Wednesday, November 10, 2004

'values': we have it backward

Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo) recently posted a thoughtful discussion of the 'values' divide,
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_11_07.php#003958.

He says many important things, of which one stood out for me. A common meme is that the Blue states are corrupt, godless, and amoral, while the Red states are righteous and good. But much actual data suggest the opposite: murder rates, divorce rates, etc., are significantly higher in many Red states than in the Blue states. His post discusses possible reasons for this difference and points out that it belies the high moral ground commonly assumed for the Red states.

Further, though, I think it helps to explain the 'values' divide. Why is it that half the country thinks the social revolutions of the last 30 years are a good thing and getting better, while the other half thinks the country is falling apart? Maybe in the second half, it actually is.

By pressing on the 'values' themselves, arguing for gay marriage, civil rights, and so on, we are ignoring the underlying problems that are worrying Red voters. If we address those problems directly, by thinking about crime or social policy or whatever it takes, perhaps we can remove the sting from the 'values' debate.


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