I stumbled across Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing natrue lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party) at the local library a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t resist. Any book with a subtitle that long must be worth reading. I don’t mind being a conservative but I’m not especially keen on being crunchy, so before long I was quietly and defensively computing my own crunchy quotient.
I suppose you can just mull over the subtitle and see if any of those labels fit. “Right-wing nature lover” … maybe. Alternatively, scan the six topical chapter headings and see how you match up.
- Consumerism. You’re crunchy if you have read Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. (I did, but it was a long time ago.) You’re crunchy if you don’t own a big-screen TV. You’re very crunchy if you don’t have a wall big enough to hang one on.
- Food. You’re crunchy if you have ever knowingly purchased organic produce. I’m oh-so-safe on this one.
- Home. If you ditched the suburbs for the new urban adventure, you’re crunchy. If what you really need in your next house is a three-car garage, you’re not.
- Education. You’re crunchy if you home school or really wish you could. Personally, I’ve had a very good experience with the half-dozen public schools my kids have passed through. Not that there’s anything wrong with home schooling or home schoolers.
- The Environment. If you think about carbon footprints when you buy an appliance or wish there were an American Green Party (is there?), check this box. If you still want a Hummer someday, forget it.
- Religion. Are your values grounded in a religious tradition that you claim as your own? Are your values grounded in anything, or just free-floating? Do you have any values, or are you just a roving utility-maximizing rational choice unit?
I score 2.5 out of 6 (I gave myself 0.5 for consumerism). Not quite crunchy, but within striking distance. My one-sentence review of the book: It’s an enjoyable and insightful book that brings a refreshingly new perspective to the liberal-conservative debate and helps strengthen the weak left flank of the Republican Party.