Episode Extras: “C is for Crunchy”
Hello, Wonkistan! Our latest episode seemed a little Big Thoughts-y, so we thought we’d give you some supplementary material to feed your interests and curiosity.
Click through for blogs, banter, trivia, and script extras:
We wholeheartedly recommend Rod Dreher’s blog on The American Conservative’s website, as well as his book Crunchy Cons. As an example, here’s a recent piece on culture, relativism, social cohesion, and Appalachia. That said, we occasionally disagree with his off-the-cuff blogging approach and his conclusions; Amanda, especially, makes eyebrows at curmudgeon-y Grandpa Rod.
If you want more background on the philosophical underpinnings of modern conservatism, Ivan suggests you read Andrew Sullivan’s The Conservative Soul (with the humble addition that you take his reading of Catholic bioethics with a grain of salt). And if you’re not following Sullivan’s blog already, then you really ought to be. It’s not just a blog — it’s a cozy corner to warm up with a mug of tea.
The third beardy white guy for today is Ross Douthat, whom some call the token conservative on the New York Times editorial page. He also keeps a pretty sturdy blog, and sometimes he has nice long chumly chats with Andrew Sullivan. Ivan also heartily endorses his book Bad Religion, which discusses how a host of heresies — from Oprah’s God-as-divine-therapist to providential, messianic American exceptionalism — have distorted Christianity’s role in the American public square. Amanda isn’t quite sure how to pronounce his name, but she digs his blog. [Ivan: DOW-thit.]
For more non-mainstream conceptions of conservatism, here is Ta-Nehisi Coates making a very cogent claim that Barack Obama is the very model of a modern black conservative. Yes. Really. You should read it (it gets bonus Crunchy points for an aside about Shirley Sherrod’s work at the USDA!) and then subscribe to Coates’ blog. Note: Sullivan has repeatedly made similar arguments, but Coates is less frequently soporific than Sullivan, and also a much greater authority on modern American blackness. In many ways this presidential race is a choice between two styles of modern conservatism — discuss!
In the wake of this whole Niall Ferguson thing, John Cassidy of The New Yorker asks why there are no American conservative public intellectuals, and Daniel McCarthy of The American Conservative adds that for the GOP establishment, “[i]deas are allowed at the edges but must never detract from the bottom line.” Ivan, on the other hand, would suggest that Douthat is precisely the guy they’re looking for.
And if anybody’s curious about our shout-out to Teddy Roosevelt, here’s a short breakdown of the 1912 presidential race. Did you know he grew up not far from Amanda’s hometown? True fact.
And an exchange that didn’t make our final script:
Ivan: Rod’s blog is so darn charming. He cherishes his small-town community of St. Francisville, Louisiana, champions nonconformists who raise chickens in their backyard —
Amanda: Again with the chickens!
Ivan: The intellectual and socio-political world that chickens represent is so darn fascinating, though!
Amanda: CHICKENS AND PLANTS AND GOATS.
Ivan: For those of you who are unaware, Amanda and I harbor secret ambitions of giving up our professional goals and starting a goat farm somewhere in the inland South.
Amanda: Someday we’ll raise our yurts along the Mississippi, love. Until then, we have our urban farmer’s markets and our dreams.