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I read the National Review Online to learn what the "intellectual conservatives" are "thinking."  Today there is a column by Victor David Hansen, a putative expert on ancient Greece, titled America's Coastal Royalty.   He talks about how the two coasts determine how those of us in flyover country (I grew up in Peoria and now live 60 east of Kansas City) live.  Hansen writes:

. . . those living in our elite corridors have no idea about how life is lived just a short distance away in the interior — much less about the sometimes tragic consequences of their own therapeutic ideology on the distant, less influential majority.

In a fantasy world, I would move Washington, D.C., to Kansas City, Mo. That transfer would not only make the capital more accessible to the American people and equalize travel requirements for our legislators, but also expose an out-of-touch government to a reality outside its Beltway.

Our good "conservative intellectual's" world is already a fantasy and shows how someone, affiliated with the Hoover Institute in California, is out-of-touch with certain realities in flyover country.

First, the largest employer in Kansas City is....... THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  If Hansen's thesis is right then there are a lot of people in KC doing jobs that are out-of-touch with what needs to happen.  I wonder who he would fire in KC.

Second, Kansas City is solidly Democratic.  Emmanuel Cleaver, head of the Black Political Caucus, represents a district that is over 50% white.  Does Hansen really believe there are no Democrats in fly-over country?  Of course, we could note that Harry Truman, who proposed national health care, is from Kansas City, retired there and was invited to the signing of Medicare.  

Third, many of Hansen's conservative colleagues cheered the shut down.  Here is a KC Star article about the effects of the shutdown in the KC area.  A representative paragraph (remember that the largest employer in KC is the federal government):

Beyond the misery of thousands of idled local federal workers, it is now starting to force other government workers off their jobs. The Kansas Department of Labor furloughed 66 employees Friday because of the federal shutdown.

. . .

Most local institutions and businesses relying on the federal government for funding or work say they can last a while, but should the standoff continue past October, there are no guarantees.

Even those in flyover country realize that government is important.

Fourth, and what really prompted me to write this diary is this column that originally appeared in the KC Star: Sumner County, like most places, sees plenty of federal tax dollars.

Here is some of the facts about Sumner County:

Some 24,000 people, give or take, live in Sumner County, a farming county south of Wichita on the Oklahoma border....

The locals are deeply conservative.

. . .

Last November, 68 percent of Sumner County voted for Mitt Romney.

According to Hansen, these the salt of the earth people that the government, supported by the coastal elites, is out-of-touch with.  Except the article continues with some realities:.
In fiscal year 2010, . . . the U.S. government spent roughly $189 million in Sumner County, almost $7,900 for every man, woman, and child who lives here. That’s an estimated 40 percent more, on average, than each county resident paid in federal taxes.  

Much of that spending went for Social Security and Medicare. Almost 16 percent of Sumner County’s residents are older than 65.

But the federal government provides food stamps for more than 2,400 people in the county, on average, every month — costing taxpayers $3.5 million a year. It spent $15.7 million in 2010 to provide Medicaid health care coverage for 3,700 of the county’s poor. It spent $69,284 that year for aviation improvements.

Washington sends subsidies to eight county school districts, for teachers — and for lunch. It spent more than $7 million from the 2009 stimulus bill for the county’s schools. It provides housing assistance for those in poverty.

The federal government sends checks big and small. It helps pay for wastewater disposal and economic development in Sumner County. It insures home mortgages. It spent $13,500 in 2010 for small business loans. . . . And it sends millions of dollars to Sumner County’s farmers.

Scott Van Allen has farmed 2,300 acres for more than three decades, mostly wheat. He’s a conservative, worried Washington is going broke.
.
.  . .

From 2007 to 2011, according to a database compiled by the Environmental Working Group, Van Allen has taken more than $200,000 in subsidies from a Washington he doesn’t fully trust.

“It is hypocrisy,” he admits, with a rueful smile.

I return to what Hansen wrote:
. . . those living in our elite corridors have no idea about how life is lived just a short distance away in the interior — much less about the sometimes tragic consequences of their own therapeutic ideology on the distant, less influential majority.
No, Mr. Hansen, those living in our conservative enclaves have no idea how important government is in the lives of people outside those enclaves.  They really believe the silent majority shares their disdain for government. The truth is Hansen and his ilk already live in a fantasyland that has no relation to those who live in a fact-based world, even those of us in fly-over country.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    by MoDem on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 06:17:25 PM PST

  •  Aren't the Koch Bros. from Kansas? n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, MoDem, OleHippieChick, thomask
  •  No problem (4+ / 0-)

    Once the job in Virginia is done the capitol can be moved to KC to flip MO too.

  •  All that would accomplish... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, sfbob, Youffraita, a2nite

    ...is create another "Beltway".  Besides, moving the capital would involve massive government spending which I thought conservatives were against.

  •  Real America? (11+ / 0-)

    The reason the coasts are so heavily represented is because that's where a whole lot of people live!

    New York City has roughly the combined population of Kansas and Missouri.

    Throw in Iowa and Oklahoma and you're still not equal to the New York Metropolitan Area.

    But 24,000 rural farmers south of Wichita are supposed to represent the entire country?

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:25:47 PM PST

  •  Conservative intellectual = oxymoron (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    J Rae, sfbob, MoDem, Zwenkau, a2nite

    It's funny how conservatives piss and moan about "elites", but never mention billionaires.  Hey!  We could move the capital to another city in the middle of the country, right here in Denver.  Oh, yeah--we're mostly democratic here, too!  Here's a tissue, Hansen.

    Col. Brandt: "What do you think we'll do when we lose the war?" Capt. Kiesel: "Prepare for the next one." --from "Cross of Iron"

    by ConservatismSuxx on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:46:01 PM PST

  •  Reading the excerpts you've posted... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shippo1776, a2nite

    from Hansen's piece, the word that keeps coming up for me is "crock."

    Moving the capital would move the Beltway. There is nothing intrinsically more American about one location within any of the fifty states than there is about any other location. That is so by definition. There are more people on either coast than there are in the states in between so relocating the capital to KC would remove it from where a large portion of the citizenship resides. It would cost an enormous amount of money and serve no legitimate purpose. And so on.

    In addition, the citizens of Washington, DC have no voting representatives in Congress and no representation in the Senate whatsoever. Every action the city's government takes is subject to Congressional review and veto. Does anyone seriously think the residents of Kansas City would accept such a state of affairs if were imposed on them?

  •  So I kept waiting for why it was a bad idea, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    but kept reading why it seemed about the same as DC.

    It's safer too, since a sea-launched cruise missile can't easily penetrate to KC.

    And Nancy Pelosi's flights home would be shorter. Lower carbon footprints, baby!

  •  The Cons are groupists. So, they think of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MoDem, a2nite

    people in terms of groups or sections or separate/segregated populations. Segregation, in their minds, is a natural/normal/universal characteristic and the effort to promote equality or homogenization of the population is very upsetting to them. They're segregationists because that's how their brains arrange reality -- in compartments. So, if gender and ethnic association are to be excluded on moral grounds, then some other category has to be found. Geography would seem to be one such and it even seems to be validated by the partisan affiliations as reflected in national elections. That the Cons' dominion in the heartland is the result of gerrymandered districts, Democratic forebearance and the tendency for "birds of a feather" to flock together doesn't register with people whose preconceived notions presume that what they see is how the world is supposed to be.

    That said, there is some data to support the ambitions of people in the heartland to exercise more social and financial influence. St. Louis, after all, has a World Trade Center. Warren Stephens, the Lord of Little Rock, is one of the country's wealthiest men and a stock broker of some renown since his firm staked Sam Walton a long time ago.
    And let's not forget that the Federal Reserve Bank which collects and disseminated the country's financial data sits in St. Louis.

    The charge against the federal government in Washington is somewhat disingenuous. It reminds one of the fox declaring the grapes sour so the crow won't eat them before they are fully ripe and fall into his mouth. Indeed, the whole distinction between tax dollars and state dollars and Wall Street dollars is a scam. All dollars emanate from Washington. Pretending that they don't is an exercise in wishful thinking that is designed to deny the dependent status of the several states in having to rely on Washington's munificence, even as the shutdown was an exercise to demonstrate that reliance and ended up proving the opposite. Because, while it may have cost $24 billion in lost enterprise, the shutdown did not result in the nation's economy grinding to a halt and did not even stop the implementation of the ACA. Congress shedding more and more of its obligations via privatization has had the effect of reducing their importance to virtually nothing. The House, in particular, has been revealed as a hollow shell. The echo of 'no' reverberates without effect.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 03:26:45 AM PST

    •  identity = interests (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah

      Conservatives conflate a person's "identity - race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural background, etc. - with their economic and political interests.  They believe that the only people who'll ever share their interests - who'll ever be on their side - are people just like them, while people who are different will of course want different things.

      It follows then that the rightful rulers of America must be the most authentically American people around - the people who most fully embody the white bread heartland Norman Rockwell ideal ... or the "ugly American" stereotype.  Anyone else - non-white, non-Christian, blue stater, urbanite, college-educated yuppie, etc. - would be an alien overlord by definition, and therefore inherently illegitimate.  The romantic notion of the folksy wisdom of the salt of the earth is preferred to book larnin' because "better" implies "different" and different is wrong.

      In the conservative imagination, America has always been an affirmation of white Christian male identity ... and the fact that anything good happens for anyone else proves that white Christian men are the only people who have any business being in charge because they're the only people who will allow anyone else to have anything at all, including life itself.  Conversely, black people won't stop until all of America is an endless black power rally, gay people won't stop until all of America is an endless pride parade, women won't stop until all of America is a matriarchy, the youth won't stop until all of America is Woodstock, foreigners won't stop until all of America is whatever country they came from, etc.  That's what they want because that's what they are ... and it shows just how utterly selfish they are to always and everywhere be pushing these exclusive and self-indulgent agendas at the cost of everyone else.

      It's funny that the good folks in the heartland would want nothing to do with a California vineyard-owning Ivy Leaguer like Victor David Hanson.  The last thing the heartlander types think they need is some neocon philospher-king to descend on a cloud to tell them what's what.  God for these folks lives within: having written His will upon their very souls as any Creator would.  They need no arbiters of reality.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 09:12:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought we already made evil rich white (0+ / 0-)

    men happy by putting our capital in the South.

    Never mind.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 10:51:01 AM PST

  •  Fuck "flyover country". (0+ / 0-)

    Where does this persistent belief that people who don't live near major airports are different somehow come from?

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Ponder Stibbons on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 10:56:58 AM PST

  •  The Mormons (0+ / 0-)

    will be thrilled that Hansen is taking their argument mainstream.  They believe, as Joseph Smith "prophesied", that the righteous will gather in Independence, MO, to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Also too, there is that patch of land, less that 100 miles north, that Joseph Smith said was where the Garden of Eden was located.

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