Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Crunchy Manifesto

Lent is almost done and so I'm going to let slip this one wee post. Rod Deher's Crunchy Conservatism has been talked to death on NRO and other US conservative sites. The points he raises are not specific to the U.S., however. With a new conservative government and all, Canadians might want to hash these over. An important point for Canadians to consider in this environment is that the US Republican party is not the criterion of what conservatism is all about. Other examples and traditions do exist. I recently finished Steven Ozment's A Mighty Fortress, which is a history of the German people, and one of the things I took away from it was the role of Christian Democrats as a strong moderating force in that part of the world. You can read some of that story here. The current Merkel led German government might be considered the current heirs to role of the Center party. Rod's points and the German examples I've linked are useful because of the Canadian Tories' minority position in the house. The object of the current government is to use the powers it has wisely, and to show the country that it can be trusted with majority powers down the road. Given the elephant in the living room nature of our relationship with the US and the strong brand of conservatism on display there, Canadian Tories need to be Conservative without being US Republicans in miniature. Canada is not the U.S., and neither is it Germany, but the overlap I see between the Crunchy and the German 'center' speaks to me of universally appealing points we may want to examine. Here is Rod's manifesto: 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.” 10. Politics and economics won’t save us; if our culture is to be saved at all, it will be by faithfully living by the Permanent Things, conserving these ancient moral truths in the choices we make in our everyday lives. My two cents: 1. is empty; anyone can make such a claim. It gains us nothing; drop it, it smacks of pretention and elitism. 2. This is very true but needn't be true. 3. Absolutely. 4. In many ways, this is THE theme that has emerged in my thinking as I have steered NWW through the past year +. 5. There is nothing conservative about paving paradise. 6. Remember kids, glass and steel mixed with gargantuanism sucks. 7. and 8. People dead to beauty are not to be trusted. 9. Don't let the left get away with the lie that family protection means entrenched power and abuse. A family is both a collection of people and how they interact. They break the unit into atoms and choose sides; we uphold the union, properly balanced. 10. Don't doubt your ability to impact your community through acts of grace, small and large. Imposed solutions seldom work.

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