I usually try not to call attention to a lot of the stupidity that oozes through the drive-by media. (There’s so frickin’ much of it.) But this, um, “gem” , caused me to make an exception:
Every year the Fourth of July is marked by ringing affirmations of American exceptionalism. We are a special nation, uniquely founded on high ideals like freedom and equality. In practice, however, much of what sets the United States apart from other countries today is actually Southern exceptionalism. The United States would be much less exceptional in general, and in particular more like other English-speaking democracies such as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were it not for the effects on U.S. politics and culture of the American South.
I don’t mean this in a good way. A lot of the traits that make the United States exceptional these days are undesirable, like higher violence and less social mobility. Many of these differences can be attributed largely to the South.
Oooo-kay. So, we bring all of the violence. If THAT is the case, WHY are 7 of the 10 most violent cities in American NORTH of the Mason-Dixon line? Hold on. This genius has MORE:
[…] But even by the standards of the English-speaking world, the U.S. appears as an extreme outlier, in areas ranging from religiosity to violence to anti-government attitudes. As we learned after the slaughter last month in Charleston, S.C., some deluded Southerners still pine for secession from the Union. Yet no doubt there are also more than a few liberal Northerners who would be happy to see them go.
Minus the South, the rest of the U.S. probably would be more like Canada or Australia or Britain or New Zealand—more secular, more socially liberal, more moderate in the tone of its politics and somewhat more generous in social policy. And it would not be as centralized as France or as social democratic as Sweden.[…]
[…] But the South really is different from the rest of the country. Here are some examples of how the South skews American statistics.
Today there is more inter-generational social mobility in Europe than in the United States, contrary to the American myth that the United States is still the world’s No. 1 land of opportunity. The Economic Mobility Project of Pew Charitable Trusts has shown that children are far less likely to rise above the socio-economic levels of their parents in the U.S. than are those in Britain, Canada and Australia, as well as Germany, France and the Nordic nations. The American South, with the lowest rates of intergenerational social mobility in the U.S., clearly skews the national statistics, creating an embarrassing and depressing version of American exceptionalism.
If life down here is Sooooo bad, why are we not hearing all of these stories of mass migration to New Jersey and New York and Pennsylvania and Michigan? (Those people are coming HERE as fast as they frickin’ CAN.)
[…] Economic inequality? Apart from California and New York, where statistics reflect the wealth of Wall Street, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the South is the region with the greatest income inequality. Southern exceptionalism has helped to ensure that the American Dream is more likely to be realized in the Old World than in the New.[…]
Well, at least we know this guy digs Karl Marx. “Income inequality” is a cornerstone of what he preached in his “Communist Manifesto.” People who work harder and longer tend to accrue more wealth. To bring about ”inequality” — which the Soviet bloc during the Cold War found impossible — you have to bring everyone DOWN to the same level.
[…] The mythology of American exceptionalism holds that ever since 1776 the United States has led the rest of the world in expanding individual liberty and the growth of the middle class. This makes for inspiring Fourth of July rhetoric, but it has never been true. In reality, the United States has frequently lagged behind Britain and her other offspring in these areas. Britain peacefully abolished slavery within its empire in the 1830s; thanks to Southern opposition, the U.S. did so only as the result of the catastrophic Civil War. And thanks to mid-century Southern members of Congress, welfare-state policies from home ownership to Social Security were designed to reinforce segregation or exclude the disproportionately-Southern black and white poor. Not until the 1960s, with the help of federal military intervention in Southern states, was the right of African-Americans to vote secured. And today white Southern Republicans are at the forefront of efforts to roll back the voting rights revolution by making voter registration more difficult.
Ugh. What a lying, revisionist TOOL. (And WHAT party were those mid-century Southern politicians members of?)
[…] Religiosity is one example of American exceptionalism among English-speaking countries that is largely the result of Southern exceptionalism within the United States. “We don’t do God,” Tony Blair’s aide Alastair Campbell famously remarked, emphasizing that religion is kept out of the public sphere in modern-day Britain. In most modern English-speaking countries, voters find ostentatious piety on the part of political candidates troubling, not reassuring. But in the U.S., born-again Southern evangelical politicians like Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush who troll for votes with piety have given U.S. presidential politics a flavor more reminiscent of Tehran than of London or Ottawa or Canberra. According to Gallup, in 2014 the most religious Americans were all found in Southern states, with the exceptions of Mormon Utah and semi-Southern Oklahoma. Mississippi led the nation in zeal.[…]
Again, the loss of congressional seats in northern states, and the gains in southern states, suggest north-to-south migration. If “religiosity” down south is as scary as it is in Tehran, why are all of those people moving south?
[…] Southern violence also goes a long way toward explaining the exceptional violence of the United States in general compared to otherwise similar countries. The pre-modern “culture of honor” continues to exist to a greater degree in the South. White Southerners are more likely than white northerners to respond to insults with increased testosterone and aggression, according to social scientists. According to the FBI in 2012, the South as a region, containing only a quarter of the population, accounted for 40.9 percent of U.S. violent crime.
Compared to other Americans, Southerners disproportionately support sanctioned violence in all of its forms, from military intervention abroad to capital punishment to corporal punishment of children. According to Gallup, Southern households have a far higher rate of gun ownership (38 percent) than households in the East (21 percent), Midwest (29 percent) or West (27 percent).
The death penalty has been abolished in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Isolated among the major English-speaking nations, the U.S. is among the world’s leaders when it comes to per capita executions, competing with the regimes in Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and North Korea. The U.S. owes this dubious honor to the South. Between the time the Supreme Court ended the ban on the death penalty and mid-June of this year, the South was responsible for 81 percent of the executions in the United States, with Texas and Oklahoma alone accounting for 45 percent of the whole.
The racial polarization of the American electorate is exacerbated by the white Southern electorate. In 2012, Barack Obama, the first African-American president, won only 39 percent of the white vote. But low numbers among white voters in the South dragged down his nationwide total. Obama did better than his national average with white voters in the Midwest and won outright with 51 percent in Iowa.
Voting is far more polarized along racial lines in the Southern states than elsewhere. According to a recent study by political scientists Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell and Maya Sen, “the larger the number of slaves in his or her county of residence in 1860, the greater the probability that a white Southerners today will identify as a Republican, express opposition to race-coded policies such as affirmative action and express greater racial resentment towards African Americans.”
So, something that happened more than 100 years before I was born was a major influence in shaping my political beliefs? (Idiot.)
White Southern political culture has shown remarkable continuity, despite the half-century flight of Southern conservatives from the Democratic to the Republican Party. It is true, as some historians and pundits point out, that the Republican Party’s post-World War II resurgence in the South owed a lot to its appeal to suburbanites and business elites. But that is ancient history. More recently, the country-club Republican supporters of Barry Goldwater and John Connally have been swamped in Southern Republican parties by a wave of working-class white Southerners who are heirs to paranoid and sullen Dixiecrat conservatism, not sunny and optimistic Goldwater-Reagan conservatism.
Country-club Republican supporters of Barry Goldwater ??? Nope. All of those folks were digging Nelson Rockefeller at the time. And John Connolly? When he was governor of Texas, he was a DEMOCRAT. He ran for president as a Republican in 1980, and set the record for spending the most money ever for the fewest delegates ever.
The northern progressives who joke about the U.S. jettisoning “Jesusland” and merging with Canada will not get their wish. But there is hope: A combination of demographic change and generational change is weakening the ability of the old-fashioned South to skew American politics and culture in the future. Peripheral Southern states like Florida and Virginia are increasingly competitive, and the Deep South may join them in time. In Texas once-reactionary cities like Houston and Dallas are competing with Austin as tolerant meccas for transplants who prefer the Sun Belt to the Old South. Immigration into the South from other countries and American regions is breaking down local oligarchies and old folkways.
The decline in Southern exceptionalism in time may lead to more of a convergence among the U.S. and other modern democracies. Let us hope so. We have had enough of the wrong kind of American exceptionalism.
Yeah. *We need to be MORE like the rest of the world.* (#SMH)