Breaking Ranks

Rod Dreher’s book labors under a few handicaps.  First, there is the cloying title and absurdly long subtitle.  In addition, the cover features a cutesy picture of a VW microbus with a GOP elephant painted above the grille.  The back cover features a “Crunchy Con Manifesto” that is a bit simplistic.  “We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.”  However, the old adage about not judging a book by its cover applies here, because Crunchy Cons does merit serious attention.

The conservative movement, as currently constituted, can accomplish little more than elect Republicans, demonize Democrats and liberals, and turn execrable books by talk-radio hosts and syndicated columnists into best-sellers.  Since politics has devolved into a team sport, many of the conservative rank and file are happy just to be “winning.”  In Crunchy Cons, Rod Dreher looks at the deeper issue of whether conservatives are accomplishing anything of value.

Dreher’s cultural and political beliefs (he considers culture to be more important than politics) are informed by his Roman Catholicism.  Specifically, many of the “crunchy” (if one must use the term) aspects of his beliefs are Catholic in origin.  Crunchy Cons briefly retells the author’s...

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