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Crunched Cons

Rod Drehere's book, Crunchy Cons, has been getting some attention in the some segments of the blogoshpere. I haven't read the book, suspecting it was a gimmick, ("You can be conservative and cool, too!") and probably won't get to it now, after Gilbert Meilaender's review in First Things. Meilaender is a very fine Lutheran theologian --as the review makes manifest, he is ("con"servative) but not crunchy. But maybe someone else thinks it's worth giving up a couple of hours with Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert!

About the Author

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.



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I have read one or two reviews of the book, but the title somehow repels me. Perhaps it is because I have no desire and no hope of being cool. Or may be it is just the sound Crunchy Cons. Ugh!

It could have been worse...Chunky Cons. And it's hip to be square. ;)

"And it's hip to be square"? This is not good news. I have no wish to be hip. It appears I am trapped.

I don't know about that, Joseph. You've had many thoughtful posts, and you're all over the Latin translations. Seems to me the following lyrics from "Hip to Be Square" by Huey Lewis & The News may fit you after all:I used to be a renegade, I used to fool around,But I couldn't take the punishment, and had to settle down,Now I'm playing it real straight, and yes I cut my hair,You might think I'm crazy, but I don't even care,Because I can tell what's going on,It's hip to be square.I like my bands in business suits, I watch them on TV,I'm working out 'most everyday and watching what I eat,They tell me that it's good for me, but I don't even care,I know that it's crazy,I know that it's nowhere,But there is no denying thatIt's hip to be square.:)

Would it be unhip to ask who is Huey Lewis?

Huey Lewis, if you've lived in San Francisco, is known for singing the national anthem at Giants games. I believe he also likes to play golf.I'm tempted to comment that he used to be a singer in the sense that Zsa Zsa Gabor used to be an actress, but I think that would be unfair.To get back to the book, I think maybe this discussion is a little unfair to Dreher. When I gave up looking at the Amy Welborn site because I always felt like I had to take a shower afterwards, Dreher was the one commenter I figured I would miss, because he sometimes surprised me, and because, however much I might disagree with what he had to say I felt that conversation was still a possibility.I have not read the book, and did not finish the review because it seemed all too familiar, but let me say that one point at issue may be that Dreher seems genuinely devoted to his children, and these soft cultural issues (as opposed to hard cultural issues like semi-pornographic beer ads and Grand Theft Auto) are greatly more important when you're raising fairly young childrenAnd a larger thing that bothers me with the review, it seems to reflect the naivete that if you sneer at, or eliminate, the usual suspects in the environmental movement, multiculturalism, Hillary Clinton, feminism, the Enlightenment, etc., you get the good old days. You don't. You get Rush Limbaugh and George W Bush.

Gene,Thanks for your comments on Dreher. I also think your last paragraph is quite helpfpul - I also think the good old days of the 1950s (say) don't look so good from several perspectives-- I'm teaching the autobiography of Martin Luther King this week. My point about Meilaender isn't that I agree with him about everything --I don't. But one of the things I found quite interesting is his theological critique of the way Dreher and other like-minded people seems to view the prospect of raising children --it seems to him to verge on idolatry, as I read it. Does anyone have a veiw on that?

It would be interesting to have some hard facts about the social and psychological well being of home schooled kids. I would guess that it would be negative.I'm not sure whether it is idolatrous but there appears to be some unreality or grandiosity about people who want to home school their kids. As Meilander says they will eventually rebel but their parents seem to be organizing rebellion against society. At the same time more attention might be paid to the legitimate concerns of Dreher--many of which we agree with. The neocons seem quite materialistic so maybe we need the crunchies to modify them. So we might want to engage the book instead of summarily dismissing it.

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