Friday, March 24, 2006

Crunchy Conservatives

I was listening to an interview with a Rod Dreher who is pushing a book called Crunchy Cons.

As an eco-jabbering meadow muffin, I am extremely happy to anyone talking up the imporantance of conserving resources and protecting the environment.

During the interview and in doing research on the web on Dreher, I keep coming across people suggesting that conservative conservationists is something new.

The truth is that, if we teleported back a half century, we would find that for much of US history the conservatives were the conservationists. The liberal movement kept demanding to put resources into production, while the conservatives kept being the fuddy-duddies.

The modern politically active conservation movement was born by Conservatives fighting big government projects like the TVA, Lake Powell and the like.

The sixties and seventies saw the transformation of the enviroment from something to be conserved to something that we should worship. The liberals hijacked conservation with the message that big government could save the environment.

I am an ecojabbering meadow muffin who puts preservation of remaining wilderness at the very top of the social agenda. I see the need to preserve our resources as the primary social priority. This need, however, is apolitical. Both Republicans and Democrats should be conservationists. For that matter, I know a very large number of people in the conservation community. Their beliefs pretty much span the political spectrum, but unite in the need to conserve.

While the Green Party likes to pretend that they are the exclusive guardians of the environment, most conservationists welcome all conservationists regardless of political leaning.

I think it is great that people read Rod Dreher's book. I simply wish to counter the impication that crunchy conservatism is new. The idea is not new. Just as the Republican Party used to be the party for black rights, the republican party used to be the party of the conservationists. The Democrats were skillful in stealing both issues.

I think the Democratic environmentalists are great. I love the hard effort they throw into the issue. My regret with the Green movement is that too many people in the green movement have the false belief that they are exclusive in their environmental leanings.

Nothing would please me more than seeing people united on the need for conservation.

My observation is that the people who work to preserve the environment see through the political debate and correctly perceive that conservation is not exclusively owned by one political party.

BTW, my favorite preservation group is the Nature Conservancy which works to buy easements for conserving land. I am less enthralled with political activists who see socialization as the only path to preservation.

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