Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sinless Cons

In considering Dreher's arguments in Crunchy Cons, I realize his failure to define "crunchy" lies in the fact that if he defined it, the outrageousness and presumption of his ideas about conservatism -- actually about everything -- would be brought to light. For to replace every use of the word "crunchy" in Dreher's writing with the word "sinless", or "virtuous", changes Dreher's points not. a. whit. So there you go: Crunchy = Sinless = Virtuous.

Discerning this true meaning of "Crunchy" gives the lie, once and for all, to Dreher's repeated insistence that his vision is merely a "sensibility, perhaps even a critique, not a philosophy or a political or religious program". (Muncy, NRO crunch blog, Feb 24). But we knew this already. "[I]t is not a pallid work of sociology", as George Nash observed in his WSJ review of Sinless Cons/Crunchy Cons, but "a rousing altar call to spiritual secession from an America that Mr. Dreher sees as awash in materialism...." In other words, the sinless con/crunchy con argument can be summarized thusly: MAINSTREAM CONSERVATIVES ARE SINNERS! REPENT! REPENNNNNNNT!

Replacing "crunchy" with "sinless" is even more fun when reading that Dreher refers to his wife as "Mrs Crunch" (dreher, 2/24, NRO crunch blog)! That must make him Mr. Crunch, and if A=B, then Mr. Crunch = Mr. Sinless = Mr. Virtuous. Mr. Virtuous. That's our Rod.

mad libs for sinful/contra crunchies. kind of.

The Fur Flies.

BeliefNet has restructured Dreher's blog, adding a permanent link to each entry and a comment thread for each entry.

Not content with letting Caleb Stegall suggest that Homer Simpson is crunchy, Dreher has recently asserted that Batman is not a "real superhero" and that therefore gay pseudo-Catholic congregations are "Batman Catholics."

(And he dares criticize modern culture for holding nothing sacred.)

I made use of the ability to post a comment to disabuse him of this nonsense by appealing to the underappreciated Argument from Luthor, and a few of us mainstream conservatives have challenged him on his comments about Iraq, corporate pay, and the environment.

Our esteemed crunchy has begun to respond, in the comment threads to posts made here and here.

I think continued discourse will be healthy -- perhaps it'll help people like me see that Dreher's right, perhaps it'll help him see that he's not, or at least it will make clear to everyone precisely what he believes -- but it might not be pretty. After all, Dreher has now said that Iraq is a war we "cannot win."

UPDATE: Perhaps there won't be a dialogue after all.

"Bubba, we talked about all of this ad infinitum at NRO's Crunchy Con blog. If the collected works of Bruce Frohnen, Caleb Stegall et alia didn't persuade you, I suspect you are unpersuadable. Which is fine, but I just don't have the time to answer every single one of your points, nor do I have the motivation to do so when I don't think you will credit any answer that doesn't amount to, 'You're right, I was wrong.'" (link)

Frustrating, but not altogether surprising.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Crunchy Conspiracy II: Sheer Capitalist Genius

Wake up, contra crunchies, how did we miss this? On the morning of April 17, with 3-digit temperatures predicted in Dallas and other areas, Rod Dreher linked to "mid-priced air conditioners" at Wal-Mart's website from his blog on beliefnet. Was this mere coincidence or an instance of commissionable product promotion, targeting unsuspecting consumers in their time of need? Questions abound. Like, for example, what was Rod really doing in Arkansas over Easter weekend? Everyone knows where Wal-Mart’s HQ is located - could there have been another meeting in Arkansas, a secret one half-way between Bentonville and Little Rock off I-40, for which the Sierra Club meeting was merely a ruse?

And the beauty of this commissioned linking is that he performs his side of the agreement whilst ostensibly criticizing the excess of a greedy capitalist mogul's earnings. As they say in Crunchyville, USA, "Whoda thunk it?"

We applaud Rod for his promotional genius and his ability to capitalize on his position and web-presence in the new economy as had been noted earlier on this fine weblog.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Crunchy Foreign Policy.

George Bush got us into "a bad war on dubious pretenses." Iraq has been a debacle supported by "naïve" Christian conservatives.

"I find myself incapable of trusting this bunch who got us into this foolish Iraq debacle to make the right decisions on Iran--and to be honest with the American people. There's no getting rid of Bush and Cheney, but Rumsfeld? Yes."

Should Rumsfeld resign? "Absolutely."

"If, God forbid, the U.S. has to go to war with Iran, we had better do so only as a last resort, and we'll have to do it with the country united. Unity will be hard enough for Bush to pull off after the calamity of Iraq--but impossible to do, I think, with Donald Rumsfeld in place."

Who wrote this stuff? The euphemistic version of "Bush lied, people died"? The ahistorical notion that a war that is long, hard, and imperfect is ipso facto a calamity? The ridiculous idea that throwing Rumsfeld to the wolves would actually improve the chances of Democrats uniting behind Bush to deal with Iran? The positively dangerous idea that we cannot use military force against Iran unless there is such unity?

Who would honestly think that, if Bush removed Rumsfeld, Dems in Congress would ignore the smell of blood in the water and drop all thoughts about impeachment? Who would seriously suggest that the President should make bipartisanship the first priority in foreign policy in any circumstances, to say nothing of the here-and-now where a rabid left is willing to do anything to "get Bush" and where a sociopathic Iranian government is trying to get nuclear weapons?

The answer is, Rod Dreher, in his new blog at BeliefNet.com.

I wish I had something witty to say in response, this being a parody site and all, but it's hard for the humor gland to work when my Idiot Detector's screaming.

UPDATE (4/18): Ned Rice at NRO has just declared that we've lost the war, that it is a "miserable failure" and an "unwinnable exercise in imperialistic hubris."

Hard to argue with such wisdom.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Thing That Couldn't Die.*

Crunchy Conservatism continues to make convivial, lovingly handmade waves on the web. In addition to Jonah Goldberg and Rod Dreher having an exchange in the pages of National Review (see previous blog entry below), other blogs are weighing in. The initial entries and the subsequent comment threads may be worth checking out.

Here is a blog entry by one Maxwell Goss, what Rod called a "mixed review" in an entry posted just before the Crunchy Con closed at the end of March. I show up in the comments thread, as does Daniel Larison, a contributor to the, um, really traditionalist, supposedly amusing, probably uninfluential webmagazine, The New Pantagruel. Jape shows up, too, but it is nevertheless worth reading.

Mr. Goss has a follow-up post, here, and the comments thread is beginning to grow. The <cough> esteemed Caleb Stegall has already contributed with a comment that I believe begs more questions than it answers.

And, on the Corner, Jonah referenced a blog entry where, in the comments our very own Pauli weighs in.

Between these entries and perhaps Rod's apparent presence on an upcoming blog at Beliefnet, I think crunchy conservatism isn't quite dead yet. And I guess that means we'll be here, too.

As long as Fozzie Bear is on stage, the world needs Statler and Waldorf.

* - The title of this blog entry was taken from a 1958 movie that was, um, honored on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Just a few episodes later, MST3K featured a movie whose title may aptly describe our crunchy friends.

"The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies."

Monday, April 03, 2006

"Dismissive" indeed

I just LOVE this from Dreher's letter to NRO complaining about Jonah Goldberg: "But the fact that he [Goldberg] dismisses a neo-traditionalist critique of the contemporary Right and of American life as mere 'popular liberal-Left assumptions' and even 'narcissism' says more about him [Goldberg] than it does about my book." Umm, who was dismissing whom here? Talk about dismissive - here is the sum and substance of Dreher's response to Goldberg, as published for all to read on the Crunchy con blog:

3/20: I’m not going to open up that “debate” here again.

3/9 The last thing I want to do is start another endless round of back-and-forth with those determined not to take any of this neotraditionalism seriously.

3/3: I’m just not interested in debating whether or not this sensibility exists, at least not in the few weeks this blog is going to be up on NRO....Just count me out. I’m not mad about it, just bored with it.

3/1: Jonah, honestly... I don’t want to get sidetracked into an endless discussion of right-wing tribal politics.

In other words, Dreher picked up his marbles and said, "I not playing!" Newsflash to Dreher: real, substantive critiques are meant to be challenged. Those who claim to have formulated such critiques are meant to respond directly to such challenges. If the formulator is incapable of such a response, such failure demonstrates the critique is so flawed as to be entirely without substance.

Top Ten Retorts

I was prevented by circumstances from contributing something timely for the finale of the CC blog last week. But for the stragglers yearning for another dose I thought I should at least give something "back to the community", trifling though it be. So here's a Letterman-style Top 10 list that should suffice as kind of a "cliff-notes" for the many, often self-parodic, retorts delivered in the comments by those less than impressed by this fine parody blog, although they obviously continued to return over and over.

Picking just 10 was a slight challenge - there were so many illustrious arguments to choose from. For example, it was hard to discard the fair nematodes reference, I mean, some of us learned a really cool new word. Please feel free to comment with your own favorites.

In fairness, permalinks are provided for context, but they won't necessarily take you directly to the comment (a weakness with blogspot) - some fishing through the heated dialogue may be in order. Also I left the grammatical and spelling errors intact; I only added a few vowels to make some words readable. Call me Pat Sajak.

10. No stroking necessary: "I don't need people to stroke me to convince me of the truth."

9. Idealistic? maybe, unsure: "If we're on the right trajectory it doesn't matter to me that we imperfectly live up to our ideals. This is a general rule for Christian living, I think."

8. What's he smoking?: "I move around a lot, but my main headquarters for many years would probably scare you plenty. The dumb crime is abating, however, as it has become 'organized' under my spiritual and logistical direction."

7. An "A" for assertion: "Dreher's thinking is far more conservative and even more rigorous then this dopey fratboy BS you idiot's seem to find enlightening."

6. More substance: "The single most convincing facet of Crunchy Conservatism is the fact that its opponents are such a overbearing group of mindless slobs.... Grow a sense of humor."

5. Just the facts...: "Screw nice. The fact is, a lot of people are and have been saying the suburbs suck, including suburbanites."

4. Whose movement?: "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." [Yes, he wrote glob.]

3. Frankly: "You haven't winged anyone's utopia Pauli, and you seem to be the most humorless cuss around, frankly." [Cold!]

2. A "Deep Thought" from JR: "We're all hypocrites. It's just a matter of what we're hypocritical about."

...and the number one retort...

1. Whose pseudonymous?: "I previously thought this blog might be occupied mainly by pseudonymous NRO staff, but now I think it is just a pathetic cadre of adolescent hangers-on who scurry with glee like rodents with rotten food when someone 'inside' feeds them some shop gossip."