. Benedict and the monastic life.

That should keep things quiet and otherworldly enough not to attract unwanted attention from anybody else on NRO. But Stegall will probably slip in one final blast at the suburbs.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Wikipedia has an entry on the book Rod quoted, and if the entry is accurate, and if Rod thinks that the premises of After Virtue should be heeded, crunchy conservatism may be far more reactionary that many have likely thought.

(Not me; at my most sarcastic, I've expected them to rail against books that are mass-produced through the printing press and even books printed on paper, knowing that we must cut down trees to produce them.)

Apparently, the book asserts something along the lines of this: "the moral structures that emerged from the Enlightenment were philosophically doomed from the start."

Is this the position the crunchies inevitably take? If so, it explains the antagonism toward both industrialization and the free market, as both have their roots in the Enlightenment.

But here's the rub: so does America itself. Crunchy cons think they might just save America, but the nation was founded on Enlightenment principles -- principles that were far more grounded than those that the radical French Revolution, but Enlightenment principles nevertheless, and it's hard to see people who take aim at those principles (all in an effort to save America) as anything other than reactionary.

Of course, "reactionary" is just an adjective, and it begs the question: reactionary or not, are they right to reject the Enlightenment?

I don't think so. To cut an already long comment short, I believe that the peculiar American experiment that arose from the Enlightenment has flown on what Novak has identified as the wings of faith and reason. The radicalism of the French Revolution (and Marx and Freud) ignores the former; the crunchies seem to think that we need to flee to the latter. I believe we are better off as a culture if we build virtue on both.

1:34 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

What a small world it is sometimes. Chris Weinkopf worked together on the campus right-wing rag. I dropped him an email and he was quite amused to find out it was me behind this blog. He says parenthood has changed his perspective on a lot of things, which is not an uncommon thing- though it's interesting to note that Jonah Goldberg has in some ways become more libertarian even as he phased out Frat-Boy Jonah over the past 5 years or so.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Rayne said...

It's just that the Weinkopf guy didn't say anything remarkable - in WHAT sense is drinking organic milk, staying at home with the kids, and working less than 80 hours a week crunchy? LOTS AND LOTS of nuclear families across the political, social, economic & religious spectrum live exactly this way for a myriad of reasons - but QUIETLY without making exhibitions of themselves and demonizing anyone else who doesn't share their lifestyle choices.
Now Dreher drags in my beloved Benedict to support his self-aggrandisement. Has he NO shame?!

5:06 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I read Weinkopf's complete article that Rod excerpted, and a couple things struck me as worthy of a retort.

"Critics claim that Dreher is either a smug moralist trying to make virtues out of his personal tastes or, worse, some kind of stealth liberal."

That's ridiculous. It's not necessarily an either/or proposition. :-)

"Some of this is his own doing. Although 'Crunchy Cons' is more about a general philosophy of life than a clear blueprint for how to live it, its heavy reliance on Dreher's personal anecdotes can make it seem as though anyone who makes different choices must be morally deficient. Critics bristle at Dreher's unwitting insinuation that, say, their exurban existence or frozen pizza represents a blot on their character, when they might choose these things for godly, pro-family reasons that Dreher should applaud -- e.g., saving money so that a family needs only one income instead of two."

The question needs to be asked, have the comments at the CrunchyCon blog done anything to dissuade critics of the idea that crunchies moralize? Or have they confirmed the idea?

Finally:

"For conservatives, much of what stings about Dreher's book is that it's true: Consumerism is a very real, widely overlooked threat to family values. The free market, for all its virtues, does fuel a consumerist mind-set that's personally and socially destructive."

Whether the free market is personally and socially destructive isn't the question; for the sake of the argument, I'll grant the premise. Honestly, I believe that anything short of a restored relationship with the Almighty ultimately leads to a dead end.

But that's not the question.

The question is, is there anything in this world that is less "personally and socially destructive"? There's only one alternative to the free market: an unfree market, a demand economy, otherwise known as socialism. There's only one political alternative to indiviudalism: collectivism.

Is socialism/collectivism less personally and socially destructive? The obvious answer is no, so we should not let the ideal of perfection be the enemy of the good -- or, as I believe, the best that we can achieve in this world.

Unless one's alternative to the free market is an actual improvement, I would suggest that we accept the negative consequences of the free market as necessary evils and stop with the language of Karl Marx.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

"And I think the best way to change a culture is to seed it with holy people." That's Frederica in one of her more smug moods - guess who the "holy people" are - and Caleb just agreed with her. Except he added a caveat that even fewer people are truly holy than Frederica might allow:

"Evangelicals have been hurt by 'salvation inflation' — a temptation to define 'transformed, humble, holy people' in the most 'nice' and inclusive way possible to mean, essentially, well intentioned but virtually indistinguishable (and certainly manageable) citizens of late liberal modernity."

It's not amazing that Stegall thinks almost all of us are heathen compared to the holy crunchies.

Of course, the crunchies can never hear how they sound to others. So this final blast of literally holier-than-thou self-satisfaction will only alienate even more readers. When this blog finally finishes (this week, unless Dreher reneges on his promise) we'll all be better off without the crunchies' sanctimonious, insufferable, and completely unjustified belief that they are better and holier than the rest of us.

By the way, Angelo dropped an aside that the Iraq war is a "disaster." That's at least arguable - and has been argued extensively on the Corner - but don't expect any of the crunchies to disagree. They're too busy posing as holier than the rest of us to debate issues in the real world.

8:57 AM  
Blogger G.J. said...

Stegall certainly knows how he sounds to "others," such as yourself, Mr. pro-choice "conservative" Casey.

9:34 AM  
Blogger G.J. said...

P.S. the movement is just beginning, including its online instantiations.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Jape, I for one will grant that Caleb knows how he sounds to others. What I don't know is whether he thinks that his movement is being advanced by what others can easily (though perhaps wrongly) perceive as his apparent abrasiveness and arrogance.

As for whether the movement is just beginning, well, I'm sure there will always be people who are at least close to being outright reactionaries to whatever age a culture is in, just as there will always be radicals.

I'm just not sure that this blog and its book have done anything but damage the movement of which you are a part.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

Jape or Stegall or whoever you are, not that I care...I'll gladly grant that I'm pro-choice in the first trimester. Dreher supported a pro-choice Congressional candidate, so I guess you've got issues with both of us.

As for being conservative, I'm a wishy-washy middle-of-the-roader who leans to the right on most but not all issues (like abortion, for instance). I voted for Bush but also voted for a few Democrats down the ticket.

I also don't claim to be one of the "holy people" and I don't castigate most of my fellow human beings as unholy and inferior. So, no, I'm not a crunchy.

By the way, Dreher's book is down to 1,700 on Amazon's sales list, on its way to oblivion. The book was going to fade pretty fast, anyway, because of the crunchies' holier-than-thou sanctimony. But the intolerably smug crunchblog may have hastened the inevitable.

10:26 AM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

Anyone who wishes to scare-quote a conservative for the apostasy of being "pro-choice" would do well to review noted social liberal Ramesh Ponnuru's comment on the "coalition of the whining."

http://corner.nationalreview.com/06_03_19_corner-archive.asp#093144

10:33 AM  
Blogger Rayne said...

Oh Hooray - our faux-priest is back in the swing! But, Japester, throwing stones at a pro-choicer (although they SHOULD be stoned) is the height of crunchy hypocrisy being as Crunchy "godfather" Dreher, in capacity as editor of a major city's daily newspaper, lobbied the editorial board to endorse a dripping-fanged social liberal over a staunch conservative because of....AIR? He is so puffed up with self-righteousness that he doesn't see the delicious evil of his position and proceeds to carry on in the most preposterously sanctimonious vein. It's so sick it's funny - Screwtape couldn't have written a better parody!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

As I believe that human life begins at conception, I oppose all abortion, with the only obvious (exceedingly rare) exception being when the mother has to make the heartwrenching decision of her child's life or her own.

I oppose elective abortion as immoral, but I'm not quite sure how law should reflect this belief or how politically to bring about that law. And, I try not to villify those with whom I disagree, and I generally avoid flippant remarks about the subject.

Generally.

But the possibility that Rod Dreher apparently voted for a pro-choice liberal because of concerns of the effects of air pollution on childhood asthma makes it very hard not to indulge the temptation just this once.

"Crunchy conservatism: protecting the children, eventually."

11:12 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

Well, I don't think I should be stoned (in the old-fashioned sense). But even Jonah, though he resisted most of the glaring opportunities to skewer Dreher's hypocrisy, couldn't help noting the Main Crunch's enthusiastic support of a pro-choice Democrat.

How Jonah resisted a screen shot of Rod's book on sale at the Wal-Mart site is beyond me.

Anyway, I have no problems with a ban on partial-birth abortion or second and third-trimester abortions in general, with the usual exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest. But I'm not holier than anybody else, unlike Dreher, who apparently has a God-given right to hypocrisy.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

Frohnen just admitted that he doesn't homeschool his kids! What's next? A word of praise for Wal-Mart...especially if you're shopping for a certain book?

Okay, I overstated Rod's belief that he has a "God-given" right to hypocrisy. But the crunchies sure think they can bend the Crunch Manifesto when it's convenient:

"Far better to concede some hypocrisy as Rod does below (a sentiment I second), or even to celebrate one’s selfishness as a Randian might, than to wallow in a false goodness that in essence, denies us our souls."

That's Stegall granting the crunchies the right to hypocrisy because they're just so much better than the rest of us who are denied our souls as we "wallow in a false goodness." The crunchies, you see, have exclusive rights to genuine goodness...and apparently to non-denied souls.

Oh brother, it's no surprise Rod's book just tumbled to #1,950 on Amazon's sales rankings. Hypocrisy plus sanctimony does not make for an attractive package.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

The amusing thing is that, in one paragraph, Frohnen admits that he's been "lucky enough" to find a good parochial school and denounces school vouchers because they "encourage consumerism."

Mere competition, the free market, and the individual liberty that allows people to make their own decisions is reduced to a dreadful "-ism" unless the crunhies themselves engage in it.

Shopping around for the right place to live is consumerism, but don't you just love my arts-and-craft bungalow?

Shopping around for the right school for your kids is consumerism, but thank God I found a great parochial school for me and mine.

And shopping around for the right church is consumerism, but--oops, I'm about to run late for my Lebanese Maronite mass.

(And if you think I was just shopping around, you're wrong. I was searching for meaning in my spiritual life.)

12:56 PM  
Blogger G.J. said...

It's not Caleb's movement or my movement, and it's probably not really Rod's, or else Rod's movement is just trying to glob onto something bigger that's already there.

I've definitely got issues with Dreher, "Sola Circumlocution" Stegall, everyone on the freakin' planet.

1:01 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

Casey: I don't understand why you feel that Rod's book being sold at Wal-Mart is that big an indictment of him. You could say it's a case of the capitalist selling the rope that he'll be hung with. If crunchy conservatism is the way to save the country, then isn't it appropriate to spread the gospel, er, message as widely as possible?

Now, as for how good that message is, now that's another question entirely ;)

Jape: The question isn't whether there are 20,000 people who agree with Dreher. It's whether he's identified and articulated an ideologically distinct and politically/culturally significant movement. Whether you like what David Brooks has to say about the "bobos" is your decision, but even his critics acknowledged that he had identified something new and worth talking about.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

I love the fact that Rod is selling his book at Wal-Mart. It shows that he really doesn't buy this crunchy crud when it comes to his own money. That makes Rod a lot more likeable, in my (non-Wal-Mart) book.

I do wish he would be more upfront with these, uh, inconsistencies...like commenting himself on his Wal-Mart connection when Frohnen trashed Wal-Mart. Or admitting that he supported a pro-choice candidate because he thought air pollution was more important than abortion. But that might be expecting too much.

Now that I mentioned air pollution, Dreher's assertion that Dallas has "filthy air" was destroyed in a long post that Jonah referenced a while back. Dallas completely meets the EPA's most stringent standards for air quality, expect for ozone. And that one pollutant is hardly a major problem: last year Dallas failed to meet the toughest ozone standard four days out of 365. But Dreher, like so many ideologues, can't be bothered with the facts.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

Rod's now into doomsday scenarios: suitcase nukes, overhead nukes, hurricanes, a Yankee world series win...

This truly indicates that the end is near...for the crunchblog. I'm a little surprised that Rod mentioned Katrina, because he went completely ballistic, bonkers and bananas on the Corner over the hurricane. Of course, it turned out that almost all the horror stories he was screaming about were false, or at best grossly exaggerated.

In fact, Katrina didn't demonstrate the fragility of civil society at all, as Rod bizarrely maintains, but exactly the opposite. The country as a whole and has recovered very well from the disaster, and even New Orleans itself is moving forward. Civil society seems to be doing just fine in the U.S. right now.

But Rod's so gloomy today. Maybe he's been looking at those Amazon sales figures. Or contemplating the vote percentage that the hated Joe Barton will roll up in the 6th district.

2:54 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

Suitcase nukes... yeah. He's getting dangerously close to Godfrey's Law territory with that one.

The Rita-Katrina parallel is really rich. I sleep in on Sundays so I guess I missed all those episodes of Meet the Press where Mainstream Conservatives talked about how New Orleans was a well-run city with healthy communities. Because Lord knows, you see all kinds of crazy riots and looting after hurricanes blow away exurban subdivisions in Florida.

I also think it's interesting Rod doesn't talk about the massive civil disorder that happened in New York City following 9/11. There's a place full of selfish hedonists and utterly lacking the sort of stable, long-term communities Acadia is known for. It would seem to be such a perfect illustration of his point.

5:32 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

Holy shit, he's talking about EMP weapons? He really has gone off the deep end.

Here's a lil' hint Rod: an EMP weapon requires a decent-sized nuclear warhead on top of a ballistic missile. Even Kim Jong Il knows better than to actually launch a nuclear missile at us.

And why does it take us from "the 21st to the 18th century?" It's not like Abe Lincoln had an iPod. It's only 2006. Why not say, "take us from the 20th to the 19th? Oh, right, sounds less skeery, dunnit? Besides, isn't that a crunchy fantasy?

5:41 PM  
Blogger Rayne said...

Oh dear, it's like watching a train wreck. I'm afraid this implosion was inevitable b/c no one can live with that kind of violent cognitve dissonance without cracking up sooner or later.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

I've been so mean and nasty to Rod. So it's nice to see that he now admits many of the disaster stories about Katrina were "exaggerated." That's not exactly an apology for his embarrassing, screaming posts on the Corner during the hurricane. But at least it's a nod towards reality, which is often in short supply on the crunchblog.

Still, the whole disaster orgy is getting creepy. Come on, Rod. Do you really want to close out the crunchblog with doomsday? Life and even NRO will go on after the blog has stumbled off into the archives.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

via Bubba:
>Frohnen admits that he's
>been "lucky enough" to find a good
>parochial school and denounces
>school vouchers because
>they "encourage consumerism."

Isn't it great to have money?

I knew a guy who was against school vouchers because it meant all "those people" might end up coming to the parochial school at his parish. This has the same smell to it. Why is it so hard for some people to believe that, for all it's little defects, the free markets helps poorer folks at the bottom at least as much as it might enrich those at the top?

6:15 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

Even Stegall's getting tired of the doomsday scenarios, and Rod posted a long e-mail that told the crunchblog to snap out of it. After p.o.ing plenty of people with sanctimony and hypocrisy, Rod may be getting the message that doomsday isn't very attractive to readers, either.

All in all, the crunchblog has to be the sourest, most paranoid, least encouraging thing that NRO has published since, oh, Derbyshire's latest rant that we're all DOOMED, DOOMED. And Derbyshire gets real old real fast, too.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Pauli, I offer you a great big hearty Amen to that.


In his musing about the Depression, Rod ignores the hedonism and crime that preceded it: namely, the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition-era bootlegging.

Is it possible that the United States would not survive "a critical and sustained crisis"? I'd be a fool to say that it isn't. But it's not the least bit certain.

If I had to bet on whether we'd rise to whatever challenge we're thrown, I'd put money on us -- because we're free men. If the Islamists ever did anything to show that 9/11 was a mere warmup, I think a great many of us would drop the luxury of multiculturalism and support turning our enemies to dust, oil prices be damned.

Honestly, I fear that the pessimism Dreher displays is bordering on wishful thinking. Just as the Left wants us to fail in Iraq to bring down Bush, it almost seems as if Dreher wants us to fail as a civilization to justify the crunchy lifestyle.


And about the EMP, Contra Crunchy, maybe Rod put too much stock in Batman Begins?

If (SPOILER ALERT) Ra's al Ghul and the Scarecrow conspired with local crime bosses to poison a major American city with a hallucinagenic fear gas, we're doomed! Doomed, I tell ya!

6:29 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

The fact that Casey is "pro-choice in the first trimester" as he says doesn't seem to really be the point to Caleb. To him, I also am "...implicated by nearly all the habits of [my] heart in the same culture of choice [I] believes [I am] voting against..." even though I am not pro-choice on abortion, even in the first trimester.

Later in the same post, Caleb rails against the "pernicious logic of choice" which leads to emptiness and "lack of realness." This seems to me to be saying that having a choice can be a bad thing. This puzzles me greatly. I always figured that making the wrong choice is the bad thing, and that's why a proper formation is necessary, but having the choice to begin with is generally accepted as being from God - like a test. In the Bible, Adam was tested and failed, Satan failed (big time), Abraham passed his biggest test with Isaac, Moses got a B+, Jesus got an A+, etc.

These choices made in those examples all had clear moral significance. Insofar as a society limits an individual adult's perfectly fine choices (e.g., what school to go to, where to live, etc.) for fear of "wrong choices" (e.g., paying too much for an education, living in too big a house, etc.) that society isn't free.

No doubt I think this way because I'm using enlightenment thinking rather than Christian thinking for which I've been already scolded; in that case I suppose I'm still waiting for a wise teacher to enlighten me in a "more real" sense.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Bruce Frohnen praises parochial schools again, in a post in which he also admits that he moved in order to find "a neighborhood in which participation is neither meaningless nor value-less."

But God forbid we have school vouchers which "encourage consumerism and further break up neighborhood life."

They keep sending the same message: choice is great for me but not for thee.


I agree with Pauli that there it at least a sense that they reject choice itself as being immoral and (bewilderingly) degrading.

Earlier, I linked to an NRO interview with Michael Novak, and Pauli's post reminded me of what Novak said about Thomas Aquinas:

"For Aquinas, the liberty of the human person, and the story of the love offered by the Creator to the creature, lies at the center of all theological reflection: and, mutatis mutandis, of all philosophical reflection. Thomas Aquinas, like Dante, saw human liberty as the crimson thread running down the center of human history. Every story in the Bible is focused on that crimson thread."

The contrast is staggering. There is this sense that the crunchies, who are showing themselves to be quite reactionary, are reacting not just against the industrial revolution and the free market and even the moderate strains of the Enlightenment, but against individual liberty itself.

Put it that way to their faces, and they'll deny it, but that's the drift of their position.

If they weren't exercising the liberty that they so quickly denounce as greedy, soulless consumerism in others, they would still be wrong, but at least they would be consistent.

8:34 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

I just can't get over Dreher's self-absorption -- the self absorption -- my God, just the pure self-absorption -- it's in every post, but especially today's: "I can see that I was strongly affectedby 9.11." "I will never forget how blue the sky was on 9/11." "NOTHING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ***ME*** WAS AS TRAUMATIC AS WHAT FOLLOWED [i.e. the towers fell]"

tell us more Rod, none of us dolts have any idea what happened that day. no one else saw it live like you did, i guess. maybe I was too busy blow drying my hair to watch the news.

and then he has the UNMITIGATED GALL to end the same post by gleefully crowing that a Washington Post style reporter is coming to his house to cook dinner with him and his wife. you can just see him doing a little jig at more publicity.

i've jumped the parody shark now. now i'm in full-fledged anger and disgust mode.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Funny, the Contra Crunchy notices Rod's omission of 9/11, then Rod follows through by talking at length about 9/11, but still missing the obvious point that NYC's reaction to the attack disproves the notion that a non-crunchy lifestyle is inherently immoral and weak.

Speaking of weak, Rod's also apparently giving up on Iraq, even though we're doing very, very well there by any historical standards.

"We collectively refused to take Islamic terrorism and extremism with appropriate seriousness, and in my opinion, we have not changed. I am fascinated by willful blindness — including my own; I have reproached myself many times for being unwilling to take seriously the warnings prior to the Iraq War that the US would inherit a fractured country that would tend to a civil war we couldn’t control."

We're not taking Islamism seriously, but Iraq is too hard, and it's the non-crunchy who are wimps.


And then to prove that the Crunchy Con blog is beyond parody, Caleb Stegall chimes in.

I expect history will intrude on our fantasies in much more natural and obvious — and less conspiratorial and catastrophic — ways. Preparation and expectation, yes. Panic and gloom, no.

That link to a "natural and obvious" intrusion into history? The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, from Revelation chapter 6.

"Natural and obvious." It would be hard to find two adjectives that describe Christian eschatology less accurately.

11:05 AM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

Maybe it's time for a Matera-Stegall steel cage match.

http://crunchycon.nationalreview.com/archives/093468.asp

"Christians cannot answer The Da Vinci Code by resorting to Left Behind, the two polarities we are often faced with in this country."

I'm tempted to say that Matera could be a voice of reason, but then isn't he the one who said that "stock speculation is not sacred?" While I'd definitely take Trotsky over Lenin, I'd sooner take Bill Clinton over either.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Caleb just posted that he was "simply referring to the historical realities of war, pestilence, famine (scarcity), and death." I believe him, but considering his moralizing and his inclusion in Dreher's book in the chapter on religion, referring to the historically mundane events like war by obliquely citing Christian apocalyptic literature is a helluva tone-deaf way to do so.

(It would have been more prudent perhaps if he had referred to Matthew 24:6, where Christ is clear that "wars and rumors of wars" aren't signs of the impending apocalypse.)

Anyway Caleb assures us of his literary license by reminding us that John Derbyshire used the same metaphor.

But when Derb did it, it was a little more obvious he wasn't referring to signs prefacing the Second Coming.

And, after all, John Derbyshire admits that he is "not very intensely religious."

11:44 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

For Rod it really does seem like there is "nothing more wonderful than me." His self-absorption about 9/11 would get some belly-laughs except it's so damn sad and short-sighted. Maybe Rod missed 2004, but this guy Bush got reelected at least partly because he did (and does) take the threat of Islamic terrorism seriously.

As for Rod giving up in Iraq, he should go on the Corner and make the argument. Rich Lowry and others are waiting to take him on. But Rod prefers to stay in the cocoon of the crunchblog, where he's in no danger from the tiniest disagreement.

Can't blame Rod, though. When he did venture onto the Corner to pronounce Dallas' air "filthy," he got slam-dunked with a reply that he's still smarting from. He confessed on the crunchblog that it was one of his nastiest experiences on NRO, and I can believe him.

Truth to tell, I'd like to see all the crunchies head for the Corner and take their chances with the big guys. Let's see if they can defend their positions when subjected to real debate.

Of course, that will happen right after Jonah becomes Hillary's campaign manager.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Rayne said...

I'm with Kathleen in that Dreher's narcissism is on my last nerve. I wish he would forge forth Thoreau-like into the woods to build his Catholic Kibbutz or Confederacy of Crunchies or whateverthehell and take his bitterly disaffected, paranoid, envious and rabidly misanthropic fanatics with him.

4:53 PM  

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