Polemics & Exchanges

On Frugal Conservatism

I was glad to see Chronicles dedicate its November 2005 issue (“Reviving the American Dream”) to the Southern Agrarians.  Thomas Fleming correctly pointed out that the Agrarians were not simply idle romantics.  Their vision was political, defending organic communities against the ravages of communism and capitalism.

Unfortunately, most of the Agrarians later abandoned this vision to pursue their careers.  I fear this is the case with most paleoconservatives today, whose lifestyles are probably not very different from mainstream liberals and neoconservatives.  And this is where the Agrarian message is still pertinent.  In order to counter the power of socialism and capitalism, we must reduce reliance on these systems.  We must be radical in the true sense of the word; we must return to roots.

A return to the farm is ideal but unlikely in the near future (though it must not be ruled out).  More realizable economic goals include the pursuit of hunting and fishing and patronizing small businesses (or even starting one).  Paleos must also restore economic functions to the household—rearing and educating children, caring for the elderly, growing and preparing food, sewing, entertaining, and making and fixing things.  Another critical step is cutting consumption, especially the...

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