I Spend Every Day in America — A Response to Jim George

 

Yesterday, Ricochet member @jimgeorge wrote about how he spent the day in the “real America.” You can find his piece here. According to George, it’s a place where everyone still loves America, the Founding Fathers, and the flag. It’s a place where people are warm and welcoming and guns and religion are referenced constantly. It is far, far away, we are assured, from the Clinton Archipelago.

Okay, so I need to push back against this a little.

@jimgeorge wanted to exclude New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Palo Alto from his list. Because, somehow, they are not the “real America.” Let me take that list in reverse order.

Palo Alto is the home to Hewlett-Packard, Skype, and a slew of other technology companies. It was the incubator or former headquarters of Google, Facebook, PayPal, Apple, and many more. The last 20 years of incredible prosperity in the United States wasn’t built on the back of dying steel mills and coal mines in the “real America,” it came from the creation and dispersal of information technology around the world, centered in Palo Alto.

Chicago is (and God help me, you’re making me defend Chicago) a center of American commerce and culture. The commerce part speaks for itself, so let me address one aspect of the culture part. America tends to take the best from around the world and make it our own, but there is a short list of art forms that are uniquely American inventions. One of them is rock and roll music. We would not have rock and roll music as we know it if it were not for Chicago blues, created by black musicians who came to Chicago during the Great Migration.

Los Angeles is the center of the American television and film industry. And by that, I mean the world’s television and film industry. The world watches American movies and American television. The world’s popular culture of the last hundred years came from Los Angeles. Not only is it a major source of culture, but a major center of American commerce based on selling that culture.

And then there’s New York City. I don’t know how else to put this: the most recognizable symbol of America in the world, other than the stars and stripes, is the Statue of Liberty. I don’t really need to make the case for New York City, do I? It’s the capital of the world. The idea that religion is somehow shunned there is ridiculous. Google Maps lists 96 churches there, including two of the most beautiful in the country. And that’s just Catholic churches in Manhattan.

I dislike the notion of the Clinton Archipelago. It overemphasizes the divisions in our country. Half the people who voted in 2016 voted for Hillary Clinton. That includes a large chunk of your friends and neighbors. Even in West Virginia, the state where Donald Trump won his highest percentage of the vote, a quarter of the people still voted for Hillary Clinton.

Now, I don’t deny that there are people in the above-mentioned places that hate America, God, the Founding Fathers, and apple pie. But you’ll find people like that everywhere. That doesn’t mean they’re not part of America. They’re still our countrymen. They’re still Americans.

America has always been a very big, very diverse place. If you look at the 13 colonies, there was incredible diversity, from Dutch patroons, to Virginia planters, to Pennsylvania Quakers, to New England Puritans, to Maryland Catholics, to the guys who split off from the New England Puritans because they couldn’t stand them. They had very different views about things, very different cultures, and very different values. But they were all Americans.

The truth is that there is no part of America that’s any more “real” than the rest of America. Dividing America up does the country a disservice. There’s much talk these days about division in America. Fostering that and furthering that does real harm, because once you decry “them” as an “other,” it’s not a big step to violence.

Whenever you’re tempted to divide “Red America” from “Blue America” or “Trump country” from “Clinton country,” or whatever other formulation that separates the people in “real America” from the people who live in “those parts” of the country, I ask you to remember one thing:

The most popular musical in America (all of America, not just the “real” parts) right now is about the Founding Fathers. It is a love letter to America and the American founding. And it was created in New York City by a man who was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 105 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):

    For me it’s Yes, no, obviously not, yes, kinda, and definitely.

     

    Do you actually “hate” these places or are you being funny?

    How can you hate a member of your own body?

    Do you believe in the Republic? Even though I might be tempted to hate some of those places or people or whatever, I remind myself of what I learned in Federalist 2:

    They who promote the idea of substituting a number of distinct confederacies in the room of the plan of the convention, seem clearly to foresee that the rejection of it would put the continuance of the Union in the utmost jeopardy. That certainly would be the case, and I sincerely wish that it may be as clearly foreseen by every good citizen, that whenever the dissolution of the Union arrives, America will have reason to exclaim, in the words of the poet: “FAREWELLA LONG FAREWELL TO ALL MY GREATNESS.”

    • #61
  2. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Do you actually “hate” these places or are you being funny?

    How can you hate a member of your own body?

    Hate is probably too strong a word, but they’re definitely farther down the list. For instance: Vermont, the smaller, (redacted)er Wisconsin. Gets all the press, probably ’cause of the hippies.

    Massachusetts: would be the Scandinavia of the US if Minnesota didn’t have that title.

    Nebraska: they know what they did.

    • #62
  3. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    Nobody in Wisconsin is banning plastic straws, or drinks over 16 oz.

    Not even in Madison, WI?!!!

    Sure Madison’s not even thinking about it?…

    Historically, Wisconsin contributed a fair amount to Progressivism, the Wisconsin school of economics being pretty influential in the New Deal, and so on. Times change, of course, but I wonder how much non-Progressive Cheeseheads might be tempted to simply dismiss Progressive Cheeseheads as not-really-Cheeseheads these days, despite Wisconsin’s Progressive legacy. (Ripon WI may have been the birthplace of the Republican party, but original WI Republicanism itself had a fairly pronounced Progressive streak — as residents of Ripon won’t fail to mention if they lean Progressive themselves.)

    Small town America didn’t decry George Washington as a racist, or bandy the notion that halloween costumes are cultural appropriation. It wasn’t rural counties that started measuring intersectionality or demanding that the rest of us check our privilege. 

    While many American small town and rural counties don’t do this, some do (and how! I’d rather not say how I know…).

    I understand the impulse behind excluding the rural counties and small towns that do these things from real rural or small-town America, but that in itself suggests that “real America” and “fake America” (as soon as one gets called real, the other one’s labeled fake by default) aren’t neatly divided by population density — or for that matter distance from some coast (including, perhaps, the “third coast” of the Great Lakes).

    Republican-leaning cities and twee little hippie towns might be the exception, not the rule, but I suspect we’re more American, not less, for having these exceptions.

    I admit it might say something special about Nebraska that the closest lifestyle reporters can find to a twee little hippie town in Nebraska is apparently Lincoln, a large-ish city that votes 49% Republican. But then, check out Nebraska’s brand-new tourism slogan ;-P

    • #63
  4. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Nebraska: they know what they did.

    OK, I admit this is actually better than Nebraska’s actual new tourism slogan.

    • #64
  5. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    Nobody in Wisconsin is banning plastic straws, or drinks over 16 oz.

    Not even in Madison, WI?!!!

    Sure Madison’s not even thinking about it?…

    I wouldn’t call what goes on there thinking. I’m pretty sure some of their roads were designed by non-Euclidean city planners.

    • #65
  6. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Nebraska: they know what they did.

    OK, I admit this is actually better than Nebraska’s actual new tourism slogan.

    Still not as good as “Reno is for clydes“.

    • #66
  7. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Nebraska: they know what they did.

    OK, I admit this is actually better than Nebraska’s actual new tourism slogan.

    I can kinda dig it. Going back to my previous comment:

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Vermont, the smaller, (redacted)er Wisconsin. Gets all the press, probably ’cause of the hippies.

    The upside of this is that with Vermont getting the press, that’s where the tourists and such go. And I can do without them.

    • #67
  8. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    How can you hate a member of your own body?

    Now that I’ve thought about it some more, I might not hate them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the value of getting rid of them.

    For instance, Illinois: America’s appendix. May or may not serve a useful purpose, but has a good chance of rupturing in the near future.

    • #68
  9. Hank Rhody, Red Hunter Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter
    @HankRhody

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    Nobody in Wisconsin is banning plastic straws, or drinks over 16 oz.

    Not even in Madison, WI?!!!

    Sure Madison’s not even thinking about it?…

    Historically, Wisconsin contributed a fair amount to Progressivism, the Wisconsin school of economics being pretty influential in the New Deal, and so on. Times change, of course, but I wonder how much non-Progressive Cheeseheads might be tempted to simply dismiss Progressive Cheeseheads as not-really-Cheeseheads these days, despite Wisconsin’s Progressive legacy. […]

    If I were given the power to unilaterally redraw state lines I’d chop Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison off into their own state, separate from Illinois and the rest of Wisconsin. Attach the U.P. to Wisconsin while we’re at it. It’s not like the Trolls were using it.

    You seem to be the second person who’s taking this entirely as a question of geography. I think that’s where a lot of the problem lies. Let me recap. Jim George writes the original post, defining “The Real America” based on two factors. One, the beliefs and attitudes in evidence, things like patriotism and piety. (And home-cooking. As a long-term bachelor I’d like to emphasize the necessity of good home-cooking in America, and bewail its lack in my general vicinity.) Two, he defines it in negation, not Palo Alto or other members of the Clinton Archipelago.

    Fred’s post largely takes issue with the latter distinction. He’s offering reasons that we ought to be proud to include places like Chicago in “The Real America”. I didn’t find his argument convincing. He’s completely ignoring the first piece of evidence (with the exception of noting a number of churches in NYC). I threw out a comment there making a quick crack, a Ghostbusters II reference, and asking for some better evidence. There are neat things about all those leftist enclaves. Sure; I’ll cop to that. Heck, seeing as brevity isn’t getting the job done I might as well elaborate.

    Six years ago I went to a conference with my classmates from tech school. We saw a presentation by Dan Malmstrom of Douglas Scientific; a startup which was building technology to automate PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which is used to greatly speed up DNA analysis (it’s neat stuff, but I won’t elaborate on what all that means here). Talking to him after the presentation he invited us up for a tour. I took a day trip with a couple classmates up to Alexandria, Minnesota and toured his facility. Real neat stuff, despite the fact that none of us went on to work there.

    Leaving that facility I turned and said to my companions “This is what Silicon Valley feels like. The energy, the excitement, the people doing science in one room while they’re still doing construction in the next. The way that they’ve employed so many people the cars are parking in not-actually-parking-spaces.” Okay, I may have sanded the edges off that quote for publication.

    Innovation and energy. Good ol’ American can-do attitude. Heck, Mark Twain wrote about a Connecticut Yankee because of the long-standing stereotype about the kind of tinkerer and tradesman that the region produced. Nowadays I’d put Connecticut in the list of geographical areas which are actively trying to strangle the country (sorry Spenglersen!) The problem isn’t that the state hasn’t done wonderful things for us in the past, it’s that the current culture is hostile to attributes of Americanism, like religion and freedom. Probably innovation too; I’ve never been up that way but I imagine the ol’ Yankee ingenuity has been strangled by bureaucracy.

    Mr. Cole’s defense of Silicon Valley though is that it’s host to a number of companies that at one time contributed to this sort of Yankee ingenuity. Indeed, but it isn’t uniquely required for this, as the concern from Alexandria Minnesota demonstrates (or indeed Facebook as mentioned, which famously got its start in Harvard). He’s also listing a bunch of companies that are at the forefront of firing people for having the wrong political views and firms that aren’t shy about using their position in the information economy to alter the political sphere.

    Hence I asked for evidence that these liberal enclaves still believed in the things that make America America. I like Chicago Blues more than the next person. The Soviet Union produced some pretty good music as well. I get in response, from Mr. Could Be Anyone, a loquacious “you first.”

    Okay, I’m game. I dash off a half dozen examples, meant in a general way. Hey, maybe Madison hasn’t gotten around to banning plastic straws yet. I wouldn’t put it past ’em. Whatever; the plan wasn’t gestated in Tomahawk WI. It wasn’t spread by the vast media empires of Cadot WI. Winter WI (the town, not the eternal season) didn’t protest in favor of it. The example wasn’t meant as a statement of universal truth but as an example of the phenomena we’re looking at. The whacko-nutjob liberal idiocies that people keep trying to force on us Common Joes (or dare I say Real Americans) are all dreampt up by leftists in universities, spread by media moguls, and enforced by Twitter mobs and large corporations with their conformity departments.

    Another diversion (y’all couldn’t accept the short version so y’all get to read the long one. Let this be a warning to y’all in the future.) What makes a man decide that suicide bombing is a good thing to do? I mean in the Islamic terrorist sense. The guy who actually does the deed is surrounded by a group of people who all think it’s a capital idea and egg him on to it. They’re all surrounded by a group of people who are willing to argue the validity of the tactic. That group in turn is surrounded by a larger group who believe their grievances are severe enough to justify violence, even if they themselves might not be willing to take up arms.

    Now let’s talk about crazy leftism. The sort of crazy Mr. Soto loves to bask in. Like that lady who said that all PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex is rape. All of it. That lady feels free to go on the internet and tell the world about her radical feminist lunacy because she’s surrounded by a coterie of other academia liberals who read too many gender studies papers and worry too much about pronouns. They’re surrounded by a college culture that seriously believes the notion that there’s no physical difference between the sexes, and outward to a whole society who can’t tell whether they should use Miss, Mrs or Ms for fear of giving offense.

    To get the types who think statues of George Washington are racist you have to start with the kind of culture that can produce that sort of belief in its more unhinged members. If your cultural baseline is patriotic then it’s much harder to produce that kind of crazy.  And despite Mr. Anyone’s demand that I produce evidence for the assertion that all cities dislike George Washington, I’m not going to go flying around Google looking for news stories to corroborate. The examples are legion, they aren’t limited to the handful of things I cited, and if you won’t see them it isn’t because they’re absent.

    I think, as a fundamental proposition, we can all agree that the culture of rural America is different than that of Urban America. Or that the Clinton Archipelago has a different general culture than the oceans of flyover in between. (I also think that whenever someone says “we can all agree” inevitably someone will appear who can’t, in fact agree, but no matter). What I’ve seen precious little of is evidence presented that the cities in general share some of the baseline cultural assumptions that seem to me to be fundamental to Americanism. Thinks like Religion, or patriotism, or heck, the three point test I laid out in comment # 23.

    I should note here that I’m talking strictly on the level of large groups of people, and of culture. Hard as it is for me to say, I know good people who live in Madis… hold on, he voted for Obama. Lemme think about that one some more. (I kid! I kid!) In much the way that every physicist wants to assume cows are spherical because it makes the math easier every last armchair political philosopher wants to assume people and places are all one thing and another. You’ll find liberal cities in conservative states, and conservative neighborhoods in liberal cities, and liberal dissidents in that conservative neighborhood (and probably that liberal ate some steak, so there’s a little conservatism in him too). My argument emphatically isn’t that just because you’re from a small town you’re good people, or from a big city that makes you a soulless husk of woke. If anything my argument overstates the effect of culture and ignores the will to it’s peril. If you say “But I live in X” I’m perfectly willing to concede that you’re good people (you’re on Ricochet after all), but that doesn’t mean that you’re the dominant strain in that locality.

    To sum up (I’d say long story short but we flew by that line ages ago) there exists a set of beliefs and values that make America what she is, that these values tend to be more strongly associated with small town culture, that the majority of the liberal pathologies that beset America come from cities where the dominant culture minimizes those same American values, and that yes, we could all stand to visit small town American and remember what that feels like.

    • #69
  10. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Fred Cole (View Comment)

    1. Second, speaking for myself, I don’t have disdain for the South. I like the South.

    So you would not, for example, promote the demonization of Southerners who admire Robert E. Lee as ‘white nationalist’?  If you do not consider such statements gestures of disdain, I assure you it comes across very very differently to many of us.  

    As for the larger point, there are a significant proportion of people who embrace or reject ‘American’ values in all areas of the United States, but there are certain regions where support for patriotism and the Founding principles of the country are more prevalent than elsewhere.  The modern Left, with its embrace of ‘intersectionality’ and all related or synonymous ideological frameworks, are essentially ‘anti-American’ in this sense.  This is a relatively recent development in a country where patriotism and at least professed support for things like free speech and religious freedom were ubiquitous across regional and political lines.  There were hypocrisies and inconsistencies (on all sides), but people genuinely believed in the concepts, rather than rejecting them outright in favor of ‘social justice’.

     

     

    • #70
  11. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Do you have evidence that every city did?

    Yeah, I keep a tally. Every last municipality in America in descending order of population, and whether or not they’ve specifically decried Washington.

    I find it odd that people automatically assume Hank *doesn’t* keep this tally.

    • #71
  12. Hank Rhody, Red Hunter Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter
    @HankRhody

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Do you have evidence that every city did?

    Yeah, I keep a tally. Every last municipality in America in descending order of population, and whether or not they’ve specifically decried Washington.

    I find it odd that people automatically assume Hank *doesn’t* this tally.

    What do I look like; a guy who’s not lazy?

    • #72
  13. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Do you have evidence that every city did?

    Yeah, I keep a tally. Every last municipality in America in descending order of population, and whether or not they’ve specifically decried Washington.

    I find it odd that people automatically assume Hank *doesn’t* this tally.

    What do I look like; a guy who’s not lazy?

    In this instance I could see it going either way. 

    • #73
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    I think, as a fundamental proposition, we can all agree that the culture of rural America is different than that of Urban America.

    There’s a great deal of truth in your analysis of the states. What I see are progressive college-town cities surrounded by conservative rural areas. In the cities where my kids have gone to college–including but not limited to Hamilton, New York; Columbia, South Carolina; Missoula, Montana; Burlington, Vermont; Raleigh, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin–that was the situation. That these college towns were political islands was quite noticeable. 

    That’s how a lot of the industrial Democratic Party-controlled states end up with Republican governors so often. Republicans remain strong in the suburbs and rural areas. 

    • #74
  15. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    I think, as a fundamental proposition, we can all agree that the culture of rural America is different than that of Urban America.

    There’s a great deal of truth in your analysis of the states. What I see are progressive college-town cities surrounded by conservative rural areas. In the cities where my kids have gone to college–including but not limited to Hamilton, New York; Columbia, South Carolina; Missoula, Montana; Burlington, Vermont; Raleigh, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin–that was the situation. That these college towns were political islands was quite noticeable.

    That’s how a lot of the industrial Democratic Party-controlled states end up with Republican governors so often. Republicans remain strong in the suburbs and rural areas.

    This is definitely true in Western Mass: Northampton and Amherst are like a different planet, compared to the rest of the area. We go to those two places sometimes because there are some good restaurants there; I rarely encounter anyone from Northampton or Amherst outside of Northampton or Amherst, though. I think they are afraid of us :)

    • #75
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):
    I think they are afraid of us.

    Probably. :-)

    • #76
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    Nobody in Wisconsin is banning plastic straws, or drinks over 16 oz.

    Not even in Madison, WI?!!!

    Sure Madison’s not even thinking about it?…

    Historically, Wisconsin contributed a fair amount to Progressivism, the Wisconsin school of economics being pretty influential in the New Deal, and so on. Times change, of course, but I wonder how much non-Progressive Cheeseheads might be tempted to simply dismiss Progressive Cheeseheads as not-really-Cheeseheads these days, despite Wisconsin’s Progressive legacy. […]

    If I were given the power to unilaterally redraw state lines I’d chop Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison off into their own state, separate from Illinois and the rest of Wisconsin. Attach the U.P. to Wisconsin while we’re at it. It’s not like the Trolls were using it.

    You seem to be the second person who’s taking this entirely as a question of geography. I think that’s where a lot of the problem lies. Let me recap. Jim George writes the original post, defining “The Real America” based on two factors. One, the beliefs and attitudes in evidence, things like patriotism and piety. (And home-cooking. As a long-term bachelor I’d like to emphasize the necessity of good home-cooking in America, and bewail its lack in my general vicinity.) Two, he defines it in negation, not Palo Alto or other members of the Clinton Archipelago.

    Fred’s post largely takes issue with the latter distinction. He’s offering reasons that we ought to be proud to include places like Chicago in “The Real America”. I didn’t find his argument convincing. He’s completely ignoring the first piece of evidence (with the exception of noting a number of churches in NYC). I threw out a comment there making a quick crack, a Ghostbusters II reference, and asking for some better evidence. There are neat things about all those leftist enclaves. Sure; I’ll cop to that. Heck, seeing as brevity isn’t getting the job done I might as well elaborate.

    Six years ago I went to a conference with my classmates from tech school. We saw a presentation by Dan Malmstrom of Douglas Scientific; a startup which was building technology to automate PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which is used to greatly speed up DNA analysis (it’s neat stuff, but I won’t elaborate on what all that means here). Talking to him after the presentation he invited us up for a tour. I took a day trip with a couple classmates up to Alexandria, Minnesota and toured his facility. Real neat stuff, despite the fact that none of us went on to work there.

    Leaving that facility I turned and said to my companions “This is what Silicon Valley feels like. The energy, the excitement, the people doing science in one room while they’re still doing construction in the next. The way that they’ve employed so many people the cars are parking in not-actually-parking-spaces.” Okay, I may have sanded the edges off that quote for publication.

    Innovation and energy. Good ol’ American can-do attitude. Heck, Mark Twain wrote about a Connecticut Yankee because of the long-standing stereotype about the kind of tinkerer and tradesman that the region produced. Nowadays I’d put Connecticut in the list of geographical areas which are actively trying to strangle the country (sorry Spenglersen!) The problem isn’t that the state hasn’t done wonderful things for us in the past, it’s that the current culture is hostile to attributes of Americanism, like religion and freedom. Probably innovation too; I’ve never been up that way but I imagine the ol’ Yankee ingenuity has been strangled by bureaucracy.

    Mr. Cole’s defense of Silicon Valley though is that it’s host to a number of companies that at one time contributed to this sort of Yankee ingenuity. Indeed, but it isn’t uniquely required for this, as the concern from Alexandria Minnesota demonstrates (or indeed Facebook as mentioned, which famously got its start in Harvard). He’s also listing a bunch of companies that are at the forefront of firing people for having the wrong political views and firms that aren’t shy about using their position in the information economy to alter the political sphere.

    Hence I asked for evidence that these liberal enclaves still believed in the things that make America America. I like Chicago Blues more than the next person. The Soviet Union produced some pretty good music as well. I get in response, from Mr. Could Be Anyone, a loquacious “you first.”

    Okay, I’m game. I dash off a half dozen examples, meant in a general way. Hey, maybe Madison hasn’t gotten around to banning plastic straws yet. I wouldn’t put it past ’em. Whatever; the plan wasn’t gestated in Tomahawk WI. It wasn’t spread by the vast media empires of Cadot WI. Winter WI (the town, not the eternal season) didn’t protest in favor of it. The example wasn’t meant as a statement of universal truth but as an example of the phenomena we’re looking at. The whacko-nutjob liberal idiocies that people keep trying to force on us Common Joes (or dare I say Real Americans) are all dreampt up by leftists in universities, spread by media moguls, and enforced by Twitter mobs and large corporations with their conformity departments.

    Another diversion (y’all couldn’t accept the short version so y’all get to read the long one. Let this be a warning to y’all in the future.) What makes a man decide that suicide bombing is a good thing to do? I mean in the Islamic terrorist sense. The guy who actually does the deed is surrounded by a group of people who all think it’s a capital idea and egg him on to it. They’re all surrounded by a group of people who are willing to argue the validity of the tactic. That group in turn is surrounded by a larger group who believe their grievances are severe enough to justify violence, even if they themselves might not be willing to take up arms.

    Now let’s talk about crazy leftism. The sort of crazy Mr. Soto loves to bask in. Like that lady who said that all PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex is rape. All of it. That lady feels free to go on the internet and tell the world about her radical feminist lunacy because she’s surrounded by a coterie of other academia liberals who read too many gender studies papers and worry too much about pronouns. They’re surrounded by a college culture that seriously believes the notion that there’s no physical difference between the sexes, and outward to a whole society who can’t tell whether they should use Miss, Mrs or Ms for fear of giving offense.

    To get the types who think statues of George Washington are racist you have to start with the kind of culture that can produce that sort of belief in its more unhinged members. If your cultural baseline is patriotic then it’s much harder to produce that kind of crazy. And despite Mr. Anyone’s demand that I produce evidence for the assertion that all cities dislike George Washington, I’m not going to go flying around Google looking for news stories to corroborate. The examples are legion, they aren’t limited to the handful of things I cited, and if you won’t see them it isn’t because they’re absent.

    I think, as a fundamental proposition, we can all agree that the culture of rural America is different than that of Urban America. Or that the Clinton Archipelago has a different general culture than the oceans of flyover in between. (I also think that whenever someone says “we can all agree” inevitably someone will appear who can’t, in fact agree, but no matter). What I’ve seen precious little of is evidence presented that the cities in general share some of the baseline cultural assumptions that seem to me to be fundamental to Americanism. Thinks like Religion, or patriotism, or heck, the three point test I laid out in comment # 23.

    I should note here that I’m talking strictly on the level of large groups of people, and of culture. Hard as it is for me to say, I know good people who live in Madis… hold on, he voted for Obama. Lemme think about that one some more. (I kid! I kid!) In much the way that every physicist wants to assume cows are spherical because it makes the math easier every last armchair political philosopher wants to assume people and places are all one thing and another. You’ll find liberal cities in conservative states, and conservative neighborhoods in liberal cities, and liberal dissidents in that conservative neighborhood (and probably that liberal ate some steak, so there’s a little conservatism in him too). My argument emphatically isn’t that just because you’re from a small town you’re good people, or from a big city that makes you a soulless husk of woke. If anything my argument overstates the effect of culture and ignores the will to it’s peril. If you say “But I live in X” I’m perfectly willing to concede that you’re good people (you’re on Ricochet after all), but that doesn’t mean that you’re the dominant strain in that locality.

    To sum up (I’d say long story short but we flew by that line ages ago) there exists a set of beliefs and values that make America what she is, that these values tend to be more strongly associated with small town culture, that the majority of the liberal pathologies that beset America come from cities where the dominant culture minimizes those same American values, and that yes, we could all stand to visit small town American and remember what that feels like.

    See, If Jim George wrote what you just wrote as his post, I wouldn’t have much to gripe about. You’re being reasonable. What a dirty trick!

    • #77
  18. Hank Rhody, Red Hunter Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter
    @HankRhody

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    You’re being reasonable. What a dirty trick!

    I do try to keep it to a minimum.

    • #78
  19. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Nebraska: they know what they did.

    OK, I admit this is actually better than Nebraska’s actual new tourism slogan.

    I can kinda dig it. Going back to my previous comment:

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Vermont, the smaller, (redacted)er Wisconsin. Gets all the press, probably ’cause of the hippies.

    The upside of this is that with Vermont getting the press, that’s where the tourists and such go. And I can do without them.

    I need to defend Vermont.  It’s actually a wonderful place to visit.  

    • #79
  20. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    I remember being in Alabama in a car with Massachusetts plates.

    “Massachusetts!” said a local yokel with surprise. “Why would anyone wanna go back there?”

    Why indeed.

    This is true. If I have disdain for anywhere, it’s Massachusetts.

    Thanks, Fred.

    Seriously, some of us come from Massachusetts you know :)

    I’m sorry.

    I’m not sorry that I said what I did.  I’m sorry that some of you come from Massachusetts.

    • #80
  21. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    I’m sorry.

    I’m not sorry that I said what I did. I’m sorry that some of you come from Massachusetts.

    So heartfelt and heartwarming.

    Blessed are the peacemakers… 

    • #81
  22. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Did I mention that I was born in Boston, Mass.? My dad was sent by IBM to study at MIT for a year and I was born during that year. My grandfather used to tease me that he wasn’t sure I was a citizen. (He came here from Ireland.)

    • #82
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    MarciN (View Comment):
    In the cities where my kids have gone to college–including but not limited to Hamilton, New York; Columbia, South Carolina; Missoula, Montana; Burlington, Vermont; Raleigh, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin–that was the situation. That these college towns were political islands was quite noticeable. 

    I lived in Madison for about 8 years  (post-college).

    It is a very nice place to live.  But I prefer Milwaukee.  Madison just has a certain smugness about it that I find offputting.

     

    • #83
  24. OldDanRhody Member
    OldDanRhody
    @OldDanRhody

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    In the cities where my kids have gone to college–including but not limited to Hamilton, New York; Columbia, South Carolina; Missoula, Montana; Burlington, Vermont; Raleigh, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin–that was the situation. That these college towns were political islands was quite noticeable.

    I lived in Madison for about 8 years (post-college).

    It is a very nice place to live. But I prefer Milwaukee. Madison just has a certain smugness about it that I find offputting.

    Very true, but Seattle is worse in that regard.

    • #84
  25. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I’d just like to point out that we might not be talking about an American nation, but rather a British one, had it not been for those brave guys at Lexington and Concord. :-) 

    • #85
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I always think of conservatives as relating to people as individuals.

    This entire discussion of regional animosities is troubling to me.

    Yeah, that’s how it works. I have dislike for a number of places, but I find many of the people from them to be decent. As I understand it, it’s the other way around with liberals. They’re great at caring for groups. Not so much for individuals.

    Indeed. I’ve often joked that Republicans hate groups but love individuals. Democrats love groups but hate individuals. :-)

    I’ve heard the same thing, except it was about Northerners and Southerners, the Southerners being the ones to dislike groups but like individuals.

    • #86
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    I remember being in Alabama in a car with Massachusetts plates.

    “Massachusetts!” said a local yokel with surprise. “Why would anyone wanna go back there?”

    Why indeed.

    This is true. If I have disdain for anywhere, it’s Massachusetts.

    Thanks, Fred.

    Seriously, some of us come from Massachusetts you know :)

    I’m sorry.

    I’m not sorry that I said what I did. I’m sorry that some of you come from Massachusetts.

    What I find funny about this attitude toward Massachusetts coming from a New Yorker is that whenever I have been in upstate New York, it has felt very much like the western part of Massachusetts. The roads, the foliage, and the culture. 

    I’ve often wondered if there was a lot of migration back and forth between those two areas, which would explain the similarities. 

    As for Boston and New York: they too are lot a like, and they experienced very similar early growth patterns. 

    • #87
  28. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    I need to defend Vermont. It’s actually a wonderful place to visit.

    The only state east of the Mississippi I haven’t been too.  Always wanted to ski at Killington . . .

    • #88
  29. Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger Member
    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger
    @MattBalzer

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Nebraska: they know what they did.

    OK, I admit this is actually better than Nebraska’s actual new tourism slogan.

    I can kinda dig it. Going back to my previous comment:

    Matt Balzer, Straw Bootlegger (View Comment):
    Vermont, the smaller, (redacted)er Wisconsin. Gets all the press, probably ’cause of the hippies.

    The upside of this is that with Vermont getting the press, that’s where the tourists and such go. And I can do without them.

    I need to defend Vermont. It’s actually a wonderful place to visit.

    I would say “it’s good, as long as you can escape it” is not that great a defense.

    • #89
  30. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Stad (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    I need to defend Vermont. It’s actually a wonderful place to visit.

    The only state east of the Mississippi I haven’t been too. Always wanted to ski at Killington . . .

    That’s only like two and a half hours from my house. 

    I can’t speak to skiing. I will vouch for Burlington, which is a very pleasant, very chill place to spend a weekend. Especially this time of year. 

    • #90
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.