Crunchy Criticism

The Mises Institute's Jeffrey Tucker on Crunchy Cons.

A few quick thoughts: I think Tucker came to the book with altogether the wrong expectations. It's not a political manifesto, still less an economic treatise. To say that because Dreher is a political writer the book must be a political work is like saying that because Jeffrey Tucker works at an economics institute all his articles must be about economics, including when he writes about church music and the liturgy for Crisis.

I see Crunchy Cons as Dreher and his followers taking a few tentative steps away from the centralized political order of the mainstream conservative movement. They are critical of capitalism, but (as Tucker points out) they're not systematic or theoretical — and thus they don't distinguish between simple free exchange on the market and the kind of highly state-conditioned capitalism we have today. (Tim Carney's forthcoming book on big business and big government ganging up on the little guy, The Big Ripoff, should clarify things for some conservatives with anti-market tendencies. Or so I hope.)

The book substitutes a lifestyle and counter-culture for the usual right-statist political-economic program. There's some good in that, whatever failings Crunchy Cons may have in other respects.


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