Spring 2007: Crunchy Con, Rod Dreher, to visit UAA

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Author, editor and journalist addresses hybrid crunchy conservatism

Rod Dreher, also known as the "Crunchy Con," will visit the University of Alaska Anchorage's (UAA) Student Union on Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m. Dreher is author of Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip home schooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party).

Rod Dreher is a writer and editor at the Dallas Morning News, and a conservative journalist who has worked for National Review, the New York Post and the Washington Times. After being criticized by a colleague for visiting a local organic food co-op to pick up his weekly supply of vegetables, Dreher began pondering how his family's conservative ways crossed the boundaries of conventional Republican politics. In 2002 Dreher wrote his first Crunchy Con essay for National Review Online about his realizations. As a result, he received hundreds of strong and positive responses from people who identified with Dreher's ideas. In his book, Dreher reports on the depth of this phenomenon that he believes is redefining American's political and cultural landscape.

In an article by the New York Times entitled Moosewood Republicans, Dreher describes crunchy cons as "people who disapprove of abortion rights, same-sex marriage, illegal immigrants, public schools, secular liberals and mothers who work outside the home. But they don't like Wal-Mart, McMansions, suburbs, pollution, agribusiness or processed foods, either."

The Crunchy Con Manifesto, found on the back cover of Dreher's book, explains what it means to be a crunchy con.

  1. "We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.
  2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.
  3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.
  4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.
  5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship - especially of the natural world - is not fundamentally conservative.
  6. Small, local, old and particular are almost always better than big, global, new and abstract.
  7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.
  8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.
  9. We share Russell Kirk's conviction that 'the institution most essential to conserve is the family.'"

In his book, Dreher introduces readers to crunchy cons from all over America, including a Texas clan of evangelical Christian free-range livestock farmers, the policy director of Republicans for Environmental Protection, home schooling moms in New York City, and Orthodox Jew who helped start a kosher organic farm and an ex-hippy from Alabama who became a devout Catholic without losing his antiestablishment sensibilities.

 Contact Student Activities at 786.1219 for more information.

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