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In 1999, while obtaining my Master's degree in sociology, I was taking a graduate course in demography with Professor Cheryl Howard at UTEP, where we were involved in a discussion about immigration policy on the Mexico/U.S. border. At the time, being that I was still a relatively conservative right-winger and opponent of the Clinton administration, I had commented to Cheryl that I believed people were responsible for their own actions and not influenced or determined by their social circumstances. She then, very seriously, looked me directly in the eyes and, in front of the entire graduate seminar class, asked, "If you truly believe that, why, in God's name, are you getting a degree in sociology?" I was dumbstruck and unable to answer her question.  This started a quest that ended in me leaving conservatism.

As really good professors are wont to do, she had forced me out of my comfort zone and made me really think about the positions that I held. I am now able to appreciate her rather abrupt approach to making me question my own perceptual framework, but, at the time, I was forced to rethink my reasons for getting a graduate degree, particularly in sociology. You see, the very essence of sociology is in examining and analyzing the social factors and influences that make us as individuals do the things that we do. If societal factors have no influence on human behavior, and we are completely and totally responsible for our own actions (as conservatives like to stress), then sociology as a social science is a completely moot endeavor.

I thought long and hard on this point because, as Cheryl had made so very clear to me, I was embarking upon a pointless journey to pursue a degree in sociology. I became more concerned at the thought and decided to do some research on my own. I knew that in the relatively small sociology department at UTEP, I had encountered no sociologists in the department who were conservative, and I had taken classes from essentially all of them. As I began to research it, I found that "conservative sociologist" was almost considered to be an oxymoron, and if there were any out there, they were as rare as hen's teeth. I made the decision to press on and finish my degree program, thinking that there might be some way in which I could integrate my conservatism into my sociology.

It really wasn't until 2003, when I became a teacher of sociology myself at a local community college, that I began to appreciate the point that Prof. Howard had made to me that night in class. As any teacher knows, you really don't learn a subject in-depth until you begin teaching it. As I began teaching the Intro to Sociology course, I realized that the idea of "rugged individualism," which is at the heart and soul of modern, American conservatism, is a myth. Humans do not exist in a vacuum as individuals, and, indeed, cannot exist so. Numerous studies have concluded that humans in isolation cannot function properly and suffer from acute deficiencies, both physical and mental. The reason for this is simple. Humans are social creatures. We live and move in a complex, interconnected web of exchanges, relationships, interactions, communications, and associations that we cannot fully comprehend. Every facet of our life is affected in some subtle, and not so subtle, ways. As a result of this, it is next to impossible to credit any action we perform or any accomplishment we obtain to the result of mere individual will. This is not to say we have no freedom of will, we do. But our freedom of choice is restricted to the circumstances of our life, to include all of the relationships that have influenced and molded us.

For example, almost all of us have had the experience of having obtained a job due to having a friend or a relative who knows someone in the right place of a company. Can you really say that you got that job based on your own individual merits? You got it due to the circumstances of being in the right place at the right time. Almost everything you've accomplished in your life is due to the socioeconomic framework established by your family, community, neighbors, etc. Going even further, how likely is it that Donald Trump would have been the huge real estate mogul that he is had his father been a sharecropper in Mississippi instead of a successful real estate magnate in New York City? It might have still happened but it would have probably been far more unlikely. People do not normally overcome their circumstances and rise to the top. One is unable to pull oneself up by their bootstraps when they don't even have bootstraps. It really is not that difficult to understand that Donald Trump, being raised in the home of a real estate broker, would become a successful real estate broker himself, and a young man growing up on the streets of south St. Louis will not likely become a corporate tycoon in New York City. Those who are on top usually got there because they started in a comfortable position near the top. Out of the last eight Presidents of the United States, only one did not attend at a prestigious or Ivy League university. That president was Ronald Reagan who, instead, was a Hollywood celebrity. Occasionally, a person will escape from a low income background, most likely due to social circumstances we don't completely understand, but it happens so rarely that it is not the norm. Conservatives like to trumpet these rags to riches stories as examples of "rugged individualism" but these stories are not the rule. The rule is that people typically remain trapped in their circumstances no matter what they may try to move up. They may be able to move themselves up an income level or two, but they're not likely to break through the glass ceiling into riches and wealth without a socioeconomic foundation that puts them into a strategic position to be able to attain that level.

As these realizations came to me during my first couple of years teaching sociology, our country was in the midst of being governed under the conservative principles of the George W. Bush administration. With that administration came the onset of two wars, the Patriot Act, excessive government spending, a breakdown of our country's infrastructure, the deliberate dismantling of the Bill of Rights, and the eventual nosedive into the abyss of a recession that crippled our country's economy. It became abundantly clear to me that there was something inherently wrong with conservative ideology when it was implemented into the real world of political governance. With my sociological imagination piqued, I was interested in doing more research on the quantitative results of conservative vs. liberal governing policies. I am a sociologist, so I need some numbers and data to help me draw valid conclusions. What I found was astounding and radically altered my view of conservatism.

The first bit of data that I looked at was the national debt as it has varied under different presidents. The following chart speaks about as loudly as possible in showing the stark contrast between liberal vs. conservative policies when it comes to the national debt.

The initial period of the national debt graph at the link is the time just as we entered World War II. At that point, there is a large spike, for obvious reasons, as we spent a large amount of money to fight WWII. After the war, however, the debt begins to go down sharply and continues to decrease until we get to the Nixon/Ford administrations where it begins to level out and start rising ever slowly. In the Carter administration, it drops back down a slight amount and then takes a sharp upturn as we enter the Reagan/Bush administrations. It rises steadily until we enter the Clinton presidency where it once again makes a downturn and begins heading back down. As soon as we enter the period of W's presidency it turns back up and begins climbing again. It makes a sharp turn up as the Obama administration takes over, but, yet again as in WWII, the U.S. at this point is in a drastic situation requiring an inordinate amount of spending. The conclusion couldn't be any clearer. Conservative policies drive up the national debt and liberal policies tend to bring them back down, except in cases of a national emergency.

The next set of data that I analyzed was the contrasting statistics of red states vs. blue states. Assuming that red states tend to be mostly governed by conservatives and conservative policies and blue states tend to be governed by liberals and liberal policies, what are the outcomes of those different policies on index statistics?

Well, let's start with divorce. Out of the top 10 states with the lowest divorce rates, six of them are blue: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Massachusetts is number 1 with the lowest divorce rate of 2.4 divorces per 1,000 people, and Massachusetts is widely known to be one of the most liberal states in the nation.
Only four of them are red: Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas.
When one looks at the lowest 10 states with the worst divorce rates, they are ALL red states.

Next, let's look at percentage of citizens with health insurance coverage (this is prior to the passage of the Healthcare Reform Law). Out of the top 10 states with the highest percentage covered, 7 of them are blue and only 3 of them are red with Minnesota (blue) in the number one spot. The bottom 16 states with the lowest percentage of healthcare coverage are ALL red, with one exception, California. The red state of Texas ranks at the very bottom.

The next set of data is the infant mortality rate. Out of the top 10 states with the lowest infant mortality rate, 6 of them are blue and 4 are red. Out of the bottom 10 states with the highest infant mortality rate, 8 of them are red and only 2 are blue.

The life expectancy rate is the next important data set. Yet again, 6 of the top 10 states with the highest life expectancy are blue and only 4 are red. The bottom 14 states with the lowest life expectancy are ALL red, with Mississippi ranking at the very bottom.

Starting to see a pattern yet....but we're not done....

Out of the top 10 states with the lowest homicide rates, 6 are blue, and 4 are red. The 10 bottom ranking states are 7 red and 3 blue.

When we look at the rankings for poverty, IQ, pornography use, and illegitimate birth rate, we observe almost identical trends. The conclusion is inescapable. Conservative policies contribute to disastrous conditions under those policies. The "let alone", "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" philosophy fares poorly when it's applied in government. There's a reason why that is the case. It's because we humans are not individuals. We move, work, play, interact and survive in social groupings. Liberal ideology recognizes that and adapts its policies to account for that. Conservatism doesn't. And its constituents suffer horribly for it. When one bases their policies and actions on a flawed view of reality, one gets flawed results. The data clearly shows that conservatives have a flawed view of reality. In fact, the rankings and statistics of a few red states reach the levels of some third world countries. Those U.S. citizens who live in red states live in some of the most crime-ridden, poverty-stricken areas of the country. And they have their conservative leadership to thank for that.

Thanks to a journey I had begun due to the prodding of one very engaged and brilliant professor (thank you, Dr. Howard), I had now arrived at a well-reasoned and fact-based conclusion. There's a reason why I, and most sociologists, are not conservative. The data speaks volumes, and conservatism comes out on the losing end. In fact, one need not be a sociologist to see the clear message being conveyed by all of this social data.

Originally posted to Shinobi Mystic on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:07 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Am Not So Proud About This. But Maybe (22+ / 0-)

    in college I wasn't so much of a liberal. I wasn't a sociology major. Just a class I had to take. The conversation was about if men are superior to women. As a dude I jumped in and said yes.  

    That teacher, who was a women, made me think of the world in a way I'd never looked at it before. Not sure she was the root cause of my change, but close to it.

    I got a sociology minor just cause of her, cause I took every other class she offered.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:19:25 PM PDT

  •  Better late than never (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I would have thought that you would have done a little more rigorous thinking before you selected your Masters.

    On your own admission you hadn't even asked yourself why you were doing a degree that you didn't even agree with the first principles of.

    But now you have jumped completely over to the other side of the fence, from the individual is all to the society is all.

     It's because we humans are not individuals. We move, work, play, interact and survive in social groupings.

    Is your thinking always this lacking in nuance?

    The Teabaggers are the GOP base

    by stevej on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:26:38 PM PDT

    •  Are you saying (5+ / 0-)

      that the quoted statement is factually inaccurate? If not, what's your point?

    •  Not exactly... (14+ / 0-)

      Maybe my writing is.  Look, this diary was a quick summation of my transition out of conservatism into liberalism, an event which contained a lot more details and variables then I've gone into here, for obvious reasons, as does my thinking on this issue.  The line between societal influences and individual will is one that is extremely difficult to draw, just ask any social scientist. To go into that would require a book-length composition. Is that nuanced enough for you?

      As for my reasoning behind obtaining a Master's degree that really didn't fit with my philosophy, at the time, I needed a master's degree to move into a higher pay bracket at my job and sociology was the only thing open to me that didn't involve having to take any leveling work before I could start.  I know that sounds crass, but, hey, I was a conservative Republican at the time so it made sense.  I have since come to appreciate the science of sociology for the necessary tool that it is in understanding how we all move and interact together in our social frameworks.

      "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

      by Shinobi Mystic on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:50:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary. You put quite (10+ / 0-)

    a bit of effort into it, I think.  Thanks for sharing.

    Truth has a liberal bias. Stephen Colbert

    by maggiejean on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:27:38 PM PDT

  •  I've had this nebulous hypothesis (12+ / 0-)

    floating around in my head for several years - that conservatives tend not to be as empathetic as liberals. That people are liberal because they tend to understand the struggles others face.

    Teachers, journalists, doctors, nuns, and yes, sociologists tend to be more liberal because their professions require them to either walk in someone else's shoes on a regular basis, or it requires them to deal with the problems of regular people in a sympathetic way.

    My conservative friends scoff at this of course, but I tell them it's only a trend, not a 100% thing. It's certainly something worth thinking about.

  •  Liberal indoctrination (10+ / 0-)

    in our universities!!!!  God forbid young people in this country learn to think critically!!!!  What was the name of that professor?  We must have them fired.

  •  You coulda just said (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that you were uncomfortable belonging to a cult.

  •  Very little of conservatism stands up to scrutiny (7+ / 0-)

    That's why--as you stated--so much of their philosophy is based on myth.

  •  thanks nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, majii

    LeBron James is worth way more than any Wall Street Banker.

    by J Brunner Fan on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:38:26 PM PDT

  •  Coonservative refuse to look at the world (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1, NamelessGenXer, majii

    as it is.  They insist on front-loading their bias and skewing the data, but they still come up short and wrong.

    If only they actually conserved something.

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

    by trashablanca on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:40:17 PM PDT

    •  they conserve something. all right (0+ / 0-)

      their own personal wealth.

      Human beings, Mother Earth, Sovereign Nations, the United States Constitution, their mothers, their children, their souls -- they will sell it all to the highest bidder.

      "Conserv"atives are the lowliest life-form on the planet.

  •  This is good work (8+ / 0-)

    but I'm curious about another aspect of your story. How is it that an obviously intelligent, inquiring person such as yourself could embark on a career path without realizing that its fundamental principles were at odds with your conservative beliefs? It sounds as though your beliefs existed in a compartmentalized form, insulated from intellectual inquiry, observation and evidence.

    Why and how this should have been so is a topic in need of examination. Since this strange disconnect isn't by any means unique to you, we'd do well to understand the causative factors that underlie it.  

  •  i think later in life transformations are (6+ / 0-)

    the most powerful. It's one thing to be raised something and then you accept it and then you live it. It's quite another to be raised something, but you yourself question it, find it lacking, and come to your own conclusions.

    I hear gardening is a nice hobby.

    by SeanF on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:44:12 PM PDT

  •  I'm studying the American Industrial Revolution (7+ / 0-)

    I'm doing a project for a museum.  What has been made clear to me is that this country was started under a set of principles that recognized and encouraged community.  That freedom would manifest only under self-government and that self-government could not be achieved without an educated, civically responsible citizenry.  I always credited Thomas Jefferson with articulating that idea but my research shows that it goes back to the Pilgrims, who insisted that everyone be educated enough to contribute meaningfully to self-government by and for the good of the community.  There are no documents of the Founding Fathers that say, "every man for himself".  Instead conditions needed to be met by government that would "free" men to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Freedom was conditional upon responsible actions toward the community.  

    Being free of working for the King or the ensconsed landholders gave individuals unique opportunities to succeed in America.  But the United States government, from its inception, intended at the very least on being partners in commerce and establishing conditions for individual success.  

    •  It would be interesting (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      majcmb1, cherryXXX69, 57andFemale, majii

      to discover when the term "rugged individualism" and all it implies, first entered our political lexicon. As you note, you won't find such notions voiced by the founders and framers.

      As you recognize, the founders in no way embraced the anti-social, hyper individualism currently in vogue with the Right. This ferocious hostility towards the communal and communitarian principles which animated the founders is the major reason why "Conservative" is a misnomer when applied to our present day right-wingers. They are, by any historical measure, a radical and extreme departure from the ideas of the founders.

      •  Absolutely. (0+ / 0-)

        What a good discussion this diary opened up.  

      •  a couple thoughts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WB Reeves

        the character of this country is strongly shaped by the pioneer mentality, which was largely focused on being self-sufficient. It was also very community based, but everyone's responsibility for doing their fair share was highlighted.

        I'd like to hear more about why urban areas are always more liberal than rural areas. My hunch: population density has a clear relationship to how much empathy people have. And this doesn't mean that rural people have no empathy, it means that if you're in a city, your kinda forced to be aware of other people's business cuz it affects you much more than if you live off in the woods.

        I hear gardening is a nice hobby.

        by SeanF on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 03:19:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On the pioneer mentality (0+ / 0-)

          What does that phrase actually mean? Were the Pilgrims at Plymouth cut from the same mental cloth as the colonists at Jamestown? For that matter, how much did either of these "mentalities" correspond to that of a Daniel Boone or a Davy Crockett? Were any of these the same sort of mentality as that which animated the builders of a slave empire in the southern states?

          As you may gather, I tend to view the "pioneer mentality" as another mythic cliche that has been inculcated, not because it is factual but because it serves political and social ends. Its origin is worthy of investigation as well.

          •  judging it doesn't make it go away (0+ / 0-)

            it definitely existed, had all the contemporary morals (or lack therof) of the time such as racism and survivalism. And quickly became myth. But that's what culture is. Values and attitudes that a group of people have in common.

            Who was it that said mythology is more important than history? I tend to believe this.

            I hear gardening is a nice hobby.

            by SeanF on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 04:02:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Excuse me (0+ / 0-)

              but what do you mean by "judging"? I asked some concrete questions which, for some reason, you chose to ignore. Let me be direct. Are you claiming that the examples I previously cited shared an identical "pioneer mentality" or no? To go to the root, Is the "pioneer mentality" factual description of contemporary attitudes or is it a subsequent construction for purposes of propaganda?

              You may not believe that the distinction is important but some of us do.

  •  I hope that was your first seminar in grad school (12+ / 0-)

    I taught scientific methodology (quant and quali) since late 1970s, and the first 2 seminars for all incoming grad students (and required too) were with me and you can tell who is conservative and who is not in about 30 minutes into their first seminar.  Moreover, you can tell who could think scientifically and who didn't.

    What i used to do was to flash some political and socioeconomic relationships on the board with nice graphs, tables, and curves and all the bells and whistles (mostly spurious ones or sloppy research) . Then i asked the new grad students to comment on those relationships (such as crime rate and ethnicity; education and income, education, income and turnout; gender, income and turnout; turnout and registration requirements; trade and income; inflation and voting behavior; and so forth). Then, i take those relationships and break them down to their basic variables. And show them that those relationships were based on omitted variables, endogenous causal mechanisms, huge correlations between the covariates, bad theoretical framework, and so forth and if we control for all of that, the so-called relationships become statistically insignificant.

    You can see the bulbs going off in their heads and i end the course by saying: this is your boot camp. When you finish this course, hopefully you will never see things the same way.

    Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

    by Mutual Assured Destruction on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:50:43 PM PDT

  •  It takes a while to realize that conservatism (7+ / 0-)

    is, just as the paleocons say, an attitude.

    It isn't a serious attempt to solve the problem of the world.  It's a retreat to an intensely self-centered perspective and memories of a past condition of the world in which less was possible, standards and expectations of reality lower.  And certain sorts of behavior and imagination more expected, more intensified.

    American conservatism has retained a lot of the colonial mindset: that you live in North America to become wealthy by exploiting its resources.  The continent itself and its people are a kind of aliens to hold at arm's length, that you only like conditionally- to the extent that they aid you in your efforts to obtain possessions and eminence.

    It's a point of view that comes from defensive narcissism intended to annul the opinions of the well educated or wise, and some form of experience of being poor and ignored.  Being poor or without status or opportunities for wealth and Heaven is construed as the worst thing that could happen to you.  And of course, all that you come to possess is therefore a result purely of your own cunning and/or hard work.

  •  Well, the very fact that you actually had... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Ken in Tex, Karl Rover, majii open mind tells me you were not much of a conservative to begin with ;-).

    "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

    by lams712 on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:10:00 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. I thoroughly enjoyed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, ScienceMom, lams712

    reading it.  I was a sociology major in undergraduate school at UGA, added education credits, taught school, and thoroughly enjoyed my career.  I see one of the major differences between some liberals and some conservatives as being a realistic view of the world as opposed to one viewed through a prescribed ideology.  One can never solve problems if one continues to ignore their existence.  I live in a very red state.  Your statistics are dead on.  Even though almost everyone here buys and carries guns, the crime rate is still high, fraud and corruption continue, and sex crimes, especially pedophilia still occurs more than I would like ( Examples:  in a city close to mine, parents were arrested for swapping their daughter's sexual favors in for credit toward paying for a van and a sheriff was sentenced for voter fraud.)  The majority of the citizens keep electing conservatives to represent the citizens at local, state, and national levels.  We keep getting negative results, but they are so bound by their ideology that they cannot see that conservative policies have crippled the state in more ways than one.  The majority keep electing conservatives and keep expecting a different result.  I guess it may take the almost total collapse of the state before they wake up.

  •  Social networks here vs. there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WB Reeves, majii

    Can the professor discuss the acceptance of social networks in Europe and much of the developed countries vs. the the political dynamics in the US where it is a fierce battle to help fellow citizens to have access to health care?

    Did the devastation in WWII change their mindsets so drastically? America is a nation of immigrants. I'm Norwegian and German, distant only a couple generations.

    I would think that relatives in those countries (who I do not know) would be shaking their heads in disbelief at this great country that my grandparents and great-grandparents fought so hard to come to.

    •  Two gigantic bloodlettings (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      within a span of 20 years had an impact no doubt but Europeans, with their centuries of history extending back through the middle ages, never had the luxury of imagining that they could survive, let alone thrive, in a state of "splendid isolation."

  •  Excellent. Tipped & rec'd (nt) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Ken in Tex

    Political liberal / Bible believing Christian / Lousy at litmus tests

    by VirginiaJeff on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:20:32 PM PDT

  •  Good stuff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Ken in Tex

    and good on ya for seeing the "light". ;-)
    Tipped & rec'd.

    Left is right, Right is wrong. True, 2 wrongs don't make a right, but 3 rights make a Left.From the right, make 2 more rights and u'll b home.

    by ruff4life on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:38:26 PM PDT

  •  insightful diary, thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Ken in Tex

    i especially liked the way a simple question propelled you to truly examine your belief system instead of dismissing the question out of hand like so many so-called conservatives are wont to do.

    It's truly a blessing to have total freaking idiots as your enemy. ~Rachel Maddow

    by oblios arrow on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:41:31 PM PDT

    •  I agree, this was good (0+ / 0-)

      especially the links to state-by-state data.  Would love to see more diaries from you.

      When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

      by amyzex on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 02:38:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting epiphany! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Ken in Tex

    Well thought out, too. Nothing like data to clear the mind, eh? :-)

    The fundies are right! The world is ending! There's a black guy with his feet up on the Oval Office desk! Oh Noez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by SciMathGuy on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:45:48 PM PDT

    •  Yeah... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cherryXXX69, SciMathGuy

      that data is a real mind opener.  I don't understand why every liberal politician isn't pulling a Ross Perot in their campaigns and displaying charts of this data on their campaign ads and at their campaign rallies.  If the American public were showered with this data, how could the conservatives respond? Maybe it would be the final death knell to the movement.

      "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

      by Shinobi Mystic on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 02:12:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Conservatives are: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    •  Don't forget two of the biggies. (2+ / 0-)

       1.  Lacking in empathy.  Wholly devoid of the desire to even attempt to 'walk in another's moccasins.'

       2.  Ingrates.  They'll wallow in all the good that this great country and its citizens, both here and now and down through the centuries, have provided them, but by damn don't dare ask for them to give anything back.  Or if they do, it's always kicking and screaming and whining.  Of course, they'll go to or sponsor "Charity Events," as long as they get to dress up and be seen and there's an open bar.


      "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

      by BenGoshi on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 02:48:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yah but lots of liberals would fit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      under those catagories as well. It's always a bit arrogant to call another group all these bad things with such a broad stroke.

      My uncle for example is a conservative. He's fine with social liberalism (gay rights for example), but fiscally is very conservative. Also doesn't believe a welfare state is helpful to the population. He feels that we don't promote business, education, or innovation enough. He fears America is losing its role as economic leader of the world. He doesn't believe government is reliable enough to do much very well. He trusts the efficiency of business. He has tons of first hand experiences that back up his beliefs.

      I disagree with him often and we have spirited debates. I think he often--but not always--draws the wrong conclusions from his experiences. But I don't think he's SADGSBMHI. Well, maybe a little bit G and S, but not the others.

      I hear gardening is a nice hobby.

      by SeanF on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 03:38:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is an excellent diary! (0+ / 0-)

    thanks for sharing these salient facts with us.

    these demographic data are important for us all to know.

  •  obesity (0+ / 0-)

    is also much worse in the red states.  And - this is true - the more junk you eat, the stupider you become. and

    by chloris creator on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 02:38:07 PM PDT

  •  The Front Pagers rarely bump diaries to the FP... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, pgm 01

    . . . anymore (you see, they've nothing to learn from we, the great unwashed).  But there was a time ( you who have uids under about 60,000 know what I mean) when such was done not infrequently.

    Several years ago this would've been a candidate for a promote-to-the-Front-Page.

    Thank you.


    "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

    by BenGoshi on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 02:43:47 PM PDT

  •  I'm With Your Professor In Not Understanding How (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenGoshi, hoolia, WB Reeves

    you could've been on that side in the first place.

    Although on a bit of refleciton, if your doctorate was in 1999 you'd have spent your formative years in an America where mainstream conservatism had already become so fraudulent that it wouldn't be obvious to many people where it was sociopathic.

    It's hard for some of us dirty effing hippies to realize that nobody's even seen a United States that wasn't declining, for 40 years now, which means that the policies and ideas of a sustainable society probably would look as looney as so many think our ideas are.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 02:44:05 PM PDT

  •  Iowa is NOT red (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is a myth that will not die.

    Democratic Governor.

    Harkin. Loebsack over Leach.

    We got Obama started. And we voted for him in the election.

    Gay marriage is legal and so far people aren't going insane over it. Some folks are now pondering legalizing marijuana.

    At worst Iowa is purplish, thanks to people like Steve King and Grassley, but it would be more proper to call it as slightly-to-fairly blue.

  •  This is . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    . . . quite tangential, but if you want to go down "into the rabbit hole," you'll see a version of this "I'm an individual!  To hell with relying on you or anyone!" shtick play out in my life, in a very personal way.  It's not a political story, but as I read our diarist's observations on the delusion of individuality, I was struck by a memory, an episode that played itself out like a comi-tragic opera for a year, and which I was both a participant and had a front row/center seat to watch.

    Anyway, here it is.  It's a true story, although all names and most place names have been changed.  If you care to dive in I think (I certainly hope) you'll see -- and definitely at the end -- how a part of me will always feel so very sad about "Rene". . .

    This is the third time in 2 days that a D Kos diary has intersected with one of my personal site/blog pieces.  Coincidence to that Twilighty show about some Zone... Hell, I don't know.


    "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

    by BenGoshi on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 03:00:07 PM PDT

  •  I'm Curious What Starts A Person Out Thinking (0+ / 0-)

    "people are responsible for their own actions and not influenced or determined by their social circumstances".

    •  It's called... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      growing up in an extremist, Christian right-wing, deeply southern culture.  In that culture, the belief is that everyone makes their own way, and anyone who has to rely on charity or subsidies is considered a freeloader.  That was the social milieu within which I was raised.

      "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

      by Shinobi Mystic on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 07:15:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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