Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Rants, and rants to come

Cheapness Studies lives on.

Here at WWPD, expect posts about unquestioning Europhilia; Michael Pollan's possibly anti-feminist use of "empower"; and the perhaps irreversible changes to brain chemistry brought on by living off bread and cheese and spaetzles and cheese and reading about French anti-Semitism at a German library. But first, Maurice Barrès's uprooted rural 20-somethings need further examination.

5 comments:

PG said...

When you have time, I'd be curious about your reaction to the latest conservative broadside against Pollan et al. (The author has been on this theme for a while.)

Phoebe said...

Far be it from me to say what it's really like to be a farmer in rural Missouri, although I have been to rural Missouri, not that this made much of a dent in my incurable NY provincialism. Maybe Heidelberg will do the trick.

I'm not sure that take was conservative (since Pollan has conservative admirers, and Pollan's own arguments are, some of them at least, arguably thinly-veiled social conservatism) so much as a war over knowledge and authenticity. This guy feels Pollan is an interloper, and one could just as easily imagine a writer with, say, inner-city cred writing up a take-down of some Pollan-type who focused on the projects and not on life on the farm. But it's certainly being presented as conservatism, which I suppose is what matters.

PG said...

I should have said, "latest economic conservative broadside," to be sure. The American Enterprise Institute (for which this was published and for which Hurst has been a recurrent writer against the farm subsidies he takes) and Hit&Run (which promoted the article) are both economically on the right.

The author and his wife appear to be Republican (they have donated several thousand dollars to GOP candidates). The article itself subscribes to Reagan conservatism, in which growth (of population, GDP, etc.) is seen as a good in itself that overrides social conservative values that might obstruct it (e.g. community preservation). Certainly to the extent that Pollan-ism is connected with environmentalism and reducing consumer abundance and choice, it is regarded as "liberal" or on the lefty side of the political spectrum.

Phoebe said...

PG,

I hadn't come across this particular author before, but from what I have found, conservative opinion is split on the food-movement question. Some see it as tainted by liberal influence; economically left (which you correctly note); and understand the aw-shucks local response to entail a defense of the status quo from the city-folk intruders. Others, however, notice that the movement is, or can be, about: rural over urban; women cooking versus women working outside the home (more on this in the Pollan post to come, which is why I don't elaborate or intend to back this up more right here); the 'inherent' cultural superiority of both The Regional and Europe, but not cosmopolitan Europe, Europe As It Once Was; rejecting modernity; a return to the family... Basically, to determine which side on this matter falls where on the political spectrum brings so much into play - the fact that what's "liberal" elsewhere is conservative in the US but does not encompass all US conservatism; the fact that far-left and far-right often meet on issues involving The Land...

But the first view may well be more prominent among self-identified conservatives. I couldn't say for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me.

PG said...

Which conservatives take the second view? The only "crunchy cons" of whom I've heard are a few Christians who take the "stewardship" rather than "dominion" view of man's relationship to God's Creation: mainly Rod Dreher and Matthew Scully, for names with any significance in today's Republican party/punditry.