Rod Dreher, author of the book Crunchy Con, has a habit of referring to what I call "grounded human behavior" as "conservative." Here's his most recent example. However, I think Rod is conflating "conservatism" with "conservationism." The irony here is that when most people think of the notion of conservation, most people think of liberal environmentalists -- those individuals who believe that husbanding and caring for the natural resources of the world in a responsible way with the well-being of future generations in mind. The tree-huggers, the recylcers, the bicyclists, the alternative energy proponents, etc. The notion of "crunchy" behavior -- although it may have some connection to an ideological conservatism in the mind of Rod Dreher -- comes squarely out of an ideologically liberal tradition -- really out of a communitarian tradition. And ideological conservatism (as opposed to conservationism) is decidedly not what Rod Dreher must think it is. I think Friedrich Hayek's explanation of ideological conservatism, which he wrote in his famous treatise The Road to Serfdom, is much more accurate:
Conservatism, though a necessary element in any stable society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power-adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place. A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privilege and to lean on the power of the government for the protection of privilege.So, when Rod Dreher writes of "The conservatism of parenting," he's really not talking about conservatism at all, but of a kind of social conservationism. And this social conservationism is very much in line with how I understand ideological liberalism.