NRO Embraces Crunchy Cons

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Awhile back, Nick Provenzo brought my attention to "crunchy conservatives", a new breed of conservative. Put more accurately, they aren't so much a "new breed" as a "next step" in the driving out of good, pro-capitalist premises by bad religious ones in the conservative movement.

On a stop by National Review Online today, I noted with dismay (but little surprise) that the web site has been hosting a blog called Crunchy Cons. Did someone at NRO see Robert Tracinski calling their republication last year of Whittaker Chambers's famously strident and inaccurate "review" of Atlas Shrugged "revisit[ing] an old low" -- and take that as a challenge to go lower? It sure looks like it to me.

Here's an example of what you can find over there.

Rod said:
The point is, since 9/11 I have become in many ways preoccupied with the idea that some rough history is headed our way, as Peggy Noonan put it, that we are unprepared for it, and are in fact living in ways that make it difficult even to think about preparing for what could happen.
I agree. But I arrive at that conclusion from what I take to be the perfectly natural and obvious truth that 99% of history has been rough and we have no reason to expect a lifelong exemption from that truth. I don't put a lot of stock in the prophets of any particular and specific disaster because they strike me not only as indulging in fantastic speculations, but also as buttressing, in a perverse kind of way, the alternative fantastic speculation that peace and prosperity and health and wealth are the natural state of affairs. Both sides completely miss the tragicomic outlook that properly ought to define our tenuous and fragile creaturely existence. [bold added, link dropped]
Hmmm. It is already a given that religious conservatives want to employ government force to make others live according to their religious dictates. For the crunchy cons, myriad environmental regulations would just fall under the same umbrella.

Unlike the more abstract threat posed by many religious injunctions, though, the threat posed by environmentalism to our material prosperity is well-known, and even admitted in the blog's manifesto:
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.
So, to borrow from Ayn Rand's famous characterization, we have a new breed of "Witch Doctors" seeking "Attilas" in government. The renunciation of what many leftists derisively call "American exceptionalism" (i.e., the notion that happiness is not only possible, but normal for man on this earth) in the bold from the quote above reminded me of the following quote from the title essay in Ayn Rand's For the New Intellectual.
Thus the Attila and the Witch Doctor form an alliance and divide their respective domains. Attila rules the realm of men's physical existence -- the Witch Doctor rules the realm of men's consciousness. Attila herds men into armies -- the Witch Doctor sets the armies' goals. Attila conquers empires -- the Witch Doctor writes their laws. Attila loots and plunders -- the Witch Doctor exhorts the victims to surpass their selfish concern with material property. Attila slaughters -- the Witch Doctor proclaims to the survivors that scourges are a retribution for their sins. Attila rules by means of fear, by keeping men under a constant threat of destruction -- the Witch Doctor rules by means of guilt, by keeping men convinced of their innate depravity, impotence and insignificance. Attila turns men's life on earth into a living hell -- the Witch Doctor tells them that it could not be otherwise. [bold added] (pp. 19-20)
Environmentalism is not just a moral ideal to the crunchy cons. Its destruction of capitalism is also a tactic.

-- CAV


Nicholas Provenzo said...

Good stuff, Gus. I take the "Crunchy-Con" phenomenon as proof of the ultimate aim of the conservative philosophy—and notice how the NRO folks are all utterly in awe of it.

Gus Van Horn said...


Indeed. Even though I regarded something like this as inevitable, it still was a little shocking to see the cute hippie bus with the GOP elephant on the front.

WTF? t's OK to be a bunch of hippies now -- so long as we're Republicans?