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Domestic Cultural Imperialism


Some may remember the other day my discussion of David Brooks’s column on Malcolm Gladwell. One of the points of that post was that it makes me very nervous when I hear liberals talking about the need to use the government to create new cultural patterns (for the record, it makes me nervous when conservatives talk that way, but admittedly less so because they tend not to talk about creating new patterns so much as preserving time-proven ones). Anyway, if you want a good example of the sort of thing I find worriesome this seems like a fine place to start. Michael Lind writing in Salon about the need for a “third reconstruction.”

The alternative to the Southernization of the U.S. is the Americanization of the South — a process that was not completed by Reconstruction and the New Deal and the Civil Rights era, which can be thought of as the Second Reconstruction. The non-Southern states, through their representatives in Congress and the executive branch, and with the help of enlightened Southerners, need to use the power of the federal government to put a stop to the Southern conservative race-to-the-bottom strategy once and for all.

Lind’s argument isn’t exactly what I had in mind, and it is more about economics than culture pure and simple, but I think his biases are pretty clear: For starters the insinuation that the South isn’t sufficiently “American” is revealing. Second, the assumption that calling his preferred economic program “the Third Reconstruction” is a constructive way to start is almost hilarious.

I bet he gets some interesting email.

Update: From a reader:

Wow, the comments are even more scary. I was not aware we in the South were so “inhumane” because companies would rather make cars in states with growing populations and not shrinking populations.


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