What The $%#$ Is The Matter With Kansas?


In his book What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, Thomas Frank explains the nifty trick conservative Republicans have pulled off in the reddest of red states . . . and many other places in the mid-West: the poorest people, those most hurt by laissez faire capitalism, those most in need of social services and good public schools and a higher minimum wage and unionization, those that would most benefit from environmental reforms and public parks and regulation of big-business . . . those people happily vote against this time after time because the Republicans have made the elections about authenticity and brand loyalty and morality-- these people are voting for a higher cause, whether it is the anti-abortion crusade or gun rights or small government or home-schooling or the encroachment of "liberal intellectual values" into their square way of life . . . and the beauty of this is that these battles will never be won, and the Republicans have somehow inserted Adam Smith's "invisible hand" into this pantheon revered issues and the great paradox of this is that the very laissez-faire free-wheeling capitalism that the conservatives vote for produces the insipid entertainment culture that they rail against and the more they place themselves in the hands of privatized America, the more they will be offended, insulted, and outraged and the more they will fall into the hands of the very party that does them no good . . . or no good financially, but the point of the book is that sometimes people want to do better morally and emotionally, it might be more valuable to be indignant and poor than content and middle class; there's much more in here but it's a well argued take from an ex-conservative that lives in Kansas, I highly recommend it although it will probably piss you off (if you're a Northeastern liberal . . . if you're a economically disadvantaged red state conservative and you're reading this blog then the universe is a strange place and this book might explain why you have voted against your best interests for the last thirty years).

4 comments:

Al DePantsdowno said...

Maybe some people are motivated by things other than money? Like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Probably sounds silly to a Northeastern liberal like you.

Dave said...

but wanting to pay more taxes so there are better schools and social services and parks means i am NOT motivated by money! in the end, no one is motivated by money . . . people are motivated by what makes them happy and what they think is right.

Igor said...

Many poor people vote Republican because they don't want the liberal government to raise their taxes . . . though the Democrats' tax plan would actually reduce their taxes, since their income is low, and the government spending would probably benefit them more than those at higher levels. All of which Dave was saying, but some of those red staters don't give a shit about abortion or guns but care a great deal about money . . . it's just that they've been wrongly convinced that they will be better off voting Republican.

Dave said...

i don't think it's wrongly convinced-- i think the republican party found issues that are more important than money, and actually emotionally and morally trump money, and they've also made their constituency feel that if they move towards government programs or labor organization they're some kind of pinko. pretty slick.

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.