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Tilting at Windmills

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January 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CULTURE WAR POLITICS....Matt Yglesias reminds me today that I had planned to excerpt another part of Garance Franke-Ruta's article, "Remapping the Culture Debate," but forgot to do it. Here she's talking about why low income voters who seemingly ought to be receptive to liberal pocketbook politics are instead strongly receptive to conservative culture war politics:

Lower-income individuals simply live in a much more disrupted society, with higher divorce rates, more single moms, more abortions, and more interpersonal and interfamily strife, than do the middle- and upper-middle class people they want to be like. It should come as no surprise that the politics of reaction is strongest where there is most to react to. People in states like Massachusetts, for example, which has very high per capita incomes and the lowest divorce rate in the country, are relatively unconcerned about gay marriage, while those in Southern states with much higher poverty, divorce, and single-parenthood rates feel the family to be threatened because family life is, in fact, much less stable in their communities. In such environments, where there are few paths to social solidarity and a great deal of social disruption, the church frequently steps into the breach, further exacerbating the fight.

Maybe I'm just stupid or unobservant, but this particular insight had never really occured to me before. Liberal bloggers often make snide remarks about the irony of blue states being more "moral" than red states lower crime rates, less divorce, etc. but then don't put two and two together. If it's true that red states tend to have more social disruption, then it makes sense that red state voters are going to be unusually vulnerable to politicians who focus on the evils of "moral decay," doesn't it? They may indeed be getting suckered by the culture war mongers, who make their living by assuring their audience that of course someone else is to blame for all this, but if they are, it's only because they're reacting to the actual conditions of their lives in the first place.

I don't have anywhere special to take this right now, but it seems like a worthwhile notion to mull over. So mull away.

Kevin Drum 1:53 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (153)

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Comments

I don't suppose "we told you so" is going to get us many converts, though.

It sucks to be right, as usual.

Posted by: craigie on January 30, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum writes: "Maybe I'm just stupid or unobservant, but this particular insight had never really occured to me before."

I'm stunned by this confession. It explains a lot about you that had previously made me scratch my head a lot.

Posted by: s9 on January 30, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

This probably will not persuade the liberal red meat readers, but that is a myth. As the (liberal) blog mydd.com frequently observes, the working class are not particularly socially conservative or Republican (even in red states). The Republicans are socially conservative migrants - some people marry and move to the 'burbs, some move to a red state.

Working class whites in red states are not concerned about their marriages or their divorces. The upper middle class conservatives elites in those states, however, are concerned.

Posted by: Justin on January 30, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Well...doh! Of course it would make sense. I don't have any particular musings on it, other than it's a damn shame.

Posted by: Rafe on January 30, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

A viable theory. Part of me enjoys their own self-inflicted misery (schadenfreude indeed) and believes that the GOP will overreach (going back to the well too many times) and eventually tear their own houses down (and they will)...but there may be a way to sympathize effectively and offer some hope (pointing out that the GOP has done nothing to alleviate their problems and only wants to keep their anger levels on overload) though it will take a bigger man than I. Life is hard and just to stay afloat and take care of a family takes all your time...it is easier (and takes less time) to 'react' to accusations from those who "blame" their problems elsewhere (coastal elites) than it is to actually, read, think, and discern that the GOP only wish to use them...not to help them...

But really, stupidity has its own consequences and we are holding back evolution on too many fronts already...let 'em rot in their own self-righteous filth and when they gain enough wisdom to ask for our help, the progressives will then be able to.

Posted by: Russ Carter on January 30, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

'Working class' does not equal 'low income voters', Justin.

And what about education, Kevin? Is that not a pretty important factor?

Posted by: adam on January 30, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

This was the most interesting part of the article for me as well. The sentence just before your excerpt sums up the point in a nice, pithy way:

"...in todays society, traditional values have become aspirational."

Cast in this light, liberal smugness over the higher "morality" of blue states feels a bit like making fun of inner city residents for being concerned about crime. After all, it's nice and safe over in these suburbs. Instead of whining about law enforcement, why don't they just stop breaking the law?

I don't really have any data to know if Franke-Ruta's point stands up to scrutiny, but it does at least seem anecdotally supported by my own experience. A lot of the most stable, "traditional" families I know are those that are best able to afford that stability. Good health insurance, flex time for the parents, etc...

Posted by: crabshack on January 30, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Man, have Democrats lost their roots that we don't know about how most folks live until somebody EXPLAINS it to us.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 30, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Um, duh? The snideness is about the rhetoric of politicians and the media who tend to talk about morality having its core in the heartland and biblebelt even though by such measures the opposite is true. Oh, and the misdirection by politicians and conservative christians who blame it all on the gay who really have nothing to do with the social disruption you're talking about.

People concerned about issues such as divorce/single parenthood/etc... fine. People who blame such things on the evils of liberal Massachussetts - not fine.

Posted by: Atrios on January 30, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

The canundrum remains. Republicans scream about moral values but don't actually have any policies that have real beneficial impacts on folks with chaotic lives and communities. People are still suckered by bans on gay marriage as a solution to something rather than, say, a housing policy or affordable health care.

Posted by: jb on January 30, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

A pet theory of mine is that the Democratic leaders have an inherent handicap because they do not actually come from the economic classes whose interests they are ostensibly supposed to protect.

For a Republican it's easy to support a tax cut for teh rich as he himself is most likely rich.

Conversely how can a Feinstein or a Pelosi, multi-millionnaires both, speak convincingly and with conviction to increase the federal minumum wage by talking about the plight of low wage earners? Even if they do, it's easy to ridicule them.

Posted by: lib on January 30, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well, GfR may be right, and Kevin may, as usual be clueless, but of course the "moral aspirations" or "aspirational morality" of all americans is neither class bound nor geographicallybound. My Republican sister in law, living in the upper class suburbs of MA is convinced that gays are ocming to get her kids, that porn is the major threat, etc...etc...etc... There remains a huge difference between christian moral hysteria and the laissez faire libertarian american values of ordinary people. It has long been a truism that christianity isn't for people who don't need it--its for sinners and people afraid of sinning. Talk to a devout christian and they will tell you all about their own fears and failings, and detail in great depth the failings of their neighbors. That is true regardless of their social status and their economic status. Its a feature of their religion, not a bug and not a side effect.

Oh, and those red state moralists? There has always been drink, divorce, abortion and despair in the lower classes and workign classes and peasant classes. Its just that under the republicans the upper class has found a way to channel that despair and rage away from jesus or the bottle and into the voting booth. People who are rightfully concerned about divorce and drunknness in their own families have been persuaded to vote for people whose actual concern is bombing another country for its oil.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on January 30, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if they have all those problems because they have less money, and thus, the solution is to improve their economic situation, which Democrats want to do (attack the cause, not the symptoms), then of course the people who benefit from using attack-the-symptoms rhetoric would have it in their interest to keep those poor people poor.

Gasp! I just discovered the Republican Party!

Posted by: Steve Brady on January 30, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's the hypocrisy, stupid.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 30, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think Garance approaches a good point, but misses the explanation. I don't think that lower income voters are susceptible to culture war issues because they are surrounded by more divorce, abortion, single-parent families, etc., than higher-income voters, and so they are more "upset" by it in some abstract way.

Rather, I think they are more susceptible to culture war politics because they are surrounded by more of those things, and the Republicans have carefully crafted a message that those things are principal causes of poor economic performance in communities rather than consequences of it. So, the Republican policies notionally addressing these problems are a way out of poverty and its attendant conditions.

Culure war issues are used by the Right in the same way that race and immigration often have been in the past (and still, especially the latter, frequently are by the right), to provide the poor bogeymen to blame for the conditions in their communities to distract them from the policies that systematically drive benefits to the already wealthy and exclude the poor.

And so-called "Left" in America lets the Right get away with it, because the supposed party of the "Left" has decided it doesn't want to risk alienating the wealthy by seriously taking on the policies that the Right uses cultural war issues to distract attention from. So, with no alternate narrative to consider, the only thing for the poor to grab onto is the story the Right is selling.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Uh... the higher the income, the more likely someone is to vote Republican. And aren't the highest crime areas very Democrat leaning cities?

This discussion is beyond retarded...

Posted by: Frank J. on January 30, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

All advertising is based on playing to public dis-ease and is dedicated to stirring up discomforts and cravings people didn't even know they had. That's why established brands are always getting new and improved, even when there's no measurable difference. So much the better if the audience you are playing to is already in genuine trouble and confused by their own condition. (When in doubt, blame the Jews.)

The Rove crowd is only about packaging and marketing, nothing else -- how else to explain their ability to hawk a tinhorn Mussollini with no personal charisma. They make you scared not to but their product, whatever the hell it is. Implicit is the threat to make life worse rather than the promise to make it better.

Dems have to figure this out and market Edwards or whomever accordingly -- first the big smile and then the threat of all-Cheney-all-the-time if they don't get with the smile -- which has the advantage of being somewhat genuine to begin with. Forget about Clinton and Kerry; the meritocracy is over, people.

There's no wash at all without the spin.

Posted by: Kenji on January 30, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oklahoma has very high divorce rates. Oklahoma's protestant fundamentalism discourages use of contraception. Contraception is hardly used by the sexually mature young, who become pregnant and then forced, by social pressure, into marriage. The marriages then fail at a very high rate.

Even though premarital sex is also discouraged, biology trumps social mores. I expect divorce to become much more difficult to acquire in the coming religious fundamentalist revolution, solving the problem of a high divorce rate. The problem of being trapped in a bad marriage with children will become much more difficult to overcome. I predict the use of new identities to escape marriage, child support, and creditors will explode.

Assuming new identities will not be just for the newly arrived immigrants, but for anyone who wants to escape the tyranny of conservative cultural role playing and life long debt.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 30, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Frankie boy but homicide rates are highest in the southern states

Posted by: cq on January 30, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

My instincts say to go with Justin and not Garance.

I think that when the poor actually vote, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic. I also think the whole "red state"="values voters" is Republican hype that has been bought by the media hook, line and sinker.

I remember reading that the exit-pollers in Ohio asked people about the importance of "values" to their votes, and assumed the voters had the same "values" in mind as the pollsters. But for many voters "values" meant anti-war, pro-compassion, etc. I mean, who doesn't vote their "values"?

Plus this theory doesn't jibe with where Republicans are really getting elected--the suburbs. Look at Hackett v. Schmidt in Ohio. Hackett won the rural vote & the wealthy suburbs elected Schmidt.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 30, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent analysis, Powerpuff. It's interesting how conservatives are so aggressively creating the world they are most afraid of -- one in which identities shift fludily and institutions are increasingly unreliable. Fear Factor, indeed.

Posted by: Kenji on January 30, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Man, when did all of the readers of this blog become such dicks? Isn't it possible to critique a post without a self-righteous 'no duh!' to start the comment?

Posted by: Preston on January 30, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK
Dems have to figure this out and market Edwards or whomever accordingly -- first the big smile and then the threat of all-Cheney-all-the-time if they don't get with the smile -- which has the advantage of being somewhat genuine to begin with. Forget about Clinton and Kerry; the meritocracy is over, people.

I've always seen Edwards (and Clark, though to a lesser extent) as far more like Clinton than Kerry ever was, anyway. Oh, substantively Clinton was mostly a centrist -- but then, substantively, Edwards isn't exactly a radical, either.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

It's all too confusing for me, but it does seem that a lot of the culture war comes from megachurch folks, and that these people have an extraordinary degree of social order and structure compared to your average rootless urbanite. are working class whites more worried about gay marriage, or just more susceptible to getting caught up in induced hysteria?

Posted by: Alan in SF on January 30, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Good start, but don't oppose the "irony," which points to a certain hypocrisy to the facts. That opposition presumes that the felt vulnerability is actually the same thing as practical vulnerability, that gay marriage does threaten certain marriages more, which is silly. It's just the old story of people one step off the bottom looking for someone further down to blame, as a way of (1) avoiding the alliances that really would help but mean confronting power; and (2) avoiding blaming oneself, finding recourse in a system that affirms one's personal integrity, "identity politics." It's just niggers or welfare queens all over again, now updated for gays, but with the recurrent vaguer enemy of atheism and anti-Americanism. Perhaps it's more credible for white males who really have seen women gain, and war plays into its hands, which is one reason Bush emphasizes war.

But it's still important to point out the hypocrisy and to mobilize by shifting from imagined values to real economics and real safety. Those who push the Democrats to the right to embrace values or stay the course in war miss the boat there, I think.

Posted by: artcrit on January 30, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK
I think that when the poor actually vote, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

This seems to be true of the urban poor, but there's a whole lot of crushing rural poverty in the US, much of it in the red states, which is why those states are often poorer than the mostly-blue states with most of the urban population. And yet, its pretty clearly not just the rich in those states voting for Republicans.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

this would be an interesting post if low-income voters actually voted Republican...but they don't.

it is true that divorce rates are higher in "red" states; abortion, on the other hand, is much higher in "blue" states.

suburbia is actually the mother lode of Republican votes....and suburbia is hardly a festering pot of crime and family dissolution.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK
It's just the old story of people one step off the bottom looking for someone further down to blame

No, its the old story of people at the top selling the people at the bottom the idea of someone further down to blame, to avoid having the people at the bottom question -- and then discover -- the real reason why they have trouble moving up.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Alan- it seems like a lot of this discussion is really going to be groundless unless we can avoid making generalizations about Republican voters and grab onto some hard statistics.

I'll suggest that this is a starting point for a discussion over whether this is the origin of the family values voters:
http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=949

The stat from the Pew study that undermines the argument of this post is that 'Social Conservatives' skew to the wealthy:

$75,000+ 30%
$50,000-$74,999 17%
$30,000-$49,999 27%
$20,000-$29,999 15%

Posted by: Preston on January 30, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

The big problem for family solidarity in America is MONEY. The economy is being manipulated to the benefit of the rich, and to the detriment of the working family. Wages are NOT keeping pace with family costs, and both parents now have to work at precarious jobs which might disappear overseas tomorrow.

Why should we Americans allow our politicians to let global competition destroy American families?

Posted by: yesh on January 30, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

"This seems to be true of the urban poor, but there's a whole lot of crushing rural poverty in the US, much of it in the red states, which is why those states are often poorer than the mostly-blue states with most of the urban population. And yet, its pretty clearly not just the rich in those states voting for Republicans."

not really. the truly rural poor tend not to vote at all; and when they do it is primarily for Democrats (think along racial lines here).
the mistake you're making is underestimating the proportion of those states (even say Mississippi) which is actually middle class. you need to look at cost of living. a combined household income of $150K may be solidly middle class (not even upper middle class) in NY...but a combined household income in Mississippi or Alabama of $70K is roughly analogous to the NY example.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

>> abortion, on the other hand, is much higher in "blue" states...

Are you sure about that, Nathan? I haven't seen any state-by-state stats, but didn't we hear in the lastprez campaign that Massachusetts had much lower abortion rates than the typical red state.

Posted by: Alan in SF on January 30, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

More stats from the Pew study say that 'Social Conservatives' are more likely to be married but less likely to have to have someone in the household unemployed in the last 12 months than the average voter.

This demographic went 86%-4% Bush over Kerry.

I don't think the theory holds up.

Posted by: Preston on January 30, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think Red State America (I live in Tumbleweeds, Georgia) is more anti-education than anything. It's not that their families are more threatened which makes that anti-liberal, it's a general bias toward educated eggheads from the State University.

Plus, further education makes one see the world in a "shades-of-gray" fashion, which doesn't jibe with the working class right/wrong worldview.

The first liberal candidate that comes to GA, professes health care and civil unions, and explains it as "This ain't what i learned in that fancy university, but what Gawd told me" wins.

Posted by: Bender on January 30, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Cast in this light, liberal smugness over the higher "morality" of blue states feels a bit like making fun of inner city residents for being concerned about crime. After all, it's nice and safe over in these suburbs. Instead of whining about law enforcement, why don't they just stop breaking the law?"

-exactly right crabshack. As a tranplanted (progressive, liberal, etc.)southerner i've long been irritated by that same smugness. These people are being taken for a ride because they want better lives for themselves and their kids. Many of them have bought into a whole false bill of goods because of this, and their buying in is part of why we're all in the mess we're in. But anything we want to say or do about that should come with the understanding that many of these folks are on the frontlines of the kind of general social chaos that comes from being low income in states that have civically ineffective public sectors. that this civic breakdown is sometimes caused and always exacerbated by Republican governance sure doesn't keep the republicans from exploiting it for political gain. but it should.

If we want to win in the future we need a real progressive voice in the southern states. this is only going to happen if we can work on the local level and provide examples of good progressive governance on the ground. it will take a long time that's where change needs to be made.

Kudos to Kevin for admitting that this never occurred to him, tho I'm also with s9, a little amazed.

Posted by: URK on January 30, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Good thread, here are some more detailed references:


What's the matter with What's the matter with Kansas?" (this study is done by liberals, frequently cited on mydd.com)

An earlier poster mentioned the Pew Study which showed that social conservatives in the Republican party are fairly affluent. It is also worth pointing out that the "Enterprisers" segment of the Republican party is also very socially conservative, including on issues like gay marriage and abortion.

Pew on the Republican Enterprisers

Finally the (conservative) Claremont Institute reinforced the piece on Kansas, by finding that Red State Republicans were more likely to be migrants, and upper-middle class, contrary to the "Southern Strategy."

Claremont on the Southern Strategy

Posted by: Justin on January 30, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

There are a number of people arguing on this thread as if the claim "lower-income people are more susceptible to Republican culture-war rhetoric for reason X" was equivalent to "lower-income people are more likely to vote Republican for reason X". They aren't, and the first doesn't imply the second, either.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

1996 abortion rates:
>20 WA TX RI NC NY NV MA IL FL DE CT CA

Posted by: cq on January 30, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with a couple of the commentators up above-if this theory were true, then blacks, many of whom certainly live in a disrupted environment, AND tend to have more conservative views on gay marriage, wouldn't go 90-10 for Dems.

Also, a lot of these folks went for Clinton, and he was certainly no moral crusader.

I think 9-11 is still the big motivator for a lot of people when they get in the voting booth. As a party, Dems have to be credible on national security, before people will vote for us based on our minimum wage or health care proposals.

With the right candidate (I don't know who, at this point), we can do it-look at how GW was able to blunt the standard tool-of-big-corportations attacks in 2000 just by talking about "compassionate conservatism" and framing education reform in terms of the "soft bigotry of low expectations". Enough people bought it, and here we are.

Posted by: Chris Thorpe on January 30, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bender,
The college educated tend to vote Republican.

This whole Democrat strategy of making up caricatures of Republicans and Christians isn't really going to help. You people need to face reality before you can make any progress.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 30, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: cq on January 30, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Alan in SF:

Mass., although having a much lower rate than California or New York, has a higher rate than the average red state.

the latest state by state stats can be found here:

http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/sfaa.html

I'll note that the Guttmacher Institute is affiliated with Planned Parenthood.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK
I agree with a couple of the commentators up above-if this theory were true, then blacks, many of whom certainly live in a disrupted environment, AND tend to have more conservative views on gay marriage, wouldn't go 90-10 for Dems.

The theory isn't about voting Republican, its about susceptibility to culture-war rhetoric.

If blacks, who tend to live in more disrupted environments, be more likely to be poor, and tend to vote 90-10 Democratic (presumably based on non-culture-war issues) nonetheless buy into the conservative position on many cultural issues, that may not confirm the theory, but it certainly doesn't conflict with it, either.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Frank- the heart of the GOP's strength is in the 'moderately educated'- those who finished got 1-4 years of college education. Those with less or more education than that are more typically Democrats.

Posted by: Preston on January 30, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Not quite exactly right again Frankie

From Pew:

Liberals have the highest education level of any typology group 49% are college graduates and 26% have some postgraduate education. But the Enterprisers also include a relatively high percentage of college graduates (46%), although fewer Enterprisers than Liberals have attended graduate school (14%).

Posted by: cq on January 30, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely says:

"There are a number of people arguing on this thread as if the claim "lower-income people are more susceptible to Republican culture-war rhetoric for reason X" was equivalent to "lower-income people are more likely to vote Republican for reason X". They aren't, and the first doesn't imply the second, either."

ok...fair enough. but the fact that lower-income people tend NOT to vote Republican calls into question their susceptibility to "Republican culture-war rhetoric" -- obviously it doesn't render it impossible, but unless you have statistical evidence that lower-income voters are shifting Republican....I question that proposition.

I think Kevin's problem is that he gave into urban stereotyping -- people here would be flabbergasted, for example, if they realized how many evangelicals were college educated.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

At times like this I like to push Ronald Ingleharts World Values Survey. With a few exceptions nations that are wealthy are more tolerant and liberal (tradition may be a separate issue). The most conservative nations in the world are also the poorest. This holds true for much of the United States. Risk and insecurity seem to produce an intolerant attitude in general and they correlate with corrupt government, high infant mortality and low investment in infrastructure. Of course the core of the Republican agenda is to reduce risk-sharing and increase individual responsibility. We should expect that as Americans become more insecure not just with a failing social safety net (pensions, education) but with increased international competition for jobs they should also become less tolerant and their society more fragmented and militant. I think Nordhaus and Shellenbergers work shows us the effects of the reigning social and economic paradigm.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 30, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"If blacks, who tend to live in more disrupted environments, be more likely to be poor, and tend to vote 90-10 Democratic (presumably based on non-culture-war issues) nonetheless buy into the conservative position on many cultural issues, that may not confirm the theory, but it certainly doesn't conflict with it, either."

you're trying to nuance this...and you may be right. but is it really accurate to say that they're "buying-in" if they don't actually vote Republican?

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think Justin and others have pointed to some flaws in this reasoning. But maybe the key isn't that they themselves are in a screwed-up situation, but rather that they see more of it around them. If you're an upper-classer living in a Bible belt state with lots of crime and other social dysfunction, you may be more likely to buy into the Republican hot-button moral values lines. If you're in the Northeast and just don't see as many problems, you may be less likely to buy into it.

Posted by: BRussell on January 30, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio:

Alaska, Wyoming and the like don't fit into your paradigm.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Culture war issues succeed for many human reasons. The problem is that none of these reasons can be defeated by using an insightful truth. Motivating people with a truth requires that they put reason before emotion. Unfortunately the common fuel in all culture war issues is the absence of reason and an abundance of negative emotion.

It is kind of analogous to saving a drowning man by appealing to his reason. As you swim up to him you say very thoughtfully that all he has to do is remain still and you will carefully swim him back to shore. As truthful as this approach might be the only result you will get you from the frightened victim is to be pulled under water with him.

An unfortunate irony about reason prevailing over emotion is that reason must be carrying the bigger club.

Posted by: Jim on January 30, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

In what sense?

Posted by: bellumregio on January 30, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

people here would be flabbergasted, for example, if they realized how many evangelicals were college educated.

Bob Jones University does crank out quite a few of them...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 30, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

KEVIN:"They may indeed be getting suckered by the culture war mongers, who make their living by assuring their audience that of course someone else is to blame for all this,"

I haven't read all posts yet so I might repeat but....

I must be missing something but isn't it the liberals telling them that someone else is to blame for all of this? Big Corporations, the rich for instance.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 30, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK
but is it really accurate to say that they're "buying-in" if they don't actually vote Republican?

It does if it means, e.g., the Democratic Party, to retain them, is not vigorously challenging the Republicans on culture war issues, which, outside of abortion, it pretty clearly isn't, since it means the Right wins on substantive policy no matter which party wins elections.

How important this is depends on whether you see party victory as an end in itself or a means to achieve policy results.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ahhh.... good to have See-No-Evil back with us....

They aren't suckers - they're lying hypocrites. They aren't the victims of all of those disproportionately common ills, they're the perpetrators of those ills.

See-no-evil and his ilk are basically happy to call everyone in existence a victim, leaving nobody to be responsible, and SURPRISE! The problems never get solved.

They're lying, bigoted, stupid hypocrites. Not victims. The victims are the little black girls who got blown up in church. The gay guy who got crucified on a fence. The black guy who got dragged from a truck. And so on.

Republican voters are the perpetrators of ill, not its victims.

(I'm speaking in aggregate terms, of course.)

Posted by: cdj on January 30, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio: those aren't, um, poor states. your paradigm only works for the south (I don't think it works there, either, but for other reasons)....btw, its also not true that poorer countries are necessarily more conservative. for example, let's take two countries that are almost entirely Muslim -- Saudi Arabia and Mali. one is wealthy, one is one of the poorest countries on earth. one is a dictatorial monarchy, one is a democracy...etc. you can prove anything if you cherrypick.

Pale Rider...BJU has what, 5,000 students? the total evangelical college count is probably at what, a couple hundred thousand a year? that won't get you very far.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

"It does if it means, e.g., the Democratic Party, to retain them, is not vigorously challenging the Republicans on culture war issues, which, outside of abortion, it pretty clearly isn't, since it means the Right wins on substantive policy no matter which party wins elections."

this is possible I suppose. the real test would be what would happen if the Democratic Party actually gained a majority.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Couple of years ago I tried to track methamphetamines on a readstate/bluestate axis. No dice, seems to be everywhere.

Posted by: Buce on January 30, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Buce-

Meth's not in NYC, yet, though the dentists are waiting eagerly.

Posted by: Preston on January 30, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Buce -

Possibly better results if you tried to track it a a notch-higher level of resolution: down to red-parts of blue states, and vice-versa?

Example: my current state, WA is thoroughly blue in the Seattle metro area, and thoroughly red pretty much everywhere else. Basically, there's Seattle, and then a buncha hicks. PA is essentially the same way.

One might suspect that if there were anything interesting to track, it would be see-able at, say, the red-blue county level, if anywhere.

Posted by: cdj on January 30, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

This thread is a good example of what keeps us from succeeding. We start with a valid observation -- that those who are in the least "moral" areas most want "moral" politics, and then we launch into a discussion of why are they so darn dumb. Or evil. Or vote against their own interest.

The answer isn't complicated. People don't react to reason. It's noise. People react to emotion. And for far too many liberals, the predominant emotion that they transmit to our Red State friends is one of fundamental condescension. And this is absolutely disastrous because the reason these folks are voting for Republicans is that Republicans first empathize with their sense of inferiority, and then provide an outlet for those feelings that lets them off the hook.

So the reason why folks in rural Arkansas are poor is the liberal elite! The gay lobby! The Eastern Eggheads!

The truth is that our media -- and for once I don't mean Tim Russert, but our sitcoms, our films, our books, etc. -- all reflect the value that life on the coasts, life with a few bucks and life with an education are better than slaving away at a Wal-mart for minimum wage. And this message is blasted not just to those on the coasts, big cities, etc., but also to rural Arkansas, where the people get the idea that there is something wrong with where/how they live.

And then we come along and RE-INFORCE that perception. Clinton's insight was to embrace these folks and tell them, "There is not one thing wrong with the way you live. I grew up like that and I'm proud of that life. You should be too."

It is against this backdrop that we continually nominate to the presidency men who embody the very consdescension and self-consciousness and inferiority-complex we need to dispel. And make no mistake, there is no stronger definitional element of our Democratic brand than our national nominees.

So let's remember that these so-called ya-hoos in the red state are our American brothers -- and that the only future we have is shoulder to shoulder with them.

The path forward involved embracing these folks as the equals they are -- just like the Declaration of Independence says. We're all equal.

Posted by: Jim Pharo on January 30, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

No Nathan,
As I said there are exceptions. Since we are not talking about physics or theology we should expect this. There are a number of nations like Saudi Arabia which are wealthy, very wealthy but also deeply conservative. Ireland is an example were national identity had played a role in shaping their relatively conservative social values but that is changing. English-speakers generally are more conservative. Industrialization and trade may play an important role in secularization. Both Ireland and Saudi Arabia have only recently become wealthy nations.

The southern states have third world social statistics and although the poorest counties in US are now in the West the poorest region is the South. The western US has no comparison in the world. Rural, agrarian and very low population states with relatively high levels of prosperity. They tend to be more libertarian than cultural conservative. But these states receive massive income redistribution relative to their populations from the wealthy states via our federal system. The Road to Nowhere was not going to be built with money raised in Alaska but money raised in Taxachusetts and the Upper East Side. This is why the Republicans are no tax and spend. One branch wants to not to pay what the other branch wants to spend.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 30, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just social pathology that maps to red state electoral choices.

Look at the map of the states with the worst working conditions.

Posted by: Avenging on January 30, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

cq,
What you quote neither refutes or supports that collegegrads lean Republican.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 30, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

You would be much more correct to state that gay marriage has its biggest support in the 10 blue states where more than 50% of the Democrat voters are white. In the other states and espeically in the Red States, the core of the Democrats, blacks and Hispanics, are not near as likely to support gay marriage and the "whitest" and "bluest" of the blue states.

Posted by: superdestroyer on January 30, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

What about low income blacks who tend to have even more social disruption that the whites you are focusing on? How come they are overwhelmingly for the Dems?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 30, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Sorry Frankie boy but homicide rates are highest in the southern states"

Actually it's urban vs non-urban areas. And urban = overwhelmingly Blue.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 30, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Jim Pharo -

What keeps us from succeeding is people like you who enable the perpetrators of ill to continue pointing the finger at someone else, when it is they themselves who act poorly.

As long as "good whites" let them point the finger at someone else, they will.

Don't "embrace" those who commit evil acts. Don't "accept" those evil acts. Call them what they are, and call those out who commit them. Don't blame others "for not loving them enough". Sheesh.

Posted by: cdj on January 30, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Bob Jones University does crank out quite a few of them..."

At least conservative believe in what they preach. Liberals, for example want to teach Darwinism in schools, but don't actually believe in it in the real world.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 30, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Liberals, for example want to teach Darwinism in schools, but don't actually believe in it in the real world."

I hope to God you're not talking about Social Darwinism...

Posted by: Preston on January 30, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter what's your rank in the 101st Fighting Keyboarders?

Posted by: Neo on January 30, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

"The answer isn't complicated. People don't react to reason. It's noise. People react to emotion. And for far too many liberals, the predominant emotion that they transmit to our Red State friends is one of fundamental condescension."

You are partly right. In order for the Dems to secured the 90+% black vote, they have to play race politics. Guess who the targets of your racial demonization campaigns are going to vote for?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 30, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

"The southern states have third world social statistics"

you mean like Sweden?

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Freedom Fighter what's your rank in the 101st Fighting Keyboarders?"

The Oracle. Why do you ask?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 30, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

There is nothing more distructive to stable family life then the evils of poverty. If well to do families break up how much more likely are poor families to break under stress of no money, no health care, possible evictions and homelesness, no family leave to take care of ill family members, no time for bonding of mother and child, no vacation, no rest and recreation, no time to have meals together. The list could go on and on, common sense should tell us where our social problems are and what we should do about them.

Yes, to belong to a concregation could provide comfort but can't replace a family that is scuttered over the continent and lack of money to see and visit on a regular basis.

Posted by: Renate on January 30, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Several, many, a lot of big box nondenominational congregants are college educated. My brother and his wife, both BS holders, belong to one of these exburb authoritarian churches. Even though my bro decries the anti-evolution sermons, he still wants to belong because of 1)institutional services for his young children, and 2) he enjoys being a member of a large successful organization, even if they will not let him become a voting member until he undergoes full emersion baptism, which he is unwilling to do since he has already been baptised as an infant, thus keeping some semblance of his individuality and the organizers at bay. This church forbids people from becoming members if they are co-habitating.

The real issue is how can an oppostion party communicate its message of social welfare and broad civil liberties to the revolting masses who seem to only respond to Chauvinism and bible thumping. One of the only times the American masses understood economic issues was after the Great Depression caused them to lose what little they did have, allowing the New Deal to end the provinicialism that had kept them in thrall to the general store or the local bank. Before that time it was the Jacksonian revolution, which was based on ending the provincialism of the National Bank. It will probably take another collapse of the markets or a very tight, restrictive money supply to bring the American masses out of their religious moral stupor. Perhaps the only real example of that happening without economic pressure was the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties. Mass civil disobedience, the publicizing of the murders of earnest young people, and the brutality of the oppressors' actions did lead to many, a lot, or even a majority to concede African-Americans were systemically discriminated against and deserved laws guaranteeing them equal protection under the law. I guess we need more civil disobedience, but do not have any leaders willing/courageous enough to suffer publically.

Posted by: Hostile on January 30, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter

State homicide rates 2004

CT 2.6 DE 2.0 ME 1.4 MA 2.6 RI 2.4 VT 2.6 NH 1.4

FL 5.4 GA 6.9 LA 12.7 NC 6.2 SC 6.9 TX 6.1 VA 5.2 MS 7.8 MO 6.2

National 5.5

Posted by: cq on January 30, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

The real story is that it is a battle between a conservative elite and a liberal elite.

conservative elites believe in puritanical sexual morals. They believe that liberal sexual morality undermines family and creates poverty.


liberal elites believe that unchecked capitalism and intolerant attitudes undermine working conditions and remove job opportunities, which destabilizes family and creates poverty.

Boy, wouldn't it be ironic if both sides are partly right?

Posted by: Justin on January 30, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Jim Pharo hits it perfectly. Condensation towards the uneducated is palpable in many of the above posts (I often feel it myself) BUT: The reaction against this condensation is a [possibly THE] major tool in the arsenal of the Right. Check out Victor Davis Hansen- He is a Classical scholar fer gawds sake- who plays with this anti-elite stereotype. How does he get ayay with this nonsence ? This is the nub of the Culture Wars.

Posted by: AdobeGeo on January 30, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

this is possible I suppose. the real test would be what would happen if the Democratic Party actually gained a majority.

Oh, like in 2000, when a majority of American voters voted for the Democratic candidate?

And let's not forget that the Republican majority in the House and Senate is due to the skew of the sparsely populated Western states, a system which permits a minority of voters to elect the majority of Congressman and Senators.

Posted by: Stefan on January 30, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

This is why the Republican effort to create more poverty is going to pay off electorally and why sexually abusive priests turn children into devout catholics with a strong belief in a higher power.

Posted by: B on January 30, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

"If it's true that red states tend to have more social disruption, then it makes sense that red state voters are going to be unusually vulnerable to politicians who focus on the evils of "moral decay," doesn't it?"

So Kevin, does this mean that these people who have been talking about "family values" for the last 15 years are actually right? And that your objection to their politics is that they aren't actually solving the problem, just talking about it. I know this, people who don't realize what the problem is can't fix it.

Maybe Democrats should open their eyes and start going and meeting some of these people they wish to represent so this kind of stuff isn't such a big surprise.

Posted by: Chad on January 30, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

AdobeGeo says " think that Jim Pharo hits it perfectly. Condensation towards the uneducated is palpable in many of the above posts (I often feel it myself) BUT: The reaction against this condensation is a [possibly THE] major tool in the arsenal of the Right."

Neil says: the unintentional irony here is spectacular. I'm not quite sure how the reaction to condensation is of interest to anyone other than TV weatherpeople.

Regards,
Neil

Posted by: Neil S on January 30, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

"In such environments, where there are few paths to social solidarity and a great deal of social disruption, the church frequently steps into the breach, further exacerbating the fight."

Note that the churches are the ones that are stepping into the breach and trying to help these peoples lives.

Personally, Kevin and a lot of these people on this site seem very anti-religion. But fundamentally, if the church is stepping into the breach to help you and then you hear from someone who is against churches, guess what, you aren't going to think much of those people.

Posted by: Chad Peterson on January 30, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal bloggers often make snide remarks about the irony of blue states being more "moral" than red states lower crime rates, less divorce, etc. but then don't put two and two together. If it's true that red states tend to have more social disruption, then it makes sense that red state voters are going to be unusually vulnerable to politicians who focus on the evils of "moral decay," doesn't it?

I don't know about other bloggers, but I did a series of posts showing these kinds of correlations, and in one of them (above a positive correlation between divorces and votes for Bush), I wrote:

I should note that I, for one, have absolutely no clue about which is the cause and which is the effect here. What I mean is, I don't know if things in the red states are bad, so that people look around them and feel the need for a stronger moral authority to put things right, or, on the other hand, if the desire for a strong moral authority has created the lousy situation in which teens have more kids and more marriages break up. I suspect that the answer will turn out to be a complex interaction between the two, a feedback situation where one reinforces the other.
Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on January 30, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, the post I referred to was dated about 11 months ago, on Feb 27, 2005.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on January 30, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

ROFL

"Condensation towards the uneducated..."

LMAO!!!

Does that have anything to do with the strom clods that are gathering over chick-a-go?

Fuck Americans are stupid.

Posted by: cdj on January 30, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK
Note that the churches are the ones that are stepping into the breach and trying to help these peoples lives.

Personally, Kevin and a lot of these people on this site seem very anti-religion. But fundamentally, if the church is stepping into the breach to help you and then you hear from someone who is against churches, guess what, you aren't going to think much of those people.

While I don't think Kevin is anti-religion, and don't think many of the commenters are (with a few notable exceptions -- speaking of that, Don P's been quiet recently), I do think this is an important thing to understand about the usefulness of the phenomenally successful Christian Right effort to drive a media narrative -- now one of the dominant preferred narratives in the mainstream news media that stories are actively massaged to fit -- of "liberals vs. religion". And, consequently, why liberals need to get on the ball on fight that meme.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

"who make their living by assuring their audience that of course someone else is to blame for all this"

Which is how the Republican Party and its ideological consevatism is corroding the American Character into a deformed nihilistic confused evil doer. A politics of good faces reality and leads the people to embrace a common shared interest. The politics of evil, GOP politics, is the politics of lies, hypocracy and selfishness. Its hallmarks are The Scapegoat, Fear and Blame.
Republicanism is steadily making the American people evil, one lie, one law, one op ed, one news program, one lawyer, one judge, one congressman, one senator, one election at a time.

The GOP are the undoing of America and each and evey American has a choice to make in joining the great crusade to reclaim the country and set it back on the path of the good.

The so called "fools" of the blogosphere have seen the light. Prophets in the darkness that surrounds us. Come into the light America, come into the light.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 30, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't get it's emotion and not reason in the south you don't get it.

The less well educated and literate people are the more easily they are reached by emotion. Period. Republicans understand this. Education and critical thinking simply have never been valued in the south like the north. People won't even spend the money for public libraries and teacher salaries. The bigger concern is sports.

People don't reach out to some pseudo religious "family values" leadership because their lives are disrupted. They reach out because this kind of leadership appeals to emotions, is simple and doesn't require a lot of thinking.

It's not condescending to point this out. It's condescending to tell them that education is elitist and unimportant.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 30, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

But all humor aside...

{snicker, "condensation", snicker}

You know what's condescending? Quotes like this, and those who believe them:

"Lower-income individuals simply live in a much more disrupted society"

Those poor lowerincomes - pure inactive powerless effectless critters. They *simply live* in a big bad environment that they in their abject effectlessness had absolutely no hand in creating.

Fuck that condescension. In my blame of them I treat them as full-fledged powerful people, able to act as producers of effects as well as consumers.

As soon as those good ol boy rednecks wanna stop actively, purposefully, and with malice of forethought dragging black folks from pickups, and crucifying gay people, I'll start taking seriously peoples' claims about "those poor people in their awful environment".

As soon as they're unmoved by a push poll concerning McCain's illegitimate colored baby, as soon as they're unwilling to vote for candidates who run on neo-segregationist platforms, as soon as they refuse to support politicians who look at native americans as monkeys, as soon as they, as an aggregate display some small form of humanity, is when I'll treat them as deserving of any respect. But I would never be condescending towards them - I treat them as power-wielding individuals.

Rock on southern man - my graduate degree essentially guarantees me and my progeny success. I don't need to "engage" you - I'm in a position to simply wait for you to die.

Posted by: cdj on January 30, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think there is an equation working here that involves religion. The more life is out of control=greater need for religion.
More of life in control=less need for religion.

The GOP is a Christain, Jesus loving Party. Therefore they attract people who are themselves religious who, according to my clever equation, have more trouble in their lives.

Of course, all this is BS. Joe sixpack, working on his 6th rugrat with his 4th girlfriend voted for Bush because the Repugs promised to keep him safe from terrorists. So did a lot of old people, and a lot of young college people and a lot of middle class people. BTW, what did Kerry promise?

The culture war has nothing to do with why George is in office for a second time and the fact that the dems are thinking alongs these lines is truely indicative of the real problems. Instead of gazing at our belly buttons, why the hell don't we get strong on fighting terrorists and strong on NS?

That is the single reason joe sixpack, mary merlot, senile Sid, my in-laws, and middle class kathy voted for a cowboy with a six gun.

When we get that FACT through our thick skulls, then we can talk about the subltes of the culture war.

Posted by: the fake Fake Al on January 30, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

cdj says " and with malice of forethought "

Speaking of graduate degrees, stupidity, and condescension, I believe the phrase you were searching for was "malice aforethought".

Regards,
Neil

Posted by: Neil S on January 30, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK


I haven't read the full article this was excerpted from yet. Based on this excerpt, I would question the notion that the level of "disruption of society" is best measured by divorce rates, single moms, abortions, etc. It is perfectly reasonable to argue that these might be the sorts of issues one ought to be focusing on. On the other hand, its also reasonable to argue that this is a red herring and that the major issues are those relating to jobs, education, etc and to insist that part of being progressive involves not buying into the above value judgements concerning women and families.


Posted by: Aidan on January 30, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well the red staters can certainly tell me more about NASCAR and tobacco chewin and Toby Keith than John Kerry could, so I suppose it's okee dokeee to vote for a good pickin person like myself. After all when choosing the leader of the free world, the MOST important thing for the average redneck lunkhead manual laborer is who he would rather drink a beer with(and a typical shitty american beer at that).

Posted by: rdwtbroszalpattonallinone on January 30, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, rats. cdj saw condensation-as-a-weapon before I managed to comment on it. I'm not a typo fanatic; it's just that the image is too delightful. Right now Mother Nature is using "condensation" as a "tool in her arsenal" and driving another bevy of ants into the house.

I read this thread down rather rapidly, so don't know whether anyone has pointed out that one reason the red-state working class may think of the blue-state elites as hotbeds of flagrant immorality is that the sample they actually hear or read about is so small and skewed. I mean, what "social" news do you actually see covered from the blue states if you're in a red state, or for that matter from blue counties if you're in a red county? Celebrity marriages and subsequent divorces, anti-war protests, "wardrobe malfunctions" (the ones perpetrated by designers as well as the inadvertent kind), how many homicides this year so far in Oakland and will it top last year's record, screaming pro-choice protesters besieging peaceful anti-abortion marchers, and the like. This is a tiny fraction of what actually goes on in blue places like the one I live in (OK, Novato is more purple than blue, if you get my meaning, but I know the Bay Area more widely).

And before anyone says "right-wing media bias," it isn't. It's just editors and broadcasters what people think their readers/viewers want. They want to know how dangerous Oakland is; they want to know if there was a huge protest somewhere that nearly turned into a physical brawl; they want, or at least many do (God knows why) who wore what at which gala, and who divorced whom and did famous so-and-so really have an abortion? I happen to believe that people can be weaned off at least some of this, but there'd be immediate and swift reader outrage, and my local Paper of Record, at least, is in enough financial doo-doo that it won't happen.

But my point, again, is that blue-state news big enough to get reported in red-state media is in large part stuff like this, with the result that many, many people must think everyone on the coasts has an abortion yearly, tries not to make any three marriages last more than five years in toto, gets stoned constantly, fights gang turf wars resulting in heaps of bodies, and sues anyone who so much as mentions Christianity in public, if they don't get around to rioting against supporters of Israel or opponents of Roe first. It's almost all wrong, but it's what you see.

I should add in fairness that the coverage we see of the Red States is less flattering only in that there's a lot less of it.

Posted by: waterfowl on January 30, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the post. Sounds like something important to think about. I know I often feel incredulity as a middle class liberals toward those who can't see the horrors of what Cheney and Co. are getting away with. So I keep pounding out what appear to me to be the relevant logical arguments. But maybe they aren't the relevant logical arguments. Our backgrounds can make it hard to recognize when our attempts at crafting an appeal may actually be insulting or way off the mark of other peoples' needs and priorities.

Posted by: catherineD on January 30, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"...let 'em rot in their own self-righteous filth and when they gain enough wisdom to ask for our help, the progressives will then be able to."

Spoken like a true progressive liberal.

Posted by: GBH on January 30, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK
Speaking of graduate degrees, stupidity, and condescension, I believe the phrase you were searching for was "malice aforethought".

Sure, sure, its not the common idiom, but the words, individually, mean exactly what is being communicated, so "malice of forethought", while an unusualy phrasing almost certainly intending "malice aforethought", isn't actually wrong, whereas "condensation" used to mean "condescension" isn't an unusual way of putting things, it is, instead, completely nonsensical.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Oh come on. The South has always been conservative and intolerant, for hundreds of years. Can you even think of a social order more conservative or intolerant than a slave-owning aristocracy?

The problems that Franke-Ruta mentions - "higher divorce rates, more single moms, more abortions, and more interpersonal and interfamily strife" - are the results of uncaring, underfunded state governments, not the cause.

Anyway, I can't believe that Franke-Ruta and Kevin think they need some super subtle explanation for why Southern and other rural whites started voting Republican after 1965.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on January 30, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

To live here (in the red states) is to know that the most intractable problem is bigotry.

Ive got plenty of college educated friends who talk as though they have no prejudice problems. But what really sets them off? Black folk. Jesse Jackson. Al Sharpton. What to finally get a little emotion out of them? Hey, use those names. Or, disagree with their belief that certain groups of people are less moral that others (Israelis v. Palestinians).

Now, what do you think the independent variable here is? There minds are closed on many fronts. Educated in a technical sense, but they sure didnt enjoy that Anthropology class if they didnt manage to avoid it.

Im not impressed with Garance Franke-Ruta's line of reasoning with regard to gay marriage. Its bigotry. Education is involved, but only a certain type of education.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 30, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

once again: the Southern states (nor "red" states in general) do not have a higher abortion rate than "blue" states. in fact, it's exactly the opposite.

the latest state by state stats can be found here:

http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/sfaa.html

I'll note that the Guttmacher Institute is affiliated with Planned Parenthood.

I'll also note that so long as you think that lower-income voters vote Republican (in any state)...you're showing a heck of a lot of political and statistical obtuseness.

Posted by: Nathan on January 30, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

"lower-income voters vote Republican"

Only the ones that have voting machines.

The lower-income Democrats have to wait in line for 8-10 hours, if they get in at all.

Posted by: Bruce S on January 30, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ive got plenty of college educated friends who talk as though they have no prejudice problems. But what really sets them off? Black folk.

Heh... reminds me of the guy with two master's degrees who bitched & moaned about being stuck in backwater Mississippi with all those redneck idiots, but when his wife brought home takeout from Burger King & his order was wrong, started cursing "those stupids n----rs." His liberal-arts education was a very thin veneer indeed, and he couldn't pass in front of a New England Republican on that occasion.

Posted by: latts on January 30, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'll suggest that this is a starting point for a discussion over whether this is the origin of the family values voters:

The stat from the Pew study that undermines the argument of this post is that 'Social Conservatives' skew to the wealthy:


$75,000+ 30%
$50,000-$74,999 17%
$30,000-$49,999 27%
$20,000-$29,999 15%

That's a very misleading statistic. This group represents the 13% of the electorate classified by PEW as "Social Conservatives" which in truth represents the hard-core of the Religious Right (they voted 86-4 for Bush over Kerry), not socially conservative "values voters" who are conceivably in play.

Two better groups to look at in the PEW Study are the "Pro-Government Conservatives" and "Disaffecteds" both which support populist economic policies yet voted for Bush.

Pro-Gov Conservatives (10% of the electorate - voted for Bush 61-12 in 2004) break down economically as follows:

$$75,000+ 10%
$50,000-$74,999 11%
$30,000-$49,999 30%
$20,000-$29,999 17%
here

Posted by: Michael Pine on January 30, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

And as the economy gets worse, these people will vote even more wingnuts in office, you know, the ones who will build fences and hire mercenaries to keep the Mexicans out, cuz, you know, that't the real problem.

Posted by: lilybart on January 30, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals are
1. Smug
2. Condescending
3. Arrogant
4. Supercilious

How insecure and resentful do you have to be to keep harping on those?

Insecure people always say those things about anyone who isn't as insecure as they are.

Liberals aren't any of those things. What they are is: less insecure and resentful then Liberal-Haters.

Posted by: Bruce S on January 30, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

CalGal, RIGHT.

think that when the poor actually vote, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic

It is because the lives of the poor are disorganized that they don't even vote. Can't get away from slave-like jobs to stand in line, can't get up the energy to care about politics after three jobs....and they have no hope in the system anyway. THAT we can change.

We can help the poor get over the new hurdles of photo-ids, educate them on the law (no one can check arrest warrants or anything lke that when they vote) police the red states to prevent traffic stops that intimidate poor people in lousy cars etc.

Posted by: lilybart on January 30, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Get a clue,
The disruption and decline of family life started its downward spiral in the 1960's with the Lefts sexual - revolution, 50% divorce rates , 70% illigetamacy rates, abortions, permiscounsness, pornography...ect... ect...

Senator Daniel Patrick Monihan warned you about this and you and you called him a bigot..
(as your want to do)

You get you academic left and sexual political feminist cohorts to say
"all family form are not inhearently equel"
Or "the two parent natural intact family is the best possble enviroment for childrearing"

And then MAYBE we can have a discusssion.

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

One would think a 'political animal' would have some social science background, or at least an interest in the sociology that drives our culture. I am sure Mr. Drum's unconscious is very aware of the social disruption described, but his conscious self is too focused on all of the other dynamics of political life. His love/special interest of graphs and statistics, por ejemplo, create an unconscious zone of available information about the institutional cultural forces that interact with the people to synthesize into higher poverty, divorce, and other exasperating symptoms of life's existence in our best of all possible worlds.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 30, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

(you wrote)
I think in modern times the primary purpose of Religious marriage is to enforce certain sexual norms, specifically sexual abstinence outside of marriage and heterosexual monogamy after marriage to the same partner for life. Can anyone deny this? Can anyone deny that the 'traditional' marriage is not very good at bringing about either of these conditions?

Yes Trip I deny this- it seems you have it backwards, the primary purpose of marriage is not to enforce certain sexual norm RATHER certain sexual norms promote and help sustain marriage.
When you talk about Modern times vs Traditional Marriage and then castigate religion and traditional values as no being up to the times you have it backwards again. RATHER. Modernity did not start in I 1968, but the sexual revolution did, the decline in traditional marriage (as you say) not bringing about these 'traditional' marriage is not very good at bringing about either of these conditions? RATHER the values and norms of the sexual revolution are NOT VERY GOOD in promoting traditional marriages. (sexual liberation, fornication, acceptance of divorce, feminist challenging of gender norms, widespread acceptance of birth control and premarital sex, promiscuousness and pornography)

I dont believe for a second that the cultural left is interested in promoting traditional marriage. Nor do I believe that they are even willing to question the values of their own sexual revolution. These changes in attitudes and norms are merely a generation old, those who promoted them are still around today. Those who still promote sexual liberation are legion among those who support same- sex marriage.
Do you not understand this or are you just being obtuse?

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't it be possible that even if you come in last in the race you might still believe that the rules of the race were fair? Just because someone realizes that they shouldn't have had a kid at 16 with a bum who won't support it they still might vote for what they believe are family values.

Posted by: wks on January 30, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

sonovabitch kevin, lords were manipulating serfs in 1300, and high priests manipulated the masses for thousands of years before that - don't tell me you think humanity has progressed much beyond that? Fear and hardship are the oldest and surest tools in the book for controlling the masses. Can you really be so blind to not have seen the foundation of the cult of republicanism? It consists of 2 constituencies: the easily manipulated and the powerful manipulators - its a symbiotic relationship.

Posted by: justfred on January 30, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

What you quote neither refutes or supports that collegegrads lean Republican.

Frank J., here, wipe your diapers with this.

From the History News Network:
"Bush recreated the Reagan-era coalition by combining Brooks Brothers and Wal-Mart, the upper class and the lower middle class. He won wealthy voters--those who make over $200,000--by 63 to 35 percent. But he also won voters who had not completed college by 53 to 47 percent."

(Note to Frank: and by much higher percentages among white voters with no college education). Now continue with HNN

"Kerry's Democratic coalition, by contrast, was composed of low-income minorities and upscale, college-educated professionals--two groups that, not coincidentally, were the least likely to accept the president's contention that the Iraq war was part of the war on terrorism. In national exit polls, Kerry got about 70 percent of the nonwhite vote. He tied Bush among voters with college degrees and bested him by 55 to 44 percent among voters who had engaged in postgraduate study. "

A look at one state (Colorado) shows:

"Luckily for Bush, however, voters without degrees still outnumber those with them. In Colorado, Kerry won voters with college degrees by 50 to 48 percent and those with postgraduate study by 55 to 43 percent. But Bush, by winning voters without degrees by 58 to 41 percent, was able to carry the state fairly easily..."

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 30, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

OT

Nathan,

ah, statistics, statistics...

once again: the Southern states (nor "red" states in general) do not have a higher abortion rate than "blue" states. in fact, it's exactly the opposite.

the latest state by state stats can be found here:
http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/sfaa.html

You're right that Califronia and New York have rates well above the national average and Washington and Massacheussetts are almost right on the average while Mississippi has a rate far below. But once again, these appear to be statistics on where abortions are performed, not statistics on where the women aborted are from. To what extent these diverge, I don't know, but it should be pointed out they're not the same. The site does add though that "Of women obtaining abortions in 2000, 25% traveled at least 50 miles, and 8% traveled more than 100 miles."

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 30, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

State rankings for out-of-wedlock births and for numbers of abortions are roughly inverse.

Posted by: NancyP on January 30, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

And in the real culture war, that new Arctic Monkeys disc is fabulous people.

Do your part to bring the culture wars home to America and buy more British music. Then, when the next Duran Duran/Boy George/George Michael wave of sexually confused transvestites invades our shores, we can see the resurrection of roots rock and guys who wear flannel.

There's nothing more American than a six foot seven dude in flannel throwing a Fender bass in the air and letting it hit him on the nose.

Krist Novoselic for President. Let your freak flag fly and your flannel wave forever.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 30, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

What "sexual revolution"? So far as I can see, the major change is that men decided that they didn't need to hold other men responsible, and that male respectability no longer depended on staying married (or hiding a divorce). Divorce has been easily obtainable for at least 100 years in some locales. America has always been amenable to men skipping out on marriages as long as they started anew in some other state. Bigamy was relatively common 100 years ago, partly because record searches were more onerous. The only thing that changed in the early 1960s was the abandonment of stigma for divorced men in politics and in a few professions such as the Protestant clergy. And this change was the result of activity by men who were middle-aged in the 1960s, not the result of powerless teens and hippies. The 1960s teens screwed premaritally as much as their parents did, but the 1960s teens were not compelled into shotgun weddings by their parents, as their parents were by grandparents.

Posted by: NancyP on January 30, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Garance Franke-Ruta is just ripping off what I wrote for The American Conservative and VDARE.com immediately after the election.

That red-region parents want their politicians to endorse morality does not necessarily mean that red staters always behave more morally than blue staters. While there are well-behaved red states such as Utah and Colorado, hell-raising white Texans are 3.4 times more likely than white New Yorkers to be behind bars. Similarly, whites in conservative Mississippi and South Carolina are one-sixth as likely as blacks in those states to be imprisoned, compared to the national average of one-ninth. By contrast, in ultra-liberal Washington D.C., whites are only one-fifty-sixth as likely to be in the slammer as blacks.

The late socialist historian Jim Chapin pointed out that it was perfectly rational for parents with more children than money to ask their political and cultural leaders to help them insulate their kids from bad examples, even, or perhaps especially, if the parents themselves are not perfect role models.

http://www.amconmag.com/2004_12_06/cover.html

Garance denounced David Brooks for citing my article in the NYT, but we can see now that she just wanted to rip off my ideas without others noticing her intellectual plagiarism.

For a full summary of my red state - blue state analysis, see

http://blog.vdare.com/archives/2005/05/08/affordable-family-formation-the-neglected-key-to-gops-future/

Posted by: Steve Sailer on January 30, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

I dont believe for a second that the cultural left is interested in promoting traditional marriage. Nor do I believe that they are even willing to question the values of their own sexual revolution. These changes in attitudes and norms are merely a generation old, those who promoted them are still around today. Those who still promote sexual liberation are legion among those who support same- sex marriage.

As a Berkeley-grad liberal, I would agree with you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sexual liberation or nontraditional families. It is harmful to mandate antiquated sexual mores in an era with safe, readily available contraception. Just because your church has made you afraid of your own sexual impulses gives you no right to make others conform to your own repressed sexuality. People will be happier, society better off with everyone doing what they want to do with whomever wants to do it with them.

Posted by: sex is good! on January 30, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yes Trip I deny this- it seems you have it backwards, the primary purpose of marriage is not to enforce certain sexual norm RATHER certain sexual norms promote and help sustain marriage.

You need to define "traditional marriage" so that your assertions can be skewered with the appropriate precision.

Traditional marriage? There is no such thing. In what culture? In what time period? Do you mean polygamous Mormons in the 19th century? Upright Victorian men who visited their mistresses and prostitutes on a regular basis? Child marriages in India? Biblical patriarchs taking concubines? The loveless arranged marriages so common to so many cultures? Marriages of state and incestual marriages of state? Marriages of women who've been traded like cattle between families or clans?

Puh-leeze.

If you're talking about some imagined "Golden Age" that existed in the forty years prior to the sexual revolution, let's talk about how healthy and fair those were. The culture of openness that exists now as a direct result of the sexual revolution allows older women, for instance, like some of my aunts and great aunts to finally admit that their husbands abused them, cheated on them, fathered illegitimate childen by other women, held them back from improving themselves -- topics that were forbidden in the paradisical decades you describe prior to the late sixties. Do they think the values you associate with traditional marriage serve them? Hell no.

Ultimately, the underlying fundamentals of the ideal relationship are love and commitment, and those arise indifferently to the existence of licenses and or rituals.

I think what you really yearn for is an era in which society ensured that relationships were all homogenous, simple -- and consequently unconscious. Carefully defined roles were laid out and you strayed from them at your peril. There was little in the way of choice or free will involved, and people often spent most of their lives in them on auto-pilot, often regretting in their later years not making different choices that would have allowed them to live fuller, happier, more authentic lives. I don't think this kind of model is even possible any more, as I believe this had more to do with the homogeneity and size of smaller communities that allowed those roles to be enforced than changing sexual mores.

And the sexual revolution was about more than just throwing off the shackles of sexual restraint -- it was about throwing of all restraints inappropriate to the evolution of our culture and allowing for choice: the choice not to wage war, the choice for women to have careers and leave bad marriages, the choice to follow different spiritual paths, and in general the choice to reject all the encrustments of the past that held back human progress and the pursuit of happiness.

The appeal to tradition is a knee-jerk reaction to any major social change. In our country traditionalists argued to retain loyalty to the British monarch, keep slavery intact, keep women from voting, keep blacks from voting, keep black and whites from intermarrying, et al.

I would argue that we as a country are better off for having ignored those traditionalists every time.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 30, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider-I've been hearing alot about the Arctic Monkeys. that good huh? OK!

on topic-doesn't it seem obvious that it's, as unfutz said above, a complex interelaitonship, a feedback loop? someone suggested that it wasn't any degree of social chaos, just lack of education combined with political appeals to emotion. How could that not produce and exacerbate social chaos? How would those appeals be so successeful if people weren't looking for some kind of relief in them?

and, you people who just want to pass of the south as a bunch of congenital idiots are jsut trying to piss me off. while I don't by any means intend to cut the south any slack on its sad and terrible racial history, I do have to say that the North hasn't been much better. Where did MLK Jr's movement falter? Chicago, not Birmingham. Racism is a national problem in America, as is a hereditary aristocracy in a supposedly classless society.

The South in many ways has the best and the worst of the American character, put forth in bold relief. it's the fount of all of the best American food and music, and the center of some of the most visibly wrongheaded political and social movements in American history. I've personally experienced a particualar kind of comraderie there that ocmes I think from people trying to live out their lives in a progressive way under the duress of a hostile political and civic culture while still trying to live peacably with people they may love but strongly disagree with. it's fucking complicated, and people like cdj with his "fuck you i've got my advanced degree" kind of nitwit condescension sure don't get it. How "progressive" is it to write the people of a whole region off like that?

Posted by: URK on January 31, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

windhorse-right on!

Posted by: URK on January 31, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Many interesting points and has several elements of truth to it. But the demographics are probably a bit more complex, for instance working class in the north had and still has to some degree the union movement that stepped in to redeem their situation, whereas in the south that total concept or experience is virtually nonexistant. Well into the 20th century, the south was still much less industrialized so, the church has had in my opinion a much stronger, or basic grip on southern society, or at least seems so. Also another key difference is , with exception to a few large cities, most southerners were not exposed to the cultural impact of the large foreign immigrant populations that the north was. By-passing the whole diversity experience, the south missed out on the positive infusion of that impact.

I am not so sure poor people want to be middle class or rich, I think they covet the material goods and power, but seem to constantly mock and find fault in the overclass. Some of that is just typical jealousy, but some of that attitude represents a resistance to the dependency and complacency they believe the middle class portray. I also believe the working class from the north have been exposed to far superior educational systems then what was typical in the south. Of course that slowley changed after the second world war, ( as a culture and history buff, I always thought the second world war brought the south into the 20th century) but to this day classic 20th century liberal education has made it to few venues in the south.

My parents moved to the south when I was one year old, so I have the unique experience of having life taught through their cultural understanding and somehow trying to adapt to the native surroundings that I found myself in on my own. The population expansion of the sunbelt was in full boom cycle when I grew up, late 60's early 70's, so the suburban sprawl mixed culture was pretty much a way of life in and around the urban centers. You had to travel to the backwaters to see the old ways with any structure left, every where else was just kind of disfunctional. So the point of these stray thoughts is, the red is truly the south and the blue the north, and it may take a depression to get these people to vote in their own best interests, because believe it or not, many think just not being a Yankee is good nuff...

Posted by: Ben Merc on January 31, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

For a full summary of my red state - blue state analysis, see

Oh, come on Sailer. You're full of crap and you know it. You peddle these racially-charged titillating stories every day and no one gives a damn.

Are you that desperate for hits that you have troll through here and look for controversy? You're merely a shill for whoever wants to send you money to promote your racially biased pseudo-reporting.

Still pissed because Pajamas Media won't throw you a few bucks? Wah, wah, wah...

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

What excites Southern redneck culture-and we see this expressed in the posts of our very own trolls-is anger. They're pissed and the pubs are pissed, so the redneck (and they're not all in trailers, not by a long shot) feels a connection with the pubs. Toss in the eerie fake machismo of Bush, and the neck is a lock for the GOP.

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 31, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Arctic Monekys--

pretty good.

New Richard Ashcroft--

pretty good.

Culture war?

Let's go for it.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 31, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, I'm tired of trying to save the world and I'm tired of trying to save America from itself. Human nature says that we recognize problems and maybe fix them or not.

Even if we fix them we forget about the problem and then we forget the need for the fix. Then the ideas that created the problem in the first place start to creep back in, and we start the ball rolling in the other direction.

The curse of forward thinking people is that we may be able to see what is coming but we are not able to stop it. Sadly things will have to get worse before there is even any hope of them getting better.

Posted by: Tripp on January 31, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -

Do my eyes deceive me? You are saying Red States have more social 'disruption' that Blue?>

Now I am neither democrat or republican - but I'd love to know by what criteria you measure social disruption and crime.

Wash DC, Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan.????

How on god's green earth would you come to the conclusion that Red States have more crime, divorce and social problems than Blue states.

I think Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota, Iowa, Texas, Arizona, and Nebraska. Divorce? Crime?

again... I don't have a horse in this race, but I do have two eyes, a nose and a couple ears.

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse, your post is persuasive and I agree with the summation paragraph, but you are wrong that there is no such thing as traditional morality. All the religions, some going back five thousand years and more, teach sexual faithfulness. Even though some allow polygamy, they still preach faithfulness within the relationship. Of course you can point to umpty-zillion breaches of the ideal, but that doesn't mean the people never tried to live up to them.

It has always been the practice to look to other periods of history to find justification for our actions. "See, they were as bad as us." If I do the same, I will note that in Rome's golden years under the Stoic emperors, the social ideals were as "repressed" (you would say) as the Catholic Church's today. And the much maligned Victorians? They were not the hypocrites those who promote sexual freedom want us to believe. Some visited their mistresses of coursethe upper classes have always had a different moralitybut the middle class was probably the most monogamous group of people in history. In Britain, Victorian devotion to their ideals (constancy, faithfulness, fairness) was what gave the British empire the power to spread over the world.

Yes, I know the British were responsible for depredations of all sorts. No group of people ever completely lives up to the ideals they espouse--often they fail rather miserably--but the very attempt is ennobling and gives tremendous power to the ideas the group is attempting to spread. Without cherished ideals, sexual, spiritual and social, the Dem party and America as a whole are putting themselves in danger of falling to any group who has a set and tries to live by them.

Posted by: James of DC on January 31, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ace Franse

I am not a redneck. I am a displaced libertarian. And all those who come to boards such as these, looking for an alternative to the dreaded bushbots are quickly dismissed as "trolls" - should any of us depart from the radical leftwing rhetoric.

I am fiscally conservative, and socially, um, well, not ready for Brokeback Mountain as normal, Sunday afternoon viewing.

Until and unless the radical left wing understands that the vast majority of Americans are terrified of the social agenda of the left, then the vast middle of America will flee to the right, and suffer under moralists rather than licensiousness.

that is the long and short of it.

Now watch the haters come out.

I'm another troll. A fascist, homophobic racist anti semite.

The 40% that is not committed to either party wants less fascism from the left and right.

I don't want Israel running our foreign policy.

THAT makes me a jew hater.

I also don't like the radical homosexual agenda. THAT makes me a bigot, right?

And I don't think prairie dogs are important to the larger scheme of things. THAT makes me an animal hater, and an ENRON lover, right?

loony left, and wild eyed right.

Those are our choices?

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

TJ:

I *do* think that you and Ashley are the same person posting under different names.

And that *would*, if true, make you personally dishonest.

Which would, you know, dovetail well with "your" manifest politics.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ben Merc
-I appreciate your analysis & perceptions. Genrally I'd agree, tho you do have some progressive southern labor movements and labor organizations (I'm thinking here of the Southern Tenant Farmer's Union & the alabama Communist Party & sharcropper's Union) up until the mid 30s or so, they were never very successful or had broad appeal, tho they did occasionally make things better on a local level for awhile. But I think you're right about the lack of diversity from immigration in the South, something that Northern cities benefited from, & the role of the church. All I would add is that Northern cities didn't necessarily cope with all of that diversity in very progressive ways & instead have generally organized racial and ethnic populations into bounded neighborhoods and ghettos, creating integrated political machines but in many cases, segregated cities. some of that has been/is being mended now, but some still needs to be dismanled and unknotted. De Facto segregation, and the inequalities that stem from it (school funding especially) is a serious problem and has proven harder, in many ways, to unravel than De Jure segregation.

tj:
your list of red states ("Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota, Iowa, Texas, Arizona, and Nebraska") conspicuously misses poorer Southern states like Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, not to mention my home state of Arkansas. Lots of divorce, poverty, social disrutpion, etc. especially in the Delta region. Texas has, historically at least had a pretty high crime rate in its urban areas, with Houston being one of the "murder capitals of America" for awhile. Your red state list also includes states that only recently went red, like Iowa. Balance those with some blue states missing from your list, like Vermont & Mass. & you might find kevin's point easier to see. The kind of social disrutpion that we're talking about here is not an only-urban phenom by any means-the meth glut for instance is an almost entirely rural phenomenon.

I don't assume that you're a bigot or a troll, but the fact that you believe that there is a "radical homosexual agenda" besides acceptance as citizens does give me a certain amoutn of pause. Your stance as a libertarian also seems a little bit contradicted by the idea that you'd set a certain agenda for "sunday afternoon viewing." I also don't think that you're likely to find any "radical left wing" around here, or with any sizable presence in American politics, unless you deduce what's "far left" only form it's distance from the right wing. "radical left wing" historically/politically means a kind of viewpoint which really hasn't been represented in American politics, even as a novelty that gets noticed on the news, in a couple of decades at least. it's just a measure of how far towards the right what was the center for most of the twentieth century has moved.

Lastly, regarding morality and licentsiousness, I think it's really more complicated: Americans like both. They seem to prefer licentious entertainment and moralistic politics. In fact the licentious entertainment does a lot to give the moralistic politicians fodder to run on. I'm curious tho what problems a libertarian would have with licentiousness? I thought y'all were all about liberty and staying out of other people's buisness. i don't ask to inslult you and i don't assume you're a troll, I'm just looking at the rhetoric you're using and asking.

Posted by: URK on January 31, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Bob -- your manifest politics are showing.

The dishonesty I see on this board is that of 'omission' -- nobody speaks of the elephant in the DNC -- you know, the one with the trunk

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

URK
All libertarians struggle with morality and government. I reject the canard that if you are a libertarian then anything goes...

I love the way left and right use sweeping generalizations for any given grouping when it serves your 'higher purposes'.

I think the argument that Americans like licentious entertainment and moral politics is a non starter. Those movies are popular with teens, and kids and licentious adults.

You made a good point about the South, but those can be blue states as well.

None of the generalizations mean anything. But one thing is clear. Dedicated lefties think people who want homosexuality in the bedroom along with heterosexuality - are somehow 'haters'.

I have kids. I want some more of the 50's and a little less of the 90's.

If that makes me a hater, I guess I'm guilty as charged.

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

tj-i didn't say you were a hater-don't know what you're on about here. I wasn't using Libertarian as a sweeping genralization either, i was just asking how you split that particular deck of cards. Talking about political groups, movements, ideologies requires some generalizations, and labels are never completely accurate, but they do have to reflect some kind of consensus regarding what the label means or they're totally useless. I mean, I could declare that i'm a liberal but say that i reject the idea that being liberal means i believe in a tax supported state empowered to act as a citizen advocate by enacting some kind of market regulation. then I'd be using a definition of "liberal" which wouldn't really communicate what I thought to anyone. I don't mean to imply that all libertarians think exactly alike, I was just curious how you view the role of regualtion of viewing materials under libertarian governance. I appreciate your answser & tho it doesn't seem very libertarian to me, that's not really a concern, just my opinion.

a couple of other points:

"I think the argument that Americans like licentious entertainment and moral politics is a non starter. Those movies are popular with teens, and kids and licentious adults."

umm-I don;'t know exactly which movies you mean, but the vast and huge number of Americans who vote with their dollars for "licentious" entertainment are in many cases the same Americans who vote politically for moralistic politicians. it certainly isn't just teens and a small set of adults-the numbers just don't add up otherwise.

"None of the generalizations mean anything. But one thing is clear. Dedicated lefties think people who want homosexuality in the bedroom along with heterosexuality - are somehow 'haters'."

well, I still don't know what's up with your defensiveness Re being labeled a "hater"-but anyway, heterosexuality isn't just in the bedroom. As a dedicated lefty myself, I simply want homosexuality in homsexual bedrooms, heterosexuality in heterosexual bedrooms, etc-whatever, as long as what you do in the bedroom doesn't have a bearing on your standing as a full citizen. some folks seem to think that "homosexuality" just involves sex but that's not ture-it involves love and relationships and intimacy and caring and alot of things that, like heterosexuality, happen outside of the bedroom.

"I have kids. I want some more of the 50's and a little less of the 90's."

I'm about to have a kid (my wife actually is doing the "having" part)and I figure that i don't have any choice but to equip her to live in the century we're in. There was lots and lots of bad stuff in the 50s: lots of child abuse, domestic abuse, broken families, lynching, poverty, sexual exploitation, -much of which got swept under the rug and not talked about. So the people suffering from these things often had nowhere to turn to, no way to express their pain, no way out. wives who were battered by their husbands or whose children were sexually abused had fewer choices, fewer ways out of those situations, less uspport in making hard decidions. Make no mistake, the 50s wasn't the golden age that it looks like on Leave it to Beaver.

Posted by: URK on January 31, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

James,

I think you and I are largely in agreement and you're absolutely right, we do need cherished ideals. I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear, I was probably too focused on making my case against the "traditional marriage" argument. I do believe in the necessity of good values. I am a huge believer in morality and spirituality and I try and live my own life according to high ideals. But I also believe that morality has to arise from within, not be dictated from without by institutions or by the blind, random fits of culture as it reacts to external stimuli. And I agree with you, I believe every political party should be competing for the highest ideals rather than competing for the low ground while pretending to have the high ground. Strictly speaking, we probably want parties to focus on espousing ethics rather than morals to avoid having the same kinds of religious parties that are now giving us trouble in the Middle East. Because of the corrupting nature of systems that rely on money, power, and perception, however, it's difficult for parties to live up to high ethical standards.

Not that we shouldn't keep be forever vigilant in keeping after them to do so.

No, I wasn't arguing that we shouldn't practice morality-- not at all. Rather, I was arguing that there is no such thing as traditional marriage -- at least not in the sense that marriage is some kind of universal institution that existed with unchanging moral values until the 1960's.

My argument is that marriage has been changing and fluid even if you just look at western culture. To point to the common example of WASP's in the 1950's and call that traditional marriage is hardly representative of its history. By way of personal anecdote, my grandfather was a Polish immigrant who got to "pick" his wife as part of an arranged marriage. He chose, my grandmother, a fifteen year-old girl and daughter of Polish immigrants; he was thirty-two. In fifty years she bore him eight children which she raised on his salary of a factory worker, a hard life of poverty. They were never in love, and while a sweet woman she was bitter that her religion and culture completely dictated a life to her that she would not have chosen for herself.

If anything, that example is probably more representative of anything we'd call a "traditional marriage" in the last two thousand years in the West.

Marriage has as often as not been pragmatic, used for purposes of defining inheritance and with the wife seen as a kind of property, and for facing economic challenges and strengthening bonds between families and clans. If people choose to marry for those reasons today that's fine. If people choose to define their marriage as a means of preventing themselves from fornicating, that's great. But to argue that everyone should be required to marry for any of those reasons or follow certain forms denies important freedoms to individuals. And I also believe that the essence of a thing is more important than the accident of its form. What's is a more preferable situation, a single mother who is devoted to her children and raises them with love and attention or a loveless couple who eschew time and affection with their children in favor of selfish pursuits?

The question of sexuality is a sticky wicket. Repressing sexuality causes terrible problems, having a completely permissive sexuality causes terrible problems. I think there are practical ways to manage these issues so that sexuality can be safely explored but unfortunately they are not compatible with the all-or-nothing religous ethoi that are held by so many.

I suppose the model that I see for our pluralistic country is that it's the responsibility of each individual to live up to the demands of their own chosen path and have fidelity to those ideals while having tolerance for other religions, paths, and traditions. If every Jain was the best Jain they could be, if every Christian truly judged not and loved their neighbor, if every Buddhist really practiced selflessness and compassion, if every Muslim waged jihad against their own nafs or lower nature, if every Jew strove their best to follow the Law, then I think we'd be further along the road toward the strong, idealistic country that most of us desire.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 31, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

URK

Also the Populist movement that formed in the 1870s was I believe started in Texas (of all places) and migrated to the mid-west. The Populist movement represented one of the original or unique forms of home grown American socialism until it was marginalized by the major parties. Also I think when T.R. bashed all the monopolies in the first years of the 20th century, it stole some of the Populist momentum along with it being associated with the foreigner / Communist movements of the day.

And it is evident that not all of the diversity represented in many of the large northern cities is harmonious, I am sure the ethnocentric divisions and disparities are many, along with the racial /ethnic division and disparity concerning education and economic mechanisms in the various communities. Growing up in the south was almost like being in our own world, from the experience ofthere were positive and negative aspects to that kind of environment. I would not trade my childhood for anything, but those are days gone by, growing up on the edge of a remnant but true rural agrarian culture.
This niche existed throughout the country, but primarily was found in the south.

Posted by: Ben Merc on January 31, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

This minor disruption to marriage is visible and discernable phenomena.
It began 30-40 years ago with something loosely called the sexual revolution
Catapulted by cheap reliable (female controllable) birth control.
The sexual revolution separated sex & marriage from child birth.
The divorce revolution (aided by no fault divorce) maid stable lifelong relations uncertain and untenable.
The feminist revolution made the devision of labor within marriage uncertain.
The combined effect of such changes, within a generation cause3d massive (say we say ) disruption.
50%+ divorce rates,
70% illegitimacy rates among the underclass (and all the verifiable crime, drugs & social pathologies associated with fatherless homes)
Sky rocketing teen pregnancy, abortion, STDs ect.
Women & children bear the brunt of it being never more likely to live in poverty
The net demographic effect extend from the U.S., Europe & Japan.
With lifelong marriage less reliable, sex more attainable, and women more independent people delay marriage and are put into a position of having to have less children. (maybe one designer kid at 39 or none whatsoever)
Europe is depopulating at such a rate that new immigration is necessary to service the increasingly aging population.
All this is happening in a narrow generational timeline (precluding any successful integration)
These are demographic changes unparalleled since the bubonic plague.
A society that does not reproduce itself, is literally, a dying society.
Demographics is destiny.


The Polygamist marriage in the Netherlands was an actual marriage between a existing couple with the addition civil union of a third female. (encompassing most of the same rights a traditional marriage)
Raj - There are no supreme court decisions at the state of federal level? (im not sure) (yet)
Here is one lower court ruling
MARRIAGE WIN IN NEW YORK COURT
Hernandez v. Robles, 2005 NY Slip Op. 09436 (NY App. Div., First Dept., Dec. 8, 2005)
"Marriage, defined as the union between one man and one woman, is based upon important public policy considerations and has been recognized as a fundamental constitutional right . . .
Marriage promotes sharing of resources between men, women and the children that they procreate; provides a basis for the legal and factual assumption that a man is the father of his wife's child via the legal presumption of paternity plus the marital expectations of monogamy and fidelity; and creates and develops a relationship between parents and child based on real, everyday ties. It is based on the presumption that the optimal situation for child rearing is having both biological parents present in a committed, socially esteemed relationship (Reno v Flores, 507 US 292, 310 [1993] [marriage allows the state to express a preference for biological parents "whom our society . . . (has) always presumed to be the preferred and primary custodians of their minor children"]). The law assumes that a marriage will produce children and affords benefits based on that assumption. It sets up heterosexual marriage as the cultural, social and legal ideal in an effort to discourage unmarried childbearing and to encourage sufficient marital childbearing to sustain the population and society; the entire society, even those who do not marry, depend on a healthy marriage culture for this latter, critical, but presently undervalued, benefit. Marriage laws are not primarily about adult needs for official recognition and support, but about the well-being of children and society, and such preference constitutes a rational policy decision. Thus, society and government have reasonable, important interests in encouraging heterosexual couples to accept the recognition and regulation of marriage.
SIMPLE- TIMELESS - POPULAR - CRUCIAL
foundational civilizational tenet!!!!!!


The FACT of the matter is thet gay legal groups forced us into this confrontation - staring in Hawaii & ending in Massachusetts (and now Maryland)
We are defending an important social institution from whatever comers, (at this moment it is gays, soon it will be polymorists and polygamists; yesterday it was divorce advocates)
A more nuanced answer below to your question
(expanding on my basic premise)
TESTIMONY BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE
CONSTITUTION, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND PROPERTY RIGHTS HEARING: WHAT IS NEEDED TO
DEFEND THE BIPARTISAN DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT OF 1996?
September 4, 2003
Marriage is not just a legal construct; it is socially and culturally a
child-rearing institution, the place where having
children and creating families is actually encouraged,
rather than merely tolerated. In endorsing same-sex
marriage, law and government will thus be making a
powerful statement: our government no longer
believes children need mothers and fathers. Two
fathers or two mothers are not only just as good as a
mother and a father, they are just the same.
The government promotion of this idea will
likely have some effect even on people who are
currently married, who have been raised in a
particular culture of marriage. But this new idea of
marriage, sanctioned by law and government, will
certainly have a dramatic effect on the next
generations attitudes toward marriage, childbearing,
and the importance of mothers and fathers. If two
mothers are just the same as a mother and a father,
for example, why cant a single mother and her
mother do just as well as a married mom and dad?
The fallacy and temptation is the belief that if we
allow unisex couples to marry there will be two
kinds of marriage: gay marriage for gays and
lesbians, straight marriage for straights. In reality,
there will be one institution called marriage, and its
meaning will be dramatically different, with deep
consequences for children.


I dont suspect the divorce rate will go up (actually it will probably go down)
The rate of new marriages will decrease (as seen in Scandinavia) because, as stated all family forms will be seen as inherently equal. Traditional marriage will be viewed as outdated and actually declared a bigoted rational. Marriage will be androgyniezed and separated from any necessary connection with childbearing. It will be divorced from its historical and cultural roots and lack the validity therein. Cohabitation and out of wedlock births will rise.
Your Question {"So who specifically will change their behavior if we allow gay marriages?"}Is simplistic and nave . Your changing a cultural institution its effects will be felt throughout the entire society and over generations.
I thought the congressional testimony above went a long way to answering your confusion. The New York legal opinion lays out the importance rather well also (above)
We know from recent history (especially the black lower class) that marriage as an institution is not indestructible.
I dont feel huffy, and I dont think it will destroy, but rather further weaken and already fragile (and crucial) institution. (as stated by another poster above)
Its silly to ask me who specifically will be effectedI believe you know that no one can answer that question (not even social scientists) & thats why you ask such a ridiculous straw man.

Here is more of that congressional testimony: this may address your concerns. Remember we are talking about do distinct concepts of marriage. The ascension of the one (or the other) necessarily diminishes the accession of other. (and one is more socially important than the other)
You decide which one you wish to promote? But you cant have it both ways.

TESTIMONY BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE
CONSTITUTION, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND PROPERTY RIGHTS HEARING: WHAT IS NEEDED TO
DEFEND THE BIPARTISAN DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT OF 1996?
September 4, 2003
"""Many advocates of gay marriage recognize the
importance of this transformation. As one advocate
for gay marriage, columnist and radio personality
Michelangelo Signorile put it in Out Magazine in
December of 1994, [F]ight for same-sex marriage
and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the
institution of marriage completely, to demand the
right to marry not as a way of adhering to societys
moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and
radically alter an archaic institution that as it now
stands keeps us down.
You may agree or disagree, but let us not fool
ourselves that this is a minor amendment to marriage
law. Why are courts contemplating a radical shift in
our most basic social institution at a time when 25
million children sleep in fatherless homes? Here is
the disturbing answer: in order to accommodate or
affirm the interests of adults in choosing alternative
family forms that they prefer.
Two ideas are in conflict here: one is that
children deserve mothers and fathers and that adults
have an obligation to at least try to conduct their
sexual lives to give children this important
protection. That is the marriage idea. The other is
that adult interests in sexual liberty are more
important than imposing or preferring any one
family form: all family forms must be treated
identically by law if adults are to be free to make
intimate choices. This is the core idea behind the
drive for same-sex marriage. And it is the core idea
that must be rejected if the marriage idea is to be
sustained."""

Posted by: Fitz on January 31, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Darn,

I wish I had time to respond to some of the posts above, the arguments are really getting good.

Windhorse, I appreciate your clarifications. The final paragraph was positively inspiring. See? Goosebumps.

I wish to support Tj. I may not agree with all he/she says, but he/she is an open-minded man/woman, who does not accept the dogma of either side. I believe anyone who swallows a whole set of beliefs because they happen to be those of the group he/she was born into or identifies with, is a fool and Tj is not one.

By the way, we need a pronoun which conveys consciousness but is gender nuetral. "It" will simply not do for animals or people or God. Why don't you run a contest Kevin?

Posted by: James of DC on January 31, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Ben Merc

I didn't know about the Texan origins of mid-western populism. interesting. I do know a little bit about Southern populism during the latter part of the 19th c-a mixed bag if ever there was one. for every multiracial, integrated group like the Southern Tenant Farmer's Union there were more groups like "the Wheel" in Arkansas, bent on "protecting" white farmers from freedmen. In many ways I think that the failure of Southern populism to free itself from racism was one of the great political losses of the post civil war period. Not that there weren't plenty of others. anyway, i agree about the hope of American populism & it's interesting to me how the late-20th C. Republican ascendency combined populist style rhetoric with the kind of Lassiaz-Faire economic policies that the populists fought against.

I grew up in Northwest Arkansas, which is the Hill south, very different from the deep south, like for instance Alabama where I lived for a few years, until just lately. I'm curious where your experience was, if you feel like discussing it here. Part of my interest in the South politically is that it seems like that's where the work needs to be done, that there are still open wounds there-which is why I get so frustrated with the kind of condescending "red state bashing" that goes on around here sometimes.

More later or email me off list if you want to keep talking.

Posted by: URK on January 31, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

When I posted that both parties need to abandon their respective crazies... I was attacked as a disruptive influence and a troll.

I hate right wing loons and left wing loons.

As to the 1950's -- you could pay after you pumped. You could leave your mail in an unlocked box.

And I don't believe for a moment that there was more child abuse or pedophilia. All that stuff exploded in the 60's. More victims = more abusers.

And don't feed me that crap that its all heterosexual men... the biggest secret of the pedophilia crisis is that homosexual men marry - ala brokeback - then molest kids - and then are classified as married heterosexuals.

Ditto for priests. These are gay men FIRST and foremost.

Until the Democrats come to terms with this sick twisted base - they won't win any middle class straights to their side.

People are terrified of sexual deviancy and children in the same culture.

People will bolt the dems unless they take a stand on their deviant base of support. Those people HATE straights. Hate Christians. Hate rules.

Gay sex doesn't have to be in our parks. But that's where they like it.

Gay sex doesn't have to be in our faces. But it is.

the thinking is that if we make emough movies about enough different demographics that somehow my boyfriend will have a change of heart and run out to see some?

double yuk.

Straight men don't like homosexual sex. And you guys aren't going to win friends and voters by pointing out that SOME men are hypocrites on this.

They may be. But they dont' want it for their kids.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Windhoarse

(you wrote)
I suppose the model that I see for our pluralistic country is that it's the responsibility of each individual to live up to the demands of their own chosen path and have fidelity to those ideals while having tolerance for other religions, paths, and traditions. If every Jain was the best Jain they could be, if every Christian truly judged not and loved their neighbor, if every Buddhist really practiced selflessness and compassion, if every Muslim waged jihad against their own nafs or lower nature, if every Jew strove their best to follow the Law, then I think we'd be further along the road toward the strong, idealistic country that most of us desire.
(FITZ SAYS)
One of the few common denominators of the moral heritage of all these groups (Jainists, Christians, Buddhists Jews and Muslims) is that they all define marriage as an institution exclusively between men & women. They all have specific terms for the institution, a ceremony celebrating it and rules regulating its sexual boundaries- further more they all have a definitive term for Mother & Father predicated on kinship.
Do you think this is some massive coincidence?
(you wrote)
The appeal to tradition is a knee-jerk reaction to any major social change. In our country traditionalists argued to retain loyalty to the British monarch, keep slavery intact, keep women from voting, keep blacks from voting, keep black and whites from intermarrying, et al.
I would argue that we as a country are better off for having ignored those traditionalists every time.

This is just pap, pure ego aggrandizement for your own sophomoric opinion. I me come on really {appeals for change & social justice killed 50 million in the Stalinist purges, Moe, ect }
You can do better than this, Really?
Who making a naked appeal to tradition or being knee-jerk?????
Im attempting to appeal to peoples RATIONAL minds (as opposed to hyperbole and specious analogies)
All family forms are not inherently equal.
Children and society thrive under traditional sexual and marital norms.

Posted by: Fitz on January 31, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Windhoarse cherry picked which 'traditions' to include.

I suggest that a similar argument can be made for NEW cultural phenomena... so long as I pick heinous new developments in our 'culture'.

there is much to revere in early 20th century america.

the kooks and misfits have no fond memories of anything, but not being mainstream.

I certainly have sympathy for people who feel like they are extruded victims... but I won't sit by and let them destroy what's left of an innocent america

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ashley
Senator Dainiel Patrick Monyhan tried to warn the Cultural left about the break up in the family back in the 60's with the "Report on the Negro Family"- (they called him a racist)

At that point the illegimacy rate for African Americans was 30% - Now its that for the population at large!

People like windhoarse and assorted Lefties, like to champion degeneracy because it helps them feel Bohemian.

But here's some better news

The Decline of the Underclass
by Paul A. Jargowsky and Isabel V. Sawhill
January 2006 policy brief.

". . .The latest census data from 2000 show decreases in the "underclass" and the behaviors that define itunmarried teen pregnancy, dropping out of high school, chronic joblessness, and participation in crime.

But policymakers must not become complacent. . .

Without policies that encourage education, work, and childbearing within marriage, the "underclass" has the potential to return to alarming levels. "

Posted by: Fitz on January 31, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ashley, or tj, whichever name you prefer: I think that maybe we could agree that in a large, pluralistic nation, the government needs to work from the center, to moderate. But there's some stuff you're putting out that i have to disagree with, some as a matter of belief, some as simply factual matters that you are wrong about. Nothing personal intended here, but please, think about some of this stuff:

"As to the 1950's -- you could pay after you pumped. You could leave your mail in an unlocked box."

-well, as a matter of fact, in some places you could, in some places you couldn't. Or it might depend, in a given place, on who you were. If you were black, you couldn't get served or seated in a number of resturants, or stay in most hotels, and not just in the South. If you were jewish you couldn't join certain clubs, or live in certain suburbs. in the 50s (and before) in the north for instance there were a number of incidents where black families moved into white neighborhoods only to be violently terrorized into leaving. so, yes, some people could pay after pumping, but other people couldn't even pump gas at the same station. I think the fact that you suggest that these were universal truths about what everyone could and couldn't do means that you're not looking too hard at the facts. And the idea that everything is worse now doesn't hold up either. I lived for 10 years in a town where i didn't even lock my front door, much less my mailbox & this wasn't the 50s, it was the 90s. You're talking about an ideal, romanticized idea of 50s life, one that didn't apply to everyone or everyplace. it's easy to think tht the past was simpler and more pleasant, but that's rarely true. Life always seems harder and more complicated when you have to live it out daily.


"And I don't believe for a moment that there was more child abuse or pedophilia. All that stuff exploded in the 60's. More victims = more abusers."

No, more people talking publicly about what used to be kept behind closed doors. That's the only thing that 'exploded" since the 60s. Some of the church molestation cases document stuff like that during the 50s and before, for instance, but it was routinely covered up by the church and by local authorities. Or think aobut divorce: when there was a greater stigma on divorce, more people suffered through unhappy marriages and less did anything aobut it. None of this stuff-abuse, exploitation, etc. was invented in the 60s. it's all been going on for literally thousands of years. Many things changed in the 60s in America, but it wasn't some magic disruption where everything went crazy. Social change doesn't work like that, it doesn't stick in nice neat little decades. Things change usually slowly over time, nd we only figure out what anytime was really like after we've had a chance to take stock of it.

"and don't feed me that crap that its all heterosexual men... the biggest secret of the pedophilia crisis is that homosexual men marry - ala brokeback - then molest kids - and then are classified as married heterosexuals."

I don't know where you're getting "facts" like this. Most child molesters are heterosexual, not homosexual. Being homosexual doesn't by any means mean that you're attracted to children. What you describe does happen, or has happened, but it certainly isn't the major way that kids are victimized. Really, this is a pretty paranoid point of view. anyway, for someone who doesn't like genralizations you're certainly throwing alot of them around.

"People will bolt the dems unless they take a stand on their deviant base of support. Those people HATE straights. Hate Christians. Hate rules."

well, the democratic base is overhwlmingly white and straight, just a little bit less than the Republican. And, you're making big genralizations here. "those people"-which people? There are people who hate straights I guess, and christians, and rules maybe too, but they aren't necessarily the same people, and they don't have a voice in the democratic party. One of the big differences here is that the loonies in the Republican party have a lot more power, actually hold positions of importance either in government or command and mobilize lots of votes. Michael Moore, for instance, who doesn't hate straights or christians or rules, but who gets cited as an example of the "loony left" doesn't have any real influence on the party, and he doesn't command a voting constituency.

"Gay sex doesn't have to be in our parks. But that's where they like it.
Gay sex doesn't have to be in our faces. But it is."

I've been trying to avoid saying this, but...that's really a mean spirited statement. it's a crude generalization and it's a slur on any number of good, loving, committed gay couples. There are people, hetero and homo-sexual who like sex with strangers, or in public places. Gay people are usually arrested for it, straight people are given warnings. it's a sign of unequal treatment. If homosexuality hadn't been stigmatized, repressed, kept in the closet then genertions of gay men wouldn't necessarily have been socialized to accept practices like that. But the fact that you can so easily classify people, make such broad statements suggests to me that you're not thinking too hard about this.

I don't really care what movies you and your boyfriend watch, but the idea that there's some mysterious "they" out there that's doing all of this is silly and a little paranoid.


Posted by: URK on January 31, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

The mysterious "they"

Lamda legal, the human rights campaign, PFLAG, LGBTQ, ACLU, Academics, Sexual Liberationists, Polymorists..ect

And there ideological compatriots and alies in Hollywood and Acadamia.
(simple)

Posted by: Fitz on January 31, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

My facts about homosexual pedophilia come from a psychiatrist who amassed a study on perps.

Seems for the last 2 decades, if a man on boy pedophile was married, his demographic was listed as married, heterosexual.

Everyone ignored the obvious. He was preying on boys.... but since he was married... that solved THAT ball o wax.

She did the research and published her study... it didn't make any publications beyond APA and a few obscure Christian publications.

This isn't something you are going to win with the facts.. because the FACTS . like so many today... are catalogued by different people with different agendas...

if a man boy pedophile is married... he is NOT a heterosexual... PERIOD>

And that stat has skewed the figures for 2 decades.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Oh ... save the nonogamous committed couples crap... the overwhelming majority of arrests for public indecency are gay men in bathrooms and parks...

This is not a heterosexual problem.

And as to that broad brush which offends your delicate sensibilities... the commentary around here on Islam and Christians is as hateful as anything I've ever heard about any of the 'protected' minorities.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ashely, you're just wrong about that statistic and the effect it's had on figures that refute the link between pedophilia and homosexuality. But anyway, given the broad and gnerally unreasonable nature of your rhetoric, I don't think I'm gonna get through to you. But, just in case, one last time: homosexuals do not, just as a matter of being homosexual, want to inflict any behavior on you. They do not, jsut as a matter of being homosexual, have any sexual attraction for children, just for people of their own gender. They (to the extent I can genralize about a whole group of people, all individuals, just based on who they fall in love with and/or have sex with) mostly just want to live in the world and the culture and the country. The want to be able to hold hands with their lover in public without getting stared at or worse. They want to civic rights and benefits. They want to make their committed relationships public and declare their love for each other in marriages. they want their stories told in books and movies as if they were real people. Some of this is beginning to happen,at least the "stories in books and movies" part. You seem distressed by this.
Don't be-don't be so afraid of your fellow human beings, your fellow American citizens.

and with that, goodnight.

Posted by: URK on February 1, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Most modern cultural conservatives believe that human beings are born blank slates. Like apes, we have to learn our sexual programming from watching (apes raised in seclusion haven't a clue what to do.) Given our druther's, we would prefer that our children and grandchildren be brainwashed, indoctrinated, subsidized, reinforced, and programmed in monogamous heterosexual behaviors only.

Generally, we don't care what individuals do in the privacy of their bedroom. We care very much what social and economic messages are being sent by the culture. Marriage is not a right, it is a privilege that a civilization creates for its own long-range social health and benefit. We believe that a wise civilization will take care to subsidize and promote monogamous heterosexual behaviors alone. Basically, almost all religions take this stance. Check out the Dalai Lama on it, if you care to.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on February 1, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Most modern cultural conservatives believe that human beings are born blank slates. Like apes, we have to learn our sexual programming from watching (apes raised in seclusion haven't a clue what to do.)

Unfortantely for this theory the examples that disprove it are numerous and varied. For instance, my cats who were abandoned as kittens know how to catch birds and have sex with other cats without having been shown by their parents.

Also, as for the indoctrination theory, all gays to date have been products of straight families, indoctrinating and brainswashing them with mainstream cultural values -- so that hypothesis doesn't seem to hold. It's pretty clear that a significant percentage of homosexuals have a genetic predisposition to their orientation. Examples from people I know:

I have a gay friend with very strict, stern parents who admit that by the time he was two all he wanted to do was play with dolls and wear dresses. I have a cousin from a family of four with strict parents who was displaying opposite gender behaviors by four years old. I have a friend from a strict Roman Catholic family of eight where three of the children were gay, two men and one woman.

No one was "showing them how to be gay" in any of these cases, relieving cultural conservatives of concerns about learned behavior.

The direct threat to marriage is divorce, not gay marriages elsewhere on the planet. And the main contributing factors to divorce are stress and stability issues like poverty and job status, with secondary issues being things like conflict resolution skills. Marriage is an important bulwark of society, I agree, and it is an excellent thing when people are in loving and committed relationships. My point about traditional marriage was that it is also true that it has been used to deprive individuals of rights, freedom, and happiness, particularly women.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 2, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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