Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Are Urbanites Generally Liberal?

In my younger years, I used to wonder why so many people in the cities tended to be liberal; and people in rural areas tended towards conservative.  With a few more decades under my belt -- as well as having lived in and/or visited a variety of environments -- I think I have a pretty good understanding of the reasons.

Sure, I know why city liberals THINK they're liberal...  Their reasoning is that people who are more educated go to the cities because that's where "important" and "high tech" work is done.  Certainly, anyone who is more educated HAS to be liberal.  While we uneducated country bumpkins aren't smart enough to know better.

There may be a grain of truth to this reasoning -- if you replace "educated" with "indoctrinated."  That said, I survived my college indoctrination relatively unscathed, although I did have a brief flirtation with some liberal principles (mostly due to a lady I was dating through some of my college years).  

Though I am probably what most city liberals would call a redneck country bumpkin, I'll put my degrees and career experience up against their any day*.  And many of my rural brethren are equally educated -- try to be a farmer, today, without a firm understanding of agricultural science and business/economics.   And those who don't have the college experience have a great deal of common sense and wisdom, as well as various skills in productive trades and businesses.

In reality, however, the biggest difference between the city elites and denizens of "flyover country" is that urbanites don't actually have to DO anything themselves.  Every one of the necessities of life is provided to them.  They don't have to grow/hunt their own food, get their own water, produce their own power, keep themselves warm, get rid of garbage, take care of sanitation, or any of the other functions that are required to sustain life.  One small hiccough in the power grid, food source, or any other bit of their support infrastructure, and they are totally lost.  Whereas those of us in the rural environment are used to doing much of this for ourselves.  Sure, we get electricity from the power grid, have propane or oil delivered for heat, go to the grocery stores for food, etc.; but we are just as capable of getting these things ourselves if something goes wrong with the infrastructure.

I think you get the picture, but here's a classic example to make my point:

In the winter of  '96-97 (if I recall correctly), there was a big east coast ice storm.  Power lines were down over a wide area of northern Virginia, Maryland, and the DC suburbs.  I was amazed at watching news coverage of how people in DC and Baltimore metro areas were incapable of coping.  Not only did they have no way to keep warm, they couldn't figure out how to keep their food cold --  IN WINTER! City officials eventually had trucks delivering dry ice to neighborhoods for people to put in their refrigerators... (repeat, IN WINTER!!!).  

Those few that had generators had to continuously be reminded not to run generators in their house or garage.  Still, there were a few deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning, and a few fires from people using fireplaces that hadn't been serviced in many years or kerosene heaters that were not used right.  People were burning any bit of wood they had in order to keep warm.

During these (and similar weather-related outages) we "country bumpkins," on the other hand, can start a fire in the woodstove, properly operate a generator, make use of stored water/food, make use of a garden, or even hunt for fresh meat.  During my tenure in "flyover" country, I've had to endure several periods where electricity was out for many days.  No problem -- almost enjoyable, even -- like camping with all the luxuries of home.

Because urbanites are used to government taking care of their every need, they see that as the logical way that the world should work -- and they will vote to continue and even expand the status quo.

But I'm not here to put down city folks -- to each his own.  I see, and even somewhat understand the appeal of city life.  The flash, the amenities, the social life, etc., are attractive to some folks.  Live and let live, I say.

Unfortunately, however, those in the city don't feel the same way.  Because they don't understand how to DO things, they tend to make policies based on the notion that most people don't know how to DO things.  Here's a perfect example:

On the late show with Stephen Colbert, he made the following comment regarding the recent shootings:

”Why is so easy to buy bullets when I have to show three forms of ID to buy Sudafed?”
To a city person, this seems perfectly reasonable.  After all, because he doesn't know how a firearm works, how to load ammunition, or even the difference between bullets and ammunition, he assumes that the only way to get ammunition is to get it from a store (after all, that's where he and all his elitist comrades get all their stuff).  And because he's never purchased a firearm or ammunition, he has no idea what is required.  (And I'm sure he hasn't bought his own Sudafed, either -- I haven't needed 3 forms of ID to do so.  I do have to prove I'm of age to buy ammunition, however -- although at my age, a simple glance is all that's needed.)  But we'll take his comment at face value for now.

Were I (or most of my fellow rural residents) to answer his rhetorical question, the answer would be, "Because Sudafed is difficult to produce on your own, while ammunition is quite easy."

Restricting the purchase of ammunition will only impact those who are already incapable of doing things themselves.  If someone is going to make the effort to carry out a terrorist attack, I'm quite sure they'll be able to produce there own ammunition just as easily as the pipe bombs they are making.

Again, I would normally say live and let live.  But these small pockets of high population densities tend to overwhelm the desires of the rest of their respective states.  Take Virginia, for example:  Without exception, usually 2 or 3 counties (in the Washington, DC metro area, and around Richmond) vote Democrat, while the rest of the counties vote Republican.  Due to the large (and growing) liberal populations in the few areas, however, their desires rule the state.  Over the last few years, I've seen Virginia acquire Democratic senators and a governor (Terry McAuliffe if you can believe it), with 3 counties carrying the state in the last 2 presidential elections -- contributing to the election of President Obama.

Unfortunately, I see this trend continuing here in Virginia, as well as other formerly "red" states. Many former Maryland residents are flocking to the DC Virginia suburb and carrying their liberal practices with them (strangely enough, Marylanders recently voted in their second Republican governor in almost 50 years).  Colorado is another example.  Generally conservative (and hugely independent)  folks, mass migrations from California to the Denver and Boulder metro areas are changing the face of Colorado politics.  Californians, in a desire to escape the world they created, are emigrating to Colorado, but turning it into the very place they were trying to escape.

I wish I had an answer to solve this.  Unfortunately, I don't -- my only hope at this point is to try keep as far away from urban areas as possible.  And as much as it pains me to consider another move (after far too many moves during my active duty AF years), I am looking for places to escape from the growing liberalization of my current state.


*  Not that this would do much good.  Recently, I spent a very long evening discussing climate change with a bunch of young, recently-graduated liberal arts majors (in the area of English and Literature). As a point of reference, I am a degreed meteorologist with >30 years experience in the following areas:

  • Operational weather forecasting
  • Weather satellite data processing for numerical weather prediction
  • Software development and implementation for optical, IR, and microwave radiative transfer analysis
  • Computer modeling and simulation
  • Solar/terrestrial interaction and effects on terrestrial weather
  • Climate modeling under a NASA program I worked on for a few years
Yet, these liberal arts folks refused to accept any of my points and assertions (complete with published journal references), instead relying only on the information with which they were indoctrinated (very little of which they understood in the first place).  Needless to say, the discussion proved fruitless....  

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