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Two Weeks at the Heart of the Republican Base

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Two weeks ago I returned from visiting my family in the Mississippi Delta. My youngest son and I went to my uncle‘s funeral. His ashes were to be buried in the cemetery that contains the graves of my family going back to my great-great-grandmother (or was it three ‘greats’?) who was born in the first half of the 19th century. I dug the hole that would serve as my uncle’s grave close to my grandparents’ graves, and I led the prayer for the nine of us who came to the burial. Nine people attending a funeral in a cemetery bordered by a church and corn and soybean fields, in the Delta’s summer heat and humidity, the musical accompaniment courtesy of the cicadas rubbing their legs together. Not bad, not bad at all.

After the funeral we all came back to the house, and I barbecued some pork and beef ribs for those who came with us. My youngest son listened as my older brother and I talked with one of the attendees, a woman who was a distant cousin, and who, along with her husband, is a community leader. My youngest son later asked me why we were all talking about corn and other crops with such enthusiasm; after all, he’s a young scion of what I refer to as the Age of Wonders, the days of the Internet, cell phones, stem cells, practical applications of quantum physics, and miracle drugs.  As I listened to my son (who thought the whole discussion was silly; pointless in the modern world), I couldn’t help but be reminded of a scene in the movie, Deliverance, in which Burt Reynolds and his sole surviving friend are at a dinner table with some locals, and two old women are discussing just how big their cucumbers and squash were in the past season. I told my son that just as grown folks in industrial areas will often talk about what they see as the finer points of industry, those who make their livelihoods in farming communities will talk about the fruits of the soil.

But while the woman and my brother and I were talking, I could see the conversation going in a direction I wasn’t comfortable with, so I told my son that if he wanted he could go play on the Playstation, and he happily complied. I did so because the woman was starting to talk about her opinions of blacks, and while I wasn’t afraid of her influencing my son in any way, I was certainly concerned that he might speak up against her. After all, a dinner after a funeral was no place for a political discussion. My brother watched me as I politely listened and struggled to keep a sincere smile on my face. He knows my political leanings and my opinion of racism, and he had to be laughing to himself about it.

This was – is — the Delta. Things are much the same as before: poverty, lack of education, racism simmering but never quite coming to a rolling boil,  but I’m happy to report that there are some reasons for hope.

As I’ve said before, I’m a contrarian – how else can I refer to myself? I am a white man, strong Christian, retired military, raised virtually next door to ground zero for white racism, yet I am quite liberal. That fact doesn’t sit well with my family, and we’ve never had a visit where there wasn’t a lively discussion of politics. My brother is as strong a libertarian politically as I am a liberal: every day after work he’s got to have his hour with Bill O’Reilly, but at least he agrees that Limbaugh and Hannity are idiots. During the requisite political debate, my brother said how little we "really know" about Obama, how the media was so much kinder to Obama than to McCain, how the media paid "every bit as much attention" to McCain’s allegiance with Reverends Hagee and Parsley as to Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright, and quite a bit more. There’s no need to argue these points again, these horses are dead, but I stood my ground, of course; all the while wondering how it could be that my highly intelligent brother could have been so easily drawn in by these false Republican talking points.

What leads someone to lean to conservative or liberal views?  Is it nature or nurture? If it were nature, an inborn level of understanding or intelligence, then there would be no real difference between the ratio of conservatives and liberals between rural and urban areas. Also, it was recently noted that families that have more girls than boys tend to be more liberal than families with more boys than girls, so clearly the answer must be 'nurture' rather than 'nature'.

I suspect the reason goes back to something I posted on BC several months back, wherein I was attempting to prove a correlation between conservative political rule and lack of education, and poverty. I was castigated by the BC cognoscenti, and rightly so, because of a logical error in my premise that the preponderance of data show that conservative politics indicates a greater prevalence of many of society’s ills. My error lay in that I assumed that conservative politics led to poverty et al. I looked again at the data and saw that perhaps the key was actually a correlation between life in rural America and that same plethora of societal problems.

The error I made, it was said, was that I was assuming a confluence of factors indicated a definite relationship between those factors. My reply was that it is a matter of degree, that when the confluence consists not just of a few events but of hundreds and even thousands of events, there must be a relationship between the factors. The same logic can be applied when searching for the cause of a disease; there wouldn’t seem to be a logical connection between living in a certain part of the country and the prevalence of cancer or osteoporosis, but when the prevalence of a disease or disorder is too great to explain by other means, then there must be a correlation, as there was with cancer in the Delta (thanks to pesticides/herbicides) and with osteoporosis in Puget Sound (due to our lower-than-normal exposure to direct sunlight).

However, I also admitted that I was wrong, that it was apparent that the differences in income, education, divorce rates, crime rates, and life expectancy between liberal and conservative areas of the country wasn’t a result of conservative government, but due to a strong correlation between those several statistics and the level of urbanization of the region in question.

In other words, the greater the level of urbanization, generally speaking, the higher the level of income, education, and life expectancy, and the lower the rates of divorce and crime; and in my opinion, all of these are directly related to the greater level of education and the greater diversity of viewpoints and information available to those living in urban areas. Again, those who would seek to dispute this observation must prove how the "logical error" refutation trumps the confluence of hundreds or thousands of factors and events that skew the bell curve distribution of human development. The commonality of the confluence also begs another question, but I’ll save that for last.

So what the heck does all this have to do with the Mississippi Delta?  First, I think it could be rightfully said that those who grow up in the country are more likely to have a greater level of self-reliance than those who grow up in the city, and as such have a lower level of understanding of the need for social programs. This is not to say that country folk don’t want to help their neighbors, of course they do! But having been raised in a community with few, if any, social programs to help the disadvantaged is (again, in my opinion) more likely to imbue one with a certain contempt of those who need those social programs i.e: “I made it by the sweat of my brow and so can you!” It’s easy to see how those who place a greater value on self-reliance would be more attracted to political parties that oppose social programs and emphasize the type of self-reliance that Ayn Rand popularized. In other words, country folk, rural folk, are more likely to be conservative.

Second, the Delta I grew up in had access to only one television station until the early 80s, and even now the great majority of the Delta receives only two television stations; cable TV (and cable/DSL Internet) is limited to the few small cities and towns which dot the Delta landscape. Furthermore, newspapers in rural areas have a limited budget with which to work, and are necessarily smaller. As a result, they give much greater emphasis to local and social news, and much less attention to national or world new,s than newspapers based in metropolitan areas. For example, if a newspaper in, say, Detroit, exposes inflammatory language by a preacher in a local church, that newspaper can easily withstand the loss of the business of the members of that church, but if a small-town newspaper exposes inflammatory language by a local preacher, that paper just might go under. What does this mean? It means that in rural areas, many grow up with less information at hand, a lower diversity of such information, and less of an appreciation of why they would need more (and a greater diversity of) information.

Third, in my experience, those in the country are less exposed to higher education, and it is more difficult for them to acquire it.  For instance, young adults are often forced with choices of how to move from the country to the city, away from family and lifelong friends, and how to afford living in a city (much less affording higher education in that city). Yes, young adults tend to think anywhere is better than where they grew up, but many wind up staying anyway.

Put those three factors together and what does one get? People who grow up in rural areas are more likely to be conservative, generally have less information at hand and see little need for more information with which to make informed decisions, and generally have a lower level of post-secondary education.

And for a quick look at the other side of the political coin, those who grow up in the city: (1) are exposed to more social programs and is more likely to appreciate the need for those programs (and are therefore more likely to be liberal); (2) have more access to a greater diversity of information and viewpoints; and (3) have easier access to higher education.

A simple look at the statistics makes it plain that those in rural areas do in fact generally have lower levels of income, education, and life expectancy, and generally have higher divorce rates and crime rates. These are not the result of conservative government. I would instead think that these statistics result from the differences between rural and urban lifestyles. I would also submit that the greater strength of conservatism in rural areas is an indirect result of the rural lifestyle, whereas the greater strength of liberalism in urban areas is an indirect result of the urban lifestyle.

But earlier in the article I mentioned that I saw reasons for hope in my visit to the Delta. In listening to the woman speak of her opinion of blacks, I noticed she didn’t use the "N" word, which is very different from thirty years ago. In nearly all-black Shaw, I saw a young white boy walking down the street with a couple of black boys. This would not have been the case when I graduated from high school there a generation ago, for such was greatly frowned upon by the then-prosperous white community of Shaw. There are several middle-class housing developments opening in nearby Cleveland, and many of the residents are black (again, this was not the case a generation ago). No longer are they largely relegated to shotgun shacks with no air conditioning for the sweltering Delta summers.

What’s responsible for the rise of blacks in the Delta before the advent of Barack Obama? Obviously, a greater overall level of education and a greater overall sense of self-worth as they watched African Americans move into the political and social mainstream. Yes, they do have far to go, for the racial disparities in education, crime, and income remain considerable, but after this most recent visit, I believe that even those African Americans raised in the heart of the conservative base, and more specifically at ground zero for racism in America, have real hope for a better station in life.

Before I left, I noticed that the house that belonged to U.S. Senator James O. Eastland, a strongly conservative Democrat who was, for a generation, the most powerful racist in America, was no longer there. I was told that after he passed away, the house had fallen into disrepair and was torn down.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great article, Glenn. I think it’s a more sensible account of the relevant differences in ideologies. Your point about having grown up in the country, and a level of self-reliance that comes with it, is especially well taken.

    I don’t think you’ll find as many detractors this time, but I’m not betting.

  • Doug Hunter

    I have mixed feelings about this article, you hit on a couple of good points including the one on self reliance with which I would fully agree. Some of the other points are not as clear as you would suggest. For example, the cities can disguise pockets of extreme poverty with a couple billionaires taking residence there skewing the income data. Although I don’t think rural areas earn as much they don’t need as much to have the same standard of living.

    You mention diversity. Are you talking about the same cities with their gated communities with it’s own school and their blighted neighborhood with it’s own school and the wealthy downtown district with a private prep academy for the rich? Rural areas might self segregate by skintone more but that’s only one aspect of diversity. I’d say a rural school where everyone, regardless of income, goes has another type of diversity often not found in the city.

    Where did you get your data on rural vs urban crime rates? Data from the US DOJ seems to disagree with you on both property and violent crimes.

    As to the lack of reception to mass media and the corresponding propaganda in the country, I’d also count that as a positive . I know you need to get em mad about their race, and their class, and the world to recruit em into your liberal revolution lite, but there is something to be said about leading your life based on real experiences and real perceptions rather than fantasies being spoon fed to you by those with an agenda.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    In my article I referred to an earlier article wherein my conclusion was wrong due to a logical error…and I believe I’ve corrected that error in this article.

    If you’ll click on the link provided in the previous paragraph you can peruse that article which provides links to official and reliable sources that back up not only the claims I made in this article, but much more.

    In fact, if you’ll peruse that article, you’ll find that blue states are better off than red states in the following categories:

    * the percentage of the population with health insurance was higher in blue states

    * life expectancy is generally higher in blue states. The very blue District of Columbia was in 51st place…but nos. 37 through 50 were ALL red states.

    * Blue states have healthier overall living conditions, according to the United Health Foundation, who figured the rankings according to a combination of factors including the rate of high school graduation, the violent crime rate, the percentage of children in poverty, the per capita public health funding, ready access to primary care, the disparity of mortality rates within the state, the premature death rate, the obesity rate, the preventable hospitalization rate, and rate of infectious disease. Once more, the top of the list is almost completely blue, and the bottom of the list is almost completely red.

    * Blue states generally have a higher level of education

    * And blue states generally median household income

    * crime (in fact, I post a link showing a strong correlation between higher median household income and lower crime…which of course gives the nod to the blue states)

    * the top five states topping the list of homicide rates were all southern anti-gun-control red states

    * if you look at the national rate of violent crime and the national murder rate, the ONLY region that was above the median national rate was the South.

    * the divorce rate is generally higher in red states

    Now, are all the statistics weighted against the red states? No. I post a link showing that there’s a greater prevalence of drug use in blue states.

    Perhaps the most interesting link I post is one from the Census Bureau showing that the top ten recipients of federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are almost all red states…and the ten states that receive the LEAST federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are almost all blue!

    But what was my error? My error was blaming these statistics on conservative politics…and I’ve since realized that the conservative leanings of those states was NOT the cause of all of the above statistics. Instead, I believe those conservative leanings are actually the RESULT of the low level of urbanization of those states.

    The more rural a state’s population, the more likely that state is to be a red state.

    Conversely, the more urban a state’s population, the more likely that state is to be better educated, have life insurance and a longer life expectancy, have a lower violent crime/murder rate, have a higher median income, have higher rate of drug use, and the more likely that state is to be a blue state.

    That’s what the statistics clearly show: in the BIG picture, the more urban the population of a state, the better off that population is…and the more likely that population is to be a blue state.

    The differences between the states aren’t because of the difference between political leanings…but the political leanings of the states are definitely a result of the level of urbanization in those states.

    And where does that leave us? As urbanization in America increases, life will generally become better, and our politics will become bluer…

    …sorta like what’s happened to Europe over the past century.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Say mea culpa three more times and you’ll be exonerated, my son.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Glen, very interesting article…

    “What leads someone to lean to conservative or liberal views? Is it nature or nurture?”

    How would you classify those of us who were orphans and adopted by a bunch of idiots, raised in Southern California and in poverty to boot, yet went to Catholic school? Could go on…

    Sounds scary doesn’t it?

    How do we find our political views?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    poverty in Southern California?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Yes, Roger in Palm Springs to be exact!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Oh and throw this into the pile of shit, three step fathers, two of which were racists, whom I despised because it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Christine,

    It’s a recipe for disaster. Thank goodness you’re no worse than a Republican. I’ll shut up from now on.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Christine –

    Look to see why I call myself ‘contrarian’.

    I’m white, a strong Christian, retired military, and was raised in the MS Delta, at ground zero for racism in America, my grandmother used to work for someone who became the most powerful racist in America for a generation.

    Demographically speaking, I oughta be a rabid racist right-winger…but I’m a proud liberal – and the fact drives my family in the Delta to distraction.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Roger you do make me laugh, but it was and is my faith (strong Christian) that pulled me through and am actually quite sane, believe it or not.

    Glenn thanks for responding, I was just being rambunctious. Sorry about your uncle.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Glenn, what a great piece! And in reading through the narrative a second time it dawned on me, would you not say that in more rural areas of the country there is a real sense of community? Take the Amish, for instance, and the barn raisings. Or Mormons in Utah who really do work together for each other in extraordinary ways. Couldn’t these acts of community support just be its own brand of socialism?

    I agree that education is a core factor but in a simpler sense, rural folks will go an extra mile to help out their neighbor in the context of their environment. Sure, urbanites are more prone to “social” programs — but just what is classified as a social program? Are they only government sponsored? Would not church programs be a form? This article of yours is very thought provoking.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    How do we find our political views?

    Christine, don’t you think Catholic education has something to do with it? For all intents and purposes I would say the majority of Catholic educated folk tend to be quite liberal. My Mom’s side of the clan were all Jesuit educated. While their personal views are very conservative, they vote liberal, support liberal causes and are rabid Democrats.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    Silas, the Catholic Priests and Nuns were my saving grace and the true inspirations of my life when I was growing up. I think most Catholics are Democrats, however, I am Republican and lean toward conservatism, with a few liberal views. Oh well, so much for the norm…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Christine,

    How else can one respond to such a revelation?And in light of this, believe you me, all is forgiven.

  • Doug Hunter

    Glenn, you switched from rural-urban to red state-blue state on me. The crime statistics are very clear that urban areas have higher violent and property crime rates. You were wrong and changing the subject doesn’t change that.

    I know that’s not PC to point out but there are more than just political differences between the lilly white bastions of liberalism in New England and the old slave states. Whatever the cause, African Americans rank poor statistically in all the categories you mention and are much more prevalent in the south. Additionally, many areas also have recent hispanic immigrants who have about a 50% dropout rate and low incomes.

    If you could take Connecticut politics and infrastructure and import 25% of the population from southern blacks then drop a couple million non english speaking immigrants off in the home depot parking lot for a grand social experiment and maintain the wonderful income, poverty, and crime stats for the next generation then you’d have something to preach about. I suspect you’d end up with stats much like the south, a few more grumbling racists, and alot more conservative whites. Until then you’re comparing apples to oranges.

    ** The closest you have come to that would be Maryland (great income and poverty stats) but it’s crime rate is through the roof and even with it’s high income it’s a net taker on federal funds at $1.44/$1 taxes.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Christine – thanks.

    Silas – I would agree that those in the countryside do have a greater sense of community, of ‘neighborliness’ than those in the city…but only for those within what they see as ‘their’ community.

    For instance, where I grew up, we’d all bend over backwards to help someone who went to the local Baptist or Methodist churches, but not so much for the ones who went to the Church of God, and certainly not the ones who went to the ‘black’ churches that the African-Americans attended.

    What’s more, we were very careful about anyone who lived in the ‘city’ – which in this case referred to four nearby towns that were in a radius of about 20 miles, which had populations of about 2500, 6000, 11000, and 15000…and the more we were suspicious about those who were from the ‘hills’ (outside of the MS Delta), out of state, from ‘out West’, and especially anyone from that national quadrant east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon.

    It’s not without reason that when we speak of “someone from the wrong side of the tracks” with suspicion, for where I went to high school, the ‘good’ families (almost all white) were on one side of the railroad tracks, and everyone else was on the other side of the tracks.

    Those who grow up in the country, IMO, tend to be more insular about whom they’ll accept as ‘one of us’…whereas those from the city, having been exposed to many people of many different colors and cultures and nations and languages more readily accept them into the ‘community’.

    Lastly, here in Puget Sound, a biracial couple doesn’t raise an eyebrow. Even same-sex couples aren’t unusual anymore here. However, in the Delta I saw one biracial couple – a white man and an Asian woman – but no black/white couples. Not a single one, despite the everyday proximity of the blacks and whites who each make up close to 50% of the populations of Bolivar and Sunflower counties.

    To most of the white community in the Delta, the idea of a black man with a white woman is…heretical, and the idea that a white woman would actually want to be with a black man, well, they can tell you all about what kind of woman SHE is, can’t they?

    In my household, there are four full-blood Asians, one black/white mix, one Hispanic/white mix, and myself. We did have a full-blood Native American, but he passed away a couple years ago. A household like mine would be unthinkable in the Delta.

    Mississippi – it’s a great place to be away from. I’ll always miss the land there…but I’ll not expose my family to the racism that is still rampant in the heart of the conservative political base.

  • Doug Hunter

    Here’s a map of US poverty. It also allows you to map areas by different demographics: Census Poverty Map

    It becomes clear that poverty is explained much more by racial makeup than voting status. There are a couple of intersting things. The very rural kentucky/West Virginia area is very white yet has really high poverty. It seems most likely to fit the picture you were painting in the article (i.e using rural status to define voting and income patterns). A counterexample would be Utah, very conservative with lots of positive stats.

    Also, here are two quotes and the link to back up my assertion that rural crime rates are lower from the USDOJ: USDOJ Crime Stats

    “Urban residents had the highest violent victimization rates, followed by suburban resident rates. Rural residents had the lowest rates.”

    “Urban households have historically been and continue to be the most vulnerable to property crime, burglary, motor vehicle theft and theft in the United States. In 2005 urban households experienced overall property crime at rates higher than those for suburban or rural households.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug – when it comes to the human condition you can always, always, ALWAYS point out exceptions to the rule…

    …but those exceptions do not disprove the rule.

    Look again at everything I’ve posted – it’s all “GENERALLY SPEAKING”, which means that YES, there will be exceptions to the rule…but the rule is STILL valid.

    Can you disprove my contention that rural areas tend to be conservative, while urban areas tend to be liberal?

    No, you can’t.

    Can you disprove that, GENERALLY SPEAKING, urban areas have longer life expectancies, higher wages, lower violent crime rates, higher education?

    No, you can’t. Again, while there ARE exceptions to the rule, the significant majority of the time my contentions are TRUE.

    You can point out exceptions to the rule all day long, but you canNOT disprove what IS the case the significant majority of the time.

    And here’s something else for you to chew on – what I posted is true not only for America, but for the world as a whole. The more rural the human population, the more conservative their outlook TENDS to be. The more urbanized the population, the more educated, better paid, longer-living, less affected by violent crime they TEND to be.

    “Generally speaking”, Doug. Tendencies. Likelihoods in the BIG picture – not this or that single city or state, but across the nation AS A WHOLE. All strongly backed up by statistics from good, reliable and (mostly) non-partisan sources.

    It’s not-so-simple math – but math nonetheless…and absolutely correct.

  • Clavos

    Can you disprove that, GENERALLY SPEAKING, urban areas have…lower violent crime rates…?

    Yes.

    He just did.

  • Doug Hunter

    Yes, Clav, I did.

    As for the others, you don’t need the same income to live in rural areas where the cost of living is much lower. Life expectancy, again, depends more on racial demographics than rural/urban status. Hawaii, Utah, and Minnesota are the top three, not exactly the urban centers of the universe. The lowest are basically straight by their black populations: DC, MS, LA, AL, etc.

    I think he is right on higher education, although those professionals are likely the ones filling out the suburbs trying to hold their job in the city and also gettin a glimmer of the peaceful rural life.

    I live in the country on acreage in one of the reddest counties of the country. My wife is Puerto Rican and no one has ever given a shit. She’s actually quite the sociable community member. The world is much more complicated than red state = bad, blue state = good.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Gee, look at this! From a different page on the US DOJ site:

    * Rates of murder, and especially those involving guns, are higher in southern regions of the United States–in the East South Central, West South Central, and the South Atlantic regions.

    * For over 20 years, the rates in the Pacific region were above average; in 1998 they fell below the national norm.

    * The rates of the Middle Atlantic and East North Central regions were closest to the national average of all regions.

    * Relatively low rates exist in the New England, Mountain, and West North Central regions. Rates in the mountain region have moved from below the national average to slightly above in recent years.

    So the Pacific, Middle Atlantic, East North Central, New England, Mountain, and West North Central regions were ALL near or below the national average.

    What was left, the ONLY region significantly above the norm? The South.

    Like I posted, generally speaking, in states where a higher percentage of the population is urbanized, the lower the violent crime rate is.

    Now an interesting question might be, exactly WHY is it that, if people within urban areas have a higher rate of violent crime victimization, WHY do states where the population as a whole is more urbanized have a significantly LOWER crime rate than those states where the population is less urbanized and more rural?

    But work with me here, Doug, because here’s a blurb from the FBI that backs you up: “The law enforcement agencies in the Nation’s cities, collectively, reported 577.0 violent offenses per 100,000 in population in 2004. By population group with the city label, law enforcement agencies in the Nation’s largest cities, those with 250,000 and over inhabitants, reported the highest rate, 932.6 violent crimes for each 100,000 inhabitants in 2004, and agencies in cities with 10,000 to 24,999 inhabitants reported the lowest rate, 303.7. Law enforcement agencies in the Nation’s metropolitan counties reported a rate of 331.1 violent crimes per 100,000 resident population; those in nonmetropolitan counties reported a rate of 215.6 violent crimes per 100,000 resident population.”

    So you’re right that the urban areas have more violent crime…but the more urbanized STATES (most of which are blue) have significantly LESS crime. So what’s the answer to this particular conundrum?

    I’m serious, now – you pointed out a good counterstatistic, so let’s look for the explanation.

    Also, bear in mind that you’ve only made inroads against the crime statistic. You’ve got nothing against the stats posted about education level, life expectancy, median income level, divorce rate.

    As far as I’m concerned, my points still stand. Good effort, but you’ve got a long way to go.

    But take your time – I’m offline till tomorrow.

  • Doug Hunter

    Ok, life expectancy. The only papers I can find in the US are one study shown here.

    The study covered a cohort of already older people so it doesn’t cover youth and infant mortality. It shows than in seven of eight demographics rural residents had longer lifespans than their urban counterparts.

    “Among a cohort of Americans aged 65 to 69 in 1982, in seven of the eight subgroups, individuals in rural areas lived longer lives than those in urban areas.”

    There is a Scottish study showing longer lives in rural areas. Once Canadian study shows urban residents living longer but admits that it is skewed by poverty stricken indigenous people in the rural north.

    The results are mixed there but I wouldn’t say it’s a given that urban folks live longer (especially in light of the fact that the only US study I can find says exactly the opposite)

    Now, I’ve knocked your crime claim down, I’ve at least cast doubt on your longevity claim. What else do you have?

    (I know you don’t want to hear it but the answer to your crime question lies largely in racial demographics not political alignment. For now high minority polulation = high crime area. That is a serious problem that needs fixing but it is the truth)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    The “only one you can find”?

    What about the one I linked to in my first article? Actually, I just checked that one and found it’s a copy of the link just previous to that one – sorry.

    So I Googled “list state life expectancy” and voila! Just what I said about life expectancy, courtesy of Business Week!

    And have you ‘knocked’ my crime claim down? As I said above, yes, you’re right that the urban areas have more violent crime…but the more urbanized STATES (most of which are blue) have significantly LESS crime.

    WHY, then, do the more urbanized (mostly blue) STATES have significantly LESS crime than the less urbanized (mostly red) states, even when most urban areas have higher levels of crime?

    That’s a puzzle indeed! How about taking a crack at it and telling us why this is?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And when it comes to racial demographics, yes, areas with higher percentages of minorities DO have higher violent crime rates…but I remember something interesting in the FBI stats I mentioned earlier – the violent crime rate for MS was a bit over three hundred per one hundred thousand people, not much different from that of Washington state. However, the violent crime rate for Tennessee was over seven hundred per one hundred thousand – more than twice the rate of MS, even though the blacks make up a higher percentage of the MS population than in TN.

    So…where did this one come from? And what does this do to your “racial demographics” point?

    And WHY, then, do the more urbanized (mostly blue) states have significantly LOWER crime rates than the less urbanized (mostly red) states?

  • Doug Hunter

    You must be trying to frustrate me by being deliberately obtuse as I answered your question 3 times. I shouldn’t have to spoon feed you every logical step.

    Also, it looks silly to keep backing up your claim in regards to rural/urban differences with the red state/blue state crap. That’s a totally different issue and anyone with a modicum of intellect reading the thread can spot your shallow sleight of hand. Just admit you were wrong or edit the relevant passages to say red state vs blue state instead or rural vs urban.

  • Doug Hunter

    Ok, I now read #25. Thanks for responding to my point. I’m not going any farther down this road. Mississippi is doing very well and we should try and learn from them, but one exception doesn’t change a trend.

    Also, take another look at the map. The states without much urbanization, red or blue, are the ones with the lowest crime rates. The Dakotas along with Idaho and Montana and over to Oregen is one swath of low crime and the far rugged northest i.e. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, etc. is the other. Does is get any more rural than those?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Just to throw a little spanner in the works in your analysis of Mississippi as an example of a Republican/Conservative state, the truth is that the state’s congressional delegation features 3 Democrats and 1 Republican, though it does (for the first time in history) have 2 Republican senators, which makes the total party split about even.

    As for urbanization, you seem to have forgotten about Georgia, Florida and Texas, three highly urbanized states which are Republican dominated.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Damn, you beat me to it on GA, FL and TX, Dave!

    Over the past fifty years, I’ve lived in FL for a total of 25 years in different decades, 20 years in GA and 5 in TX. None of them fit neatly into Glenn’s tidy little package of prejudice, and all three have highly mixed populations in terms of races and urban vs rural.

    But the one thing they do have in common is as you said, being Republican.

    In fact, South Florida further belies Glenn’s little pigeonholes in that Miami-Dade county and Broward county, which are adjacent and high population almost totally urban counties, are Republican and Democrat respectively.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Texas, of course, has more large and medium size cities than any other state in the nation. While the four largest cities vote at least part Democrat, all of the cities in the 100K to 500K population range vote overwhelmingly Republican, and those aren’t dinky little towns. Towns like Waco, Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Galveston and Round Rock vote Republican and they are larger than the largest city in many of those northeastern states which go Democrat. Hell, they’re bigger than the entire state of Vermont.

    Texas has double the population of ALL of the New England states added together, and 80% of it is urban or suburban.

    Dave

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Thanks for sharing, Glenn. Believe it or not, the “other side of the tracks” paradigm is something that exists here in New England as well. I guess that’s just a part of the human condition.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Oh, and let’s talk about what’s more representative of the south. Is it poor, rural Misssissippi or Texas which has 10 times the population and is urbanized? Certainly based on population Texas makes up far more of the south. In fact, Texas, Georgia and Florida added together have more population than all of the other blue states including those in the west.

    Oh and Texas has not one elected Democrat holding a state-wide office, and is about to elect a black Senator.

    Dave

  • Doug Hunter

    Also, even with the pressure of handling a large pool of immigrants Texas takes in less federal taxes than it pays out going against another of the red/blue state talking points. (that blue state taxes fund the red states)

    The point is there is not one factor, especially politics, that fully describes the variances that exists across our nation. The one myth which is repeated in this article that I wanted to counteract is that rural living necessarily leads to inferior standards of living. For much of the country exactly the opposite is the case. There’s less crime, longer lifespans, and less poverty statistically and then there are the intangibles: a greater sense of community perhaps, more self reliance, a healthier view of class relations, and a lesser reliance on and need for government intervention in their lives. (which is why we skew towards the libertarian wing of the republican party)

    In urban areas people are stacked like firewood and need more laws, rules, and regulations to ensure they get along and they vote for it. Rural people need less and want less government interference and they vote for that. Neither is necessarily ‘wrong’ they just vote based on two totally different non mutually exclusive worldviews.

  • Clavos

    In urban areas people are stacked like firewood…

    Which is the chief reason why urban areas have higher crime rates; they’re stressful and they offer far more opportunity for crime.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    To quote a great president, “There you go again!” You point out Texas as using less federal taxes than it pays – which is true, at .94 used for every dollar paid – but you’re pointing out the EXCEPTION to the rule rather than the rule itself.

    What’s the rule? Look at ALL the states, and not just Texas.

    The ten states who use the MOST federal taxes compared to what they paid in are (in descending order):

    New Mexico
    Mississippi
    Alaska
    Louisiana
    West Virginia
    North Dakota
    Alabama
    Kentucky
    Virginia

    And the ten states who spend the LEAST federal dollars compared to what they paid are:

    Massachusetts
    Colorado
    New York
    California
    Delaware
    Illinois
    Minnesota
    New Hampshire
    Connecticut
    Nevada
    New Jersey

    So do we see a common thread? Yep! The ten states who use the most federal dollars compared to what they pay in are mostly red states, and the ones who use least are mostly blue states.

    Back to the drawing board, Doug.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Apologies – South Dakota belongs on the top ten list between Alabama and Kentucky.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    For your perusal, here’s the ten states with highest firearm death rates and the ten states with the lowest firearm death rates.

    Top ten:

    Louisiana
    Alabama
    Alaska – Mississippi (tied for 3rd)
    Nevada
    Arizona
    Wyoming
    Tennessee
    Arkansas
    New Mexico

    And the bottom ten:

    Wisconsin
    North Dakota
    Iowa
    Minnesota
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey
    New York
    Connecticut
    Rhode Island
    Massachusetts
    Hawaii

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, this last one means nothing. More people own firearms in those states, so there are naturally going to be more accidents and more deaths. I bet if you check the number of deaths relative to the number of firearms owned you’ll find that the number of deaths PER firearm is lower.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Again, for your perusal, the fifteen states with the highest violent crime rates and the fifteen states with the lowest violent crime rates:

    Top fifteen (after Wash. D.C.):

    Arizona
    South Carolina
    Washington (barely blue (see Gregoire/Rossi results)
    Louisiana
    Hawaii (barely blue – but has a Republican governor)
    Texas
    Tennessee
    Oregon
    Florida
    New Mexico
    Nevada
    Oklahoma
    Georgia
    North Carolina
    Arkansas

    And the bottom fifteen:

    Rhode Island
    Idaho (quite red)
    Virginia (no longer truly red, but ‘purple’)
    Pennsylvania
    Massachusetts
    Connecticut
    Wisconsin
    New Jersey
    Kentucky (a surprise)
    West Virginia (another surprise)
    New York
    Maine
    Vermont
    South Dakota
    North Dakota
    New Hampshire

    While there are surprises on both lists, the top fifteen strongly lean to the red, while the bottom fifteen lean mostly to the blue.

    So again, Doug – you made a good point about how urban areas have higher violent crime rates, so howzabout ‘splainin’ WHY the statewide violent crime stats are skewed strongly towards the red states?

    Again, pay attention to the BIG picture, the OVERALL stats, rather than picking out this or that exception to the rule as you did with Texas’ federal taxes.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave, these are violent crimes and homicides, and NOT accidents.

    And you can also explain why, when violent crime rates are higher in urban areas, the overall violent crime rates are higher in red states than blue states.

    Remember, my premise was NOT that this is due to red or blue politics (which was erroneous), but due to the statewide levels of urbanization – by which I include not just metropoli, but also smaller cities and every kind of city in between the two. I now realize I should have made that clearer…but my point still stands.

    One more note – if you’ll read my article and my initial discussion with Doug, you’ll see that it’s not just crime, but also health care coverage, life expectancy, education, median income, divorce rate…y’all got a LONG way to go, Dave.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    All your first list proves, btw, is that poor states with no industrial base and no tax base take more federal money, which isn’t exactly a revelation.

    And what does it mean that there’s marginally more violent crime in southern states or in red states? It’s not like there’s much violent crime in America compared to most countries around the world or compared with our own not too distant past.

    And none of this establishes a causal relationship. Perhaps you’d like to argue that these southern states are more violent because they have larger populations of mexicans or blacks? Those are certainly characteristics of the states in question. Why not make that argument? Or are you only bigoted when it’s politically correct?

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, most of us would trade 2 years of life expectancy for living our other 77 years with a little less of the government on our back.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave #42 –

    When you’re 75, I think you’d think twice about that statement.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave #41 –

    What state has the highest percentage of blacks? Mississippi. So WHY, then do they have a homicide rate less than half that of Tennessee, which has a much lower percentage of blacks?

    That in a nutshell is why the racial argument falls flat on its face.

    I don’t like the ‘lack of industrialization’ argument either, because of West Virginia and the Dakotas having such a low violent crime rate.

    Try again, Dave – and you know what? I might be wrong, and you know it wouldn’t be the first time. BUT THE THING IS, we see such disparity in so many statistical areas between red and blue states…and the disparities go beyond a normal statistical distribution. It cannot be mere happenstance.

    I want to know why, so walk with me on this so we can all find out why. How about it, Dave?

  • Clavos

    A state-to-state comparison of crime rates is inherently flawed and less than optimal. One indicator of this is that, of the ten cities with the highest crime rates, six (or 60%) are located in blue states.

    Per capita income seems to be a decent criterion and is so reported in the link cited in #39, and race is a good indicator, so long as the shortcomings of the FBI statistical data gathering methodology are taken into account, because the FBI only measures crime rates for blacks and whites, which would likely seriously underestimate crime rates in Miami-Dade county, which is two thirds Latino.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, it’s clearly urbanization, probably in combination with several other factors including race and gun laws.

    So what is your point? People choose to live where they do because it suits their preferences. They’d rather own a gun and have the choice to defend themselves even if it means living somewhere with a slightly higher than average rate of gun violence. Shouldn’t they have the right to make that choice?

    Dave

  • Doug Hunter

    “That in a nutshell is why the racial argument falls flat on its face.”

    Not really, It doesn’t fall on it’s face with one counterexample any more than your theories fall on their face with one counterexample.

    You’re talking out both sides of your mouth here and this is the second little charade you’ve pulled when I called you out on something. I know you’re not so sorely lacking in critical thinking skills that you miss the difference between rural/urban and red/blue state or that you can’t understand one counterexample doesn’t do away with my point in regards to race. (especially when you are fully aware that me providing one counterexample doesn’t disprove your points)

    There are multiple factors that influence all the things you brought up, politics is one, rural/urban divide is another, racial/ethnic/cultural demographics is another, natural strategic importance and natural resources is one, immigration patterns are another, special status for Hawaii, Alaska, and DC is still another.

    If you break it down by red and blue county rather than state the picture changes completely yet again.

    What we all should have got from this is every area and every community is unique, and they should be allowed to develop uniquely according to the wishes of the local population at the local and state level of politics. Big government liberals should stay the hell out of rural affairs and continue to redevelop their utopias in the inner city. You can keep that rot, and violence, and shorter lifespan, and pollution, and commute to yourself.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It all depends in what condition you’ll be when you’re 75.

    When I get older losing my hair,
    Many years from now.
    Will you still be sending me a valentine
    Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

    If I’d been out till quarter to three
    Would you lock the door,
    Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
    When I’m sixty-four.

    You’ll be older too,
    And if you say the word,
    I could stay with you.

    I could be handy, mending a fuse
    When your lights have gone.
    You can knit a sweater by the fireside
    Sunday mornings go for a ride.

    Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
    Who could ask for more.
    Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
    When I’m sixty-four.

    Every summer we can rent a cottage,
    In the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear
    We shall scrimp and save
    Grandchildren on your knee
    Vera, Chuck & Dave

    Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
    Stating point of view
    Indicate precisely what you mean to say
    Yours sincerely, wasting away

    Give me your answer, fill in a form
    Mine for evermore
    Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
    When I’m sixty-four.

  • Clavos

    I remember when I thought the theme of that song was so far in the future as to be incomprehensible to me…

    [Sigh]

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Same with Sinatra, Clav, “It was a good year.”

  • Clavos

    Must have had a brain fart a few minutes ago.

    I meant, of course, “inconsequential,” not “incomprehensible.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    That’s one of my favorite songs for my wife.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Y’know, I’m really not liking Askimet.

    It’s obvious that the conservative side is taking the ‘ostrich route’, saying “don’t bother me about it, it doesn’t matter, yada yada yada”.

    YES, each and every person is unique. YES, every town and city and county and state is unique.

    BUT WHAT YOU’RE NOT GETTING is that when you deal with millions of people, the ‘uniqueness’ goes by the wayside. Individual psychology is one thing – mass psychology is something else altogether, and is FAR more easily understood than the individual.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    The significant disparities between red states and blue states that I’ve found thus far are in:

    violent crime rate
    homicide rate
    life expectancy
    health insurance ownership
    level of education
    median income
    ratio of federal taxes received/paid
    suicide rates (red states much higher)
    home ownership (red states higher(!))

    What’s even sadder when people are presented this whole slate of disparities – too statistically consistent to be mere happenstance – and those same intelligent people choose to ignore those disparities.

    How can you work to eliminate those disparities if you IGNORE them???? Or worse, how can you work to eliminate those disparities when you blame them on race?!? That, sirs, is lazy logic…because given any particular set of people in the SAME economic circumstances, there’s little measurable difference between how sets of different races would perform.

    But you’ll still ignore the disparties and wish them away…and I think we all know why you do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Wasn’t it great? The Beatles surely have evolved over the years.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Why do you assume that we WANT to eliminate the dispartieies? Maybe we like having more than one social model available for us to choose from, even if there is a cost associated?

    Do you think there isn’t a price for living in your blue/northern states? Less of a sense of comunity, less privacy, more sanctimonious leftists. Prices some of us choose not to pay.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    “You’re talking out both sides of your mouth here and this is the second little charade you’ve pulled when I called you out on something.”

    Like when I called you out for using Texas as an example of how a red state spends less federal taxes than it pays…never mind that the overall disparity when comparing ALL the states is indeed significant?

    Lemme give you another example, Doug – California. Do they have an illegal immigrant problem? Yep. Do they have a significant diversity i.e. lots of brown people? Yep! Do they have a violent crime rate above the national average? Yes, they do…BUT their OVERALL crime rate is BELOW the national average!

    And Florida – which has LOTS of minorities – has a homicide rate 20% LOWER than that of Georgia! But their overall crime rate is much higher.

    So yes, there’s LOTS of factors that go into these disparities…but simple race ain’t one of them. Bear in mind that despite the fact that ARE lots of factors, look again at the list of disparities between blue states and red states. There’s a whole list of them!

    You’re an intelligent individual – so instead of throwing your hands in the air and saying it’s too complicated to find the answer, a common thread or threads that run through all of these statistics.

    Put your brain to work, Doug – let’s figure this particular conundrum out.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    @ #49:

    That was my favourite song when I was two!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You can’t possibly remember it when you were two.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    You wouldn’t want a longer life expectancy, greater income, a higher level of education, a lower level of poverty for your people, a lower violent crime rate for your people?

    Oh, come on!

    If you’re truly indicative of conservatives, I think this answers a lot of questions of why conservatives are the way they are. “We don’t care that our people are worse off and that you could help us to be better! Just leave us alone!”

    Never mind that a lot of conservatives don’t have a problem with ‘spreading democracy’ at the point of a gun.

    Tell you what, Dave – why don’t you support the succession of Texas? That way you could be quite sure that us liberals would leave you alone.

  • Clavos

    Oh shut up, Doc.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You just gave him an idea, Glen. Nothing would make Dave happier.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    And Glenn, I have to question the significance of your figures on violent crime. If you look at the actual violent crime figures, the difference between the median for the worst half of the states and the median for the best half of the states is a whopping 2 violent crimes per 100,000 people per year.

    That’s .002%. That’s so few crimes as to be statistically meaningless. I’d submit that the citizen is absolutely incapable of telling the difference between a .005% chance of being the victim of a violent crime and a .003% chance of being the victim of a violent crime. It’s the difference between the small exurban town I live in in Texas having one violent crime every 18 months and having one violent crime every 24 months if we moved the whole town from Texas to Connecticut.

    Just trying to argue that these numbers are meaningful is ridiculous.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The succession of Texas?

    The Lone Star State has a royal family? Is Dave the Crown Prince? My, he kept that under his hat pretty well…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Let’s hope it won’t turn into another Alamo.
    Dave, I’m rooting for you.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    You wouldn’t want a longer life expectancy, greater income, a higher level of education, a lower level of poverty for your people, a lower violent crime rate for your people?

    Sure, Glenn. But as I just pointed out, the differences which may exist are statistically meaningless in many of these things you bring up.

    If you’re truly indicative of conservatives, I think this answers a lot of questions of why conservatives are the way they are. “We don’t care that our people are worse off and that you could help us to be better! Just leave us alone!”

    You really don’t get it. People in Texas don’t believe they are worse off. They are absolutely certain they are better off, because they value different things than people from New England do. If they thought people in New England were better off they would be moving there. But the reality is that people from other parts of the country are moving HERE at a significant rate.

    Given the fact that the migration pattern is TO states like Texas, Georgia and Florida and away from the states you say have a better lifestyle, shouldn’t you reassess things and consider that you might be placing your emphasis on values which people don’t actually rate as highly as you think they should?

    Tell you what, Dave – why don’t you support the succession of Texas? That way you could be quite sure that us liberals would leave you alone.

    The word is “secession” actually. And there might come a point where I did support it, but I’m not yet convinced that the union can’t be salvaged.

    But contemplate this for a while. What other state in the union COULD secede and cut off all ties to the rest of the country and still maintain all of the elements of modern civilization and a competitive economy without the other states?

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s OK, Clavos. Think of the wisdom we both have over these young pups.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “the elements of modern civilization . . .”

    Somehow, I have a problem with this one, unless we’re thinking the times of the frontier.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    What other state could? How about the one that (until Ahnold came along) had the fourth largest economy in the world? That would be California.

    Then there’s Hawaii, which was its own country until Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in a U.S.-engineered coup.

    Frankly, Washington – with its high-tech western half and agricultural eastern half – could do just as well.

    In other words, Texas ain’t that special.

    And when it comes to people coming TO Texas, how many of those are illegal immigrants, or simply LEGAL immigrants coming to join family? I really have no doubt that lots of people are going to Texas…but lots of people are going lots of other places too.

    And on your other point – where Texans feel they’re already better off – that’s a sentiment very common to those who don’t know as much about life elsewhere as they think they do…just like we in MS were absolutely sure we were better off than anyone north of the Mason-Dixon (and better off than Texas, at any rate!).

    No, Dave, the stats I brought up are NOT ‘meaningless’…that’s simply what you have decided to believe. For instance, you’re still harping on the crime stats…but you’re not touching the rest of the list of stats.

    As for myself, when it comes to questions concerning millions of people, I’d rather trust the obvious numbers at hand rather than my gut feeling or political leanings.

  • Clavos

    So why ain’t we rich, Roger?

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Roger, you live in Kentucky ferchissakes. Do you even have indoor plumbing?

    The truth is that Texas is self-sufficient in just about everything, and we’re ideally situated to benefit from unrestircted exploitation of Mexico too.

    There’s nothing being done in other states that isn’t being done here in Texas. We make computers and cars, have movie studios, are agriculturally self-sufficient, have some of the largest industrial ports in the nation, lead in the production of oil and biofuels. The list goes on and on.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve had my day in the sun, Clav – living on a quarter mill discretionary income in SF – for close to fifteen years. It didn’t make me happy but I was young, so what did I care?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No reflection on Texas, Dave. I lived there for close to a year and it was fun. Never been to Dallas, though, or Houston. It was when it was the booming town, just build the first astroturf.

    But by civilization I mean culture. North Carolina or GA, to name a few southern states, have a richer tradition. And even SF, the gateway to the West, pales in comparison to NYC.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    What other state could? How about the one that (until Ahnold came along) had the fourth largest economy in the world? That would be California.

    Economic bankruptcy is a poor place to start from as an independent nation.

    Then there’s Hawaii, which was its own country until Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in a U.S.-engineered coup.

    No industry at all. I was talking about being a modern nation, not some sort of client state with an economy based on tourism.

    Frankly, Washington – with its high-tech western half and agricultural eastern half – could do just as well.

    No car factories, no oil. Better off than most states, though.

    And when it comes to people coming TO Texas, how many of those are illegal immigrants, or simply LEGAL immigrants coming to join family? I really have no doubt that lots of people are going to Texas…but lots of people are going lots of other places too.

    Well, you’re wrong. I wasn’t even talking about illegals. Take a look at the statistics for domestic migration (at the end of the article linked to). People are fleeing the states you praise and flooding into the ones you’re criticizing. BTW, Austin is overwhelmingly the #1 destination. And this is all domestic migration, no immigrants.

    And on your other point – where Texans feel they’re already better off – that’s a sentiment very common to those who don’t know as much about life elsewhere as they think they do…just like we in MS were absolutely sure we were better off than anyone north of the Mason-Dixon (and better off than Texas, at any rate!).

    Down here in Texas we have something called Television. It makes people very aware of what life is like elsewhere.

    No, Dave, the stats I brought up are NOT ‘meaningless’…that’s simply what you have decided to believe.

    No, the differences in crime rate are in fact statistically insignificant.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    With all due respect, Roger, a quarter mil a year, while certainly comfortable, ain’t rich, no way.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    CA – “Economic bankruptcy is a poor place to start”? And how was America doing economically during and immediately after the Revolutionary War?

    And FYI, a temporary economic downturn does NOT equal a permanent bankruptcy. Please be careful with those assumptions.

    HI – “No industry at all” – FYI, there’s quite a few places on the planet that depend almost solely on tourism, and they do quite well.

    WA – “no cars, no oil” In the modern world, Dave, there’s no such thing as a truly self-sufficient country – unless you want to try to see if you can do “juche” better than the Kims have done.

    “Down here in Texas we have something called television” – FYI, Dave, television does NOT give one an understanding of what life is like elsewhere…as most well-traveled people would agree. They don’t call it the “idiot box” for nothing….

    And if you want to ignore the crime rate, fine – there’s eight or nine other stats you’ve yet to explain away, too.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Being rich was never my ambition. I’d spend my money as soon as I made it. Not having been raised in the US, I guess I was rather naive in matters of finance and financial independence. I regret it somewhat today, because money means freedom, but not very much. I’ve lived my life to the full.

  • Clavos

    HI – “No industry at all” – FYI, there’s quite a few places on the planet that depend almost solely on tourism, and they do quite well.

    Name one.

    I spent thirty years working in tourism, it’s a notoriously bad anchor for an economy, subject to constant and wrenching cycles of boom and bust.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dined in the best SF restaurants at least three times a week, would go to the SF Opera and theater performances in the Currant and Golden Gate Theater, was a regular customer at the most fashionable singles bars South of Market, had a $400,000 South of Market commercial/residential property (now going for close to a mill and a half even today), a Citroen-Maserati sports car, and plenty of paramours and love affairs.

    Life was good!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    whoooo…what happened? Youth?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Name one? How about Monaco? They do quite nicely, thank you. Or the Seychelles? The Maldives? Mauritius? They may not be as prosperous as Monaco, but they do well enough.

    Not to mention the fact that America would pay nicely to keep a base there, just like we do in Singapore.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No, the Loma Prieta and a divorce. She tried to make me to the cleaners – a fifth generation Chinese-American, “Susie Wong” stage name – but that wasn’t it. I’ve lost access to the property for three months, during which time I was on the drunk. Commuting to SF was a bitch – you had to do it either via the Golden Gate Bridge or San Mateo Bridge (while I was across the Bay in Oakland) – but SF was where my labor pool was. So I got negligent and accounts started slipping away.

    But the time the Bay Bridge was rebuilt, I couldn’t maintain my $3000.00 plus mortgage payment and had to rent the property out at close to a $1,000.00 loss, a month – making for a negative cash flow. I tried my millionaire sister assume the payments for a time until I got my shit together, by my baby sister was always competitive and chose to take this opportunity to teach me a lesson. Eventually, I was facing foreclosure but managed to sell at as $20,000 profit.

    Meanwhile, the business kept on sliding due to influx of the Peruvians, who replaced the usual work force consisting of whites who, besides, were on GA so they’ve lost their motivation to work, prices kept on being undercut by the availability of cheaper labor force, and it was no longer profitable to operate.

  • Clavos

    I’ll give you Monaco, Glenn, although much of its income comes from banking (it is a tax haven) and a variety of state monopolies, including tobacco and telecoms, and of course, the casino.

    The Seychelles and Mauritius are Third World economies, they do well only by comparison with other Third World countries.

    As for the Maldives, they are a perfect example of the uncertainty of tourism-based economies, after the tsunami, their GDP contracted by more than 3%. They recovered, and in 2007, they reached their highest-ever GDP, at $4,600 USD per capita. Also a Third World economy, hardly “doing well,” except in comparison to the likes of the Seychelles and Mauritius.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    “although much of its income comes from banking (it is a tax haven) and a variety of state monopolies, including tobacco and telecoms, and of course, the casino.”

    As if Hawaii couldn’t do the same? Especially since they are so well known?

    And FYI, since nature abhors a vacuum, if Hawaii declared independence, Japan would suddenly have a great deal more influence there…indeed, they do already.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    Ow. I would say, “Ah feel your pain”, but my own divorce was rather painless compared to yours (I was lucky). Been married almost 18 years since then and I’m grateful for every moment of it.

    It’s not my place to give advice, but I’ll give it anyway – don’t give up finding a special someone…because growing old alone is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even Dick Cheney.

    In the Church of which I’m a member, there’s no divorce – and no annulment either. I estimate that the marriages within the Church are close to 85% successful…because both have to find a way to make it work.

    I’ll stop with that – otherwise, I’ll have to put on a ‘Lucy’ mask, put up a small wooden shack, and charge you a nickel.

  • Clavos

    Clavos –

    “although much of its income comes from banking (it is a tax haven) and a variety of state monopolies, including tobacco and telecoms, and of course, the casino.”

    As if Hawaii couldn’t do the same? Especially since they are so well known?

    Did I say anything at all about Hawaii?

    No.

  • Clavos

    In the Church of which I’m a member, there’s no divorce – and no annulment either. I estimate that the marriages within the Church are close to 85% successful

    And the other 15%? What do they do? Murder/suicide?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    And FYI, a temporary economic downturn does NOT equal a permanent bankruptcy. Please be careful with those assumptions.

    Only time will prove if that’s accurate. IMO the California economy is not structured to be self-sufficient without radical political change.

    HI – “No industry at all” – FYI, there’s quite a few places on the planet that depend almost solely on tourism, and they do quite well.

    I was talking about being a modern, functional nation with a self-sustaining economy and a varied workforce. There are limits to how far you can go as a nation based on a few agricultural exports and tourism, and you know it.

    WA – “no cars, no oil” In the modern world, Dave, there’s no such thing as a truly self-sufficient country – unless you want to try to see if you can do “juche” better than the Kims have done.

    Yes, but you have to produce something to export to generate the revenue to import other things you need, or else you have to produce them yourself, or you don’t have a complete and functional economy.

    They don’t call it the “idiot box” for nothing….

    Spoken like someone who doesn’t get Discovery Channel or the History Channel or National Geographic or the dozes of other educational, historical and travel channels.

    And if you want to ignore the crime rate, fine – there’s eight or nine other stats you’ve yet to explain away, too.

    You still haven’t addressed the issue of lifestyle choice. Why do we all have to be homogenized? Why is there only one right way to live? Seems awfully elitist.

    Tell me where in your blue state world I can hunt pigs in my back-yard without a license or carry a rifle to a presidential appearance?

    Dave

  • STM

    Fanscinating insight into real, rural America. Thanks Glenn.

  • STM

    One thing I’ll add, though, Glenn. You only think you come from the South :)

    This is the REAL south. Looking down, next stop, Antarctica.

  • STM

    And boys, while you’re arguing about tourism based economies: Fiji, especially Viti Levu, the main island, and many of the islands of the South Pacific … Vanuatu, New Caledonia, French Polynesia.

  • Clavos

    Beautiful, idyllic places to be sure, Stan, but not one of them could be a member of the G8.

    They’re all Third World, economically.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    Thanks – I have to admit that next to Hawaii, the most beautiful place I’ve been is in Tasmania. Look in the dictionary for the word ‘pastoral’ and you’ll see the Huon Valley not far from Hobart. Not only that, but the climate’s not much different from here in Puget Sound.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Being part of the ‘third world’ is not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, ask Dan about life in Costa Rica.

    A lot of Americans who have traveled in the more peaceful areas of the third world often find something that Americans had a long time ago, but not so much now. Most of those who’ve been there would know what I mean. Those who haven’t, won’t.

    That, and those who look down their nose at countries who don’t have a powerful military or big economy wouldn’t understand, either.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos #86 – “Did I say anything at all about Hawaii?”

    Check #78 – Hawaii is what we were talking about…perhaps you didn’t get the ‘HI’ reference, which is the two-letter postal symbol for Hawaii. You did say you were a letter carrier, right?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos #87 –

    “And the other 15%? What do they do? Murder/suicide?”

    Remember this question the next time you call me on logic or assumptions.

    But to answer your question, they either stay separated (but still married to each other) until they reconcile or one of them pass away (and I’ve seen several couples in this position)…or they depart the Church.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    “Only time will prove if that’s accurate. IMO the California economy is not structured to be self-sufficient without radical political change.”

    Dave, I would think a double history major would know that ups and downs in economies rarely require ‘radical political change’. Sure there are lots of examples where such was needed, but there are far more examples where such was not necessary.

    “I was talking about being a modern, functional nation with a self-sustaining economy and a varied workforce. There are limits to how far you can go as a nation based on a few agricultural exports and tourism, and you know it.”

    As with Clavos, you seem to be of the assumption that a country that can’t qualify to be one of the biggest or most powerful can’t be considered successful…and I’d invite you as well to discuss Costa Rica with Dan.

    “Yes, but you have to produce something to export to generate the revenue to import other things you need, or else you have to produce them yourself, or you don’t have a complete and functional economy.”

    And you underestimate the human drive for success. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention…and innovation.

    “Spoken like someone who doesn’t get Discovery Channel or the History Channel or National Geographic or the dozes of other educational, historical and travel channels.”

    Gee, looking at the difference in the educational levels of the blue states and the red states, I feel quite confident in my assumption that if you watch those channels (as I and my family do), you’re certainly in the minority.

    “You still haven’t addressed the issue of lifestyle choice. Why do we all have to be homogenized? Why is there only one right way to live? Seems awfully elitist.”

    I never said anything remotely about homogenization of the population, Dave. That’s only your assumption. As I’ve posted often before, I wouldn’t want a country that effectively has only one political party…and you’ll remember that I said exactly that in my articles warning of the demographic trends threatening the Republican party.

    “Tell me where in your blue state world I can hunt pigs in my back-yard without a license or carry a rifle to a presidential appearance?”

    Looking back at the history of the most dangerous civilian job in America – that of President of the United States, which has the highest death rate of ANY civilian job in American history – you really think it’s a good idea to allow rifles at a presidential appearance?

    No sir, that would be the height of irresponsibility…especially since the current president has been receiving death threats at a FAR greater rate than any other recent president…

    …and yes, you SHOULD be concerned, because if Obama were assassinated, we’d have nationwide riots that would make the Watts and Rodney King riots look like classroom spats. Do you really, truly want to risk all of that just so you can profess your supposed ‘freedoms’?

    FYI, your freedoms end at the point where placing others in grave risk begins.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No problem, Glenn, about the advice. I’ve been married at least three times – not counting common-law marriages – and am always on the lookout.

  • Clavos

    Being part of the ‘third world’ is not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, ask Dan about life in Costa Rica.

    Don’t lecture me condescendingly, Glenn.

    I was born in the Third World, spent a substantial portion of my life there, and am a citizen of a Third World country, a rather advanced one (for Third World) at that.

    I know whereof I speak.

  • Mark

    Speaking of Dans — does anyone know if Parenthetical Dan is still a prisoner on his property in Panama?

  • Clavos

    Check #78 – Hawaii is what we were talking about…perhaps you didn’t get the ‘HI’ reference, which is the two-letter postal symbol for Hawaii.

    Thank you, Glenn, I’m so glad you’re here to enlighten me and help me overcome my abject Third World ignorance.

    My point was and is that I said nothing about HI directly, so your comment was misdirected to me, though perhaps you were too eager to condescend and didn’t notice that.

  • Clavos

    “And the other 15%? What do they do? Murder/suicide?”

    Remember this question the next time you call me on logic or assumptions.

    Remember that exchange the next time someone employs irony or sarcasm to you — print it out and keep it in your wallet for future reference.

  • Clavos

    Yes, he is, Mark.

    But he has acquired friends in high places (and a lawyer) and is vigorously fighting to be free.

    Third World country.

    BTW, I keep forgetting to ask you: have you heard about the widespread horse killings here in SoFla? The police say that it’s being done to sell the meat on the black market. Here’s a video from the Miami Herald.

  • Mark

    What with hurricanes, bugs and hungry people it doesn’t pay to be a horse in Florida.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    They have bugs in Florida?!

  • STM

    Glenn: “Huon Valley not far from Hobart.”

    Hobart is my favourite city, anywhere. I love the Huon Valley too, but I prefer the countryside going the other way heading north towards Launceston.

    My favourite picnic spot, anywhere: a summer field, requiring a clamber over a stile, within waliing distance of the convict-built stone bridge at Ross (1820s).

    Second-prize, down on the grassy bank of the river at the other stone bridge at Richmond.

    I used to fly down there for long weekends.

    It’s worth it. How come you were down this way Glenn??

  • STM

    Clav: “not one of them could be a member of the G8.”

    And long may it stay that way :)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    p.s. to Clav,

    We are buying next year. House up for sale in the spring. We had a narrowly missed foreclosure ‘opportunity’ which would have taken place on Oct 2. I imagined a man coming over and saying ‘get out’ I won your house in the Capitalist lottery–sorry you couldn’t come up with the back taxes.

    We came up with the back taxes. No reason to press our luck and get behind again. Besides imagine what one could do with $11k if one didn’t have to hand it over to the local govt to pay for new cop cruisers–which they need so they can be comfy while they are sitting around waiting for someone to speed.

    Meanwhile, I went to the library and the inter-library book satchels are 2 high and 8 feet long. There are carts and carts of books everywhere because they laid of 6 people. My road still isn’t fixed and we are now told gypsy moths are to be part of our natural environment–get used to it. Most of my tax money goes to indoctrinate children anyway. (I don’t have any children so I think it’s a bit commie to expect me to pay for the indoctrination for everyone else’s. Socialist bastards.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    If you don’t want me to ‘lecture and enlighten’ you on third world countries, then don’t post as if you’re ignorant of them.

    Just because one is from a third-world country doesn’t mean they have an appreciation of all third-world countries…nor does it mean that you automatically are an authority on life in third-world countries. It only means you have a greater likelihood of such…but that’s all.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    It was a couple of port visits I made on the USS Abraham Lincoln a decade or so ago. On my last one I took leave (it was to be my last overseas port before I retired), rented a car, drove to my heart’s content, and fell in love with the place.

    If you get a chance, there’s a cave where the park rangers give walking tours – the outside isn’t much, the inside is small but very nice…but the park ranger leading us was a woman who had a wonderful voice, and between her voice and the acoustics of the cave…friend, it’ll bring tears to your eyes.

  • http://www.deadmule.com Val MacEwan

    I’ve lived in the rural south most of my life. My parents, both college graduates from the 1930s, had a difficult time transitioning from Cincinnati to rural farmland but did so in the 1960s as Dad was hired as labor negotiator for major appliance manufacturer. I briefly taught in a private school that was founded in 1968 to combat desegregation (but I wasn’t aware of this at the time I joined the staff). You pretty much wrote what I would write — and I think this is a truly well-written article. Thoughtful, thought-provoking… good work.

    Food for thought – I live in rural NC, town of +/- 12K, our violence and crime comes, for the most part, from people who’ve moved here from northern cities. Families send their teenage children here to live with aunts, uncles and grandparents – to get away from inner-city violence and drugs. Instead, they bring the violence here and teach our children how to form gangs and fight. They teach a new bigotry and morbid racial strife. And the drug traffic? Unreal. Rural areas don’t have the manpower to stop the pipeline, so drugs start here from the ICW and move westward toward Charlotte. Fishermen no longer catch flounder – there’s too much money in drugs. (generalized statement, of course it isn’t true for all fishermen, let me be clear… lest some take offense)

    These are the facts for my personal geography. I worked for the local police dept for years and also at nearby university in demographic research while in graduate school.

  • STM

    Did you get to the Big Smoke Glenn …. to Sydney?

    Not the natural beauty of Tassie or Hobart, but I think – and so do most of my countrymen – it has the world’s most beautiful harbour (although Istanbul and Porto up the river a bit might be its equal).

    As Doc describes it, “Do you mind if we build a city around this amazing harbour and we’ll try not to intrude too much”.

    Or something like that.

    I have been to San Francisco a few times and it kind of reminded me of Sydney a bit. To the point where I used to forget where I was sometimes until I realised everyone was speaking with a strange accent and driving on the wrong side of the road.

    Cheers mate. Glad you liked Tassie. You’re not alone. Enjoyed your story too.

  • Clavos

    Just because one is from a third-world country doesn’t mean they have an appreciation of all third-world countries

    Well, you’re right about that, I don’t have much “appreciation” of Third World countries, and I’ve traveled (and worked) all over Latin America and parts of Asia, as well as parts of Africa.

    Third wold countries for the most part are mired in grinding poverty and hopelessness for the underclasses, while their ruling classes’ existence is often unequaled in its lavish wealth and power, even in the First World.

    Not an admirable societal model.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Well, gee whiz, if you’re against having such a gap between the ultra-wealthy and grinding poverty, then you should have been greatly alarmed at how the Reagan tax cuts for the wealthy initiated the present gap between America’s ultra-wealthy and joe everyman.

    America’s middle class was strongest during the fifties, sixties, and early seventies, when our top marginal tax rate was much higher than it is now. Then Reagan comes in and declares, “Government’s the problem!” – and what happened? A ballooning deficit, our industry fleeing overseas, and the wealthy padding their pockets rather than reinvesting their money into those industries.

    Ah, but I forget – if the American conservatives do it, then it’s okay, but if it’s a third-world robber baron, well, THAT’s just not kosher, is it?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    Thanks – I appreciate the compliment.

    Never been to Sydney – only to Perth (three times) and Tasmania (twice). I’d love to go to Sydney to see it – heck, I’d like to emigrate there – but my financial adviser said no way…and she usually gets her way.

    Besides, I suspect she’s somewhat intimidated by the idea (in her mind only) that she’d be competing for me against all the women in Australia, and that they all look like Nicole Kidman.

    But crossing the Outback (in a Land Rover, not on foot) is still high on my to-do-while-I’m-still-alive list.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Val –

    Thanks – and I can’t argue with what you said about the flow of the drugs from the inner city to the rural South.

    When I grew up there, I saw marijuana only once…but I know drugs are much more of a problem now than before.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    By the way, Florida lost population during the past year, for the first time in a long time.

  • Clavos

    You’re right, handy, and I hope it keeps up, the state’s been overcrowded (particularly here on the tip) for years.

  • Clavos

    Well, gee whiz, if you’re against having such a gap between the ultra-wealthy and grinding poverty…

    Actually, I’m not. I only pointed it out to illustrate what makes those countries Third World; I don’t really care of they are, I don’t have to live in any of them.

    There is no similarity whatever between poverty in the US and poverty in the Third World. You of all people should know that.

    And, unlike any Third World country, our middle class is the largest class (in population) in the land, and includes people of all races and from all backgrounds, including plenty of people actually born elsewhere, as we have here in Miami, where 51% of the population was born in another country.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I corss the Outback all the time…only because they insist on seating me so far away from the bathroom!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    But crossing the Outback (in a Land Rover, not on foot) is still high on my to-do-while-I’m-still-alive list.

    Prepare BLOODY well first, or it’ll be the last thing on the list you ever do… :-)

    Andy: LOL. Stan may need that one explained… although they do have locations in some peculiar places. I know for a fact that there’s one in Rio de Janeiro – and I’ve heard that there may even be a couple in Australia. One can only wonder what they make of it Down Under…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    …plenty of people actually born elsewhere, as we have here in Miami, where 51% of the population was born in another country.

    The United States?

    :-D

  • STM

    Doc: “One can only wonder what they make of it Down Under…”

    They think it’s hilarioous. But since they also have a soft spot for Americans, they easily forgive their considerable eccentricities :) Next time I go to the US I want to try the Outback’s “Bloomin’ Onion”.

    Glenn, I went to Perth last year, but hadn’t been there since the early ’80s. In 1981 I flew on the first regular non-stop Sydney-Perth flight. Everything used to go via Adelaide previously, so it was a big deal and the airline gave me a seat to write it up. I met a girl there and had a great time.

    However, it’s really changed. It’s grown considerably, although it still feels a bit like a small city to me.

    They had a round of the Red Bull Air Race there and I had to get a cab from my hotel down into South Perth. The cab driver said to me, “Mate, the traffic’s really bad, I don’t know how long it’ll take. It’s like peak-hour (rush-hour) today.”

    So we’re driving along, and it’s like a Sunday afternoon. I thought, OK, maybe it’s crowded on the freeway. But when we get on that the cars are all four lengths apart and going at 100km/h.

    I had a giggle and said, “Your idea of heavy traffic and mine are obviously two different things”.

    “Oh,” he says, “You from Sydney or Melbourne are ya?”

    Later on I caught the train down to Fremantle and then had a wander around the beachside suburbs too. Pretty nice, and some expensive real estate.

    Would be a nice place to live but it’s a bit too isolated for me although I have a couple of mates who shifted there who have done very, very well for themselves.

    Still dreaming of shifting to Hobart, but my wife’s from Queensland and doesn’t like the cold winter weather in Tassie.

    Her idea of “nice” is 40C, humid and roasting, even in the shade.

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