As a population, it is divided between liberal urbanites and more traditional rural and suburban people. It always has been.
In the city, after all, social pressures matter more than the kind of cause/effect reasoning that is vital in the countryside or suburbs. When a stream of people come past, in an anonymous frame of mind that will forget most interactions within two weeks, you’re not about followup. You’re about making that sale and moving on.
The countryside and suburbs require more long-term cause/effect reasoning. Your customers need to be repeat customers. Your actions often have direct physical consequences. You’re also dealing with a more complex, less forgiving environment, and unlike as in the city, you do not delegate everything to specialists.
You may even be familiar with some unpopular and declasse concepts such as agriculture and hunting. To a city person, this is like admitting Neanderthal heritage and eating raw meat.
Our divide persists in how we approach government. Urbanites want a big government that takes care of all their problems, like the handymen and lawyers they pay in the city; suburbanites and rural people want a government that provides stability and no obligation to help the people who, will a minor cost in the city, would ruin smaller communities.
Some leading national Tea Party organizations are anything but happy with Friday night’s deal on the budget that prevented a federal government shutdown.
A spokesman for the Tea Party Express tells CNN the group isn’t “very impressed” with the budget deal and says the agreement proves the Tea Party has a lot more work to do to make deeper cuts in the federal budget.
“According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. budget deficit in the first six months of the current fiscal year totaled $830 billion. So you can imagine we’re not very impressed by a deal that cuts an almost trivial $38 billion,” says Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell. “It just shows that the Tea Party has a lot more work to do in ousting the spending-addicted liberal Democrats who refuse to stop acting like selfish children incapable of making the tough decisions voters have demanded. – The People’s News Network, Comrade
In the city, every person is a singular function: doctor; lawyer; homeless; news-stand worker; food service worker; handyman. You interact, then drift apart.
In the suburbs and countryside, you need an actual community and people who are whole members of that community. If your handyman is also dangerously unstable, that’s a problem; on the flip side, if your handyman is good but a bit of an alcoholic, you’re less likely to be put off like a buyer seeing a dent in a new car.
This sense of community is what separates country from city. The city is transactional, without memory or any awareness of the effects of its action; the country (and burbs, which are half-country but might as well be all country because the people who move there are fleeing the city) is about observing the effects of your actions, and planning carefully.
You plan carefully so your actions fit into the community. It’s not enough to fix the toilet. You have to fix the toilet while taking into account the needs of the people involved, the position everyone serves in a social hierarchy, and the logistical issues regarding that toilet.
Where does the old toilet go? In the city, you find a dumpster, toss and forget, much like you go to a random address, meet someone you’ll never see again, take a check and hit the road. The only cause/effect relationship is passing your needs on to someone else for money.
This split continues in how we view government and society together:
Reacting to recent accusations by the NAACP and the tea party movement calling each other racist, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb reiterated his belief Friday that affirmative action programs unfairly penalize poor whites and should be limited to assisting only native-born blacks still suffering from past discrimination.
Government-mandated diversity programs work against bringing more economic fairness because they have “expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white,” Webb, a Virginia Democrat, wrote in a Wall Street Journal column published Friday.
Affirmative action programs that assist black Americans who endured institutional racism for generations should remain in place for those “still in need,” Webb wrote. But other government-directed diversity programs should end, he said. – Hampton Roads
In the city, you “fit in” by not interrupting the convenience. Don’t rock the boat; don’t point out the holes. Keep everyone moving in the same direction. Keep calm and carry on, like busy bees in a hive. This requires you be “inclusive” in theory, which means you accept everyone so they can keep making you sandwiches, but not in practice, because you’re not expected to share or justify your reasons for moving to, say, an expensive neighborhood that just happens to be 99% white, Asian, liberal, and affluent.
In the countryside and suburbs, you “fit in” by finding a place in the social order as well as the economic one. You can be Joe the handyman, but you don’t exist in a vacuum as in the city. You live on a road that others know fits somewhere in the hierarchy; you have friends and activities that show where you fit in the hierarchy, and who you are. You are a known quantity, not an anonymous one.
City people don’t want to be known quantities. They want to be anonymous except for their economic role, which constitutes a type of social status in a more linear hierarchy that doesn’t take into account who they are as people. They like economic factors, and the type of socialization derived from them, because they can control it. They can be the grandchildren of turnip-pickers pretending to be kings.
As a result, they love inclusivity. Welcome to the hive; here’s your job, here’s your anonymous apartment, and here’s your random group of neighbors; be lonely, and be friendly, but most of all, serve your purpose — for us. They indulge in pretend altruism because it keeps the proles in line. That provides for the most convenient and anonymous lifestyle.
These two are never going to meet. The city people desire liberalism because it’s inclusive; the country/suburban people desire cause/effect logic, so that the people who do well (economically) and do well (socially, in the old sense of belonging to a community) rise above the pointless, perverse, destructive or parasitic people. In smaller communities, you can’t just write off destruction as sunk costs.
America will be healthier the instant she recognizes that the causes of our Civil War were not distant issues like slavery, but a fundamental split between two ways of life. That split lives within us, and it’s going to take more than a civil war or budget crisis to “fix” it.