More Crunchy Fun

I’ve been meaning to write more about the book (really), but I just haven’t found the time. I do, however, think it’s worth noting this exchange between Rod Dreher and John Podhoretz on the Crunchy Con blog.

JPod begins:

Frederica complains that nobody wants to live in Old Charleston anymore because they’d prefer spanking new kitchens and more space between houses. Hello? According to what I’ve read, houses in Old Charleston sell for millions of dollars. That suggests a) people do want to live there and that b) almost nobody can afford to live there. Which brings up another point: The idea that people “choose” where they live. It’s never as simple as that. People live where in some proximity to where they work, and they want as much home as they can afford. They’re willing to brave traffic and, yes, even some appalling aesthetics to have the kind of home they want. Once again we see the key contradiction between the contributors to this blog and the vast majority of ordinary Americans. You guys live ideologically. You make choices that gratify you because they represent a fulfillment of ideas you hold. Most people don’t live this way, and to presume that they should is, well, the sheerest snobbery.

And Mr. Dreher fires back:

It is really quite something to read a conservative claiming that to live life according to one’s principles is “the sheerest snobbery.” Conservatism is elitist in the sense that it believes in standards. It believes that ideas have consequences, that some ideas are better than others, that there’s a way to live that’s better ? truer to our religious values, truer to human nature ? and that we shouldn’t be embarrassed to say so. I presume you are not a moral relativist or a populist, John. You have no problem telling people how you think they should live in other areas of their lives ? nor should you, as long as you are not obnoxious about it. You just don’t like that we try to apply conservative principles to the way we build the environment around us, so you engage in crude populism rather than make an argument about why our concerns are baseless. Try something different. You won’t get very far with a group of thoughtful conservatives by using “elitist” as a pejorative. We had all better be elitists about something!

JPod has yet to respond, but I’ll be interested to see how he saves face, since Dreher is correct.