Urban vs Rural vs Rage

Joe Gregorio

Noam Chomsky:

So take right now, for example, there is a right-wing populist uprising. It's very common, even on the left, to just ridicule them, but that's not the right reaction. If you look at those people and listen to them on talk radio, these are people with real grievances. I listen to talk radio a lot and it's kind of interesting. If you can sort of suspend your knowledge of the world and just enter into the world of the people who are calling in, you can understand them. I've never seen a study, but my sense is that these are people who feel really aggrieved. These people think, "I've done everything right all my life, I'm a god-fearing Christian, I'm white, I'm male, I've worked hard, and I carry a gun. I do everything I'm supposed to do. And I'm getting shafted." And in fact they are getting shafted. For 30 years their wages have stagnated or declined, the social conditions have worsened, the children are going crazy, there are no schools, there's nothing, so somebody must be doing something to them, and they want to know who it is. Well Rush Limbaugh has answered - it's the rich liberals who own the banks and run the government, and of course run the media, and they don't care about you—they just want to give everything away to illegal immigrants and gays and communists and so on.

Bill Kauffman of the Wall Street Journal, reviewing the book "Hollowing out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America":

The middle of America, so long treated with mirth, mockery and mawkish condescension by coastal smarties, is shrinking. "The Heartland's most valuable export," write husband and wife sociologists Patrick J. Carr and Maria J. Kefalas, is not "crops or hogs but its educated young people." This migration has devastating effects. From North Dakota to upstate New York, a youthful exodus is "hollowing out many of the nation's small towns and rural communities."


Mr. Carr and Ms. Kefalas adeptly frame the encounters of Ellis high-school grads with the wider world, capturing the profound alienation experienced by many small-town kids at college. The authors are on shakier ground discussing Ellis itself. You cannot drop into a town for a year and come away with deep understandings. Their claim that "there is probably no other place in American society where the rules of class and status play out with a more brutal efficiency than in the world of a country high school" is so howlingly inaccurate that only displaced urban academics could believe it.

Gotta blame somebody, it's not like the population has been slowly shifting from rural to urban for the past 100 years:

Data from the U.S. census bureau.

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