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political differences boil down to urban vs. rural?(5 posts)

political differences boil down to urban vs. rural?DougSloan
Mar 13, 2003 9:48 AM
Another thread, in which the causes for Bush approval came up, that included the map of Bush/Gore victories by county, got me thinking a bit. Are the main differences in political views in this country largely the result of seeing things differently depending upon whether you were brought up in a city or rural/small town area?

It makes sense the city people would see the world more as a communal, social, "obligation to help each other" sort of place; and rural people would see things as an individual, pull up by your bootstraps, self-sufficiency, anti-government view. The political and philosophical positions resulting from these views could largely describe the differences between Liberals and Conservatives, with Libertarians sort of overlapping both.

I haven't fully developed, this, and of course there will be many exceptions, but would this largely account for our political differences, graphically shown by the 2000 urban support for Gore and rural/small town support for Bush?

Seems like it should be opposite.czardonic
Mar 13, 2003 10:03 AM
At least as far as any sense of community goes.

I live in the city, and a very liberal one at that, yet I wouldn't characterize it as a "obligation to help each other" sort of place. In fact, I associate that kind of community mindedness with rural and small town settings.

I think that people in the city are exposed to greater diversity, competition etc., and are thus more aquianted with the need to compromise and find a way to live with people that you don't necessarily like or agree with.

Rural people, on the other hand (and these are just the impressions of a life-long city-slicker) tend to have spent their lives in homogeneous communities. Once you've grown used to the notion that people can get along within a fairly narrow set of values, it is easy to assume that the rest of the world should be that way.
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft?128
Mar 13, 2003 10:36 AM
The German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies (1855-1936) was a major contributor to theory and field studies in sociology. [1] He is best remembered for his distinction between two basic types of social groups. [2] Tonnies argued that there are two basic forms of human will: the essential will, which is the underlying, organic, or instinctive driving force; and arbitrary will, which is deliberative, purposive, and future (goal) oriented. Groups that form around essential will, in which membership is self-fulfilling, Tonnies called Gemeinschaft (often translated as community). Groups in which membership was sustained by some instrumental goal or definite end he termed Gesellschaft (often translated as society). Gemeinschaft was exemplified by the family or neighborhood; Gesellschaft, by the city or the state. [3]

(not professing knowledge on this or that it's a relevant starting point for your inquiry just a vague memory from college. Uber alles.)
Maybe the narrow, parochial view in rural areas?cory
Mar 14, 2003 9:12 AM
I've lived in both types of places, and traveled all over rural areas of the West in the last 15-20 years working on columns and stories. One thing I notice is that, even in the TV/computer age, a lot of people in rural areas simply don't accept much that's not done the way they've done it all their lives. There's a very strong kneejerk distrust of "city" ways, and a tendency to class everybody who lives within sight of a stoplight as being out of touch with real life as it's perceived in the cow counties (no disrespect--that's what they're called in Nevada).
You see it in towns only a few miles from Reno, where I live. Fernley is half an hour away, really a bedroom community now, but there's still this core of "ranchers" (they'd be called farmers east of the Rockies) who cling to the old ways. Some of it is admirable, but there's a narrowness and unwillingness to consider information that's responsible for Nevada being known as The Mississippi of the West. Mindless, unconsidered racism is common (you don't hear the N word in polite company, but you do hear it), and the people we send to Congress, with two exceptions in the 30 years I've been here, are literally laughingstocks. When I was traveling to D.C. occasionally, people would laugh out loud when I told them where I was from.
Also, FWIW, around here the helping hands come in rural areas, where people work with their neighbors. If you get in trouble in the cities, people pretty much figure you're lazy or pissed your money away on drugs....
Right to carry is a good example.Spoke Wrench
Mar 15, 2003 9:46 AM
We had a vote on this issue in Missouri a year or so ago. Overall, gun control won by a small margin. The larger urban areas voted overwhelmingly in favor of gun control while the more rural areas voted just as strongly in favor of the right to carry.

My analysis is that people start out with the concept that you should be allowed to do just about anything you like. That's called freedom. Unfortunately, there are always some people who like to push the envelope. Eventually, the majority rises up and says: "What you're doing is so outrageous that I'm willing to give up a little bit of my freedom in order to stop you."

People who live in areas where there is a lot of gun violence tend to think they would feel safer if they thought there were fewer guns around. People who haven't experienced that think they would be able to protect themselves so long as they had a weapon.

My personal feeling is that all of the bad guys and all of the paranoids are already carrying guns. Once you eliminate those two groups I doubt there are a dozen additional people in Missouri who would bother to get carry permits.