Skip to comments.(Vanity) Confessions of a Crunchy Con, or, You Can't Judge a Conservative by his Birkenstocks
Posted on 10/01/2006 6:35:05 PM PDT by grey_whiskers
If I recall correctly, the term crunchy con does not refer to someone who has stolen a box of Captain Crunch. It refers to the term crunchy conservative and was popularized (if not invented) by Rod Dreher of National Review. For a sample discussion, check out this link. Yes, I know what youre thinkingFirst William F. Buckley comes out for legalization of drugs, and now supposed conservatives are talking of Birkenstocks! Fifth Columnists, all of them!
I wouldnt blame you for thinking like that. I used to think that way myself. But that was before I joined the ranks of the crunchy cons. And, like so many others, it was not a snap decision or crisis conversion; nor was it the result of long, arduous soul-searching. It was rather, in the words of C.S. Lewis in Perelandra, the moment at which a man realises that what had seemed mere speculations are on the point of landing him in the [Crunchy Conservatives] -- the sense that a door has just slammed and left him on the inside. There were a number of small, almost playful indulgences I allowed myself; these hardened into habits; and before long, I found myself surrounded by so many little things that (had I but admitted it) my entire lifestyle was different.
Perhaps a couple of examples will help. The first one was going to school in Minnesota. Yes, I know, big mistake. But growing up on the East Coast, all I knew was that Minnesota was in the Midwestthe home of traditional values. And of course, the land of 10,000 blondes. I married one alrightbut it turns out she wasnt even native Minnesotan. Last time I checked, we were married 20 years. (Hi, Rabbit!) But, to return to the point. Minnesota actually voted for Mondale (favorite son) for President as opposed to Reagan. And the main political party there is the DFL (it stands for Democrat Farm-Labor, not \Dumb Friggin Liberals, by the way). So in an environment like that, and with all the abundant nature and wildlife, was it any wonder my stereotypical commitment to right-wing appearances began to waver? My first step was when my wife bought me a pair of Birkenstocks. No harm, I just wanted to not stand out so muchand besides, she assured me it made my legs look great. And if you dont know, Minnesota is one of the few places where it is common to see people sporting shorts and a parka at the same time. Strike One!
The second change happened late during my time in Minnesota and has since gotten worse. I have developed a love for bicycling. (Yes, I realize it sounds strange to speak of bicycling in a place where the average temperature seems to be about freezing for six months of the year. But let me assure you, those two days of summer are heavenly.) It was not a matter of trying to become an eco-weenie, or to save the planet. It was a way to save money on transportation while a young, starving student. But after doing it for awhile, I realized it suited me. It was a way to get time alone; it made the commute relaxing instead of a disaster for the blood-pressure; and it was a way to exercise without chewing up my knees. (Did I mention I only have one carit is amazing how much money you can save by only having ONE car payment, one insurance payment, ONE gas tank to fill ) I have continued cycling to this day; my record was commuting to work 15 miles each way during a cold snap on the East Coast, when I got up at 5:30 with lights, wool hat under a helmet, and gloves to pedal 15 miles in 15-degree weather; and here in Arizona, biking home 20 miles in 110 degree heat. Uphill. Both ways. Strike TWO!
The final, and most important, event, in my transition to crunchy-conship (you didnt really expect me to say con-dom, did you?) was an indirect result of my wifes job. This happened after I had reluctantly moved to Arizona for a new job (I hate the heat and my wife is a snow bunny.) With all of the retirees down here, the health care industry is rather important; and my wife took a job in a wellness-related firm. This firm emphasized treating people as custom-designed works of craftsmanship: rather than wait for them to break, and ordering expensive repairs, why not engage in regular preventative maintenance as it were? Naturally, this rubbed the conservative (and to some extent, the scientist) in me the wrong way: why, the approach practically reeked of such heresies (and liberal-leaning) practices as chiropractic, yoga, yogurt, and other tomfoolery. Beef, beer, and potatoes forever! right?
Well, I went in for the reduced-cost evaluation (as a family member of an employee). I had an interesting discussion of diet, exercise, and the like, and was given rather an odd recommendation for supplements. They suggested I take fish oil capsules. Fish oil? What in the world, I already eat tuna fish several times a week. But what made me decide to do it was that they gave me a couple weeks worth for free. So I had nothing to lose by trying. I stalled for a couple of days. Later in the week I had been up at work quite latearound midnight, and had got to sleep around 1:00 AM. I figured that was a good time to try the fish oil. (Not that I was stacking the deck or anything, you understand. I just wanted to make sure any placebo effect would be minimized.) To my amazement, my energy came roaring back. It was as though my batteries had been recharged! Like I hadnt stayed up in the first place. I could tell that it wasnt like Red Bull or anything, I wasnt running on nervous energy which would leave me even more exhaustedinstead, I had a feeling of being cleansed and restored and of course, being a scientist, I had to admit that if I had been wrong about so many other things, maybe more of this non-traditional stuff was worth another look. STRIKE THREE!
So that was the beginning of my status as a crunchy-con. In a later piece I will endeavor to lay out (in Republican or libertarian-friendly terms) some of the things which the crunchy part of me feels may have gone awry within American cultureand some surprising solutions.
That's very true. But don't think that just because someone has failed ONE of your weirdness tests, that they will fail ALL of them.
Free Republic ought to be proof of that :-)
Full Disclosure: Have you contributed to the FReep-a-thon yet ?
I must be a crunchy con, too. But we ARE a minority, LOL!
How many children do you have?
(I looked on your Freeper page. I will refrain from comment except to ask "How did you DO it?")
Check out the link to Rod Dreher's piece I posted in the vanity article. I'd say if you agree with most of those points, you're a crunchy con ;-)
Crunchy con ping!
Rod is a friend so will mark and ping
Frankly, we'd love to live 'off the grid' as much as possible, not only to reduce fossil fuel use for the environment, but to save money, too! There's nothing particularly liberal about wanting to keep the environment as nice as possible; don't know why we should cede that to them.
I don't think being concerned with health and exercise is in anyway at odds with being a conservative. Most conservatives I know make an effort to take care of their bodies.
Insisting on cycling to work, wearing birkenstocks, and patronizing non-traditional medicine have historically been the province of the left.
Wait for my Part II in a couple of days, you'll either agree completely or start shouting at your computer screen :-)
I see a chiropractor, a massage therapist, and take supplements as opposed to prescription meds. .. not doing so well in the exercise department) intend to work on that soon.
Hah...This is comforting to know. My wife and myself have joked for twenty years that we are probably the ONLY VRWC sporting "Birkies" and driving SAABS (3). It's good to know we are not alone.
I actually like, gasp, clean air and water. I'm partial to trees, too, but I don't hug them. I don't buy most of the environmentalist left agenda, but I believe conservation is conservative, so I guess that makes me a crunchy con.
My comment was mainly directed at Rod Dreher, who would, I feel, have less time and money for his Aesthete routine if he had more productive things with which to occupy himself.
Color me one, too. Birks - check. Cod liver oil - check.
Well, he and Julie have 2 kids, and they homeschool. Hey, it's a start :o)
Thanks for the ping! Why should the libs have all the good causes right. lol j/k