At first, the term [crunchy con] sounds like a meaningless hook. Defining and redefining the various right-wing groups has long been a conservative pastime, and so it would be tempting to ignore this book as a publishing exaggeration. That would be a mistake. “Crunchy Cons” (Crown Forum, 259 pages, $24), even with its weaknesses, may be a clarion call for conservatives who have come to realize that the most important things in life cannot be found either in politics or the marketplace, and that what passes for political discourse is largely empty of meaning.

This is no academic treatise but rather a look at what America has become since the revolutions of the 1960s and the Reagan era. The ethos of “do your own thing,” promoted by 1960s radicals and latter-day libertines, has been combined with a capitalist system all too happy to separate people from traditional commitments and to remake them instead into atomistic consumers tossed amid the “creative destruction” of the marketplace. The results have been broken families, destroyed neighborhoods, environmental degradation, and neglect of the duties one generation owes to another. ~Gerald Russello, The New York Sun

Mr. Russello seems to understand the book pretty well. He does reprise the “it might end up being only a ‘lifestyle'” critique, but I hope it is becoming clear in my other posts why that critique is insufficient and really misses the larger claims of the book. If Rod’s book were simply a glorified defense of his own predilections and nothing more, no one except people who shared exactly the same predilections would care and no one else would read it. That there is more at stake, because there is always more at stake in the way that men live than we seem willing to grant today, should start to become clear, if it isn’t already.