One of my all-time favorite comments here was:
What would Belfast look like should Obama pass the Wingnut Repatriation Act? I think Stuckey’s and Shoney’s would improve Northern Ireland’s cuisine, but I am willing to be convinced otherwise.
So I’m sympathetic to this in Steven Pinker’s analysis of the red state/blue state thing (h/t reader D):
The historian David Hackett Fischer traces the divide back to the British settlers of colonial America. The North was largely settled by English farmers, the inland South by Scots-Irish herders. Anthropologists have long noted that societies that herd livestock in rugged terrain tend to develop a “culture of honor.” Since their wealth has feet and can be stolen in an eye blink, they are forced to deter rustlers by cultivating a hair-trigger for violent retaliation against any trespass or insult that probes their resolve. Farmers can afford to be less belligerent because it is harder to steal their land out from under them, particularly in territories within the reach of law enforcement. As the settlers moved westward, they took their respective cultures with them. The psychologist Richard Nisbett has shown that Southerners today continue to manifest a culture of honor which legitimizes violent retaliation.
It certainly beats the idiotic Sowell/Bobo Conservative Tragic Vision and less-idiotic-but-too-simplistic Lakoff framing thing that he posits as alternatives.
But, truthfully, how can one talk about why the south in so right-wing without mentioning slavery, Civil Rights, the Civil War, and race? Yet Pinker has written a whole piece, considering lots of explanations for the political divide among states that does exactly this. (I’m blaming Pinker here, who throws “red” and “blue” around, not Nisbett or Fischer, who phrased things in purely cultural terms.)
In Mississippi, 88% of whites vote Republican in presidential, while 95% of blacks vote Democrat (I will try to find a link for this, I read it a few years ago). Aren’t both groups “Southerners”?
I realize I dwell on this all the time, but sometimes I simply can’t believe how superficial and willfully naive our political discourse is. Maybe if I could forget about slavery and believe that “Manifest Destiny” wasn’t just a way to rationalize genocide, I could believe in America Fuck Yeah the way our pundits (almost every one of them, right and left) do. But it nauseates me that all these clowns think they’re asking the “tough questions” when in reality they ignore the obvious, unpleasant truth at every single turn.