In my early undergrad days I had one of those insufferably 'classicist' history professors, the kind who considers Greece and Rome to be the only source for everything good while insisting that his bigotry towards non-whites is based on rational measuring of objective values instead of reflexive racism, who hates modern society for being so decadent as to prioritize curing disease over military triumph while blaming modern liberals for causing the fall of Rome with our time machines. I remember how one of the dully grand books on Greek history I read in that class mentioned something about the Spartan 'confidence game', how the Spartans were for a time able to coast on their reputation for ferocity while not actually having the numbers to beat up on anyone, not even who my prof described as the hopelessly weak Athenians with their P.O.E. sapping democracy.
Seeing this article reminded me of that somewhat. Right-wing activists certainly do have the advantage of confidence, not just certainty in being right but certainty in being rightness, and always certain of being endowed with superior paternal strength, of always being on the cusp of the Great Triumph That Will Prove Them Right About Everything Forever no matter what the latest elections say. This things make them loud and straightforward in a way that naturally draws media attention, adding to the mechanical advantage that the US Senate and Electorial College afford to rural, homogeonous regions. The effect of popular culture on common perceptions cannot be overstated either. The early era Baby-Boomers now running things were instilled with the idea of John Wayne and Little House on the Prairie being the eternal American norm, ours was a nation of universally pious Christian country folk who suffered hardship gladly and sought no excitement that couldn't be gained through violent resistence to evil. Then there's the fact that sitcoms to this day portray everyone as White and upper-class suburban. But I think above all else is a half-conscious deference of attention given to traditionally privileged groups. White well-to-do and elederly individuals, but also institutions perceived to be more traditional, which may be read as Christian Churches in particular, especially fundamentalist ones who have played there own confidence game in advertising how traditional they are, Never mind that any sort of fundamentalism exists only in reaction to modernity and, with the exception of the SBC, their numbers are generally small compared to sects that live in rough peace with the liberal world. Fundamentalist churches have still been very good at evoking a past where all Americans were united in theatrically intense Christian belief, and the fact that those days have never existed doesn't change the fact that 'Everyone knows' that they did. And so you have a great number of influential people, in both politics and media, who are deeply afraid of offending sensibilities that do not actually exist in any great number. Some latent guilt among White, Coastal, 'limosine liberals' for failing to live up to an imagined agarian ideal may have something to do with this, all griping about 'elitists' or 'liberal media' aside.
Happiest city in America Motherfuckers! I'm sure that the standards of this survey were subjective to the point of being hopeless bullshit, but then again.... Lincoln is a damned fine place. Crime is low, culture is light but tasty, neighborhoods are stately, well-shaded and reasonibly well-integrated, people are friendly, and the correlation between drunkenness and violence is surely the lowest on earth. Well done neighbors. GBR :)