The American Cultural Divide

William Stuntz has an interesting piece over on Tech Central Station that makes the claim that, contra conventional wisdom, America’s fundamental divide is not one of North and South, but rather East and West (and he makes the case that the West is winning).
A quick snippit:

Some of this can be chalked up to geographical coincidence. But not all, and probably not most. Deep differences of attitude and spirit separate America’s two halves.
Easterners like theory and process. Westerners care more about outcomes than procedures, and they like whatever works. Easterners are cautious; Westerners take chances. Easterners like universities, legislatures, and the U.N. Westerners like businesses, the executive branch, and the Army. Eastern politicians are more likely to talk down to voters — think of Dewey, Adlai Stevenson, or John Kerry — because they are instinctively less democratic; they come from a world where social and educational class matters and where institutions seem to outlast people. (I teach at a university that is nearly four centuries old.) Western politicians are more optimistic, believe that problems can be solved and limits surpassed. Also that institutions are temporary things: they are the creatures; people are their creators, and creators matter more than the things they create. The flip side of optimism is rootlessness: if life isn’t working out, go somewhere else and reinvent yourself, like Easterner-turned-Westerner (and Democrat-turned-Republican) Ronald Reagan. Easterners are more likely to be defined, and confined, by place. Eastern candidates want to protect a lead and play it safe — Dewey, anyone? — while Westerners roll the dice, not only in campaigns but in the White House: Reagan’s simultaneous tax cuts and defense buildup (Howard Baker called it “a riverboat gamble,” and it was), Bush’s war in Iraq and his decision to wrap his arms around the third rail of American politics.

Go read the whole thing.

1 Comment

You can keep that to the NORTHeasterners as down her in the south we like how Bush is running things and that is how our politicians run (sans Edwards the greasy lawyer)