Sunday, January 04, 2015

Community -- A Book

Eight years ago, a bunch of my friends started a book-discussion group.  I wanted to join.  But I was still homeschooling three kids.  Somebody's artery was beginning to fail and surgery was being planned.  It was the wrong time for me to be reading for myself. 

So now I'm ready. 

The book was published in 2006.  Rod Dreher wrote Crunchy Cons

I think now is a much better time for me to be reading this book.  I've been struggling with questions that I didn't have eight years ago.  Moving to suburbia and starting a job-for-wages has brought with it an unsettledness.  An unsettledness which I haven't been able to make sense of.  And this book is helping.

The book is about how certain traditionalists can't stand the liberals because so much of what they're about is fulfilling their lusts, unrestrained.  And yet, these same traditionalists can't stand the conservatives because so much of what they're about is fulfilling their greed, unrestrained.   The book is about how this basic premise coincides with a plethora of topics: obesity, immigration policy, how everyone bemoans that we don't know our neighbors, the fussing betwixt our township and the nearby village, organic veggies and food co-ops, a new Meijer's or a new YMCA, the tremendous importance of stay-at-home moms, and so much more.

What I'm pondering most is the thesis that many who consider themselves conservatives, aren't.  They may be in the "conservative" political party.  They may be in favor of the free market.  But if they're still driven by the consumerism that dominates this culture, they're fooling themselves.  Getting more stuff and "growing the economy" isn't conservative.  Spending time with family, appreciating beauty, serving the neighbor, working hard, being in touch with the natural world -- that's what being conservative is really about.

1 comment:

  1. It's been a long time since I read the book, but one of my main takeaways at the time was the negative consequences of making efficiency (which we tend to associate with conservatism) the highest good. There are things that are more important than making the greatest number of widgets at the lowest cost in the least possible period of time. When we forget that, a lot of other stuff such as you mention suffers.