I picked up Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons this weekend and after reading the manifesto, decided that I may have found a home. There were several points that helped inspire this feeling.
From the foreward:
from Crunchy Cons
In late summer of 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. As the people of New Orleans waited for help from a bumbling government bureaucracy incapable of handling mass catastrophe, the city descended into anarchy and chaos. Just weeks later, another hurricane, Rita, annihilated much of coastal southwestern Louisiana. There, however, the small-town and rural Cajun people of southwestern Louisiana instantly pulled together. The difference? In Cajun country, the ties of family and community were much stronger than in New Orleans. This point is central to Crunchy Cons: For the sake of communal self-sufficiency, we must recommit ourselves to building up family and social networks. Right ow, joining the volunteer fire department or a local farmers' co-op might be more authentically conservative than joining the Republican Party (not that there's anything worng with that!).
Now, if what is stated is true, and even if we leaven it with the fact that a small town is not the same kind of entity or scale of entity as a big city, it speaks of the kind of society and community I would like to live in. I always thought a Catholic community modeled on Amish and Mennonite models would be one of the most perfect places imaginable. (But then I pause to recall the lessons of Animal Farm and I hesitate.)
But this statement is fundamental to my entire political philosophy:
But we are not liberals. For one thing, we don't share the liberal faith in the ultimate goodness and perfectibility of mankind. Because we believe in evil and the duty of good men and women to confront it with violence if necessary, we are not pacifists. We don't believe that morality is relative, and that each generation is free to find its own truths, and to adopt a moral code that suits its desires. We object to the idea that there's nothing wrong with our country that a new tax or government program can't fix.
We don't believe it's the government's job to guarantee social equality, only equality before the law and, within reason, equality of opportunity.
I'll have to see how the rest of the book bears out, but the manifesto and these passages, only a few pages apart speak to me in the deepest labyrinths of my thought. Obviously, I probably won't agree with every point Mr. Dreher has to make, but perhaps there is enough contiguity for me to able to identify with a group.