Tyler Cralle

Nothstine Talks Urban-Rural Divide

Ray Nothstine, editor at The Civitas Institute, joined Tyler this morning on his radio show to talk about his latest article that debates whether or not conservatism can survive the growing divide between urban and rural America.

Can Conservatism Survive the Growing Rural-Urban Divide in North Carolina?

I was asked a lot about the potential for an impending “blue wave” election in interviews and I usually shifted my response to our growing divisions. The short answer is I thought so-called blue areas of the country and urban North Carolina will get bluer and red areas will turn redder. That largely happened.

Probably forgotten somewhat today, Thomas Jefferson noted that urban sprawl or rapid growth in the cities could pose a serious threat to liberty. Jefferson, being a Virginia planter was biased in his defense of the agrarian life, but he had a point about how it might exacerbate government tyranny. His thinking, not uncommon among planters and the landed elite at the time, was that people in cities would inevitably become too dependent on government and use their votes to impose their will on farmers and landowners who preferred to be left alone from central planners. This is undoubtedly truer today than back then given that even more increases in industrialization and technology move people away from the landowner mentality and morphs many into consumers rather than producers. Part of the growth of consumer culture means a desire for many to consume government benefits and services and depend on government more for protection and security. One policy example is gun control measures, packing people into cities causes many to demand government enact gun control measures, while most rural citizens see no need and, indeed, are increasingly concerned about calls for banning firearms or other confiscation policies.

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