I just finished reading a book by Rod Dreher. It was called Crunchy Cons and was written in 2006. I am guessing that he has grown a lot since he wrote it. Last May I finished a book he wrote called Live not by Lies, published in 2020. The recent book was excellent. The earlier book, while it had some moments of worthiness, was mainly a lesson in jargon.
I would urge you to read the later book and advise you to avoid Crunchy Cons.
In Crunchy Cons, Dreher knew in his heart that conservative values were based on truth but he seemed to want to make sure that he was still accepted by the liberal set. He would pay lip service to an idea, say the free market, and then proceed to bad mouth it as based on nothing but greed.
“The first idol crunchy cons have to smash is efficiency, the guiding principle of free markets, but an unreliable guide to building institutions that serve human nature and human community. We have to start living by our ideals, judging things not by what works most efficiently, but by what’s good, what’s true, what’s beautiful - in other words, what’s right.” p. 229Actually the guiding principle of free markets is, ...drum roll..., free markets. That means a lack of government control which he seems to think we need more of to get rid of the efficiency. The opposite of efficiency is inefficiency, not what’s beautiful. I understand that efficiency can go so far that it dehumanizes us but a lack of efficiency can starve us to death or have us run out of energy to heat the house in the middle of winter.
He uses a lot of jargon. By that I mean words that have an accepted meaning but can be used in a nonsense way to confuse and distract.
He seems to know words. He writes well. But he doesn’t seem to get the big picture. One thing he said had me rolling in the aisles,
“In 2005, the Economist, not a magazine known for its liberal sympathies, opined that ‘the greening of conservatism is a revolution waiting to happen.’” p. 168.Actually, the Economist is known for its liberal sympathies. I had a six month subscription about the time he is writing and it was very clear they were on the left. The thing I appreciated was they did not hide it and actually made an attempt to be even handed and accurate. Maybe that is what confused him.
I hope that the latest book is an indication of where he is today. You might want to read it.
Dreher, Rod. Crunchy Cons. New York, Crown Forum, 2006.
homo unius libri