What does it mean to be a "crunchy conservative," a la Dreher? It means eschewing the libertine tendencies of liberalism, but also embracing environmentalism, organic farming, the New Urbanism (the movement to fight sprawl and develop communities where people walk places and talk to their neighbors), and other communitarian notions. It is a kind of conservatism that is more committed to humanity than to commercial activity.
Or more precisely, it is a book that takes a strong stand on one side of the conservative movement, the Tory side, as opposed to the dominant one, the libertarian side. As Nash puts it:
It is a reminder of the enduring tension on the right between those for whom the highest social good is freedom--the emancipation of the self from statist restraint and oppressive custom--and those for whom the highest social good is virtue: the formation of character, the cultivation of the soul.
Dreher sees such conservatism as entirely theo-centric. It is a conservatism that is grounded and focused on religious orthodoxy. Nothing else can direct the path to common virtue.
We are intrigued and hope to read said book. We confess skepticism on some points, e.g.:
We have an intuition that organic farming, if carried out on a wide scale, is bad for the environment, as it necessitates more acreage in agriculture, leading to the destruction of habitat and the polluting of waters with organic agricultural runoff.
We have an intuition that environmentalism is often bad for the environment, as the best protectors of the environment tend to be those with a commercial interest in its preservation.
However, the book still looks worthwhile.
And it illustrates what we have said repeatedly on this blog: these days, ideas are coming from conservatives.