Friday, August 02, 2013

Conservative White America, you need a new Grand Strategy

Time for a (mostly) non-economics post/rant. Warning: Contains oversimplified history, sketchy data, and sweeping generalizations.

In 1396, an allied force of European crusaders met an equally sized Ottoman Turkish force in battle at Nicopolis, in modern-day Bulgaria. The vanguard of heavily armored European knights bravely charged the Turkish lines, and after being subjected to vicious attrition by archers, sharpened stakes, and trained pikemen, were flanked by the more lightly armored and thus far more agile Turkish cavalry. It was a rout; barely any of the Crusaders escaped. (And this crushing defeat came at the hands of an enemy who was far from the most fearsome of the non-European powers of the day.)

The Battle of Nicopolis was the last gasp of three centuries of European failure on a grand scale. Three hundred years earlier, climbing out of the Dark Ages on the back of a population boom, and loosely united by the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire, Europe entered into a contest with its neighbor, the Islamic civilization of the Middle East. It was a protracted, one-sided beating. Europe's technological stagnation, its weak feudal economy, and its poor political organization led to repeated thrashings at the hands of the Muslims, who were equipped with world-class siege technology, mounted archery, trade-based economies, and more effective military and political organization. Europe fared even worse against the Mongols when they raided in the 1200s. One could be forgiven for thinking that the only reason that Europe escaped Mongol conquest (and, later, the depredations of Timur) was that it was too poor to be worth conquering. In fact, as the historian Ian Morris has noted, Medieval Europe never came close to achieving the wealth of the old Roman days.

But after three centuries of disastrous defeats, and other shocks like the Black Death and the Great Famine, Europe somehow miraculously got its act together. I don't pretend to have any idea why or how this happened, but it did. Autarkic feudal economies were replaced with global trading empires. Literacy spread, and technology and science blossomed. Military strength followed, and by five centuries after the Battle of Nicopolis, the descendants of those brave, dumb, doomed Crusaders had essentially conquered the entire planet, while vaulting the world into a technological and economic explosion that has still not come to an end.

Which just goes to show, with a good model of social organization, even white people can do pretty darn well.

This fact is heavily on my mind as I think about the plight of another group of white people - conservative white Americans. I'm talking about the vast sweep of suburban and exurban whites, many of them working class or middle class, who consistently vote Republican, who hold conservative social values, and who adhere to conservative Christianity. 

It has become increasingly apparent that "[conservative] white racial panic" is the main social force causing gridlock in American politics today. No reasonable person denies this. But when I think about Conservative White America, I am increasingly struck by the sense that this is an entire civilization in crisis. It is under threat not just - as conservatives would claim - from increasing numbers of Hispanic and Asian voters. "Demographic drowning" doesn't begin to describe its problems. Like Medieval Europe before it, Conservative White America is stuck using a social model that just is not working anymore. 

1. First, Conservative White America has failing families. Divorce rates are highest in the "Bible Belt" states where Conservative White America is strongest. While professional whites (who are often liberals) have reversed the trend toward higher divorce, working-class whites are essentially abandoning marriage. While conservatives would claim that this trend is due to the spread of liberal, secular values, the reverse is true; Bible Belters get married more often and earlier than their Northeastern cousins. They just get divorced a lot. Those conservative values are shoving white people, especially working-class white people, into unhappy marriages that cannot last in the modern world. 

2. Next, Conservative White America has failing health. Of course, this is true of all of the United States, and American blacks and Hispanics fare worse than American whites on most health measures. But white Europeans significantly defeat their American cousins on most health outcomes, while Americans pay much more and enjoy much more uncertain access to care. This is due mainly to the success of conservatives in blocking the implementation of universal health care (a case of all America having problems due to CWA policy triumphs). Some small part of it may also have to do with the effect of suburban sprawl and lightly regulated corporate food (loaded with sugar and/or fat) on obesity rates. Additionally, suburban and rural drug use may be rising, even as urban drug use has fallen steadily. And white teens are more likely than black or Hispanic teens to abuse drugs. These trends do not bode well for the health of Red America.

3. Add to that failing economic mobility. Much is made of the economic dynamism of Red states like Texas (well, mainly Texas). But white Americans experience the least economic mobility in the South, the most conservative region. And upward mobility for whites seems to be lowest in regions with heavy sprawl.

4. Conservative White America, like the rest of America, also has failing economic performance. Sure, rich people - who have done pretty well over the past 13 years of stagnating incomes - tend to be conservative. But the vast majority of conservative white voters are not rich, and have seen their incomes fall along with the rest.

5. And to some degree, Conservative White America also has failing social lives. Studies show that suburban residents are less satisfied with their neighborhoods than urban residents, with loneliness and social isolation probably to blame. Other research has shown that urban design has a big influence on social connection. It's just really hard to meet people in the spread-out, isolated non-cities into which conservatives would have us move - and into which much of white America has moved over the past sixty years. Gone are the days of small-town America where everyone knew their neighbors. In the modern suburbs, you are stuck in a box with nobody and nothing.

6. Now finally we get to Conservative White America's failing electoral clout. The poor performance of the GOP cannot, as some hopeful conservatives have claimed, be ascribed to "missing white voters". Whites for whom race defines politics - i.e. most of the current Republican base - have shut themselves out of future political coalitions. They could have followed the example of liberal whites, who allied with minorities, including poorer minorities (blacks, Hispanics) and richer minorities (Asians), and thus will have a big say in shaping America's future policies. Meanwhile, stuck in permanent racial panic mode, all Conservative White America can do is pull their veto levers - the filibuster, etc. - to gum up the machinery of American politics and slow the inevitable.

Each of these points relies on a mix of evidence and personal anecdotal observation. All are to some degree speculative. None is 100% proven. There are counterarguments to each. Maybe good counterarguments. The failure of Conservative White America is not anywhere near as clear as the failure of the Medieval European system was by the time of the Battle of Nicopolis.

But I don't think we should let things get to the Nicopolis level before we reevaluate the Grand Strategy of Conservative White America. Because I want America to succeed, and so I want Conservative White America to succeed. I am not "concern trolling". Seeing rural white American communities spiral into drug use does not give me a shiver of pleasure. Seeing working-class white Republican families disintegrate does not give me a shot of vindictive glee. Seeing white working-class people fat and unhealthy and socially isolated and stuck in dead-end careers out in vast suburban wastelands does not make me smirk and say "I told you so". These things make me sad, and angry, when I see them.

(Nor do I think Liberal White America is without its own problems. I'll discuss these some other times. No group and no social model has it all figured out. But in the past few decades, Liberal White America, especially the urban, educated type of self-identified liberals, seems to have made real headway against the problems of divorce, drugs, and social isolation, and seems to have gradually increased its political clout from the nadir of the Reagan years.)

The reason I'm writing this post (which only a comparatively small number of people will read) is frustration. When I look at the thought leaders of Conservative White America, I see them almost uniformly urging their followers to double down on the old model. To go back to the source, to reaffirm the traditional tactics, to keep charging their horses into the Turkish arrows. And I think that this is very bad advice.

The five big pieces of Conservative White America's Grand Strategy that I think need reevaluation are:

1. "White flight" to suburbs and exurbs

2. Rigid and inflexible "family values" 

3. Hostility toward immigrants and minorities

4. Excessive distrust of the government

5. Distrust of education, science, and intellectualism

I could go through each of these in detail, but I won't. So just a few words on each. The "white flight" thing, though it seems to me to be a dead end, is still a sacred cow of the conservative intelligentsia. Here's Stanley Kurtz writing in the National Review:
[A new HUD regulation] is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced “economic integration.” The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in “stack and pack” high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse.
See? The idea here is that under no circumstances must whites ever countenance themselves to live near nonwhites, and that life in mass exile in tomb-like suburbs is the necessary price of escaping the hellish depredations of diversity. 

As for conservative families, modernity seems to be proving that flexible family values bend, while rigid brittle family values break and result in no families at all. Many East Asian countries and conservative European countries, with their insistence on traditional patriarchal family systems, have seen marriage and fertility rates collapse, while countries like France and Sweden, where women have much more equality and cohabitation is not frowned upon, have maintained healthy fertility. Meanwhile, by delaying marriage and by embracing cohabitation, educated liberal white Americans have made headway in shaping a new, effective kind of family structure more suited to the realities of the modern world. 

Conservative racism, including anti-immigrant nativism, seems unlikely to budge any time soon. But in the past, America was greatly strengthened by the addition of immigrant groups previously considered "nonwhite". This needs to happen again. Conservative white Americans also need to bring Asians and Hispanics into their fold if they are going to win elections going forward; the tooth-and-nail opposition to the Dream Act does not bode well.

I also feel like Conservative White America has shot itself in the foot by assuming that government is always its enemy, and corporations its friend. America's private health care system has not served conservative white Americans well. The amount of fat and sugar consumed on a daily basis by conservative white Americans, turning their bodies to slush, was put into their food by corporations, not by the government. Obviously government is not always good (and personally I think that America's conservative movement provides a needed restraint on government). But the idea that government is always bad, and that its badness is a pillar of conservative faith, should be questioned, for the good of the conservative Americans themselves.

And finally, the contempt for education, science, and intellectualism urged on conservative audiences by many of their media figures seems so purely and obviously self-defeating that it almost doesn't require discussion.

So there are my thoughts on the specifics. Even if my general case is right, my prescriptions could still be wide of the mark.

But I want to mention one more reason why I may seem to be in a bit of a rush to conclude that Conservative White America's strategy is not working. It's because Conservative White America's Grand Strategy looks uncomfortably similar to the approach that served the Europeans so poorly in the Middle Ages. Weak institutions, excessive trust in the Church, low mobility, education only of the elites, persecution of minorities, disdain for science and reason...we've tried this before. And it only led to hundreds of years of poverty, disease, and getting cut down by Turkish archery. One day we woke up and tried something different...and it worked. I say we keep trying something that looks sort of like the thing that worked.


  1. Anonymous12:52 PM

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

  2. Anonymous12:56 PM

    However, I feel that this post contains oversimplified history, sketchy data, and sweeping generalizations.

  3. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Excellent piece.

    The scope of the analysis is obviously vast and (as you basically acknowledge) no one could ever have the depth necessary to master all the facets of the social issues you touch upon, but this post is too good and too full of truth not to be mercilessly attacked by the frightened.

    1. Frightening? Yeah, that's it. Kind of like when Spinal Tap stuffed cucumbers in their tights and thought the women would be frightened by the armadillo in their trousers. This blog post is the most laughably facile, factually incorrect piece of echo chamber sophistry I've read in a long while. The only thing it has going for it is the anesthetic of intellectual confirmation bias.

  4. killer article. unfortunately, the thing that seems to tip the scale towards conservative backwardsism is the Neo-Confederate trifecta of ALEC (Koch), Americans for Prosperity (Koch) & Heritage (among others, of course)

    1. Anonymous2:04 PM

      "the thing that seems to tip the scale towards conservative backwardsism..."

      You mean besides the utterly unfounded superiority complex and "moral" posturing of the gentry Left?

    2. If moral posturing is all that's needed to keep conservatives from embracing science, education, intellectualism, & a changing world, then conservatism is a weak reed indeed.

  5. One obstacle to reform is the "great compromise" we made so many years ago, which basically guaranteed that neither conservatives or liberals could do significantly worse than 50% of congressional seats. The old south would only allow territories to be admitted as states if each liberal state (ie, non-slave state) was matched with an equal and opposite conservative state (ie, a slave state). This compromise was still in force as recently as 1959, when liberal Hawaii and conservative Alaska were simultaneously admitted to the union. That is why the Senate is split nearly 50-50 today; that's why republicans were able to gerrymander house districts so that there's a GOP majority, even though most voters voted for democrats.

    Henry Clay's legacy lives on today, and it has done tremendous harm to our political system.

    1. Also, this is why Puerto Rico won't be a state. The GOP has already started making excuses--such as an absurd english-language proficiency requirement--for why they will prohibit Puerto Rico's statehood, should they apply.

      And it's why the GOP killed the immigration bill over the path to citizenship.

    2. That's not really how it works. Although it's true that in the pre-Civil War era there was very conscious balancing of North and South states, after the Civil War states were let in quite freely, since slavery was off the table and Republicans had the upper hand most of the time anyway. (I've heard it said quite often that North Dakota and South Dakota are two states in part actively because Republicans wanted more northern Republican states to give them seats in the Senate.) Once time rolled around to Alaska and Hawaii things both parties were able to make it a compromise, but it was not uninterrupted practice between that and the Missouri Compromise. The Senate is split nearly 50-50 (and it was 60-40 not so long ago so it's not like it's some magical law) because in a two party system if one party consistently gets far less than half the vote, it either needs to expand its audience to get more votes or it will die. Also, you're not thinking of the Great Compromise, that was something different.

  6. The plight of the Conservative wing of American politics is best defined by a general cynicism towards a social organizational system that modern man has been perfecting since our inception as the definitive characteristic of our species.

  7. Anonymous1:29 PM

    absolutely F***** BRILLIANT. This is everything I've ever had in my head about this topic all compiled into one complete piece of awesomeness.

    and. you HAD to use the sweeping generalizations to get the point across and make the whole thing work as effectively as it did.

    1. Ah, so you have the same hatred of blue-collar whites that Noah does? How nice!

    2. Anonymous2:25 PM

      the troll! yes! Gene? you should go back to your nutbag-ville where you can enjoy your insular sadism.

    3. Anonymous2:31 PM

      Ah, so you Gene has the same hatred of posts that disagree with his anecdotal biases? how nice!

    4. Inevitably some people were going to think I was concern-trolling...

  8. Great! I didn't know that anyone knew this battle in the US except maybe buffs in Balkan and Crusader history. Maybe Noah is just endlessly erudite :).

    Some other fun things about the era of Nicopolis:

    * the Crusaders pillaged the (Christian) lands on their way to Nicopolis.
    * they murdered the Turkish prisoners.
    * the Crusader camp was divided bitterly between the Hungarians on one hand and the French on the other which affected discipline and performance in the battle
    * The battle takes place on the ruins of Bulgaria and Serbian vassals are fighting for the Ottomans. Hungary was at war with both before it had a common border with the Ottomans.

    Just like the movement conservatives, the Crusaders abandoned, insulted and waged war on their potential allies. On the other hand the Turks were very magnanimous in the initial years, employing a lot of Christian vassals and mercenaries. They also adopted laws and practices from the states they conquered. This is in stark contrast to the late inward looking conservative Ottoman Empire.

    Have you seen the republican party embrace for example:
    * socially conservative minorities - why doesn't it at least attract evangelical Koreans or Catholic Mexicans?
    * FED - Bernanke is an actual Republican; this person might have saved the economy and they portray him as the anticrist;
    * market monetarists - they have a limited government solution and they self-identify as conservatives. Under the bus.
    * Supply siders - they could have passed a supplysider stimulus package and claim ownership from Obama.

    But no, the fear of the black man is paramount.

    1. Ha ha, great addition to Noah's nice post. Kudos from a Greek.

    2. Agreed. I'm a small government conservative and I am baffled/dumbstruck/gobsmacked at the right's idol worship of tight monetary policy.

      If conservatives could advocate a monetarist solution, they would have a plan that could 1) help the unemployed, 2) discredit keynsian fiscal stimulus, and 3) justify spending cuts all at the same time.

      Given their position as the minority party, they could likely take this position without actually worrying that Barack Obama would take their advice. I don't see Obama abandoning his Keynsian nirvana anytime soon.

      It would be a cynical partisan's dream--effective critique of the dominant party without the risk that the Dems would enact, and take credit for, the policy change.

      But no, the Fed is the great satan.

    3. Peasant fear of Jew bankers took centuries to develop. It -- or its modern manifestation -- not going to die overnight.

    4. "why doesn't it at least attract evangelical Koreans"

      They do. I daresay that a good chunk if not the majority of the quarter of Asian-Americans who voted for Romney were evangelical.

      "or Catholic Mexicans?"

      Hard to attract people that you demonize.

  9. bjdubbs1:45 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Conservatism is dead as a political school of thought, but it survives as a highly profitable brand. As David Frum explained a year or so ago, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we're discovering we work for Fox.”

    That is, to win a GOP primary, you have to have Fox viewers on your side; for Fox, conservatism is a way to sell ads for gold coins to resentful, aging whites.

    Consider the history of the individual health insurance mandate, the centerpiece of Republican health care policy for about two decades. Jim DeMint endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2008, explaining in response to a softball "Fox & Friends" question about how awesome RomneyCare was: "that's something that I think we should do for the whole country." Chuck Grassley endorsed a mandate in June 2009, as an exemplar of "individual responsibility". But then a black Democrat president tried to agree with them. They both furiously backpedaled, like every other Republican officeholder in America. Today, DeMint makes $1 million a year as the head of the Heritage Foundation; Grassley easily won re-election in the Tea high tide year of 2010. (And consider the dismay of Sen. Isakson, R-GA, when his proposal to allow grants to schedule appointments to discuss the course of care was derided by Sarah Palin as "death panels").

    Any policy-- no matter its provenance, no matter its effect-- could be denounced tomorrow, by every single Republican officeholder, as unconstitutional tyranny. So no Republican has the incentive to engage in rational policymaking, or even rhetoric, on any policy issue.

    Sure, this all isn't so great for the inhabitants of Conservative White America, or for how the rest of the world regards them. But it's great for their political leaders, and for the infotainment impresarios who determine what their political leaders say.

    And yes, it's unsustainable in the long term, given demographic & opinion trends. But no Republican has the incentive to care about the party's long-term interests-- let alone America's.

    Your post is accurate, and completely irrelevant to everyone in the GOP.

  11. "The idea here is that under no circumstances must whites ever countenance themselves to live near nonwhites..."

    What is pretty unlikely to help solve many of these real problems is smug condescension from liberal elitists who have nothing but contempt for these people and are willing to make up shit to make them look worse (since what Kurtz said is equivalent to your paraphrase only with the most exotic reading).I apparently you do ever even really travel through suburbs and look around: my (Filipino) wife grew up in a suburb with a very, very high percentage of Asians, and essentially NO white people were disturbed by this or "fleeing." Even in the 60s and 70s suburbs where I grew up there were always black families in my neighborhood. No one cared.

    The lingering racism in blue collar America is not pretty. But on average it is not as ugly as this post!

    1. Anonymous2:29 PM

      hey Gene - the 1970s called - they miss you.

    2. Anonymous2:47 PM

      I apparently you do ever even really as well.

    3. Gene, when we moved to Long Island in the fall of 2008, my wife and I were looking for a diverse community, one where our kids would be exposed to many different cultures. We figured, hey, we are in the suburbs of New York, how hard can it be, right? Wrong! Here are some stats of what we encountered:

      Black alone - 11,581 (46.8%)
      Hispanic - 9,616 (38.8%)
      White alone - 2,497 (10.1%)
      Asian alone - 499 (2.0%)
      Two or more races - 371 (1.5%)
      Estimated median household income in 2009: $72,507
      Estimated median house or condo value in 2009: $367,657

      Levittown (A little further east, this is where Bill O'Reilly is from)
      White alone - 41,814 (80.6%)
      Hispanic - 5,979 (11.5%)
      Asian alone - 2,937 (5.7%)
      Two or more races - 569 (1.1%)
      Black alone - 403 (0.8%)
      Estimated median household income in 2009: $90,569
      Estimated median house or condo value in 2009: $394,036


      The reason I chose those two areas is that they are almost adjacent (East Meadow is between them) and have similar incomes and home prices, so one cannot attribute the difference in racial composition to economic differences. Yet Uniondale, which is closer to NYC and used to be predominantly white now has only 10% whites, and even they are due mostly to Hofstra university employees who reside there, otherwise the number would have been lower). On the other hand, Levittown is over 80% white and less than 1% black. This is a clear case of self-segregation. Levittown was the place middle-class and lower middle-class whites recommended to us, using covert words as "safe" and "quiet", and has become the refuge for whites trying to escape blacks (they seem to be bothered less by Hispanics, and even less by Asians). This explains many of O'Reilly's attitudes towards blacks. We ended up passing the offer, and chose a neighborhood where whites are still majority, but make up less than 70%.

      Of course, you are correct about the hypocrisy of certain liberal elitists, who condemn the flight of the white middle class, but use zoning laws to price out minorities from their neighborhoods.

    4. I used to do political work in New York and worked on several local races in Long Island. I have never seen such overt hostility to non-whites. A lot of areas, you simply couldn't hire black canvassers -- they would have the police called on them every block, regularly threatened with violence, etc. I'm not sure this is all *self*-segregation.

    5. I used to do political work in New York and worked on several local races in Long Island. I have never seen such overt hostility to non-whites.

      Why I'm moving to Queens...

    6. CA, you have just falsified Smith's contention: the whitest place you found was 20% non-white. But Smith contends "under no circumstances must whites ever countenance themselves to live near nonwhites."

      Obviously he has just made this up.

    7. True. He should have been more specific.

      "Under no circumstances must conservative whites ever countenance themselves to live near black people."

      You do find communities where big blocs of middle-class whites and blacks live together (Evanston, IL & Oak Park, IL come to mind). The whites there don't tend to be conservative, however. I can't think of a community in the US (and I've lived in a fair number of places in the US) where conservative whites and blacks live together, though.

  12. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Great piece, love the historic sweep. Since you decided to skip over the reasons for Europe's rise to greatness, allow me to offer a few:

    1) The Italian Renaissance: The first intellectual awakening from the Middle Ages and the beginnings of questioning the dominance of the Catholic Church. Renaissance thinkers returned to pre-Christian antiquity (Greece and Rome) for inspiration regarding art, philosophy, literature, architecture, etc.
    2) The Scientific Revolution: The single most important break from centuries of Medieval Catholic orthodox thought. Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Descartes, etc, upended the biblical worldview and laid the groundwork for modernity and technology.
    3) The Protestant Reformation: Further weakened the grip of the Catholic Church on European society.
    4) The Age of Reason: The philosophical/political complement to the Scientific Revolution. Locke, Hume, Kant, Voltaire, etc. Humanistic values undermined the authority of the church and monarchies.
    5) The Age of Exploration: Shipbuilding innovations by the Portuguese ushered in the globalization era and European trade with Asia, Africa and the New World. And eventually conquest and colonization.
    5) The Industrial Revolution: The coup-de-grace for the Medieval world and the source of Europe's surge to the forefront of history. Until, say, 1914.

    1. Those are arguably effects, not causes. You might ask, why WAS there a renaissance, a scientific revolution, a reformation, an enlightenment, etc.

    2. Anonymous8:49 AM

      First, it is ridiculous to try to analyze the thousand years of history between the fall of Rome and the height of the Renaissance across countries as diverse as England, France, Germany, Italy and Greece. But I'll do it anyway.

      Two things brought about the Renaissance:

      First: Muslims, who preserved the writings of ancient Greek and Roman scholars while Europeans were burning them -- either because the works were "pagan" or simply because the Europeans couldn't read and the books were more useful to keep warm in the winter.

      Second: The middle class, which barely existed in the early and "high" Middle Ages, produced Renaissance luminaries like Johannes Gutenberg, Leonardo da Vinci and Nicolaus Copernicus. Increasing literacy among the middle class heavily contributed to the political and scientific movements that led to what we identify as the "Enlightenment".

    3. Your comment is just trash multiplied by a thousand.

  13. "disdain for science and reason"

    And this is pure historical idiocy: that modern science has its roots in the Middle Ages is now extremely well documented, and the High Middle Ages deserve the name "the age of reason" even more than the 18th century.

    1. Anonymous2:32 PM

      Would like to see more evidence for this view. Having "roots" in the Middle Ages is a long way from mainstream acceptance of science and reason. The church's condemnation of Copernicus and prosecution of Galileo suggest disdain by the authorities as late as the 16th century. And what High Middle Ages philosophers are you referring to? Aquinas? Maimonides? Ockham? Theologians all.

    2. Anonymous2:49 PM


    3. Anonymous4:03 PM

      Thanks for the link. Interesting stuff, I read the whole page. I even agree with some of its points about the limits of science. But I'm not sure of the relevance to this discussion. Are you saying that you don't believe in science? That the rise of Europe was due not to science and reason but to the triumph of Christianity over the infidels? What exactly?

    4. Here's some wiki links to Gene's point.

      While the Catholic Church did sometimes condemn people engaged in what we now call science the claims that the church engaged in whole scale persecutions of scientists are thoroughly overblown.

    5. "Having "roots" in the Middle Ages is a long way from mainstream acceptance of science and reason. The church's condemnation of Copernicus and prosecution of Galileo suggest disdain by the authorities as late as the 16th century."

      This is well established in the history of science, since about 1900. And the church never "condemned" Copernicus: that is total nonsense. As far as the prosecution of Galileo goes, you really ought to read some real historians as to what was going on at that time.

  14. A few points:

    But white Europeans significantly defeat their American cousins on most health outcomes

    Evidence? Data?

    This is due mainly to the success of conservatives in blocking the implementation of universal health care (a case of all America having problems due to CWA policy triumphs).

    Seems like argument by assertion.

    Add to that failing economic mobility. Much is made of the economic dynamism of Red states like Texas (well, mainly Texas). But white Americans experience the least economic mobility in the South, the most conservative region. And upward mobility for whites seems to be lowest in regions with heavy sprawl.

    Not sure how much this data tells us given the wide disparities in cost of living between the South and other regions (Coastal CA and the Northeast in particular). Rather than mobility, in my experience most people place a premium on their absolute standard of living (mobility is relative). Interestingly, according to Pew, many more people are moving from the Northeast to the South than the reverse—a curious development if mobility is so much better in the Northeast. In 2011 the NY Times ran an article about “younger and more educated black residents move out of declining cities in the Northeast and Midwest in search of better opportunities” and often heading to the South. Again, how does this comport with the notion that this is an area lacking in economic opportunity?

    Finally, I feel like Conservative White America has shot itself in the foot by assuming that government is always its enemy, and corporations its friend.

    Don’t conservatives also stereotypically support the military (and are disproportionately represented within its ranks)? And isn’t the military is a huge part of government? So isn’t idea that conservatives always assume government to be the enemy fairly ridiculous?

    America's private health care system has not served conservative white Americans well.

    Can you tell me more about this private health care system you are referring to? Do you mean the US health care system which, even pre-ACA, featured massive regulation, licensing, tax incentives to encourage the overuse of insurance and where private dollars have accounted for less than 60% of all health care spending since 1990? That “private” health care system?

    Seems to me there’s an amazing cycle at work whereby government interventions in the health care sector increase, the sector gets even more screwed up, followed by more complaints about private health care and the need for more government. Somehow the villain is always the private sector with only scant attention given to how government might be producing some of the problems in health care.

    The amount of fat and sugar consumed on a daily basis by conservative white Americans, turning their bodies to slush, was put into their food by corporations, not by the government.

    Yes, corporations produce the kind of food that people like to consume—I fail to see how this example is supposed to make me either more concerned about them or rush to embrace government. Corporations also produce the food that health nuts love to consume at Whole Foods (my own preferred grocery store of choice), and provide people with lots of food options. If this is the scariest/best example you can come up with of why people should be concerned about corporations, I’m not sure you have much of a point. Oh, and let’s not forget that government subsidizes high fructose corn syrup, which upsets me a lot more than the fact that sugary, fatty snacks are readily accessible to the masses.

    1. Nice response. Bias-blindness works both ways.

    2. Anonymous8:31 AM

      "in my experience most people place a premium on their absolute standard of living"

      In my experience most people place a premium on their *relative* standard of living. Having one BMW is no good if all your neighbours have two.

    3. If that were true then it stands to reason rich people or even middle class people would move to poor areas so they could feel even richer.

    4. "Can you tell me more about this private health care system you are referring to? Do you mean the US health care system which, even pre-ACA, featured massive regulation, licensing, tax incentives to encourage the overuse of insurance and where private dollars have accounted for less than 60% of all health care spending since 1990? That “private” health care system?"

      Yes, that private health care system (or whatever you call it) that conservatives want to return to.

      This is why I like to judge people on their actions rather than their words. Conservatives may call the pre-ACA healthcare system all sorts of names, but when they get power, they don't do much to reform it or make it more private sector. Instead, they add even more goverment (Medicare prescriptions) to it.

    5. Colin, most of the rich likely are amply contented to just know that the poors are there; they needn't live amongst them.

    6. Jonas, yes, no doubt the existence of the poor gives them great pleasure as they stroke their white cat while lighting an expensive cigar with a flaming $100 bill, pausing only to adjust their monocle.

  15. Its interesting that you prologue an attack on Conservative White America with a Whig history of medieval Europe that presents Europe only emerging after the Protestant Reformation.

    Nicopolis is a poor example, the Battle of the Golden Spurs (1302) is better, where French chivalry was routed by the Flemish bourgeoisie, closing the book on feudalism in western Europe.

    Europe underwent amazing economic advances between 1000 and 1300, which left the legacy of Gothic architecture, Fibonacci's mathematics and Thomas Bradawardine arguing that physics was mathematical - something that did not occur to the Islamic scholars. Common law and the English (and US) legal system was based on Henry II's reforms, and has made habeus corpus and trial by jury the liberal standard. This cultural flowering ended with a series of famines from 1316 and then the devastating plague after 1348.

    Nicopolis was followed by the Ottoman Interregnum, caused when a pesky Mongol killed the Sultan, and the flowering of Islamic culture had wilted by the end of the Ayyubid caliphate - demolished principle y by the Mongols.

    1. Anonymous6:54 PM

      I agree with this. The Europeans got a break from the fact that the Mongols basically sacked most of Asia. Not sure how well Europe would have done without the advantage this bestowed on them.

    2. I think your claim of "presents Europe only emerging after the Protestant Reformation" is too strong. There is a very interesting point here, and one not resolved by ideology or name-calling.

      Let's run the tape backwards. One way to view the story is to put 1492 front and center. One can argue convincingly that 1492 changes EVERYTHING in Europe, starts the engine, because it is the discovery of the Americas which makes it clear that the past is NOT the royal road to knowledge, that there are facts, huge facts, facts which matter whether you care about politics, commerce, biology, anthropology, or simple sensual pleasures, which are not covered by the Bible and Aristotle. This allows the humanist project to really take off, and gives traction to people like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and so on, which leads, IMGO, in a straight line to the Industrial Revolution and conquest of the world.

      Europe had the great good fortune to learn that the natural human tendency to worship the past was a highly flawed way to construct a society. No-one else ever learned that to move forward, one must be willing to throw away the authorities of the past.

      So what do we make of this?
      First interesting question. Presumably some part of the Muslim world learned about the Americas soon enough, followed by in time India and China. But they did not upend their world views as a result. I'm guessing this is because, as I said, for Europe the Americas were such a brute fact. Politicians who ignored them were condemned to miss out on the land grab. Likewise for businessmen. Even commoners were aware that there were now things like tobacco, chocolate, more widespread sugar. The other great societies do not seem to have had the fact of the Americas rubbed in their faces quite as much, they could go on as before essentially ignoring the issue. I think there's scope for a fascinating book on the subject of what Islamic scholars or Chinese scholars made of the fact that their revered books were ignorant of half the world, but I expect it boiled down to "our works never talk of these places because they are not very important".

      So claim: Europe wins because the discovery of the Americas kicks Europe out of the fundamental conservatism that is the lot of most nations most of the time.

    3. At this point we can then go back one step. Why does Europe discover the Americas. (yeah, yeah, "discover", native americans, viking, blah blah. no-one cares if that's the only point you have to make.)

      Well the Chinese don't because of the lack of competition in their system, we all know about that. One guy decides to shut down Sheng He, and it's game over.

      Indians? Well it's a long way for them, but they could presumably have done something analogous like discovering Australia. Would that have changed things? I don't know. Maybe it's significant that Europe made such a fetish of a comparably small body of knowledge (the Bible and what I've called Aristotle, and which wasn't much larger) that it was very clear they'd discovered something very new and unknown. Perhaps the Indian canon (Buddhist or Hindu), as large and vague as it is, cannot be contradicted in so obvious a way, so discovering Australia (or America) doesn't blow up the intellectual structure?

      Muslims? This seems the most interesting case. They have the small canon and brittle intellectual structure, like Europe, and they have the potential to discover at least Australia and heck, why not the Americas? They owned Spain for a long time.
      The Muslim apologist answer is that they were screwed over by the Mongols. They were the ones unlucky enough to have their civilization truly destroyed by them, whereas Europe (not so much Russia) was mostly spared.

      I think if I were to pursue this further, to ponder the roots of 1492, Spain through the 14th and 15th century seems the key. We obviously have over that time Europe ascending to the extent that they are willing and able to send off Columbus (and before that the somewhat analogous Da Gama, point being Columbus was not a one-shot wonder); and we have Islam descending, so that they don't bother exploring the oceans (either Pacific or Indian) and gradually get shoved out of Spain. The question then (and I don't know the answer) is is there anything clearly determinative, in the same way that the Americas were determinative, in that earlier history? Or is it more a bad luck/good luck thing? Europe (and in particular Spain) followed a random path of ups and downs, but Islam had been knocked out by the Mongols, so it was pretty easy for that random path to contain a lot more up than down? If the Mongols hadn't shown up, it would have been Islamic spain in the mid 1450s deciding to experiment with sending a few ships into the Atlantic to see what's out there?

  16. Those who learn the lessons of history just might, possibly, be able to avoid repeating them. Nice piece!

  17. Anonymous2:32 PM

    contrary to popular belief, neither the GOP or white America is in trouble
    All political parties have schisms or else it wouldn't be a party , but a decree. Why this is a new concept to some people. There's different variants of conservatism for different elections. Moderates tend to be the front runners of national elections with more variation between far right and moderate with state elections. the GOP is not tearing itself apart. there's not a civil war. the political process is working exactly the way it's supposed to.

    1. Anonymous10:38 AM

      Agree fully. The media likes to play up "divisions" within the GOP, as if all Democrats marching in lock-step to their leaders is a good idea.

    2. Anon 10:38: The Democrats are anything but lockstep; it's just that their divisions are not the product of competing fantasies of flat-earth-ism.

      IEU: Your comment works best if read in the voice of Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House.

    3. @Jonas
      Fitting that your reply should hinge on a historically skewed view regarding the Medieval conception of the Earth.

      A modern myth.

  18. Anonymous2:51 PM

    There is a word on the tip of my tongue, what is it...hhmm...oh! Enlightenment! That's some gymnastics not using it (all in hope of not turning off the conservatives?) Nice job, librul elite latte dri...professor.
    How about this idea - the crusaders who died - the cream of the crop of lower level denizens in already low "civilization" - maybe that allowed the rest of people to breath easier. I am sure you are aware that before dealing with muslim scum on the border they dealt with jewish scum at home. Solid dudes. Consistent.
    No proof, just a feeling.

    1. I like the Enlightenment and dislike knights as much as anyone, but you're not helping your cause by blurring together 500 years of European history as an undifferentiated lump.

      Europe was pretty obviously on its way to ruling the world (IMHO) even before the Enlightenment. And there is no period in European history which featured some great die-off of the aristocracy and thus led to the flowering of the down-trodden peasants which you seem to imagine is what you led to European dominance. The Islamic world, to provide a counter-example, except for a few brief periods, was not a society run by and for the benefit of a warrior class, but that didn't seem to lead to them conquering the world.

  19. I look forward to a similarly blunt follow-up post criticizing liberal black america...

    ha, right.

    Look, the bottom 1/3 of the bell-curve, or income distribution, whichever you prefer, isn't doing well on lots of dimensions regardless of their political stripes, regardless of their skin color. And the top half, or 1/3 is doing just fine, regardless of party/color. The left's bottom is black, the right's bottom is white. So what?

    Where you go wrong is assuming that lower class white problems are mostly internal and lower class black problems are primarily external.

    Actually, I know you're too smart to think that. But it's more fun to shit on hillbillies than hoods.

    1. But doesn't everybody do that post?

      Everyone and their dog since Moynihan talks about the problems of the black community in America. But people just seem to assume that the conservative white community is this bastion of social health, with stronger marriages, less drug use, and economic success, when actually it isn't true at all.

    2. dog's eye view12:18 AM

      But surely you can see some merit to the notion that you might be concern trolling, can't you?

      You're absolutely right that the conservative white community doesn't have particularly strong marriages. But you do realize that they DID at one point, don't you? What happened to change that? Was it Bible-belters who pushed for no-fault divorce? Who normalized single motherhood? Don't think so.

      Same with drug use. Was it white conservatives who made glorified drug use and made it so popular? White conservatives who made films like Easy Rider and wrote songs like "White Rabbit" and "Eight Miles High" and basically every other psychedelic song from the sixties? Nope. I don't think it was.

      So perhaps, white conservatives might be more inclined to listen to white liberals if they hadn't seen for themselves the damage caused by emulating white liberals in the first place.

      Brendan's point is perfectly valid. Basically, the destruction of old rules and traditions works out pretty well for the intelligent. If a Wall Street trader sleeps around and does the occasional line of coke, he'll still probably be OK. If a poor, less intelligent person does, well, he's likely to cause a lot more trouble for himself. This is true for both the white underclass and the black underclass.

      In terms of economics, you're probably right. But don't you think it's possible that the economic stagnation these people experience can lead to increased drug use and difficulty sustaining a marriage? As I understand it, money problems are one of the main reasons marriages fail. So it hardly seems surprising that professional couples would have more successful marriages than the poor.

      Further, you write "Gone are the days of small-town America where everyone knew their neighbors. In the modern suburbs, you are stuck in a box with nobody and nothing."

      But that simply isn't true. You're not "stuck" anywhere. People could go out and interact with their neighbors. They just don't. Why? Well, according to the article you link to, it's because of diversity and the decline of traditional extended families.

      Well. Guess who it was that was singing the praises of "diversity" this whole time? Hmm? And it's a little bizarre to blame conservatism for looser ties with one's extended families, don't you think?

      Keep in mind, also, that that article deals with suburban households. Suburbs are essentially artificial communities. What about the satisfaction of people in true exurbs, like the one where I grew up? People saw their neighbors and talked to them all the time. It wasn't uncommon for generations of the same family to all live within a few miles of each other. Evidently, a lot of people liked it there, since many of my classmates chose to stay there, even though they could have made more money if they had left, like I did. Whenever I go back to visit, they sure seem a lot happier than most of the people I know.

    3. dog's eye view12:42 AM

      In fact, to hammer a point home, as I am wont to do, I had a perfectly happy childhood in our little exurb. Actually a suburb of an exurb, if you can imagine that.

      This may be a cliche, but it is absolutely true that I had literally NO IDEA that my family was poor until I went off to college (on an academic scholarship). We had a big house, built before the Civil War. We had a big yard and a river to mess around by and woods to explore and god knows what all else. I thought it was just great. It never even occurred to me to notice that we never had any money to buy things. That was the way it was for everybody I knew. And I knew everybody there was in that town. I knew most of their extended families.

      As far as being anti-science or anti-intellectual, I never really noticed that either. Contrary to the stereotypes, I was never bullied or picked on or anything else for being the smartest kid in class. I was actually fairly popular, and if anything, envied. I realize that that's just one guy's experience, but still.

      What eventually happened, of course, is that the factories that sustained the community shut down. I guess you could blame conservatism for that, but it seems more like the simple fact that manual labor by Americans just isn't as necessary as it once was.

      I guess it's inevitable that things would end up like this. It just seems to me that what we're witnessing now is the death throes of a way of life that was really fulfilling to a lot of people for quite a long time. My father's family has had members in the same rural county for over a century, first as farmers, then as factory workers. Maybe it is stupid for people to want to keep things the way they were. But if you had been there, and had known how things were firsthand, you might not think it's so surprising.

    4. I wonder if the root of the decline in White Conservative America lies in a very specific values play that led to them being exposed to a greater economic risk.


      Were white conservative families slower to buy into the double income household than were the more liberal/educated families?

      The value play I'm thinking of is the nuclear family, with dad at work and mom at home raising the children. This would have been the conservative thing to do through the 60's, into the 70's and 80's and even into 90's. But it is very difficult trick to pull off, financially.

      The suburbs come into play by offering affordable housing, initially survivable with a single income, until commuting, job displacement,road warriorism and health issues come to crash the idyllic.

      With no real safety net, particularly for single income middle class households, the economic stress slowly picked off these families, rates of illicit drug abuse and divorce rise, etc. The American Dream vanquished.

      Just a hypothesis.

    5. "What happened to change that? Was it Bible-belters who pushed for no-fault divorce? Who normalized single motherhood? Don't think so.
      Same with drug use. Was it white conservatives who made glorified drug use and made it so popular? White conservatives who made films like Easy Rider and wrote songs like "White Rabbit" and "Eight Miles High" and basically every other psychedelic song from the sixties? Nope. I don't think it was."

      So conservatives were against drug use and broken marriages, yet that happened to them anyway. Doesn't that make you think that beliefs don't shape social lives as much as economic forces do?
      It certainly does to me. Yet you then (do a very conservative thing and) just throw up your hands and say it's inevitable rather can consider the ramifications of economic policies. It's ironic, actually, since Paul Krugman wants a return to the '50's (minus the blatant racism of that period, most likely), with it's strong unions, punitive top tax rate, and low level of inequality.

      So why don't you blame anti-union laws and lower taxes rather than no-fault divorce and "Easy Rider"?

    6. brendon: The chief difference between the black underclass and the white underclass is that only the white underclass systematically votes against their economic interests.

  20. American blacks and Hispanics fare worse than American whites on most health measures.

    Not true, actually. White Americans are healthier than black Americans, but Hispanics are healthier than either, despite having lower incomes. See here: -- notice that life expectancy is greater, and infant mortality lower, among Hispanics than among non-Hispanic whites.

    1. Hispanics healthier than Whites! Dreaming?

    2. Well, you can either believe reality, or you can believe your own racial biases.

  21. Anonymous4:04 PM

    White conservatives are also peculiarly attracted to gold, much like their medieval ancestors.

    About 15 years ago my office (I work for the govt) relocated several hundred people from the Yankee north to Alabama. Those of us who didn't relocate were shocked to see and hear how so many of those folks had changed almost beyond recognition. Very few were still married to their original partners and a lot had become "serial marriers" changing partners like high school kids. Some of the more self-aware types eventually noticed how they had changed after having been exposed to the conservative, Christian (and largely white) culture that permeates much of the corporate research park culture of south. Quite a few of them eventually made their way back to the north, where they regained their bearings, found stable marriages and gave up NASCAR beer.

    1. Similarly, there is quite a bit of suggestive evidence to support the conclusion that many of the valuates and attitudes associated with the CWA culture are caused by low population density. People become conservative in part because this ideology is more functional in rural and small town contexts than it is in high density urban contexts. The many decades long trend of urbanization have moved lots of people from environmental were CWA is a functional culture, to one where it is not. The Internet, counterintuitively, may be the salvation of this culture because it mitigates the necessity of physical proximity in order to be economically productive.

  22. Noah, my analysis is much drier than yours. It is all about contradictions.

    -You can't oppose abortion AND sex education in schools.
    -You can't be in favor of a small government AND military action against anyone who happens to tic you off.
    -You can't be distrustful of the government AND support laws that enhance the government's ability to monitor its citizens, whether through the Patriot Act, stop and frisk in NYC, or E-Verify (John Cochrane has a recent post on this).
    -You can't be in favor of sexual partners forming committed relationships AND oppose those who want to do so because they do not fit your idea of what a family should look like (and yes, this includes polygamy).
    -You can't despise crime AND support the war on drugs that enriches gangs and fuels violence.
    -You can't vote for the party of Lincoln AND honor the confederate flag.

    Unless the conservative movement is able to solve these contradictions, it will keep losing support among people who believe that consistency between ultimate goals and policy objectives is important, even if they share many of these goals. I am one of them.

    1. Actually I think most movements survive with contradictions indefinitely. The Japanese Right is pro-U.S. but also justifies Japan's role in's THAT for a contradiction?

    2. Anonymous10:10 AM

      -you can and you get higher population growth, how is that a contradiction?
      -You can if you consider security from foreign invaders one of the most important things a government does while considering the government has no place in the private dealings of it's own citizens.
      -Well not and be intellectually honest, but both parties want to enhance security against the will of their constituents, so it's not a contradiction on their constituents part but on our rulers part (and it's not honestly a contradiction, our rulers are just liars).
      - You could if you believed in god and their version of Christianity as many do.
      - You can if your a DEA agent, it's called job security. I agree it's corrupt and scaremongering though
      - You can't vote for the party of the KKK and call yourself an anti-racist. See what I did there?

    3. Anon 10:10: I agree your last point. The Republicans were once the party of Lincoln; now they're the party of Booth, or the KKK, or the stars and bars, or whatever.

  23. The conservatives I know (most of my family and their friends) seem to spend a great deal of their time being welfare hawks. Now coming from Massachusetts, where we have a relatively large safety net system, that's probably to be expected. And it's not all bad, since the evidence for fraud and abuse is pretty widespread here, so its good to push officials to keep this in check even though a lot of the programs are doing good things overall. But it seems to me that it is fighting over nickles and dimes when there are such larger, big picture concerns with the economy and society. It also translates to a view of an overly large and inefficient government, which may be true in some sense but again is overlooking the real big-picture problems America faces.

  24. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Okay, rant against Conservative White America is perfectly fine.

    BUT THAT CHARACTERISATION OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE IS CRAP. Though if you're views are based on reading Morris I'm not surprised, his books's medieval sections are piles of turd (basically he reads the up to date literature...and then ignores its conclusions for instance his citations on the end of the Roman Empire and the collapse of its economy tell him no earlier than the 5th century, but he starts in the 3rd on the basis of lead pollution, which tells you lots about the ancient silver mining economy of spain, but nothing about the agriculture of 5th century Southern France or Greece). Also thinks the Normans committed genocide in Sicily in the 11th century against, which is odd conclusion considering 12th norman kings of sicily seem to have keen on hiring local Arab geographers, and 13th century German emperors were hiring sicilian muslim mercenaries while ruling sicily. The Normans were greedy thugs, effective greedy thugs (which the normans of the 11th century were) leave economies intact and then tax them. Also the Mongols don't conquer Europe because its too far from the Steppe region not because its too poor (they conquered Russia, which sure as hell wasn't as rich Northern Italy or the Rhineland). The Mongols major conquest either abut the steppe(Russia and the stans) or have intermediate regions they can conquer first to make the next conquest (e.g. Azerbaijin's mountain steppes for Iran and Syria or the Yellow River Valley and Korea for China). To take Europe (whose richest regions are beyond Vienna) you need to go through the then still underdeveloped regions of Hungary and Poland, and when you reach Europe its not question of a rapid blitzkrieg of cities (which is what happens in the Islamic world) but a hard slop taking a militarised landscape choc full of castles. Plus the Mongols had enough trouble with each other by the 2nd half of the 13th century have conquered the rest of non-india Eurasia.

    1. Anonymous5:04 PM

      Furthermore the actual narrative the evidence we have suggests 1000-1300ad is actually a time of growing economic prosperity, cultural and intellectual development. Its when a combination a favourable climate (warm period), ongoing population since the post roman nadir of the 7th century, along with greater adoption of certain technologies (mills, iron ploughs and horses with good collars) are able to really exploit Europe's agricultural potential properly, the Roman superstate was only perphirally a "European" one, its prosperity was based on a supercharged Mediterranean economy with dry light soils, rain fed agriculture, the Loire, Rhine and Thames river valleys have thick soils, you iron and centuries of manpower to exploit them.

      As a corollary to that the religiousity of Europe then actually goes hand in hand with growth. Religion of the crusades, the inquistions, the monasteries and the first universities require an expansion of literacy and the funds to underpin its infrastructure. The Crusades are ideological enterprises, there is little economic or political reason for the princes of Europe to risk all on conquering a 3rd rank Palestinian town and holding it when they could conquering the Po river valley or holding onto the wine regions of Burgundy. And raw physical feat of the crusades speaks to the capacities of Western Europe, you need maritime infrastructure to get to Acre, you need a cash economy to feed an army all the way to Antioch, Medieval Europe had both.

    2. Anonymous5:14 PM

      The failure of the Crusade is not about civilisation attributes, its about the fact the 1st crusade is only successful because struck a precipitous time, Syria and Palestine were in Chaos with the collapse of the Seljuk sultanate and the Fatimid Caliphate. From Saladin on, Syria and Egypt are combined in a formidable state. The logistical difficulties of supplying the Palestinian coast from western Europe mean its only a matter of time in the 13th century before resources push the crusaders into the sea.

      Nicipolis is testament not of civilisational failure, but to the war machine that had already given the Ottomans an empire stretching from the Adriatic to Armenia and that the French on expedition should really have listened to the Hungarians who actually knew what they were doing fighting the Ottoman (and would successfully till the 16th century). The decline of crusading itself also speaks to a degree of Europe's growth beyond the Jerusalem fever of the 11th century (also interesting point the Eastern Med was crawaling with Horman and English mercenaries and Italian traders well before the crusades, again the phenomenon illustrates extant connections rather than the religious aberrations that the old enlightenment telelogies misunderstood).

      And before someone calls me a Crusade apologist and brings up the massacre of Jerusalem in 1099, I should just point that that event only looks surprising to us in hindsight, western Eurasia had plenty of murderous thugs doing that kind of thing to forts, towns and villages of their co-religionists. But a guy a 20th reading Guibert of Nogent judges violence on his own terms, not the periods.

    3. Anonymous6:25 PM

      A couple points. First, Noah's example refers to the very end of the 14th century, not 1000-1300 A.D. So really Noah was talking about the waning of the medieval Europe. And the second half of the 14th century was pretty bad by anybody's estimate. Second, let's remember that the Crusades were also called the "Pope's Peace," meaning that their primary purpose was to rid the land of wandering, landless sons of petty warlords. The Crusaders weren't really expected to come back alive...the whole point was to get them out of Europe and make them someone else's problem. Finally, a quibble with Noah's use of "feudal economy." Feudalism was a political arrangement of lords and vassals, not an economic system. Feudalism reached its heyday in the 10th century and then gradually morphed into monarchical governance. In order to support a feudal political system vassals were given lands in exchange for certain martial obligations. The economic system that supported the feudal political arrangement was called manorialism. So strictly speaking Noah should have referred to "manorial economies."

      One aspect of medieval European political history that many contemporary conservatives seem to admire was the extreme "state's rights" philosophy of the day. The West's post-Roman decline was associated with the collapse of strong central government. Europe experienced a 500 slide into warlordism only briefly interrupted by a couple of strong Carolingian rulers...but after Louis the Pious the slide resumed for another 200 years. I'm not entirely convinced that today's conservatives don't have a secret hankering for the good old days of warlordism when local big fish ruled small ponds.

  25. I get what you're trying to do in this post, Noah, but you're no Dennis Hopper.

  26. Well, used to live in Bakersfield, Calif., which is a bastion of conservatism. I used to go to a bar with a couple guys, we built motorcycles together. They were mechanics marginally employed.

    They were also far right wingers who thought things like Social Security engendered serfdom. I think a lot of their ideology (and that's a generous word for it) was just resentment and a feeling of humiliation.

    If you want to understand political identities, especially with males, you have to understand dignity. People crave dignity. When they feel it slipping away, they react.

    1. Dignity is important, yes, but I don't think it's the driving force here.

      There's precious little that the Feds do that can be considered as attacking dignity, except by someone determined to make the point no matter what. Normal people do not consider it an attack on their dignity to receive Social Security or healthcare, let alone pollution control or financial regulation.

      What's making these people mad is resentment that they have no control over their lives, and they are lashing out in response --- which is Noah's point. They have no control over their lives because they have bought into a political stance and agenda which GIVE them no control.

    2. Indeed, and that is a big part of how the conservative movement played into the hands of their opponents. If you listen to most "liberals" talk about "middle America" they're pretty out in the open about how they feel. It's almost always some combination of pity, annoyance, and disdain accompanied by a condescending, mocking, or forced empathetic tone. And so that pushes these guys into the conservative camp, which has bungled the whole thing by stirring up fake controversies and wild fantasies instead of marshaling people's better instincts.

    3. dog's eye view2:33 AM

      Exactly, drocto.

      According to white liberals, the problem with white conservatives is that they choose not to vote for people who hate them, openly mock them, and clearly (despite what they say) want to see their way of life destroyed.

      Well jeez...

    4. jonboinAR10:25 PM

      Yep. That's what I've been seeing for some time. I follow several maybe left leaning econ blogs. Even though the discussion mostly diverges from social issues, it's open season all the time on white culture. This is carried on quite un-self-consciously, for the most part. For example, any time the ruling or wealthiest classes in the US are spoken of critically, pretty often as you might imagine, the writer doesn't fail to note that they are white. Occasionally I'll add the comment that they wouldn't dare to include a member of any other group's ethnicity into a negative portrayal, not even by implication, and if they accidentally did so, they'd grovel in apology. My remark is nearly always met by silence. The same goes whenever I note the risible hypocrisy of comments that wonder why those benighted, low-down, ignorant, RACIST hill-billies refuse to join our cause!

    5. Don't discount the resentment engendered by growing up your whole life being told that you are the chosen ones, and then learning that now everyone else gets a fair(er) shot too. White men who can empathize with others will adapt their views, but those who cannot will just dig in further.

    6. As I peruse the comment section, I note that this is the second post you have made that demonstrates a remarkable and delicious unawareness of the irony engendered in your replies.

      Am ha'aretz, Am nivchar.

  27. Phil Koop6:19 PM

    As long as you're going to wander off the reservation, can you do another movie review? Because I rather liked your take on Django Unchained, and when I forwarded it to a friend he responded by saying it made him want to see the movie.

    Also ... to describe your potted history as "oversimplified" would be very charitable. (Not that you don't deserve a little charity - even Krugman says so.)

  28. Broad and sweeping as you warned, but generally on target. Unfortunately describing the "what" in this matter leaves the "why" aside. Without the latter one cannot begin to untangle socio-political mess CWA has gotten it's collective self into. I would dearly love to see you turn your gaze that question.

  29. To be glib, Conservative White America just needs to drop the White.

    Importantly though, they have been losing the social proof battle for decades. It's just not "cool". Most people want to feel like they're doing what everyone else expects, that they're doing the "good" thing. So when you allow yourself to be positioned as the "anti-" group opposed to everyone else's interests, it's going to be tough.

  30. Anonymous9:17 PM

    "One day we woke up and tried something different...and it worked. I say we keep trying something that looks sort of like the thing that worked."

    What mean "we," Kemosabe?

    1. You didn't know I was Enoch Root? ;-)

  31. Just a note but Hispanics for some unkown reason seem to have far superior health outcomes to same class whites. Of course this is besides the fact that they recieve significantly less healthcare because of income differences. As half Mexican I am going with the seemingly rascist hybrid vigor theory of mestizo genes but who knows.

    1. The healthy immigrant hypothesis is well supported and disappears in later generations. Hybrid vigor is not supported.

  32. Well, I hope I don't get timed-out, but this is long...

    First, you only mention racism twice in the entire article. Maybe you're downplaying the significance race/racism plays in this entire article. I am a closet liberal who lived in Pennsyltucky and now lives in Miami - and when I was up north, the gross majority of people I knew were white and solidly middle class. And let me tell you, the n-word is still used frequently. (Obviously CWA exists nationwide - not just the South as others have pointed out.) So anyone that thinks that racism doesn't exist or isn't a big deal, you're living in another world. I'm even talking about kids going to both large state universities in PA, who grew up all across the state - supposedly "educated" folk. When you're white, white people are comfortable with you. I've had to ride in a tow-truck with a driver who JUST MET ME, and all he could tell me is how he can't understand how I live in the city with all those n-words - I know a successful business owner in an all white suburb who says the biggest problem we have is all those n-words taking all the money. In more public settings, they refer to african americans as "those people." I've seen an awful lot of evidence that racism plays a MAJOR part in CWA - they feel life is hard, they see people more successful than they are, and they are sure SOMEONE is to blame, SOMEONE is taking all their money - cause they're working damn hard but not getting to the level the REALLY rich are. Now, you can't blame the really rich, because that's what you aspire to be! But SOMEONE has to be responsible, and you know from all your hard work it's not you, so who the hell can it be? And it's even more pervasive than that. Look at Facebook for one day and you'll see another "you have an iPhone and a car but you're paying for food with your welfare card" pictures - who do you think they're talking about? What does the picture show? A white person? C'mon. And down here in Miami, I've learned that african-americans are still the bottom of society, even though I'm in the minority where I live - tons of hispanics from a multitude of countries still refer to them as "monkeys," etc. Even some of them think african-americans are holding them back!

    1. Nathanael10:27 PM

      Seriously, why DON'T they blame the obscenely rich?

      So what if they aspire to be obscenely rich?

      You can always say "Well, but I want to be obscenely rich *and good*, and these obscenely rich people are just evil thieves!"

      In fact, a weird version this is a large part of theology for thousands of years -- the people rich in *this* world are thieves, but be good and you will be rich in the *next* world while the people rich in *this* world will burn in hell forever.

  33. So that might describe a portion of people in CWA. And in the South, maybe a larger proportion of CWA is the racists. But I've also met plenty of people who feel the same way - that they're working hard, but they're not getting ahead, they're not getting rich. But instead of blaming "those people" they blame all the damn "libtards" who run the government and take all their money and spend it on poor people of all races. They don't seem to have a racial component in their complaint - but they know it's not the rich as I said above, but it has to be SOMEONE. So BIG GUBMIT LIBRULS must be the culprit - who else could it be! This also explains the contradiction - they have no problem mailing in their taxes to have the largest military empire the world has ever known, because that money is getting sent back to hard working people like themselves who are just trying to get ahead, while keeping us safe. How else do you explain this glaring contradiction? So maybe this is a portion of the people in CWA - but a smaller portion than the racists.

  34. But then again, every time you see a study on the racial attitudes of what we'd consider CWA, underlying everything they believe seems to be racism, even if they don't consciously acknowledge it.

    Or maybe it's just thousands of individual cases of something along the line of fundamental attribution errors. Millions of CWA don't see themselves getting ahead, but they know they're hard working folk - yet when you see others around you not getting ahead, it's cause they're lazy or dumb folk. So something must be getting in their way! It can't possibly be the circumstances which they have no control over. It has to be something else.

  35. On a personal level, I'll admit I have less empathy for people who are voting for conservatives - they're getting exactly what they ask for, who am I to tell them they deserve better? I'll save my empathy for those who vote for solutions that have been shown to work around the world, but instead are getting screwed over by CWA, making their lives worse each and every day. But I also want to caution all the outside observers from thinking that we "have the answer" if they'd just listen to us and stop their backwards ways. It's not like the South is devoid of books or isn't aware that Denmark exists or they don't have internet connections and colleges. Sure, it would be great if they decided one day to do better - but to think we can "force" them to change - good luck with that. This is the same irrational thinking that gets liberals to support never-ending wars in far-off places that have no hope of succeeding, or to support shoving trade and "property rights" down an indigenous groups throat to make them more "wealthy." Sure, we "have" the answer, but maybe we can't just "give" it to them. Maybe they just have to figure it out for themselves.

    I just wish they wouldn't kill everyone else off in the meantime.

    Now, someone tell me, when is it civil war time for global warming? How many people do we let them kill before we finally say "enough"?

    Sorry that was so long, it's your blog, not mine. But I thought it was a good post and it's not often I see decent discussion on these issues. Again, I apologize.

    1. jonboinAR10:48 PM

      Condescend much? Geeze. Again, at least on the left, it's perfectly fine to generalize sweepingly regarding the white race and culture, especially if you do so negatively, emphasizing their racism (hilarious) especially, but absolutely verboten with regards to any other culture on the planet. And you wonder why those sister-molesting crackers decline to vote with you. "Well, I don't feel sorry for them. They deserve what they have coming."

    2. Anonymous11:19 PM

      I agree.... Great Post. But I think Noah lets off 'Conservative America' too easily. As the Rolling Stones sang on Sweet Virginia, sometimes you gotta 'scrape the shit right off your shoe'. Let's not sugar coat it... we're better off without these nitwits.
      1.) This is the reason we can't have nice things. Case in point, universal health care.
      2.) Racism. The 'Southern Strategy' has been embraced wholeheartedly by the today's modern Republic party. It's undeniable. Witness the disenfranchisement movement.
      3.) Anti science. Your point about climate change is valid. What do we do with willfully ignorant people?

      Answer: We scrape the shit off our collective shoes as well as their concerns. I've had it.


    3. jonboinAR, we're all well aware here that not every white person is the same - not every southerner is a backwards hick and not every notherner is a liberal. If you read what I said, conservative white americans exist everywhere. And it's not even that they're "white" - it could be written "conservative americans." I even look at the motives of different people in this group - some are flat out racist, some just hate liberals - and i'm sure there are several other reasons people choose to join that group. Some people probably don't want society to advance - and yes, who are we to say our goal/desire is right or wrong? If society agrees that we want to live with a lower standard of living forever, as a democracy, we have to respect that. However, if conservatives tell us that they want a higher standard of living, but because of ignorance/racism/whatever object to every actual policy that has been proven to achieve a higher standard of living, what are we supposed to do? Just "pretend" they are right? And why am I supposed to feel bad that they get exactly what they vote for? After awhile you have to start to believe they want to live like many of them do - (relatively) poor, unhealthy, ignorant and uncaring of the future of humanity. Maybe that makes them happy! Again, who am I to tell them what will make them happy?

      But, literally speaking, conservative america is destroying the world. Period, full stop. The majority of people do not want to destroy the world. So what are to do about their ignorance and it's effect on us?

      Plus, tell me, how do we phrase reality in a way that gets them to vote for us? Why should I even believe that they will EVER vote for anything liberals believe in? What would give me hope that CWA could change? Have you missed, I don't know, all of the recorded history of this country? We've dragged them kicking and screaming into the future from day one - although I don't hear any of them complaining about the benefits!

      Trust me, I have no answer. But I haven't heard any other answer that is remotely convincing other than "defeat them." Like we have every other time we wanted to move civilization forward. But I'm all ears. Add to the conversation any time you want.

      Anyways, I'm not sold on "talk nicer to/about them" as the answer. You don't think that's been tried?

    4. jonboinAR9:55 AM

      You said: "Anyways, I'm not sold on "talk nicer to/about them" as the answer. You don't think that's been tried?"

      The phrase "talk nicer to them" completely understates the level of disdain that the left apparently holds for white America. Expressing that disdain openly and often, whether speaking of ruling class whites or rural, working class whites is de riguer in terms of establishing one's "progressive" credentials. For example, when one is speaking in negative terms of a group, such as bankers, for example, one never fails to add the adjective "white".

      This is NEVER, ever done when speaking of any other ethnic group that has recently existed on the planet. In fact, if racial categorizing it's even accidentally hinted at, unless it's in a completely flattering manner, much apologizing is in order for the terrible faux pas.

      So forgive many white folks for feeling scapegoated, entirely, openly, and unapologetically by the left, since at least the '80's. No, I don't think talking nicely to them HAS been tried. Nope.

    5. jonboinAR1:31 PM

      I repent a little of my harshness toward you. I'm certain you're not trying to condescend or unfairly blame. But my point is that I don't believe that's the case with the Left, in general. They're extremely, openly harsh toward white culture while being to about the same degree deferential toward virtually all others. You can hardly blame certain white classes for finding any excuse to ally with any other cause. Yes, they are self-deceiving, but about in the same way that the Left is when it wonders "why won't they join us".

    6. "For example, when one is speaking in negative terms of a group, such as bankers, for example, one never fails to add the adjective "white"."

      What the heck? Can you show me a single example? I read a lot about bankers (being one myself) and can't recall a single instance where "white banker" was mentioned (granted, I look in places like Bloomberg for news and analysis; I don't know where you go).

      Finally, your argument essentially boils down to "WCA's won't vote for you because you hurt their feelings".

      I dunno. Maybe it's because I'm a minority, but on the list of things that I care about, "hurt feelings" is far from the top of the list. My well-being, my country's well-being, and my planet's well-being, just to name a few. oting on your feelings seems rather . . .juvenile.

  36. I don't think that Conservative White Americans generally trust corporations. The Republican party is much influenced by concentrated money, but I think the CWA masses don't agree.

    On divorce etc I don't know why I read and read about state level data and then a bold damn the ecological fallacy full speed ahead analysis. Data must be available by race*income*education*religious denomination.

    OK so now back in time.

    The crusades were fought in Moslem lands. Europeans were on the offensive and European heavy cavalry defeated Ottoman light cavalry many times. In the period of defeat, Christians retook Sicily from Moslems. The crusades were morally appalling and crazy, but their failure was just the consequence of the impracticallity of the project. If Moslems had been crazy enough to try to conquer Rome or Paris they would have failed too.

    I'm in Italy. I note that there was rapid progress of literacy and commerce in part of Europe during the 1300s. The successful model was already developed except for the fact that heavy cavalry could be used to conquer Italy from time to time.

    OK to be honest, I'm in Sardinia which was still desperately poor in 1945.

    Semi typo watch -- you note that Europe could not have resisted the Mongols or Timur. Timur was a Mongol. A bit tricky as the first wave of Mongol horor continued after the death of Genghis Khan, but Timur was a much later but still totally Mongol terror.

    1. Robert, this comment has much poodoo in it!

      Timur was a fake-ass Mongol.

      The Muslims got damn close to both Rome and Paris, and got Constantinople (now Istanbul, according to They Might Be Giants). When did the Crusaders get close to a Muslim capital?

      It is interesting that the new European paradigm began in Italian city states, though not surprising. Wondering how and why it emerged.

      Divorce is more common among Southern Baptists than other Christian denominations.

      Gimme evidence that CWA distrusts corporations (other than big banks), otherwise I call BS...

    2. Well, maybe Jerusalem was only a provincial capital...

    3. Noah, are you going to let Robert off the hook for using the term "Moslem?" Yikes.

      While still technically a legitimate variant on "Muslim," the pejorative connotation of "Moslem" has mostly rendered it unsuitable for polite conversation.

  37. Anonymous4:31 AM

    The problem with conservatives is that they are " not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."

    -Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

    1. I think this whole notion of conservatives as "angry white guys" is wrong to begin with.

      Angry about what?

      Conservatives shouldn't be so angry. They should be optimistic and ready to work to improve the nation...

    2. Anonymous5:29 AM

      It is certainly an oversimplification, but they do struggle with minority demographics and have their moments of unjustified outrage.

      For example, look at how mad Obamacare makes them. Instead of working together to solve our unemployment problem, they are have wasted upwards of $60 million on Congressional floorspace to repeal it for the 40th time.

      They are frothing at the mouth over a right wing policy. One would figure that they Republicans would be more receptive to a policy championed by Bob Dole/Heritage Foundation/Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, they rather be combative for combative reasons while offering no viable solutions to our health care costs and lack of coverage.

      In an ideal world, conservatives would be willing to work together to make America a better place. Unfortunately, in reality, they are misguided ideologues who view compromise was a weakness.

      There is no hope for them until they came back from the deep end and re-embrace their moderate Eisenhower-era roots.

      I am looking forward to the Republican primaries where they try out crazy themselves. While this is overall destructive for America, it is not without its entertainment values.

    3. Conservatives shouldn't be so angry.

      The Southern Strategy, which began as a tactical gambit, not accounts for substantially all Republican rhetoric and policy.

      Republican identity involves resentment of out groups, and resentment of the government when perceived to be assisting out groups.

      (After all, we didn't see conservative Republicans, later rebranded as the "Tea Party", out there protesting deficits & excessive federal power during the Bush presidency).

    4. "...they are misguided ideologues who view compromise was a weakness...."

      How so? What ideology do they follow? As you pointed out, they are against their own bills now - against romney/heritage/hwbush/dole-care, vote against their own bills on immigration, campaign reform, cap and trade, deficit commission (mccain, graham, rubio and more), etc.

      When they are in power and a recession hits they want stimulus (gwbush, ryan, etc).

      They "claim" to be small government but take more tax money than anyone else, run up spending when in power (part d, etc), want the biggest government military on earth at any cost, and refuse to cut their own social security or medicare (only cut benefits for "those people").

      So what exactly is their ideology? The only consistent thing I see is "we want the opposite of them at this moment."

    5. "How so? What ideology do they follow?"

      Their traditional ideology has been to help rich people.

      Unfortunately for them, that didn't sell so well when they stated it that baldly. So they had to mobilize anti-government socially conservative (mostly southern) whites with the rage/culture/disdain/victimization stuff.

      Now the inmates are taking over the asylum.

      Krugman has a column about it:
      though it's really nothing more than a distillation of Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas".

  38. Your racism and ignorance of history is probably intended to sound ironic and edgy; but it just comes across as annoying. I live next door to a Muslim man descended from the Ottoman Turks, his skin is as white as mine is. At the chicken shop down the road the woman serving behind the counter has piercing blue eyes, under traditional Muslim head scarf. Down the road the other way are recent immigrants from Somalia, also Muslim, with jet black skin. Islam is not a race, nor is Christianity for that matter.

    Here's a link to a painting depicting the battle:

    Both sides of the battlefield have the same color skin. How about that?

    Your military history is also whack, just like your economics. There was no significant technological difference between the Ottoman Turks and Western Christians at the time. In 1389 at the Battle of Kosovo the two armies virtually annihilated one another, with eventual Ottoman victory only by dint of greater numbers. At the Battle of Nicopolis, it was the Christian side who fielded mounted archers, and one of the key weapons of the Ottoman side was not lightly armored and more agile Turkish cavalry, but it was Serbian heavy cavalry who were decisive on that day. Another key weapon of the Ottoman Turks was the Janissary, that is to say, male children taken from Christian households and indoctrinated as Muslim troops. The fact that Turks took children from Christian houses as their elite troops tells you that they did not believe in any racial superiority, they believed in ideological superiority, which is a different thing entirely.

    In the bigger picture, the advantage of Islamic siege weaponry was not at Nicopolis in 1396, but half a century LATER at the siege of Constantinople in 1453 where the Muslims fielded cannons. Needless to say, it didn't take long for the Western Europeans to cotton on that cannons were pretty effective and before long everyone was using them.

    "Warning: Contains oversimplified history, sketchy data, and sweeping generalizations."

    Just plain wrong would be a better description.

    1. A) When did I say Turks weren't white??? They look white to me!

      B) Don't I always say that "white" is a made-up grouping anyway?

      B) The Middle East had great pre-gunpowder siege weaponry. When Subutai, Genghis Khan's best general, wanted to destroy Jin Dynasty fortifications, he imported Muslim siege engineers from the Middle East.

      C) Regarding the particulars of Nicopolis, I just went by Wikipedia.

    2. And yes, I realize that my response had two B's in it. Two B's or not two B's...that is the question.

    3. I somehow thought that when you said, "even white people can do pretty darn well" that this was intended in the context of the earlier buildup of your article. Sorry I did not realize this was a complete non-sequitur thrown in without purpose.

      Hopefully you can be a bit understanding with readers getting mixed up like that.

      "Don't I always say that "white" is a made-up grouping anyway?"

      Maybe you do, in which case I totally don't get what point you were trying to make. "The descendants of those brave, dumb, doomed Crusaders" were at least in part absorbed amongst the Turks themselves as captives and wot not.

      "The Middle East had great pre-gunpowder siege weaponry"

      Yeah, so did the Greeks, so did the Romans. Who cares what siege weaponry the Ottomans had at Nicopolis, because they already owned the town? It was the Christians who were the ones trying to take the town back!

      The only reason the French military turned up and attempted to besiege Nicopolis without any siege weapons was extreme arrogance, not any lack of knowledge. They were settled in for a long siege and could have defeated the town simply by waiting long enough, except that the Turks got off their backsides and sent reinforcements. The French knights were also too arrogant to properly coordinate with the Hungarian infantry, and so they charged right on ahead without any real battle plan.

      This is from the Wiki page btw:

      The French knights, accompanied by their mounted archers, rode out with their backs to Nicopolis to meet the Turks, who were descending the hills to the south.

      ... also ...

      The Ottoman force also included 1,500 Serbian heavy cavalry knights[22] under the command of Prince Stefan Lazarević, who was Sultan Bayezid's vassal since the Battle of Kosovo in 1389

      ... also ...

      Sigismund would later state to the Hospitaller Master, "We lost the day by the pride and vanity of these French. If they believed my advice, we had enough men to fight our enemies."

      Not the slightest suggestion of technological superiority being decisive.

    4. I somehow thought that when you said, "even white people can do pretty darn well" that this was intended in the context of the earlier buildup of your article. Sorry I did not realize this was a complete non-sequitur thrown in without purpose.

      It's called a "joke", man. I think everybody can do pretty darn well with the right organizational model.

      Not the slightest suggestion of technological superiority being decisive.

      At Nicopolis no, it was organization and planning that seem to have been decisive. But during the early Crusades, the Muslim advantage in siegecraft came in very handy, or so I've been led to believe...

    5. Anonymous2:45 PM

      The broader point of the historical outline of the article was more or less right though. Whether technologically superior or no - and certainly by crusader times western Europe did have some fairly top notch military hardware for its time, the fact was they were a backwater compared to much of the rest of the Eurasian landmass for a long, long time after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

      What saved the west in medieval times on several occasions was plain old dumb luck. Present western dominance probably owes more to Genghis Khan than to anyone, for taking out numerous superior civilizations, mainly in China, Russia and the Islamic world. The article mentions that western Europe was saved from Mongol conquests by simply not being worth conquering. Not quite. These were the Mongols, after all. EVERYTHING was worth conquering. In 1241, Batu and Subotai Khan were poised to sweep into western Europe, after easily annihilating an assembled force of Christian knights under the command of Hungarian King Bela V, when they were required to return to to Mongolia to participate in the election of a successor to the recently deceased great Khan. They and their armies thus left and never did get around to returning.

  39. Anonymous6:09 AM

    In my area in the Midwest, some religiously conservative mega churches have achieved more ethnic diversity compared to their liberal counterparts where more educated, liberal white people attend.

    1. Anonymous6:45 AM

      There are no liberal counterparts to conservative megachurches. Megachurhces are overwhelmingly conservative and homogenous.

      "There are several characteristics that most megachurches possess—well-educated pastors, youthful attendees and conservative politics, according to Megachurches Today 2005. (As expected, only two percent of megachurches describe themselves as politically "liberal.") In fact, the study notes that they often "have more in common with each other than they do with smaller churches."

  40. Anonymous10:04 AM

    The Catholic church was not anti-intellectual, on the contrary. But it very actively opposed mass literacy right into the first half of the 20th Century. British conservatives also opposed mass schooling (and still may, for all I know).This was also true of reactionary episcopalians in the 19th century, especially in the American South, in contrast to Calvinist Holland, Switzerland, Scotland, and New England.

  41. Diego Espinosa11:42 AM

    Nice piece. Lot's to disagree with. First off, the GOP has not had "poor performance" electorally. I might give them a B- at the national level and an A+ at the state one.

    Second, the CWA problem, one could argue, boils down to stagnant real wages. I don't think your solutions address that, unless you think government can supply a remedy (and their refusal to open their mouth and take the pill is holding them back). Somehow, I doubt you think that.

    Perhaps there is no solution to the real wage problem. Perhaps the CWA problem is, for more than thirty years, they've been sold a vision of the economy that doesn't match reality. Ben Franklin once said (paraphrasing here) to be happy a man can increase his means or adjust his expectations. CWA malaise may come from an inability to do the former and a constant message that he shouldn't do the latter.

    1. "Perhaps there is no solution to the real wage problem."

      They problem is they won't get out of their own way.

      See: still exists, the rest of the world.

      (Sarcasm aside, there are plenty of countries that have solved this unsolvable problem.)

  42. Anonymous1:39 PM

    The real problem with American conservatism is that it was never really sincere as far as political movements go. It marketed a social conservatism it was never intent on delivering. Its true intent was to relax regulations and taxes on the corporations, and to shift the base structure of the economy from a production based to a service based economy; in part to capitalize on cheap foreign labor and to break the political clout of labor back home.

    But electorates would never have gone for so economically regressive a scheme had it been articulated honestly, so an elaborate spin machine consisting of "think" tanks and a largely captive media establishment was brought to the fore to use popular socially conservative ideas to market the politicians who ultimately implemented the scheme: "family values" "protestant work ethic" "the founding fathers" and so forth.

    I don't think it's the case that urban white liberals have a superior social or political model to that of "white conservative America." Social conservatism actually could work if it were really, truly implemented, though personally I don't think it would make for a nice place to live. CWA's problem is that they were taken for a ride by what really boils down to a gigantic political ponzi scheme, and that's become increasingly apparent to a growing portion of the electorate.

    1. Anonymous2:28 PM

      "The real problem with American conservatism is that it was never really sincere as far as political movements go."

      Yeah, Cons haven't been completely able to overturn the Civil Rights Acts and implement racist economic institutions.

    2. "Social conservatism actually could work if it were really, truly implemented, though personally I don't think it would make for a nice place to live."

      Or: Social conservatism can't fail, it can only be failed.

      I guess it depends on what your definition of "work" is.

  43. Well, Professor Smith. You put out a lot to think about here and pretty gutsy-like with that. For the Europe thing, the entire continent was basically a poor, diseased, unmanageable bog from about 550 to 1050 AD. Too poor to be worth taking is probably pretty accurate. The 5 years of black death/bubonic plague demolished all confidence in the Church, the royalty, the feudal system. Post-plague Europe had abundant, unused capital in the form of land and a dearth of workers. Wages rose along with agricultural surplus. This led to more skilled trade- and craft-workers who got often got paid in gold, and led to the guild system. Kings needed gold, and tradespeople needed protection from local barons who would have rathered to enserf them to the land. Tit-for-tat empowered central authority --> stronger nation states. The church wanted to make itself matter again and started employing tradespeople to build cathedrals. The cathedrals needed to be maintained, and students guilds needed space. Trade of labor for space led to the creation of universities, where students brought in and protected heretics. Thus Academic Freedom is born. Bottom line is that competing institutions, none able to overcome the others reached a noisy equilibrium where greater productivity could be captured. The game-changer in terms of productivity and knowledge (and heresy) was the printing press. It actually was a combination of very old technologies--the coin stamp and the oil press--but latin letters and punctuation were more printing pressable than Arabic and Chinese.

    Back to the CWA urban vs rural thing. There's been a long history since the 1700s of working class people in cities being waaay worse off than their rural counterparts. Cities were disease- and pollutant- ridden and the food was crap. It's a big part of the reason units of "farm boys" routinely whipped "city boy" units throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Over the last 150 years or so, sanitation, food assistance, infrastructure, health care, banning numerous environmental pollutants have mitigated the disparity. Thing is, living in the country or suburbs used to give lots and lots of benefits in terms of personal health, personal safety, sense of community. Not so much anymore.

    I have many very conservative friends, often from rural or semi-rural backgrounds. Very intelligent ones at that. They see the stuff they buy and the wages they make, and it doesn't add up. Places where liberals rule--NYC, LA, San Fran, Seattle--and they think these liberals are taxing their asses into the dirt so folks there can live high on the hog. Not so. It's the shareholder and financial system, the ports and transportation companies, public-private partnerships, and yes taxes, where everybody skims off the top down to the end. These people are not very wealthy and nickel and dimed to death. Even the university system does it.

    This is the nature of capitalism, that every institution and person involved has to take a bite, some bigger than others. Blaming the government really doesn't help, but it does pit rural and suburban poor folks against urban poor folks + scientists and academics. It's actually quite a coup for economic and political elites to take ways of life that make huge financial and cultural contributions to society and make them into enemies.

  44. Tracy Lightcap4:00 PM

    " I'm talking about the vast sweep of suburban and exurban whites, many of them working class or middle class, who consistently vote Republican, who hold conservative social values, and who adhere to conservative Christianity."


    It's a good deal more complicated then that. See:

    The most conservative people in the country and the ones most likely to hold to conservative social values are … rich people outside New England and the Left Coast. Poor people tend to vote Democratic and are usually more tolerant. Race, particularly in the Southeast, has some effects on this. Age also has some influence, usually through race as well. But the old "most rich people are conservative Republicans" finding is still widely upheld.

    I should also mention that this last Census was the first in US history where most minority families (even A-As) lived in neighborhoods where their ethnic group was not in the majority. I admit that was a shocker.

    Mopst of your points are right, of course, but the analysis behind them needs more nuance.

  45. There is a cure for the situation in Congress: what is needed is a correction of the history of the "Civil" War. Roundabout, but necessary.

    If it gets understood that the Southern gunfodder were fooled into fighting for the interests of slaveholders --and that race hatred was an important tool in doing this fooling -- then the solution to the other problems follows pretty much automatically.

    The Evangelical Churches have in recent years started to commit themselves to a reversal of the historic American racism of which they have been a part.

    Surely this important correction of history is a fitting job for them to undertake as part of this important Mission.


  46. They could have followed the example of liberal whites, who allied with minorities, including poorer minorities (blacks, Hispanics) and richer minorities (Asians), and thus will have a big say in shaping America's future policies. Meanwhile, stuck in permanent racial panic mode, all Conservative White America can do is pull their veto levers - the filibuster, etc. - to gum up the machinery of American politics and slow the inevitable.

    I have to say that those liberal Whites,actually a large number, 39-40% who are still in the,NOW, wrong Democratic Party , who voted to elect and reelect Obama,are going to feel sorry for going against their own interests and survival. The America which is shaping up will be a horrible place for them to be in and because of them for us,conservative Whites, who are trying to to keep America moral and civilized according to our European-based values.

  47. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Excellent post, wanted to think about it for a couple days. I'll refer to "Conservative White America" as "White Protestants" since that's more precise in my experience.

    White Protestant resentment stems from the notion that "I did was I was supposed to do, and I didn't get what I was supposed to get." A generation or so back, White Protestants who "did what they were supposed to do" (fought in Korea and Vietnam) didn't get what they were supposed to get, while the people who didn't do what they were supposed to do (they went to college and graduate school instead) got everything. They took over academia (the primary channel for social promotion) and the professions. So there's that, 40 years in the desert and it's just not going away. Children of "shirkers" grew up in educated, high-income households, liberal neighborhoods with good schools and supportive parents. But no one looks as these guys--say in South Park's San Francisco Prius episode--and says, "I want to be like them!" Utter contempt. But what we did in Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos? No can feel good about this one.

    This generation, it's a different "what I was supposed to do." White Protestant culture is Calvinist Social Darwinism. Very harsh. The problem is, this hard-nosed attitude of "shut up and do what you're told; you're not supposed to like school, just tell them what they want to hear; life isn't nice, deal with it..." doesn't work. The hippies got to shed this dysfunction, because they were secure enough to do so, but the people who did what they were were supposed to do, didn't because they weren't. If you want to go Carroll Quigley (a favorite lefty of John Birchers), you can say that "middle-class values destroy themselves by accomplishing what they set out to accomplish." Well, they didn't get to destroy themselves. So you double down, try twice as hard, resort to alternative status claims (I'm tougher, realer, more American, got here first).

    When we talk about conservatives, we should specifiy whether we mean patrician conservatives, business conservatives, or lower-middle-class social conservatives. Social conservatism is a risk reduction strategy; it eliminates vice, avoids wrecking marriage prospects, keeps people out of jail, and channels frustration into productive work. It can be very effective! If you want to jump from lower to middle class, you need to repress a whole lot of self-destructive impulses. If you look at families that jumped straight from lower to upper, you'll see how essential this is. But values are heuristics, and people typically don't know where their values come from. Besides, what's good for the goose (taking life easy, promiscuity at liberals arts colleges, late marriage and just for love, doing what you love instead of what pays) isn't necessarily good for the gander, because the gander can't so easily afford the associated risks. Educated upper-middle-class urbanites could set a better example by fulfilling traditional leadership roles, being more vigorous and less self-indulgent.

    White Protestant culture is not responding to a rapidly changing environment. We can't just blame the victim. (Perhaps we could make a cathartic comic along the lines of The Boondocks.) The specific grievances may break up along class lines, but they are real and strong, and a lot of people have just given up and are acting out. Cigars, guns, huge vehicles, country music, aggressive pollution, and offensive bumper stickers are not so different from zoot suits, gangster rap, and pants on the ground. I guess I see some hope when I see some obviously poor kid in Ralph Lauren, like he still believes, you know, in the green light on the dock and all of that.

    1. "I'll refer to "Conservative White America" as "White Protestants" since that's more precise in my experience."

      Except that it's not. Your typical white Protestant in New England is very different from your typical white Protestant in Alabama.

      "Social conservatism is a risk reduction strategy; it eliminates vice, avoids wrecking marriage prospects, keeps people out of jail, and channels frustration into productive work. It can be very effective!"

      In theory. In practice, social conservatism seems to lead to repression, leading to divorces and a bunch of ills.
      I'd compare to the Japanese (at their core, an extremely conservative people). The Japanese in Japan are probably the most polite and pleasant people to be around in the world. They also committed terrible shocking atrocities, raping women and murdering babies, when waging war in Asia.

  48. Anonymous4:37 PM


    Statistics in the most of the articles linked in your article do not separate/segment data for “white conservative America” vs. “the other America”. Further there are some inconsistencies: i.e. “the drug (ab)use” by white teens is about the prescription drug use; not the drugs used in urban environments. Economic mobility and upward mobility are not synonyms. Economic mobility of the (poor) minority in the Bible belt is restrained and it is not hard to understand.

    “Missing white voters” becomes obvious when compared to exceptional turnout of minorities as well as young of all races in the last two elections. The implication is that conservatives could have made a better effort to increase the turnout of “the white conservative voters”.

    After all this, I still find your thesis intriguing. There may be a simpler explanation that the nation’s demographics and political participation are changing much faster than the conservatives would like. Obvious response would be to use tools at their disposal to reduce or negate the impact of the new demographics: hence, voter ID laws, redistricting, and refusal to increase minority population, and opposition to legalizing the illegals.

    There is a very disturbing trend in the so called minorities; many of them become “conservatives” as soon as they acquire wealth. The best option for the conservative America is to improve the economic mobility and they will have more than what they need. The price is to drop the whiteness as the recruiting tool. - newest Anonymous

    1. "Further there are some inconsistencies: i.e. “the drug (ab)use” by white teens is about the prescription drug use; not the drugs used in urban environments."

      How does that make it better?

      "“Missing white voters” becomes obvious when compared to exceptional turnout of minorities as well as young of all races in the last two elections."

      "Missing white voters" was about the falling turnout of whites between 2008 and 2012. Except that turnout fell for all races in 2012:

      "There is a very disturbing trend in the so called minorities; many of them become “conservatives” as soon as they acquire wealth."

      Except that Asian-Americans have been trending more Democratic since Clinton.

      "The best option for the conservative America is to improve the economic mobility and they will have more than what they need."

      Except their policies don't actually do that.

      "The price is to drop the whiteness as the recruiting tool."

      Yep. Except, that's what the current GOP best knows how to mobilize its base.

  49. More and more, I'm coming to think that when it comes to how well societies do, there are multiple equilibriums (or temporary equilibriums), and a huge range of them. With luck, a society can veer from falling into a horrible equilibrium to falling into a great one. Here's an example:

    One of the most surprisingly fascinating books is, "The Future for Investors" (2005), by Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel. In it he talks about the great importance for the advancement of mankind of preservability and accessibility of information:

    Until the onset of the industrial revolution, productivity and population growth inched ahead extremely slowly. In fact, productivity backtracked as often as it moved forward. Discoveries and inventions were made, but many were lost to the next generation. For example Rome of A.D. 100 is said to have had a better infrastructure (roads, sewage systems, and water distribution) than many European cities of the 1800s. (page 207)

    "...for a period of seven or eight centuries, Chinese civilization was by most standards the most advanced on Earth [quoting Michael Hart]" China's dominance was clearly facilitated by its ability to record and transmit information [the Chinese invented paper]. (page 209)


    "The Ming rulers rejected anything that disturbed the status quo...many books of knowledge vanished during the Ming Dynasty...Charles Jones, an economics professor at Stanford University, wrote, "China came within a hair's breadth of industrializing in the 14th century, yet in 1600 their technological backwardness was apparent to most visitors; by the 19th century the Chinese themselves found it intolerable" (pages 209-10)

    Now suppose one (or many) of the Ming heirs had instead gotten a different mix of genes, to make him (them) much more prone to being a good person, as well as brave and strong. He (they) might have stopped the Ming anti-science, and embraced scientific and intellectual advancement, and there would have been locomotives in China in the 1400's, and computers in the 1500's!

    I do think that with a strong democracy, a society is much less likely to fall into a truly bad equilibrium, or stay there for as long. So much of the horrible domination of the far right over the last generation is due to serious flaws in our democracy – an American in Wyoming has 70 times the voting power in the Senate as an American in California, severe gerrymandering by Republicans means they can lose the popular vote for the House by 7% and still have control, and then threaten their own country with severe harm to get what they want by causing a default or a shutdown, the extremely undemocratic/ un-rule-of -law Republicans controlling the Supreme Court, rich people's and corporation's ability to spend billions to bend government, Senators representing 10% of the population can stop a bill supported by 90% due to the filibuster and unequal representation, strong efforts to suppress minority and poor voting, Bush got the presidency in 2000 even though he lost the popular vote – and even lost the electoral vote too, but was installed by a corrupt Republican Supreme court,...

    We've improved our democracy greatly – ending slavery, allowing women to vote, and more, but we still have a long way to go.

    1. Agree. The gerrymandering is particularly perverse in its effects, at least in the near term. But this underscores that despite their power in the House of Representatives the R's aren't as popular as it might seem.

  50. In re: #4. Excessive distrust of the government

    See, e.g., Mark S. Weiner's "The Rule of the Clan" and/or Ray Raphael's "Constitutional Myths". Conservatives aren't just shooting themselves in the foot by being such pathologically paranoid anti-govermentalist... they are actively shooting thmesleves in the head.

  51. Anonymous11:56 AM

    "See? The idea here is that under no circumstances must whites ever countenance themselves to live near nonwhites, and that life in mass exile in tomb-like suburbs is the necessary price of escaping the hellish depredations of diversity."

    See? Criticize the central planners and they call you a racist.

    Here's a thought experiment: if there were only one "race" do you really think economic and political disputes would cease? Of course not.

    I love reading this blog but this post missed the mark imo. Calling people racist and stupid is just boring. Stick to the good stuff.

  52. Remember the Crusading period was really about 3 power/culture blocs and their differing outlooks often formed by theit

    1. The Franks(& the growing assertiveness and centralisation of the Catholic Church).
    2. The Byzantines (Classicism mixed with Orthodox Christianity, and the )
    3. Ottoman Turks (Islamic but not particularly as fanantical as sometime portayed.)

    I think the Byzantine Empire has it's power and influence on events overlooked given its demise and the cultural vanity of both western and islamic scolars, imho.

  53. oops that should read ...

    Remember the Crusading period was really about 3 power/culture blocs and their differing outlooks which were influenced by the the geographical roots from which they sprang.

  54. actually Europeans defeated the Muslims and kept out of Europe, except in the Balcans, at the time of this battle in Spain for instance catholic forces were kicking them out. The Mongols took over India, China, central Asia, but not Europe. Because it was too poor ? what about the thousands of cathedrals and palaces that we were building at the time and people still visit today ? Any other area of the world did something comparable, Italy was booming before the 1347 Plague for instance.
    As a matter of fact northern Europeans, the germanic and scandinavians tribes, were never conquered by anybody in 4 thousands years, only by other germanic people sometimes, never by others. A few thousands of them took over part of the middle east for about 140 years with the crusades...Southern Slavs yes, they were conquered by Muslims in the Balcans, but the Russians no and they put toghether a huge empire.
    You should make more clear your Jewish bias in despising so much European history

  55. Conservative White America is stuck using a social model that just is not working anymore.

    Are the basic empirical statements that follow here true? Noah seems to want to make a claim that conservatives *themselves*: that they suffer from failing marriage failing health, failing economic mobility, failing economic performance, and failing social lives. But most of the links and Noah's argumentation are really about *America* (health, wealth), or about things-that-vaguely correlate with being conservative (living in a red state, living in a suburb). To take one (obvious) point: the fact that red states have a lot of failed marriages does not imply that individual red voters are in failed marriages. And indeed, married whites are much more likely to vote red. CF:

    Am I missing something?

    1. Anonymous9:54 AM

      You just aren't giving enough weight to how Noah's unshrouded bias and contempt defy logic.

  56. 1. All low IQ people have failing families, liberal or conservative.
    2. Yes on average everyone in america has worse health outcomes because the entire healthcare system is completely corrupt and immoral (as it will stay after obamacare.) I wonder if liberal gentrification (aka market forced relocation of the poor) has anything to do with the falling drug rates in urban areas.
    3. Consider that southerners are not as intelligent as northerners and thus less able to find productive pursuits whether or not their cities are sprawling.
    4. Do rich people really tend to be conservative? Because last I checked they tended to be liberal or just completely self interested. Does it take 100% of rich people to be liberal before liberals realize that they are the rich?
    5. Perhaps the more likely cause is their dissatisfaction with their lack of economic mobility caused by their lack of productive ability.
    6. They couldn't have followed liberal whites example because then they wouldn't be a separate party. Then they'd just believe the exact same thing liberals believed and that's not what people want. What have liberals actually done for their poor lumpenproles the blacks? Aside from cynically pandering to them on a day to day basis. They really aren't much materially different from where they were 30 years ago.

    The reason why liberal whites do so much better than conservative whites is because liberal whites are the most intelligent most emotionally stable whites. This allows them to pursue their agenda much more effectively than conservative whites. The one thing I don't understand is the collective delusion that all people are equal, that if only low class whites believed what you believed they'd be just like you. It's not true, they don't have the ability.

    I don't understand how the people who fought for the belief in evolution to be taught in school can turn around and pretend that genetics has little or no effect on human material outcomes. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

    1. Tracy Lightcap1:40 PM

      "4. Do rich people really tend to be conservative? Because last I checked they tended to be liberal or just completely self interested. Does it take 100% of rich people to be liberal before liberals realize that they are the rich?"

      Yes, they do and in substantial majorities. There are pockets where this isn't the case, but in the Red states particularly, the most socially and economically conservative people are in the upper 20% of income earners. See the Gelman et al. I cited earlier or Gelman's earlier Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State. The persistence of the myth that rich people are liberal is remarkable, but a myth it is.

    2. XVO: Citation of IQ as a meaningful measure => you lose.

      Thanks for playing.

  57. Nathanael10:22 PM

    In #4, I would call it "distrust of the CONCEPT of government".

    Distrusting a specific government, a specific institution, is one thing: perhaps correct, perhaps not.

    Distrusting all government a priori is *insane*. Government is an inherent part of society.

  58. Anonymous10:58 PM

    I think by white America you really mean rural America. Anyways, as someone who grew up in Kansas and lived in oklahoma, I think you hit a home run here. Where I live, most fit this generalization to a t.

  59. Anonymous11:07 PM

    All I have to say is that if you have a problem with Sarah Palin, then you have a problem with yourself! Clearly, she should have been president over that old guy, but the world isn't perfect... Seriously though, thank you for taking the time to write this excellent posting. It is a nice summary of CWA's foundational weaknesses.

  60. Anonymous3:56 PM

    "It has become increasingly apparent that "[conservative] white racial panic" is the main social force causing gridlock in American politics today. No reasonable person denies this."

    How can this blog post be taken seriously with such incredible leaps of logic?

    This is like the examples used in informal logic on how NOT to make an argument.

    God is good
    Pizza is good
    Erego, God is a pizza

    White racial panic is bad
    Conservatives are bad
    Conservatives exist
    Erego, Conservatives behind white racial panic.

    With critical analysis skills like that, Noah, you'd have made a wonderful judge in pre colonial Salem or a Monty Python movie.

    1. Anonymous8:44 PM

      Have you watched FOX lately? If you haven't, then isn't that what you people are supposed to be watching? Get to it!

    2. Anonymous8:34 AM

      Oh I'm sorry. I thought this was a blog about economics. I didn't know it was a swap meet for political bumper stickers.

      "FREE TIBET" equilibrium prices!!!

      There, how's that?

    3. Anonymous1:55 PM

      I'm sorry but I don't follow... Who said anything about bumper stickers? Unless the "Get to it!" is good verbiage for a political bumper sticker? It seems a bit vague if that's what you're implying. It would be much better for it to be a motivational sticker, but I still don't understand the connection with this discussion.

      Please help me here, as I'm struggling to follow your logic.

  61. "No reasonable person denies this."

    Oh, that's just brilliant reasoning, professor. Is that from Socrates?

    I certainly hope you didn't spend more than 15-20 minutes writing one of those pesky dissertations. Two sentences is all you need. Simply state what you really,really,really,really,totally feel and follow it up with "No reasonable person denies this."

    Easy Squeezy. Perhaps one day some like minded logician who has studied your blog will win a Nobel for their work with Brawndo. Brawndo's got what plants crave. Electrolytes.

    1. Anonymous8:46 PM

      So... Do you disagree with the statement, or just have a problem with the logic?

  62. The battle of Nicopolis was decisive - the conservatives have not experienced a decisive loss yet. As Bloomburg reports: "So what’s the outlook today for next year’s congressional elections? Republicans will hold the U.S. House, conceivably even adding to their 233-to-200 majority. They seem certain to pick up U.S. Senate seats, with an outside chance to gain the half-dozen needed for control." Why should they worry? They are still successful and having a decisive influence on American politics. No evaluation of the Grand strategy is necessary at this time.

  63. How nice -- elite liberal white America is doing fine, but dumb white rednecks need to change.
    And lets be sure to only compare white Dems with white Reps (thinly disguised as liberals and conservatives), because if we compare all-color Dems with all-color Reps (mostly white), the averages would not make the Reps look bad.

    Detroit has been following the "liberal" i.e. Democratic program, and it's failing far worse than any Rep city.

    1.) Failing families - a) # of kids living with both parents; b) # of kids living with 2 parents; c) # of kids living with just one parent; d) # of kids not living with a parent.
    Naturally the almost total failure of Dems, as seen by how few kids live with both or two parents (a & b), is hidden by divorce rates.
    Only those who bother to get married get divorced -- an increasing number of Dems have kids without either bother.

    Choosing the wrong metric, and creating a theory based on it, is pretty intellectually wimpy.

    1. How nice -- elite liberal white America is doing fine, but dumb white rednecks need to change.

      Yes. In order to have good, happy lives, yes.

      And lets be sure to only compare white Dems with white Reps (thinly disguised as liberals and conservatives), because if we compare all-color Dems with all-color Reps (mostly white), the averages would not make the Reps look bad.

      You're not wrong!

      Naturally the almost total failure of Dems, as seen by how few kids live with both or two parents (a & b), is hidden by divorce rates.

      NOW you're wrong.

    2. Anonymous5:12 PM

      "Naturally the almost total failure of Dems, as seen by how few kids live with both or two parents (a & b), is hidden by divorce rates."

      Is it just me or was this not a coherent argument? Confused...

  64. Anonymous8:59 PM

    An anti-white invective penned by an internationalist Jew.

    Now THERE'S something ya don't see every day.


  65. I think that your analysis conflates people and culture.

    Conservatives see the end of the world as near, because in a sense, it is. Their culture is at risk of dying off. It isn't that they are at risk of physical death. It is that their children have a significant risk of converting from the regional culture of their parents to the national establishment culture in a mass act of ethnocide. Particularly among the college bound, this has already happened. This is on a par with the mass abandonment of various versions of European paganism in favor of Christianity. There haven't been authentic pagans in unbroken continuity with ancestral pagans of Europe in more than a handful of tiny pockets of people at the European fringe for a dozen centuries. This culture, which was the dominant one in regions that collectively are home to maybe 80-90 million people and close to half of the geographic area of the U.S. for a century and half, is at risk of suffering the same fate.

    Many of the five points that you identify involve partial cultural conversion from their regional culture to the national establishment culture. This may forward the personal well being of people who were raised as white conservative Americans, but only at the cost of actively advancing the cause of ethnocide.

    Maybe the Southern white regional culture you describe is so dysfunctional that it doesn't deserve to survive and should be abandoned. But, if the culture itself is to thrive, and not just the people who are living members of the culture today, the set of remedies necessary are very different.

    For example, this culture has a very difficult time enduring in the absence of governmental authority to establish religion. This culture is very hard pressed to continue without socially legitimate gender discrimination (which is a key part of how this culture prevents families from falling apart). This culture needs to back away from a zero tolerance for violence in interpersonal dealings that is inconsistent with its culture of honor and can turn its cultural heroes into criminals.

    This isn't to say that there are ways that this culture can transform itself that fit with its own internal logic to reform itself to become more viable. For example, in this culture, recasting environmental protection arguments into arguments about carrying out a divinely ordained right and obligation to be a good steward of resources for future generations may play better than "save the whales." This culture's distrust of government is also not monolithic - this is a culture that trusts the county sheriff and the military, for example. This is a culture that is afraid of diversity of ideas that could threaten its hegemony as much as diversity of physical race - if you talk and think like them, you can be embraced by them despite the difference in the color of your skin (e.g. Jindal). But, if this culture is to survive (not necessarily a good thing) it can probably only do so by not trying to play the cultural success game on a playing field where the rules are set by the dominant establishment culture and not internally as it has been since Reconstruction. Since getting off this playing field is profoundly difficult, the doom and gloom about the end of the world for this culture is well founded and very hard to head off.

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  67. Anonymous2:44 AM

    The state can save us from being fat and eating to much sugar yay. Of course the government are so much wiser than everyone else, sometimes i wonder how they got so smart. The government is just like santa able to produce money from thin air and rain it down on us.

  68. Sleeper3:34 AM

    I think Detroit needed a new strategy, South Africa needed a new strategy, Rhodesia, Haiti, Liberia, the rest of Africa, the Middle East, South America, maybe North Korea. But no, White America and White Nations in general were doing fine until they started introducing non-Whites into their countries. All the countries you'd want to live in are de-facto white nationalist. OF course there are other problems too, as societies have always had; economic, social, cultural and the like. But for the most part, the formula worked just fine. But now we lower standards for all because that's what democracy is, that's what equality is. And so humanity must be truly free, so we an be truly miserable.