Red State Family Values

The South fears God. We know this.  They are our national cult, we worship these hard-scrabble volk [sic] that toil off the land, don’t have time or desire for college, spend their Sundays in God’s House, and devote every waking moment loving and adoring their family, football and the flag.

And because these toilers withstand the corrupting influences of modernity (read: college, gender equality, poverty) they exist as paragons of moral righteousness.

Wrong.

According to new census data compiled by the New York Times… (see graphic, bottom)

…rural Americans are just as likely to be divorced as city dwellers

Anyone who knows the South and small-town America already knows the culprits.  The disintegration of small-town shame culture*, economic gender equality, and young people moving out of rural districts for work/education.

Since the 1990s, divorce-less marriage rates have risen among married couples over those who only have high school diplomas. Meaning, theres something about college-education that keeps couples staying together.

Less educated Americans are far more likely to have babies while unmarried — and to divorce — than those with college degrees

This shift in small-town – dare I say, small-minded? – culture affects the most religious, most patriotic and provably least educated part of our great nation.

“It has hit the whitest, most married, most idyllic heart of America — Iowa,” Professor Kefalas said. “The cultural narrative about marriage — you get a job, you marry your sweetheart, you buy a house, you educate your kids — has been torn to shreds. Without that economic foundation, the story cannot support itself.”

But before you misidentify this trend in divorces with pure economics, we know there’s more at work here.  Surely, women in the work place and the obliteration of male “breadwinner” culture has a lot to do with it, but the other factors are undeniable. Women’s liberation, education, and probably also secularization, are highly relevant to the impact this has on small towns, like Iowa’s. Or, to identify the quote ever more strictly, the system unravels itself. Americans always want better for their kids, only in movies have I seen coal miners wanting their kids to also mine coal, at least to go so far as to cripple their efforts to leave for college or something.  So these 1950s style families want better for their kids, they save up and send them to school and you get Baby Boomer essentials. Middle and Upper-Middle class Americans, still conservative, but living in cities and suburbs.  The Boomers start getting divorced, stop going to church, but have enough wealth to again send their kids to school.  All of these achievements occur largely because of the ability to escape small-town ostracism (see below).

Then, the X-Generation and Generation Me (80s and 90s kids) are born of these formerly small-town, small-minded escapees. All romanticism and attachment to the hard-scrabble ways of volks people are dead. The newest generation goes off to school, revels in the bullshit of it all, and … the rest is the history of now.

Source

*You know. Ostracize the divorced** – never mind she wore shiners for years because her husband drank constantly – pick on the weird kids, lock in the shed any children with mental illness, etc.

**

When Ms. Vermeer divorced in 2002, she became the first teacher in her Christian school to do so. Divorce was more common than it had been in past decades, but she still felt judged, so she developed habits to keep a low profile, like going to the grocery when no one she knew would be there.

God Bless America, am I right?

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