And most important of all, that faith and family are the point of life. We agree with Russell Kirk, who observed, “The best way to rear up a new generation of friends of the Permanent Things is to beget children, and read to them o’ evenings, and teach them what is worthy of praise: the wise parent is the conservator of ancient truths. As Edmund Burke put it, ‘We learn to love the little platoon we belong to in society.’ The institution most essential to conserve is the family.”
I confessed that I was a Birkenstock’d Burkean in a National Review Online essay, and talked about how displaced I felt as a conservative who liked both Rush Limbaugh and Garrison Keillor. My in-box quickly filled up with literally hundreds of replies from across the country, nearly all of them saying, “Me too!”
There was the pro-life vegetarian Buddhist Republican who wanted to find somebody to discuss the virtues of George W. Bush with over a bowl of dal. An interracial couple, political conservatives and converts to Eastern Orthodoxy, wrote to say they loved shaking up the prejudices of liberal friends at their organic co-op. Small-town and rural crunchy cons checked in, and so did their urban counterparts from Berkeley to New York to London. “I used to listen to Rush while driving around following the Grateful Dead!” someone wrote. Wrote another, “We thought we were the only Evangelical Christians in the world with a copy of ‘The Moosewood Cookbook.'”
Clearly, there are a number of thoughtful, imaginative, eclectic conservatives who fly below the radar of the media and Republican politicos. Who are these people? What do they stand for? And do you have to tune in to NPR as well as to Rush, turn on to whole grains, and drop out of mainstream society to join them?